What Is the Glory of God and Why It Matters

The glory of God is a term used in often in the Bible, but it can be difficult to truly understand. What is the glory of God? And what  does it really mean to glorify Him in our everyday lives? 

what is the glory of god photo collage with woman reading the Bible and brilliant sunset

I was talking with one of my coworkers about her children behaving at school.  She marveled at how well behaved her strong-willed daughter was for her teacher.

“You see, they have this couch in their classroom,” she told me, “and whoever is the best behaved the day before get’s to sit on the couch during story time while everyone else is sitting on their mats. Only one person gets to sit on the couch each day. My daughter would do anything not to sit on the floor; she just lives to sit on the couch.”

Only one person gets to sit on the couch.


You see, the other student’s prize, their award, their glory meant you didn’t get the prize. This interaction got me thinking about glory, and more specifically, about God’s glory. 


What is the Biblical meaning of the Glory of God? 

Glory. It is a hard term to define. The Bible uses different words to describe glory:  one of earliest was kabud. It meant heaviness.
Heaviness…like gold and riches and people who had enough to eat.

Eventually it came to mean…

  • honor
  • abundance
  • riches
  • splendor
  • dignity
  • reputation.
But I like the first definition, in its original context: heavy. 
Glory is feeling the whole weight (the splendor, riches, dignity, reputation,) of who God really is.

the glory of god text overlay of sunset and beach

When Moses asked God in Exodus 33:18 “Show me Your glory” he wasn’t asking for a glimpse of the vault of heaven or to hear God’s credentials read aloud to him. 
He was asking to see God–to see Him for everything He is.
To see His greatness, His splendor, His majesty, His perfect holiness, His goodness…is not a light thing.  
Remember, only one person gets to sit on the couch.
As a wedding present someone gave my husband and I the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course.  If you know anything about Dave Ramsey, he is all about paying off debt and saving money. 
His term for this is “gazelle-like intensity.” Well, after coming home from the “wipeout debt with gazelle-running-from-hungry-lion-intensity” Nate and I did just that.  We rarely ate out.  We bought the cheapest groceries.  We didn’t go to movies.  We didn’t buy new clothes or gadgets.  We had a few ADHD moments, but in less than a year’s time we were able to become completely debt free! (And remain so to this day, by the grace of God.)
But we couldn’t have financial freedom AND go out to eat every week.  We couldn’t lose debt AND go on a shoe-shopping spree. 
We had to give up something to gain something. 

God’s glory is costly. 

This is why I believe God’s glory must be a costly thing.  To feel all the weight of who He is, all He deserves, all He is worthy of I must also be aware of the weight of who I am, all I deserve, all I am worthy of.  
He is Almighty God, Forever strong, Creator of the universe, self-existent, perfect, holy, loving.  I am futile, weak, lustful, bent on my own will, hateful, spiteful.  He deserves thousands of angels, worlds, peoples singing His praise forever and ever. 
Revelation 19:1 says “After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.”

I don’t deserve any glory. 

I deserve an eternity separated from God forever.  He is worthy of love, honor, devotion.  And I am not.  I shouldn’t be sitting on the couch.
blue midcentury couch with small end table beside and blue and white rug in front of it
There are no exceptions. There is no point in which I’ve earned some glory. 
There is no:  “Hey, I showed up to church this week.  I sponsor a child in Africa.  I help out in children’s church. I read my Bible everyday.  I listen to Christian music. Maybe I could sit on the couch for a just a little bit.  Maybe if I go on a short term missions trip.  Or tithe 15% of my income.  Or head up VBS this summer. 
Then, wow, I would be doing pretty good.  Probably I could have a chance to sit on the couch.”
There is no chance I deserve any praise, any glory.  Everything I do is tainted by sin.
Only because of the cross and my placing my trust in Jesus’ finished work there am I able to do anything. Even as a Christ follower for close to 30 years, it’s only in God’s strength and by His grace am I able to do any good thing.

God’s glory must cost me something. 

God’s glory cost Moses friends. It cost Abraham his home.  It cost Joseph his freedom.It cost David years of fighting. It cost Job his family. It cost Jonah his prejudices.It cost Mary her reputation. It cost Peter his livelihood. It cost Paul his safety. It costs many their lives.

How dare I expect it to cost me nothing.

God's glory must cost me something.
So here is where I am—asking myself:
What has God’s glory cost me?” 
What am I willing to give up or what have I given up that all might know the intense weight of His preciousness?
Because only one person gets to sit on the couch.

What does the glory of God mean for me today? 

As I have continued to think about the weight of God’s majesty, I don’t think that this question is hypothetical.  

1 Corinthians 10:31 says “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do–do all for the glory of God.” 

God’s glory in my life is all-encompassing. At some point, I truly believe, God’s glory will demand something precious of each of us.

So my question now has been “How can I prepare now, so that when the time comes I am able to give up something costly for God’s glory?”

I think if we look to Moses’ example in Exodus we can gain a few insights on HOW we can come to the point of being able to surrender whatever so that God will receive the maximum glory.


Above in Exodus 33:18  Moses asked God to “show me Your glory.” If we look ahead to Exodus 34, we can see how God answered Moses request:

“The Lord passed before him…and Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

How Do I Glorify God? 

1. Bow and worship

“Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped…

woman bowed head and hands in prayer outdoors

See Him for all He is and BASK in His presence. Worship is acknowledging and responding to who God is. You can worship with prayer, with song, with dance, with art or music. 

2. Ask for His presence.

“…O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us,…” 

I really think this is key: God going with us in the midst of us. Relationship. Everyday. Everyplace. 

Not just at church or in our “quiet time.” But a growing awareness of His movement and activity in the nuances of our lives.  Living every second in the reality of who He is and that He loves you and wants to be your friend.

3. Recognize our own stubbornness and sin.

“…for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin,…”                          

According to Isaiah 64:6 all of us, even us candy-coated church kids are disgusting, filthy, stinking rotting bags of poopy diapers. Or used menstrual pads, if you like a direct translation. 

There is no self-medication. 

There is no answer apart from Christ’s blood; his blood spilled on the cross in order to cleanse us once and for all from the curse of sin and bring us into a relationship with Him.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

-Hebrews 1:3

4. Abandon yourself.

“…and take us for your inheritance.”            

woman with brown hair and tan skin with arms outstretched worshipping God near the water                                                                   

Let God take you. Surrender to Him. Let Him take the wheel of your life–resist the need to steer where you think you should be going. Abandon yourself to God’s complete control. 

Ephesians 1:13-14 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

Once an inheritance is given it cannot be taken away.  If you are a child of God, He is holding the deed. And He is never letting go.


photo of yellow flower at golden hour with text the glory of god and what that means for you at the bottom

Only God gets to sit on the couch, friend.

When God asks me to surrender my treasure for His glory, I pray I hear the voice of a friend, the soft whisper of the One I walk with daily, the One I trust implicitly.

Even now as I think of my dearest treasure, my heart constricts, the panic rises, “Please, God, please don’t ask for that.”

In the same breath I panic and I pray.

For God daily in my midst, for abandon to His Plan, and for rest: knowing anything His glory might cost me is well worth it.

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  1. I was truly blessed reading this article. I am a retired pastor 85 years old.
    I look forward to reading more of Katie M. Scott’s writing.
    Never get to old to learn and be blessed!

  2. Thanks Katie…I pray the Lord continues to bless you, your family and your ministry…

  3. This was the best explanation of Yahweh’s Glory I have found. I too have walked with him for 40 years but we keep learning more as long as we keep breathing. If only we would share more as openly and honestly as you did! My last book but first fictional
    One regarding His Truth is now out. Hope you may visit my website. MARANATHA!!

  4. Thank you for sharing this. It has helped me so much in my journey. My faith is rekindled about the subject “The glory of God”.

    I have this article bookmarked on my phone, and I have read it more than four times. Each time, I discover a new insight.
    Thank God and God imbue you with more wisdom and knowledge in His word. Amen.

    Funmi, 53 years
    London UK.

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