Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Flame of Glory

"Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires..." (Isaiah 24:15)

The first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, "What is the chief end of man?" with the response being: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." The idea of the preeminence of God and His rightful glory above all other considerations is borne out all through the Scriptures. "Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: and thy glory above all the earth" (Psl.108:5). And again, "And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me" (Psl.50:15).

There is more than one way to accomplish this. For instance, we can glorify Him with our praise, "Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me..." (Psl.50:23); with our bodies and our spirits, "...glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Gods." (1Cor.6:20); and even when we are dying, "This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God." (John 21:19).

The cited verse from Isaiah gives us yet one more way. We can glorify God, it says, "in the fires." Not the way one would naturally choose, to be sure; but as anyone who has witnessed it will agree, a most effective way. As Hugh Latimer, 16th Century martyr, whose one death was by literal flames, remarked, "One suffering for the truth turneth more than a thousand sermons."

Suffering should not be sought as a means to glorify God, since usurping the will of God could never be said to glorify Him. But if God chooses this path for you or me, as He has, and does, for so many others, we should recognize it for the unique opportunity it provides us to give Him the glory He so richly deserves. And we can rest assured, dear saint of God, that when those times come, the Fourth Man in the flames with the three Hebrew children (Dan.3:25) will be the Second Man in the fires with us.

Make your fiery trial a flame of glory!

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