“And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”—Isaiah 6:4-5 (ESV)
When one of God’s archangels in charge of administration started to question the authority of God, he thought of executing a mutiny.
Lucifer loathed the thought that every created thing on earth, above it and underneath it glorified God. He wanted that glory for himself. But his rebellion fell through.
Since then, Lucifer, the Devil has recruited men starting with Adam so that they will worship him instead of worshipping God in heaven. He promises them things as well as a false independence which, if bought into, keeps all men enslaved to this fallen angel.
When he came to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, he promised him all the riches and glory of the world he does not own in exchange for Jesus’s worship of him: “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8)
The Devil promises men that they will be great: that the other men will glorify them if they first glorify Lucifer himself. He lures men with lots of money, expensive cars, and problem-free life.
God, on the other hand, changes the people who are drawn to glorify him. His glory is so bright that it exposes the darkness in the hearts of men. It is what my hero Festo Kivengere called “God’s radiant character.” When sinners encounter God, they tremble and repent of their sin, which he washes away (Is. 6:6-7).
Unlike the men who promise to change other men after they have glorified them, God changes people so that they will glorify and enjoy him in their new life. God does not deal in baits; he does not to trap mice.
The other thing is that men who demand glory from other men need it so badly to feel like they matter. Their life and identity depend on how many people will lick their feet and how many media houses will carry the pictures.
God, on the other hand, does not need a man to glorify him in order be God. Even if men do not glorify him, he remains God. This is what theologians called the ‘asiety of God’—He is self-existent and independent from the creatures he created.
We can, therefore, come to one conclusion: man was never created to be glorified. His quest for glory is a consequence of the corruption in him and into which he was born. When men seek to take for themselves the glory which only belongs to God, it points to the perversion in our worship. God alone deserves the Glory.
The answer to our idolatry is found in the Gospel. Jesus, by his life, death, and resurrection alone, can transform our worship. He alone is able to convince us of the futility in bowing down to things and people smaller than Jesus.
The glory we give to men can only be redirected to God by God himself in Jesus. He already did at Calvary.