May the Glory Fall

For weeks now a powerful phrase has kept going through my spirit over and over again. The phrase is this: No honor, no glory. I’ve been searching through the Word of God to more fully understand what Holy Spirit is trying to teach me, because I know that “it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2). If we want to see and experience the glory of God, then we’ll need to build a foundation and determine why it is that if there is no honor then there is no glory.In 2 Chronicles 5:11–14, the glory of God falls as the priests worship in the temple:When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves,   without regard to divisions), and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the Lord saying, “He indeed is good for His loving kindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. 

We see here that on occasion the glory of God was manifested on the earth, but throughout history it has, for the most part, been veiled. Even when Jesus came to the earth, He carried the glory but it was veiled in human flesh. However, there were—and are—times when God’s glory, the shekinah glory, is revealed in a visible and tangible way. The word shekinah comes from the Hebrew word shekinot, and it is used in the Bible when God would “settle in” or “dwell with” His people. This is the glory that was seen when God’s presence filled the temple like a cloud. We also see this glory at the transfiguration on the Mount where Jesus shone brighter than the noonday sun as He spoke with Moses and Elijah. God’s glory falls when there is unity, when there is worship that glorifies or honors God, and when all things are lined up with the Kingdom of God. 

 What Is Honor?

Since we are each a temple of the Holy Spirit, it is so crucial to worship and honor the Lord with our lives and thus fill the earth with His glory. But what ishonor? As a noun, honor means “esteem, value, or great respect.” In the Bible, to honor someone is to value him or her highly. We are told to express honor and esteem to certain people, such as our parents, the aged, as well as those who are in authority (Ephesians 6:2; Leviticus 19:32; Romans 13:1). But, at the same time, we must understand that all authority and honor belong to God alone (1 Chronicles 29:11; 1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 5:13). Even though God can delegate His authority to others, it still only belongs to Him (Ephesians 4:11–12). This means that when we honor someone, because God has commanded us to do so and because we want to, we’re really honoring God.

Honor in the New Testament is the Greek word time (tee-mee), the literal definition being “a valuing,” or something that is attributed as valuable, precious, and weighty, much like gold or precious stones. Even though honor can be displayed as actions, words, or thoughts, all true honor originates from the heart. In Isaiah 29:13 the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.” It looks like honor, sounds like honor, but it’s not true honor—at least not how God defines it. Honor is simply the overflow of the reverential fear of God springing forth in our hearts.

The Bible talks about a noteworthy group of people who are deserving of “double honor,” which are the leadership of the church. 1 Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” Not only do we attribute double honor to church leaders, but we see that the Word gives us the command to honor one another in our marketplace relationships too (1 Timothy 3:17; 6:1; Ephesians 6:5–9), and of course in the marriage relationship between husbands and wives (Hebrews 13:4; Ephesians 5:23–33). Of all the commands to honor one another, the one repeated most often pertains to honoring one’s father and mother (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4). This command was so important to God that if anyone cursed or struck one of his or her parents, then they were to be put to death (Exodus 21:7).

To Honor Is to Love

The word love is sometimes used synonymously for honor. Paul commands us to “be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). Honoring others above ourselves goes against our basic human instinct. It is only by walking humbly by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can esteem and honor fellow people more highly than ourselves (Romans 12:3; Philippians 2:3).

The book of Proverbs illustrates how our behavior results in honor. Proverbs 21:21 says, “He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” Let’s remember that honor as taught in the Scriptures is far different from the type of honor sought after by the world today. Honor and awards are frequently given to those with wealth, clout, worldly power, and celebrity status. Those who thrive on worldly honor are actually in a precarious place, because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

We never want to be like the Pharisees who sought after honor from others because Jesus totally rejected that type of behavior. He said, “Everything they do is done for men to see” (Matthew 23:5), and he not only labeled them as hypocrites but “snakes” and “vipers” too (Matthew 23:29–33).

The bottom line is that all of heaven raises its voice in honor and praise to God, and we are instructed to do likewise: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11).

What Happens When We Honor?

In 2 John8 we learn that our full reward from the Lord is consequential. It says, “Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.” I don’t know about you, but I want a full reward, not just a partial one.

Mark tells us of some folks who made bad choices and who did not receive their full reward:
Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own ousehold.” And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief (Mark 6:1–6). 

This is the very Son of God! He could do no miracles in His hometown because of the people’s unbelief, which ultimately resulted because of their lack of honoring Him. Do you see the power of dishonor at work here? Isaiah had prophesied that the government would rest upon the shoulders of this Prophet, and that His Kingdom would have no end. The people of the day assumed that the Messiah was to deliver everyone from Roman oppression, and when Jesus didn’t line up with the image they had in their minds, they became offended with Him and familiarity moved in. Jesus became just a carpenter to many: “Hey, isn’t that the carpenter? Didn’t he build the picnic table out back?”

The people did not receive Christ’s full reward because they did not honor Him. And because of that, He left and went on to another place. It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt, which could also be stated as familiarity leads to dishonor. The better we know someone, the more likely we are to find fault with him or her. If we know an individual well enough, it is easy to stop respecting them, which is exactly what happened in Jesus’s hometown. Because of familiarity, they did not respect Him as a prophet, and therefore He couldn’t do any miracles there.

We need to be careful not to engage in familiarity in any arena of our life. We can’t become too familiar with those who teach the Word of God (“He no longer impresses me”), with the message of the Word of God itself (“I’ve heard that so many times before; I already know that”), or that we just no longer appreciate the significance of the Word of God (“I’m just not getting fed anymore”). If we do this we may cut ourselves off from a powerful message, we may cut ourselves off from miracles (Jesus only healed a few), and, worst of all, Jesus might leave. Because of contempt and dishonor, we can lose access to receiving the full blessings of Christ.

Whom Do We Honor?

Let’s look one more time at how we are to honor? Jesus told His discples, “I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Luke 13:35, NIV). And again He said, “He who receives (honors) whomever I send receives (honors) Me; and he who receives (honors) Me receives (honors) Him (the Father) who sent Me” (John 13:20, NKJV).

When we expound on these scriptures and replace the word “receives” with “honors,” the message becomes clear. First and foremost, we are to honor God. And we are also to honor “those whom He sends.” Everyone and everything else that we honor will flow from us asvessels of honor. Paul wrote to Timothy: “If anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).

Visualize yourself and others as the finest and most exquisite vessels of china in the entire world. Would you fill those vessels with trash? Of course not. And neither would the Lord. In order to be filled with the glory of God, we must learn to express honor from the depths of our hearts. We desperately need the glory as it eclipses everything—there’s no cancer in the glory, no slander, no poverty and no sin.  But we must remember that if there is no honor, then there will be no glory. 

No Honor No Glory

​Paulette Reed