This psalm of David celebrates God’s perfection, compassion, forgiveness, and goodness. The structure of the psalm is an acrostic poem with one verse for each letter in the Hebrew alphabet.
“Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle…The cloud of the Lord hovered over the Tabernacle during the day, and at night fire glowed inside the cloud so the whole family of Israel could see it. This continued throughout all their journeys.” (Exodus 40:34, 38, NLT).
The climax of the Exodus occurred when the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. God’s intention from the start was not merely to deliver his people from their bondage, but to bring them into a relationship with Himself. The real need for the Israelites was to know God personally in their lives.
When Jesus worked His first miracle at the wedding at Cana, changing the water into wine, the Apostle John concludes that it was a glorious display!
Although this first miracle was a quiet miracle–large pots of water suddenly were turned into wine–it apparently didn’t go unnoticed by Jesus’ disciples.
“Then my cousin Hanamel came to the guard’s courtyard as the Lord had said and urged me, ‘Please buy my field in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for you own the right of inheritance and redemption. Buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 32:8, HCSB).
Jeremiah was in prison because he had proclaimed to King Zedekiah and the people of Jerusalem that the Babylonians were going to conquer Jerusalem.
“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance” (Isaiah 60:1-2, NLT).
When Jesus told His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount to be the light of the world and compared them to a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14), He may have been alluding to Isaiah’s description of the future glory of Jerusalem in these verses.
These two verses contrast the eternal and enduring nature of God with the brief and transitory nature of human beings. They transition this psalm from the topic of human desperation and misery (vs. 1-11) to the topic of God’s glory (vs. 12-17).
Have you ever noticed how clearly you can perceive the goodness and greatness of God when you are suffering and in need of His help?
“But whenever he went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with the Lord, he would remove the veil until he came out again. Then he would give the people whatever instructions the Lord had given him, and the people of Israel would see the radiant glow of his face. So he would put the veil over his face until he returned to speak with the Lord” (Exodus 34:34-35, NLT).
When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai (for the second time) with God’s commandments etched on stone tablets, the skin on his face was radiant from God’s glory because he talked with God face to face.
“He said, ‘I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name Yahweh before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion'” (Exodus 33:19, HCSB).
God spoke these words to Moses in response to his request that God show Himself–His glory–to Moses. Moses made this request because he was concerned that Israel’s standing with God was in question.
“But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” The Apostle John declares that God is light (vs. 5). So, if you are in fellowship (in a relationship) with God, then His light shines on you so that you are living in the light. A Canadian band, Newworldson, recorded a song that expresses the heartfelt desire of all who are living in the light of God to learn to be His light to others. The lyrics of the chorus of the song say:
Savior what you did for me
God doesn’t want you just to bask in the warmth and illumination of His light. He wants you to reflect His light to others. When you live in the light of God’s reality, then sooner or later you must start reflecting the light of God’s reality–you must learn to be the light. God wants you to be the light so that the light of His reality can be seen in this world in you! “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15).