“May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in His works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke! I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.” (Psalm 104:31-33 ESV)
Although we cannot really imagine it, we would expect to see and experience the glory of the Lord in heaven. Saints and angels surround the throne and continually offer up praise to God, “who dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16b ESV). The glory of God is expected in His heavenly realm. But when the glory of the Lord touches the earth—that is another matter entirely. In events that we usually associate with disaster, not glory, the Lord looks on the earth, and it trembles. The mountains smoke at His slightest touch.
Long ago, the Lord came down and His presence touched a mountain called Sinai. “Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly” (Exodus 19:18 ESV). The people of Israel trembled greatly as well, and they begged Moses not to let God speak to them. God did speak, and gave us His Law, His will for our lives as His people. It is a Law we do not keep—and so God came down once again to touch the mountains.
This time, the Lord’s glory was veiled in human flesh. God the Son was born in Bethlehem as the glory of the Lord lit up the fields nearby and caused shepherds to tremble in fear. The Lord’s feet touched the mountains as Jesus walked through the land, teaching and healing. His enemies and the demons trembled at His voice, but many people gladly heard His Word. His miracles demonstrated His glory and His identity as the Son of God and Messiah. Finally, betrayed, arrested, and condemned to death, the feet of God touched a mountain we call Calvary. Jesus took onto Himself the sins of the world and suffered the penalty of death that we deserved for our rebellion against God, for disobeying the Law given on Sinai. Darkness, not smoke, shrouded the mountain and Calvary trembled as the Son of God died.
Three days later, on the first Easter morning, the glory of God was revealed as Jesus rose in triumph from the dead. By God’s grace, through faith in Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we have the gift of eternal life. We will one day see God’s enduring glory and sing to Him for as long as we live—forever! Here on earth, we still see evidence of God’s glory in the beauty and majesty of His creation. We rejoice in His works, but we are still frightened when the mountains tremble and smoke. We cry out to the Lord for His help and protection, confident that the God of Sinai and Calvary, who reveals His glory in unimaginable ways, will keep us in His loving care.
Prayer: Lord God, shield me with Your care until I see the fullness of Your glory in Your eternal presence. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved.
1. Have you ever climbed a mountain? What was the best part of the experience?
2. What does the “glory of the Lord” mean to you?
3. What do you think being in the presence of God will be like?