I haven’t always had a “word” for the year but every once in a while I feel like the Lord is leading in that way. I think this year, 2014, I’d like Him to focus my attention on the word “glory” with the idea of glorifying God. Especially since I have a book proposal prepared on how to glorify God. It’s entitled, Clearing Up Muddy Motives: Discover the Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. My desire is to help us all bring more glory to God even when our motives are muddied by fear, selfishness, and immaturity.
When I discovered the first time the word “glory” is used in the Bible (at least in the ESV and NASB), I was surprised that it was so far along in the Bible:
“Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
Let my soul come not into their council;
O my glory, be not joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men,
and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen.
Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob
and scatter them in Israel. (Genesis 49:5-7 ESV)
Jacob is giving a blessing to his sons as he’s on his deathbed and he tells himself, his “glory,” to not be joined with the company of Simeon and Levi who had made some very poor choices. Some commentators believe that the verb tense “be not joined” is actually a way to say, “Look here, everyone! When they made those unwise choices, I wasn’t a part of it. I didn’t join in and I don’t agree with their choices.”
So, in this verse, Jacob is referring to his soul as his “glory.” Most often we think of “glory” as a verb: like giving glory to God or glorifying God. But in this case, Jacob uses it as a noun: referring to himself. In Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, he writes,
by his “honour or glory” he means his soul, the more honourable part of man, or his tongue, with which man glorifies God;
I must say that this is a little bit of a surprise. I didn’t expect the word glory to ever refer to a person in the Bible. I expected it to only refer to God in some way.
We may find many other surprises along the way of studying this word. I’ll share my findings on my “Word for 2014” occasionally here. Hope you’ll gain by it.