You can sense the urgency in Moses’ heart when he says, “Please Lord, I really want to see Your glory” (v.18, paraphrased). Now there are those reading who are desperate to experience the glory of God.
I hear a desperation in Moses’ spirit here. When he says, “Show me Your glory,” he means more than just power. The word glory in the Old Testament is often translated beauty. Particularly in the book of Isaiah where the Lord says, “You will see the beauty of the Lord.” The word beauty is often translated glory.
GOD’S NAME IS HIS PERSONALITY
Exodus 33:19. God answers and says, “This is who I am.” When God wants to show you His glory He says, “I will proclaim or I will teach you. I will teach you My name. I will teach you My personality.” Now the name of God and the personality of God are the same. When we ask to see the glory of the Lord—which is I think is good—we are often thinking of one of those supernatural encounters, and that is legitimate, but when the Lord reveals His glory to us He reveals His glory little by little, day by day in ways that not everybody understands as being the glory of God.
He says, “I am going to proclaim My name. I am going to teach you about My name.” For God to proclaim His own name means He will teach us about it. Again, to have the name of God revealed is to have His personality revealed. God reveals His heart to us and in a moment you are going to see that I am going to focus in on that. I believe that God emphasized His emotions in this encounter more than anything else.
GOD HAS THE BEST PERSONALITY IN THE UNIVERSE
When God reveals His glory, there are displays of His splendor, like the fire, the lightning and the thunder around the throne—the sort of thing that Elijah might see—there are the power demonstrations, but in this encounter in Exodus 34, we are instructed that the glory of God is more than anything else the revelation of God’s emotions to the hearts of His people.
God has the best name or let’s say it another way, He has the best personality of anyone in the universe. I know it seems kind of odd to say this, but He does. He has the absolute best personality. He is the most kind. He has the most goodness. He is the purest. He is the smartest. He is the happiest. There is more mystery around His personality than anyone else. He is wise, He is gentle, He is bold. He is not intimidated at all in His personality.
So God has the best name or the best personality in the whole universe. We want to know that personality, because when we feel it—I mean when we understand it and feel the power of it a little bit on our heart—that is considered encountering the glory of God from a biblical point of view.
THE LORD PROCLAIMS HIS NAME
Exodus 34:6. Now at this time the Lord is answering the prayer Moses just prayed. Moses prayed it in Exodus 33 and now it is Exodus 34. The Lord proclaims His name in Exodus 34. Look at Exodus 34:6 (paraphrased). The Lord passed before Moses and the Lord proclaimed—or the Lord made known or in our context the Lord gave a teaching, if you will, about His own name—He said, “I am the Lord, the Lord God. I am merciful and gracious. I am longsuffering, and I am abounding in goodness and truth.”
Now He starts off by saying, “I am the Lord, the Lord God” (v.6). That is a statement of His power, His absolute power and authority. But after He declares the fact of having all power and authority, He moves into four different categories about His emotions. So when God reveals the name of God, He reveals His emotions to His people. Again, He says in Exodus 34:6 (paraphrased): “I am merciful, gracious, I suffer long with My people, and I am abounding in goodness.”
THE LORD IS MERCIFUL
The Lord says He is merciful. That is the first thing. The reason the Lord first says, “I am merciful,” is because it is the truth we need to know first. This is the issue about God which the devil always undermines, accuses or distorts in one way or the other—this idea of God’s mercy.
Now we all have confidence that God has mercy when He relates to the guy next to us, but where we struggle— and this is common throughout the whole body of Christ—is that He has mercy when He relates to us. I know He is merciful to you. You do not get it, but it is obvious to me that He is merciful to you, but where I struggle is thinking He is merciful to me. That is where it gets difficult.
But the Lord told Moses in effect, “I want you to know that I am tender in the way I deal with My people, in the way I deal with you in your weakness, in your sin.”
GOD DELIGHTS IN MERCY
In Micah 7:18 it says that He delights in mercy. One of God’s favorite things to do is to show mercy. He loves it. He says, “I delight in this.” When God delights in something it is something we want to take note of.
I think one of the reasons He delights in it, is because He loves to see the response in our heart when He is so tender with us, when this connects with our heart.
At first when He is being tender we often resist it. We think, “It cannot be true. I have got to somehow get a little bit of what I deserve. There is just no way He is giving me a clean slate after what I did yesterday. There is no way,” but once we get through that resistance and it connects with us, we say, “Oh, oh, wait, really, oh, thank You!
In effect, the Lord says, “Oh, I delight in this. I love it when you connect with this.” The Lord could say to us, “It touches My heart when it connects with you, because the light goes on in your eyes, the joy hits your spirit.” I am just making up that conversation. The Father looks at the Son and says, “I love it when that happens to them.” That is my interpretation of God delights in mercy. He loves it when the mercy connects with us.
GOD’S WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN OUR WAYS
Isaiah 55:7–9. Now these are famous verses, but they are often applied in a wrong way. The Lord says in Isaiah 55:7–8 (paraphrased): “Let the wicked forsake his way…let him return to the Lord, and the Lord will have mercy on him…for He will abundantly pardon that person who turns to Him. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Now the way Isaiah 55:8 is typically applied—which is OK, I mean the Lord does not mind, but it is a wrong application— is that people apply this to God’s wisdom. You know God leads us one way and we thought He was going to lead us the other way, and we say, “Well, you know God’s thoughts are not our thoughts,” meaning, we quote this verse to describe God’s mysterious leadings.
He does not mind we quote this verse in that way. It is OK, you can keep doing that, but if you read it carefully—let’s look at it again, Isaiah 55:7. He is talking to the wicked who are repenting, who need mercy. When God says, “My ways are higher than your ways,” He is talking about the extremity He will go to, to show mercy. He says in effect, “My thoughts about showing mercy are entirely higher than any thought you would think if you thought the highest thoughts about My mercy.” God says in effect, “My thoughts are higher than yours. My ways are higher than yours.”
Maybe we would forgive the nicest guy in the world a thousand times. God will forgive ten thousand times. He says in effect, “My ways are higher than yours. You do not understand them.” This passage is actually about mercy and how unusual it is. It is not about how unusual His wisdom is, although again you can use the verse that way if you want—about wisdom—but do not let go of what it is really talking about.
GOD’S MERCIES ARE NEW EVERY MORNING
Lamentations 3:22–23 is talking about the mercy of the Lord. Let’s look at Lamentations 3:22–23 (paraphrased). God says, “My mercies are new every morning.” This is a remarkable statement.
No matter what you did yesterday, no matter what you did today, tomorrow when you wake up, tomorrow morning—or if you are on the night watch, tomorrow afternoon—when you wake up tomorrow, the Lord says, “My mercy is new. I will give you a new beginning, a clean slate every single day if you ask Me for it. I do not mean if you just say, “Give me mercy, but if you repent of the area of compromise in your life.”
Now the Lord does require us to say no to our sin. This is not mercy unrelated to our response. This is mercy in response to our cry for it, and the cry for mercy is not just, “Hey, take care of the problem, God, give me mercy.” It is, “Lord forgive me for my sin, because I am taking a stand against it.”
GREAT IS GOD’S FAITHFULNESS
This is remarkable that every single day He says, “I will give you a new beginning every single day. I am faithful to do this.” Now notice in Lamentations 3:23 it says, “Great is Your faithfulness,” because a thousand days later we say, “It’s me again Lord. It is me again.” You know it is a thousand days later. He says in effect, “My faithfulness is not beginning to wear out.” Well, now it is ten thousand days later, or even thirty years later. The Lord says, “My faithfulness is great. I will give you a new beginning every single day.” This is the glory of God who Moses is witnessing.
Do not forget the context. Moses said, “I want to see Your glory,” and God said, “I am going to teach you My name and My name is My glory. Here is what I am going to teach you: I am the Lord, the Lord God. I am merciful.” So He is teaching Moses about the glory of God in His own personality.
THE LORD IS GRACIOUS
The next thing the Lord tells Moses when He shows him His glory, is that He is gracious. Now His graciousness means how generous He is when He evaluates us, our labors, or our obedience.
You know when we serve the Lord or obey the Lord, our obedience is very weak and it is very flawed. It is not perfect at all. So we work hard and we seek to obey the Lord, we seek to love Him, but our love is weak and flawed. Our love is fragile. Our faithfulness is fragile. We offer it to the Lord and we say, “Oh no, what is He going to say?”
The Lord told Moses, “It is My glory to be gracious when I evaluate My people.” So we offer Him our fragile obedience and our fragile labors. He smiles and He pays us so well compared to what we offer Him. I mean, we give Him a minimum wage offering and He gives us a million dollars an hour. I say, “How is this possible? How could I receive the eternal city and the glory of God for this offering?”
The Lord says, “I am gracious.”
I say, “Lord, You are really gracious.”
It is as if He says, “Oh, more than you know.”
We offer Him minimum wage service, we really do, and He gives us wages of a million dollars an hour and He says in effect, “Count it even, because I love you.”
This is real. It sounds kind of neat, but it is not a story, it is real. He is rocking Moses’ world when Moses says, “I want to see the glory realm.” and He effectually says, “Tell the people how generous I am, how gracious I am when I evaluate people. If you catch this you have touched My glory.”
GOD KNOWS OUR WEAKNESS
Psalm 103:10 (paraphrased). David says, “He has not dealt with us and He has not punished us according to our iniquities.” Of course iniquities is the same idea as sin. In other words, God has not punished us or He has not dealt with us, He has not responded to us in the way we deserve.
In Psalm 103:14 (paraphrased), a couple verses later, David went on to say, “The reason God does not punish us according to our sins is that He knows our frame. He remembers we are but dust.” So God looks down and it is as if He says, “Hey, I understand your weakness.”
Now we are sometimes so exasperated by our weakness and sometimes by our pride, we are shocked by it. I remember many years ago, when I was about 18 years old, I did something and it was so shocking to me that I sinned. I actually said this phrase, I said, “God, can You believe it?” I mean, it did not even hit me until about a year later, when I was telling somebody and I said, “Oh, that was ridiculous.” It took me a year to even connect the dots how arrogant that was. I said, “Can You believe I did this?” The Lord could have smiled, I mean, I know He smiled and He could have said something like, “There is a whole lot more where that came from.”
GOD IS NOT SHOCKED
God is not shocked when we are shocked. We are shocked and say, “I cannot believe it.” God is not shocked. He says in effect, “I get it. I remember your frame. I know your frame well, I know your human make-up, your human constitution. I know how your emotions work. I get it. I remember you are dust.”
There are no such things as super saints. We can be sincere, I mean red-hot sincerity, but there are no super saints. We are sincere and then there is the power of God that helps us in areas of our life. But whenever there is a breakthrough, whether it is wisdom, whether the breakthrough is the power of God in our ministry, or the power of God in our character, it is the power of God with weak and broken responses of sincerity in it.
Psalm 16:11. This is David again, “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” Now the reason there is so much joy in His presence is because God has such a happy heart. He is so gracious, because He is so happy. God is happy. That is why He is so gracious. If He were grouchy, He would not be gracious and He would not say that there is new mercy every day. He would say, “I told you to quit doing that. How many times do I have to tell you?” Now that is the voice we hear because of earthly authority figures, but that is not the voice of the Spirit speaking to us.
GOD IS LONGSUFFERING
God is longsuffering. Now to be longsuffering means He bears long with us. He does not write us off. We write ourselves off. We come before God and say, “If I was You God I would be done with me.”
I remember when my sons Luke and Paul, were five, six, seven, eight years old. Whenever they would step across the line and get into trouble I would talk to them and I would say, “Now I have to give you a swat.” We would always talk about it. I would always ask them why I had to do it. Then I would ask them how many I should give them. Then I would ask them, “What will you do if your children do this many years from now?”
I asked them those three questions every time. We had a dialogue. This is the craziest thing you could imagine. We are all like this. I would look at my son and say, “OK, Paul how many?”
He would say, “Five.” This spirit of justice would come on him.
I would say, “Five?”
He would say, “Yes, that is what I would give when I am older.”
I would say, “No Paul, we are talking about you right now getting a swat with a board. “Five!”
I said, “No, I am not going to do that. I am going to give you one.” It was bizarre. Luke did the same. I mean, they always had this extreme “teach me a lesson,” because they were already picturing what they would do with their kids years from then. They were forgetting that they were in the balance at that moment. I really mean this. Almost every single time I had to lower the penalty. But this is how the human heart works.
Now at a certain age they said, “I would let this one go.” They got a little bit older and they started saying, “I would just let this one go. I just think kindness is how this works.” There was an age when they switched over. It is actually true.
GOD SUFFERS LONG WITH OUR FAILURES
When we come to God there is something in the human heart that wants Him to forgive us and give us a completely new beginning, but we imagine that it is ridiculous if He lets us off. We have this strange way of thinking on the inside.
Well, God told Moses in essence, “Go tell the people that I am longsuffering.” I mean, He was telling this to Moses for Moses’ sake, but it was meant to be recorded in the Word of God concerning experiencing the glory of God. “Tell them I will suffer long with their failure.” To suffer long is what He is talking about. Longsuffering means suffering long, obviously. The opposite of longsuffering is to write off somebody quickly. He says in effect, “Tell them I will not write them off. I will actually suffer long with their responses. It will take them a while to get this and I will bear with them.”
God does not lose enthusiasm for us when we fail. He does not lose enthusiasm for our relationship with Him.
He gave four statements about His glory. Well, He said, “I am the Lord, the Lord God”—that is power and wisdom. Then He gives four statements that reveal His emotions. Four different statements and here is the fourth one.
GOD IS ABOUNDING IN GOODNESS
God is abounding in goodness. Now God says in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Now God has thoughts. He has abounding thoughts to give you a future. We do not respond well to Him in the way we wish we would, but He is still abounding with good thoughts to give us a good future.
In Psalm 84:11 the Scripture says that here is no good thing God will withhold from the person who walks uprightly. Now that is not just in this age, it is also in the age to come, but it is in this age as well. Most of us think of this as being in this age, and that is what we should be thinking, but there is another dimension to this passage as well, which goes beyond the grave, but let’s focus on this age, because that is what we are struggling with right now.
I want to assure you that the Lord abounds with good plans for you. It is as if He says, “I will not keep any of it back. If there is a relationship I have ordained for you I will not hold it back.” If there is a ministry assignment, if there is a financial breakthrough, if there is a situation in life that is in God’s heart for you, He says, “I will not withhold it from you if you will walk with Me.”
The Devil comes and tells us the opposite. It is as if he says, “God is going to keep it from you. God just wants to break you by keeping goodness from you.”
It is as if God says, “No, it is opposite. If it is good for your life according to My understanding of your life— because God’s ways are different than ours—God says, “I will not hold it back from you. You can count on it, so you can trust Me and have a free heart.”
The reason that some people resist God’s mercy is because it is so free that nobody can deserve it and that troubles them. I mean it troubles them that it is so free.
GOD FREELY FORGIVES US
Now you have heard this phrase in Romans 3 where it says that He justified us freely. Justification means just as though you never sinned. That is the idea. That is what it boils down to. When we are justified we stand before Him as though God has nothing against us. The reason—this passage has a lot of big words in it—the reason that God completely frees us is because Jesus paid the price for this.
Now God does not just overlook sin, He pays for it. If He pays for it—which He did—then you can be sure the benefit of mercy will come your way. A lot of people just cannot deal with this forgiveness because it is outrageously free. I mean, it is abundant, it is every day, it is 10,000 days in a row. I say, “Lord, I cannot deal with this again. You have forgiven me a thousand days in a row on this thing.”
The stumbling block is the fact that it is totally free. That just kind of messes with our mind, as I was saying earlier about my sons who said that they deserved more punishment than what I gave them. There is something in our spirit that is just repelled by this. I mean, we wish we could receive it fully, but something in our spirit is actually repelled by the fact that it is outrageously free.
WE CAN EXPERIENCE THE GLORY OF GOD
Now in 2 Corinthians 3:11–18 Paul is actually going to go back to this passage where Moses saw the glory of God. Paul is going to bring it up a notch. He is saying in effect, “Not only did Moses experience the glory of God, but we can experience the glory of God as well.”
So in 2 Corinthians 3:11–18, Paul is actually referring back to Exodus 33 and 34—the passage we have been looking at. But look at what Paul says. He says, “For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.” Paul says, “For if what is passing away”—he is talking about the old covenant, the days of Moses—“if that was glorious, what remains is much more glorious”—which is the new covenant after Jesus (v.11).
So he says in effect, “What Moses had was good, it was the glory of God, but what we have in Christ is much more glorious than what Moses experienced.
2 Corinthians 3:17–18: “… and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
In this passage Paul is comparing the old covenant to the new covenant and he is saying in effect, “The old covenant, the one Moses experienced, was filled with glory. It was good, but it passed away. He goes on to say that the new covenant has far more glory than the old.
GREATER GLORY IN THE NEW COVENANT
Now the reason the old covenant had glory, was because it had forgiveness, but the old covenant had no ability to transform the heart to walk in righteousness. In the old covenant you could be forgiven, but in the old covenant you could not experience power in the inner man.
We have all heard that the new covenant is far more glorious than the old. Let’s just imagine we are having a panel discussion and some of the main leaders from the old covenant are up on the stage and the moderator says, “Why is the new covenant better than the old covenant?”
So the guy in the new covenant—one of us—raises his hand and says, “Well, in the new covenant there is the power of signs and wonders.”
Elijah raises his hand and says, “Well, we had signs and wonders a lot more than what you are experiencing in the new covenant.” So, OK, that is not the right answer.
Another guy says, “Well, in the new covenant we have anointed praise and worship.”
King David says, “Let me take this one.” He says, “Boy, we had some real experiences in the glory of God in the old days.” So that is not the reason the old covenant is better.
My guy says, “Oh, in the new covenant there is forgiveness.”
David says, “Let me take this one again.” He says, “I committed adultery and murdered a man and God forgave me.”
The guy says, “Well, how about in the New Testament. There is the passage where the glory of God hits the meeting.”
Moses says, “I will take this one.” He says, “The glory came on a whole mountain, the mountain shook and all the children of Israel trembled in fear.”
“Well, in the New Testament we have the Bible.”
Jeremiah says, “Isaiah, let me take that one.” He says, “Man, we had the Bible in our days as well.”
TRANSFORMED ON THE INSIDE
You could go on and on, but at the end of the day the reason the new covenant is far more glorious than the old, is because in the new covenant our spirit is touched by the Spirit of God and we are transformed on the inside. That is the essential difference between the old and new covenant. We can experience the glory of the Lord the way God described it to Moses, by the Holy Spirit. Moses experienced the glory himself, but it was not transferable to other people, to the masses. I mean, after Moses experienced God, his face lit up in the glory of God, but it was not the sort of thing the masses could experience. They could hear about God’s emotions, but it did not touch their hearts by the Holy Spirit like it can in the new covenant.
In 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul said that we all, with an unveiled face, can experience the glory of God now, in the new covenant. Moses had an unveiled face, meaning, he stood in the glory of God with nothing over his face. He beheld the glory. But Paul said all of us can experience the glory God in the new covenant.
So let’s look at this. Let’s break it down a little bit. To behold the glory—that is the challenge, that is the exhortation—to behold the glory. It means initially to look at the glory. To behold it means to look at it, to encounter it. The glory of God is God’s emotions, it is God’s power, and it is God’s wisdom, just like Moses experienced.
THE WAY WE ENCOUNTER THE GLORY
The way we encounter the glory mostly in this age is not just being in a meeting where the presence falls on us—in a meeting. We want that, trust me. I value that and we want that. The glory of God coming on a people in a meeting is wonderful and I want to see that 1,000 times, but at the end of the day the highest glory is when God’s mercy, His graciousness, His longsuffering, and His abounding goodness touch our inner man and transforms us.
Now in a meeting where the glory, where the presence, is being manifested we will touch God more quickly and more deeply for sure, but we do not have to wait for that meeting to touch the glory of God. With an open Bible and the Holy Spirit living in us, we need to take time to behold the glory by studying it. I do not mean just studying it with our mind—of course our mind is involved—but I mean, we open the Bible, we open our heart, and we talk to God about His emotions. He is gracious, He is longsuffering, He is abounding in goodness, and He is filled with mercy. That is what we are talking about.
Now this is what I call the beholding and the becoming principle. What that means in just one sentence is that whatever we behold, whatever we behold about God—behold means to study or to look at or to think on, to meditate. It involves all of those and more but that is the general idea. I mean we do not really behold it only because we study it. We behold it, because we study it with an open heart. We turn what we study into dialogue with the Lord, and the Holy Spirit touches our heart a little bit. That is how we encounter the glory of God. As we study it, we open our heart and we dialogue with the Lord about it. It touches us just a little bit, but beloved that is a little bit of the glory. It really touches us.
Whatever we behold in God, whatever we behold about God’s heart is what happens inside our heart. When we behold that God loves us, we become a lover of God. Whatever we behold about Him towards us is what we become in our heart towards Him. When God wants us to love Him more, He shows Himself to us as the one who loves us.
WE LOVE GOD BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US
The well-known passage in 1 John 4:19 says that we love God. Why? Because He first loved us. We all know the verse, but when God wants you and I to grow in love, He shows Himself as the one who loves us. That is how He gets you and I to grow in love: He shows us His love for us. The way we will become dedicated to God is by understanding that He is dedicated to us. So you can put in this verse that we are dedicated to God, because He was first dedicated to us. It is not enough that He is dedicated to us, but the idea is that we understand that He is dedicated to us. He is dedicated to everyone, but only a small percent of the earth—maybe a billion but that is still the minority—only a small percent actually understand it.
So if you want your dedication increase, study God’s dedication towards you. You want to pursue God more? Study that He pursues you. You want to enjoy God more? Study from the Bible how much God enjoys you. For we will enjoy God, because He first enjoyed us. You can put many words to replace the word love there. Whatever you see in God’s heart towards you is what becomes the response of your heart back to Him.
People would ask me, “How do you get passion for Jesus?” I told them, “The answer is actually quite simple. It starts with studying Jesus’ passion for you.” He said, “What is the fruit of this?” I said, “Well, you end up with passion for Jesus.”
God’s passion for us. The end result is that it produces or awakens passion in us back to Him. We change our mind about what we think about God. We begin to see that He is gracious. We begin to see that He is merciful, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness. We change our mind and then the Spirit changes our emotions.
SEEING THE GLORY OF GOD
Beloved, the way for your emotions to change is for you to see the glory of God. I am talking conceptually, so that you will perceive in your brain that He is kind to you. This is the beginning of the glory realm: so that in your mind you would say that He is gracious and He is merciful.
I do not mean that you are content to just underline it in your Bible and tell another person, but that these truths become a part of your conversation with the Lord at the heart level, because you do not really behold His glory by just studying His mercy. This happens only when His mercy becomes a part of your conversation with Him.
I talk to Him about those truths, about His heart. Then the Spirit touches my heart just a little bit with His mercy and that builds up over time. Over time it really does transform our inner man. The problem with a lot of folks is that when they get to a verse about God’s mercy, or God’s loving kindness, they underline it and they will even tell a friend about it, but it never becomes a part of the conversation in their private life with God. It is not a subject they go deep in. It is a subject for which they put up their thumb and say, “I agree, yes, cool He loves me.” Then they move on to the next subject.
Beloved, these four subjects of God’s emotions: His mercy, His graciousness, His longsuffering, and His abounding goodness, they are the subjects of the glory of God: if you behold them they will radically transform your inner man. Not in a week or a month, not even necessarily in a year, though certainly in a year there will be changes, and you will be able to notice them, but over a lifetime they will radically transform your inner man.
That does not mean you will be free of everything, but it means that the whole atmosphere of your inner life will be different. The problem is that a lot of people do not see these four subjects as significant dimensions of the glory realm. As a matter of fact, they esteem them and they kind of ascribe to them, but they are not important in their personal private life with God.
PRAYING THE BIBLE
Mike Bickle once said, “I want to challenge you—it is something I did—to go through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and mark every single Bible verse on the emotions of God, and then go back to those Bible verses and begin to pray them back to God.” I said, “It will radically change your life.
Allen was twenty-one and he was just visiting ihop. He said, “I am going to do it,” and he took the next year and underlined every verse of the Bible that said anything about God’s emotions, and he started praying them. Then, a few years later, and he said, “That set me on a life changing course.”
This is what I am challenging you about right now. I am not just talking about acknowledging these truths. I am talking about these truths becoming a dynamic part of how you and God talk to each other throughout the day. I mean it is not just saying, “You love me, that is cool. Let’s get on to the big stuff.”
Beloved, there is nothing bigger in the glory of God than these four subjects. It does not get bigger than this, because when the power comes, it is to bring people into this. Why do you want power to bring people into this if you do not get into it?
“Well, I am waiting for the power.”
The Lord says in effect, “No, you can get into it now without a stadium anointing on you.” This is how we behold the glory in the new covenant.
Now there are those days and those moments of the dramatic, spectacular, and supernatural breakthrough in power, but we want the power dimension because we want this part of our life to be enhanced and strengthened.
LIBERTY IN THE INNER MAN
Paul said that wherever the Spirit of God is there is liberty. Now this liberty is talking about liberty in the inner man. Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. Some apply this—and I think it is a good application— they apply it to worship services. I have heard this verse used over the years. People say that you know there is liberty in the worship service if the Spirit is moving. I think that is true, but that is not mostly what He is talking about. He is not talking about if the worship goes an hour or two hours, or if you have a prayer time in the middle of the worship or not. Liberty in this verse means mostly liberty in the inner man. What Paul is saying is that wherever the inner man of a person encounters the Spirit there will be a liberation of his emotions. He will be liberated from condemnation. He will be liberated from shame. He will be liberated from fear, from addiction, etc.
Now we do not just wait for that one meeting where the manifest power is in the meeting, so that we get liberated. You can have small experiences of liberty day by day, and month by month by opening your Bible and talking to God heart to heart from the Bible, and a little bit of the liberty will touch your spirit.
This is the difference we have in the new covenant, which we did not have in the old covenant. The Spirit did not touch the inner man of the guys in the old covenant when they opened their Bible day by day and talked to God. This is the glory of the new covenant. We can talk to God about His emotions and it actually transforms our emotions little by little, day by day if we have the vision to actually do this.
THE FOUNDATIONAL CORE OF THE NEW COVENANT
Now the essence of the liberty we have in the new covenant is defined here in Hebrews 10:16. It touches the mind and it touches the heart. The liberty of the new covenant empowers the emotions and gives us living understanding. It is to give us understanding in the mind. That is what it is called. So it empowers our emotions and it enlightens our understanding, or our mind. This is the essence—not the fullness—but this is the foundational core of the new covenant. The mind, the emotions are empowered. The mind is enlightened so that the boring Bible becomes exciting.
That does not mean you become a Bible scholar, but it means there is a spark of the Spirit that touches your inner man when you open the Bible. I do not mean every time, but this is the inheritance of every believer in the new covenant.
The only way this spark will occur and those emotions will get changed—this spark in the mind and this stirring of the emotions—is if we go after the glory and not just after greater power in the big meetings—although we also want that. Again, I love that, but we do not want to have such a vision for power in the big meetings that we forget about the little one-on-one times with God, where we can behold God’s graciousness. It can bring enlightenment to our mind and it can empower our heart and this is what Hebrews 10:16 says is the glory of the new covenant: it is the mind enlightened and the emotions empowered.
Now it does not happen a whole lot in one moment. It is incremental. It is little by little, step by step.
BEHOLDING AS IN A MIRROR
Paul is talking about beholding as in a mirror. This is critical. You behold the glory as in a mirror. Now today the mirror is the opposite of what the mirror was like in the ancient world. Today when you look in the mirror you get a perfect reflection. What you see is what you get. The mirror does not lie, but in the ancient world the mirror was polished metal. When you looked in a mirror it was so dim, you had to kind of wonder and say, “Huh, I think I will be OK today, I think.” You could barely see, because the reflection was very dim.
In 1 Corinthians 13:12 (paraphrased), Paul actually talks about it. He says, “For now”—in this age—“we see in a mirror, dimly, but in the age to come face to face,” because in the ancient world a mirror was a dim reflection.
Why is this important? When I open my Bible and I read, I do this thing Allen Hood testifies about. I look at God’s emotions. I underline them. Then I take these emotions—God’s graciousness, His mercy, His tenderness, His joy, His happiness, His passion, His affection, whatever emotions—and I turn these Bible verses into prayer, meaning, I say, “OK Lord, tell me about this, help me understand this. I thank You that You are gracious.” I actually thank Him. I say, “Thank You that Your heart is happy. I thank You for this. I do not really feel it that much but I thank You. Would You give me more insight into Your happy heart?” I ask Him for revelation.
So I thank Him for it, and then I ask Him for revelation. Now I do not feel much, because I am beholding the glory as in a dim mirror but, beloved, the dim beholding is the only kind of beholding God ever asks of you.
A DIM BEHOLDING
I remember when this hit me some years ago, when it connected with my mind that the only kind of beholding God ever asked me to do was dim beholding. In other words, my prayer times are unanointed. I do not feel very much. It is like a dim beholding, and the Lord would say, “All I ever ask of you, is for you to behold Me dimly. It will change you. It is sufficient to change you over time.”
I remember when I connected with this. I said, “You mean my unanointed prayer times, this dim beholding, is working? You are kidding.” It connected with me. I remember, I went and told my friends.
I said, “This is unbelievable. Unanointed prayer still works.” They said, “What is wrong?”
I said, “Unanointed prayer, you know, ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music.’” I was so happy. I said, “Unanointed prayer works. My boring Bible study matters.”
They said, “He has kind of lost it. What is he talking about?”
I said, “Look, the dim beholding is all He ever asked me to do.” Liberty will touch my emotions if I just simply stay with it. It takes time but the break throughs are so worth it.
Now the next phrase: “…with unveiled face, ” (2 Cor. 3:18) without going through the details, means with boldness. It means without shame.
We have to come with confidence in boldness. When we come before the Lord and receive His grace and mercy we have got to throw the apology away. We have got to throw the intimidation away, the inferiority, the sin consciousness. We come before the Lord, we have been cleansed, and we say, “This kind of hurts my pride to receive something so free, and to receive such an outrageous amount of Your kindness, but I take it. The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.
So we come with boldness. An unveiled face means confidence and no shame. If there is shame it needs to be repented of. If you have repented of the sin, and you have shame before God, the Lord may say, “You have not understood that I have really, really forgiven you. Let that thing go. Open your spirit and come.”
We are transformed from glory to glory. It is step by step. It is progressive. Now every now and then there might be a dynamic experience that changes us, a dynamic amount in one day, but it is mostly step by step— from glory to glory—that our heart is changed, that liberty touches our inner man.
A SUPERNATURAL WORK IN THE HEART
Paul said that this glory comes by the Spirit. Beloved, it is a supernatural work in the heart. Here is my point: the only way we can experience the emotions of God is if the Spirit touches us, meaning, we cannot have a bad relationship with the Holy Spirit. We have to stay on good terms with the Holy Spirit. When we sin and the Holy Spirit convicts us, there is no point in trying to fake out the Holy Spirit.
You can fake your friends out, saying, “God has given me liberty to do this.” It is as if the Holy Spirit says, “I do not remember that conversation.”
“No, I just have grace and liberty.”
The Holy Spirit may say, “I was not there when you heard that.”
We cannot quench the Spirit as a lifestyle. Now we can sin and blow it and repent, but when we agree with God, we are back on talking terms with the Holy Spirit.
You see, the Holy Spirit is so eager that we get into this liberty. If we cast Him off in an area of our life the Holy Spirit says, “I just really want to talk to you about that area.”
“Well, I am not talking about that area. I am not ready to change.”
The Holy Spirit says in effect, “We are not talking until we talk about what I want to you talk about.”
“No, I want to talk about my ministry, my money, all my situation.”
“The Holy Spirit may say, “No, we are going to talk about what I want to talk to you about, because I am God and you are the little guy.”
A lot of folks have an area or two where they have said no, but the Holy Spirit says in effect that the conversation is on pause until we go back to that area.
IT IS WITHIN REACH OF EVERYONE
So all this means nothing if you and the Holy Spirit are not on talking terms. He will give us mercy day after day, but He actually wants us to repent. If we repent of it the Holy Spirit may say, “Oh, I have many things to talk to you about, but I am God and it is on My terms. You are not interested in obeying in that subject, but You cannot ignore what I want to talk to you about.” It is critical that we bring our life into a growing friendship with the Holy Spirit.
Then finally Paul says, “We all, with an unveiled face, behold . . . the glory of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18, paraphrased). This is for everybody. This is not for, quote, “the super saints,” because there aren’t any. This is for every weak and broken person. Every one of us is prone to sin and shame, and we are prone to quit. We are prone to rejection. We are prone to complain. We are prone to have self-pity. We are prone to love sin. We are all prone to these things. This works for us. The liberty in the inner man is within the reach of every one of us, so this is what experiencing the glory of God is about.
We can all experience His glory today We might have a dynamic experience, and if we don’t we can have a really little experience, but beloved it is the glory of the Lord.