THE GLORY OF GOD
Grace is the pleasure of God to magnify the worth of God by giving sinners the right and power to delight in God without obscuring the glory of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 NRSV
FIRST MENTION: “GLORY”
The glory of God is exemplified in different books of the Bible. Biblical hermanuetics is the study of different methods by which a person can interpret the Bible. One of the principles of hermaneutics is the Law of First Mention. This principle is a guideline for people to understand a particular word or doctrine. Scholars of the Bible must find the first place in Scripture that word or doctrine is revealed and study the passage. In order to fully understand an important concept, Bible students and readers are advised to start where it was first introduced. Study the context of the first mention of the word, and from there, the meaning and use of the concept will be the same throughout the Bible. For the word “glory” comes from the Hebrew word hak-kā-ḇō-wḏ. Literally, the word means “properly” or “weight,” but figuratively, it means, “good sense,” “splendor,” “glorious,” and “honor.”
Why is it that the word hakkāḇōwḏ was interpreted as the English word “wealth” in Genesis 31:1? If the word was first mentioned in this verse, as the word “wealth,” following the Law of First Mention, the hakkāḇōwḏ of God must always refer to the “wealth” of God.
The Bible is Consistent
In an inflection of the word wəhakkāḇōwḏ, the Hebrew word is translated as riches and honor in 1 Ch. 29:12, where the verse said, “Both riches and honor come of thee.” In another inflection of the word, hakkəḇūdāh was used in Judg. 18:21, “They put their little children and their livestock in front of them.” The word hakkəḇūdāh referred to “livestock.” In the New American Standard Bible, it was “and the livestock and the valuables in front.” There is consistency in the Bible as to how the glory of God also refers to wealth, livestock, riches, and honor.
The Concept of Glory
Let’s study the context of the verse where the word “glory” was first mentioned. In Genesis 31, Abraham’s grandson Jacob took all of his people and possessions to return to Canaan.i His flight from Mesopotamia mirrors Abraham’s departure from Ur, when he answered God’s call to go (Gen. 12:1-9).
Jacob’s large family fled from Laban. The driving point of the story of Jacob’s escape here was that God did it all. It was through God’s multiple interventions and protection that Jacob was able to leave. All glory goes to God and comes from God. Paul stressed this in his letter to the Romans, “All things come from him. All things are directed by him. All things are for his praise. May God be given the glory forever! Amen” (Rom. 11:36).
Everything is from God
In Jacob’s exodus from Mesopotamia, God put everything in place. Jacob has now a “people” and his possessions make him remarkably rich. At this point, he is far from the deceiver he was. The person who left his hometown did everything by his own strength and schemes. However, by this time, Jacob knows that his people and possessions are from God. God sees his heart, and he is ready to go back.
In Genesis 31:1-55, Jacob’s relationship with Laban broke down. Laban’s wealth decreased, while Jacob’s wealth increased. Despite the trickery of his father-in-law, Jacob still came out with riches. It shows us that it is not the circumstances that determine our wealth, but it is the glory of God in our lives. Jacob has come full circle. He went out of his hometown empty, and he came back full. He was fulfilled with family and wealth. Even the duplicity of his father-in-law did not stop the ultimate blessing of Jacob to come upon him under protection and favor of the Lord.
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