God Glorified In All
By Curt Wildy
How is it that the God of all creation, even the Ruler of the heavens and the earth, is glorified in the destruction of the wicked? God is an omnipotent, almighty God; He spoke the universe into being. Nothing is too great for Him and yet He is glorified in the destruction of those whom He can merely think into non-existence. It is easier for God to destroy the mightiest of fallen men than it is for humans to kill the most fragile of insects. In light of his unlimited power, it is nothing for God to destroy a person, or a multitude of people. So how do we explain verses like the following? Why are we exhorted to praise Him for His victories over those who could not even begin to put up any real resistance against Him?
Exodus 14:17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
Exodus 15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2 The LORD [is] my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he [is] my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The LORD [is] a man of war: the LORD [is] his name. 4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
Psalm 136:1-2, 10-21 O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever. 2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy [endureth] for ever… 10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy [endureth] for ever: 11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy [endureth] for ever: 12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy [endureth] for ever. 13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy [endureth] for ever: 14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy [endureth] for ever: 15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy [endureth] for ever. 16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy [endureth] for ever. 17 To him which smote great kings: for his mercy [endureth] for ever: 18 And slew famous kings: for his mercy [endureth] for ever: 19 Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy [endureth] for ever: 20 And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy [endureth] for ever: 21 And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy [endureth] for ever:
The unbeliever would say “Sing to God, praise Him, give Him glory for such an easy matter for Him? Why? Why does God need to be praised for doing something that barely requires a thought from Him? Why does He need us, mere human beings, to glorify Him. Why does he even need to be glorified at all if He is God like you say He is.” O wicked and perverse heart to even think and say such things. God does not need our praise. He does not need to be glorified by us or by anything. He is not like the ancient Mesoamerican idols, nor the idols worshiped in so many other areas both past and present, that (in the thoughts of men) need praise and sacrifices to maintain their power. This isn’t at all about what God needs, instead it is about what we need, what we require for peace and comfort if we are His.
Glorified For Our Sake
We read in Psalm 50:14-15 “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: 15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” We are to thank God, praise Him, call upon Him, and glorify Him because He is our Great Deliver! It is unto our own spiritual benefit to do so. Doing so reminds us that we are not without hope, without protection, or without a Comforter; we are ever nourished and uplifted by our Lord. His omnipotent hand ever exists to shield His people and give them the ultimate victory over sin and corruption.
As an analogy, imagine an adult male taking on a fifteen year old bully. It would be nothing for him to do so (at least in most instances). But look at it from the point of view of the one being bullied. Imagine a five-year old being utterly terrified by this cruel teenager, one who is twice his size and weight if not more. Imagine the terror this five-year old would be in if he knew this teenager was bout to beat him up; he would be petrified. Now imagine the adult coming to his rescue and subduing the teen and keeping him from being able to hurt the child. Would the adult need glory and praise and honour from the young child? Probably not, and rightly so. But would the young child be filled to the brim with praise and thanksgiving towards the one who rescued him from imminent peril? Absolutely. Now what if that young child knew that this man would always be there to rescue him, even from a thousand such perils? Wouldn’t that child love his protector, speak much and highly of him? Maybe even sing a song about him? I think so. Now what if that child was prone to fear and forgetfulness when the danger arises? What if he became fearful of each and every new threat that came along? What if, in his weakness, he forgets that he has a protector that will always not only fight for him but wax victorious in every battle? Wouldn’t it make sense to exhort that child to remember his past deliverances, to be thankful for them, and to think and speak highly of him who not only delivered him in the past but will deliver him in the future? Wouldn’t it make sense that, in his praising and thanking his protector, the child himself is more and more comforted and at peace despite the seemingly ominous situation? Do you not think that the child will be much bolder, much more at ease, and much more joyous at the thought of this new opportunity to see his guardian in action if the child’s heart has been full of praise and glory for his protector?
Spiritually speaking, we are as that child; that is, we who have been eternally adopted into the family of God in Christ. Though our foes are no match for God they often are more than a match for us. Our temporal and spiritual enemies often overwhelm us, confuse us, leave us distraught and despondent, and yet God – GOD – always brings His people through difficult times as victors. Remember, He works all things for their eternal good; even the most painful and heart-breaking of experiences are turned into blessed victories. Therefore, we can affirm boldly and without hesitance that we seek to glorify God, as He enables, because He deserves to be glorified. Think about it, how can we not glorify our Lord for all of His great deliverances and blessings? How can we remain silent in considering all that He has seen us through? What stupidity, sheer stupidity, it would be for us not to be all the more thankful, awestruck, and filled with praise towards our God and Saviour. And yet, so very sadly, how often do God’s people, even His regenerate people, fail to praise and glorify Him as we ought? How often are we in despair, or without a felt sense of salvific joy? How often do we over-esteem and estimate the enemies we face and under-esteem and estimate the great GOD who is ever there to defeat them? Even when God ordains that we go through the toughest of times (loss of spiritual joy, peace, faithful obedience, a loved one, health, employment, etc.) doesn’t He make us victors in these things as He chastises us, conforms us all the more to the image of His Son, and brings us through them? Should we, even in the darkest most oppressive of times, thank Him and praise Him with hearts full of joy and wonder? We should but how very often we do not. Most of the time, we fret and murmur and despise plans as we lean unto our own failed understanding. So God has to exhort us to glorify Him; He has to work the will and act of spiritual praise and thanksgiving in us. He does this because it is one of the most powerful means that He has ordained for us, to comfort us, in such times of trouble. It is also a means of keeping us watchful against sin and watchful for His future great deliverances during our times of relative ease.
In light of this, why would anyone not want to glorify, honour, and praise this great God of ours who has done such great wonders for His elect? What kind of vile and wretched heart would question the motives of God and His people over such praise? It can only be hatred for God and envy regarding His absolute goodness and sovereignty that would cause anyone to find fault with another for giving praise and honour to such a lovely and deserving Lord.
Glorified for Love’s Sake
There is also the matter of godly or righteous vengeance. We read in Romans 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” God calls His people to forgive and well-treat their enemies. But God, God does not forgive or forget the evil works of the wicked. He stores up His wrath concerning them and will unleash it come Judgment Day ultimately, but often even in time, as an earthly example against unrighteousness. God loves His people with a perfect, almighty, eternal love and He lives to see those wicked acts committed against them punished. When God destroys the enemies of His people, He does it for them. He is glorified in that His great love for them comes shining through. He is their blessed Saviour and Deliver and He will not allow a single slight to go unpunished. This should likewise cause His people to glorify Him mightily, for they have a God who will let nothing slide, He will avenge all unrighteousness for them.
Glorified for Goodness (Which is God’s) Sake.
Finally, there is another reason why we are to glorify God in His victories over the wicked no matter how large or small a threat they may pose. This reason ought to be clear to everyone but hatred and pride stands in the way. God is Good! Understand what I mean by this: God alone is good. Nothing that is good and holy originates from any other source but Him. No virtue, no goodly act or deed, no kind thought or word can exist outside of His divine providence and implementation. As I have stated before, God is the absolute storehouse, creator, and provider of all that is good and right. There is none, and nothing, good but Him. Nothing can stand alone being good in itself. God is good and He makes whatever He wants to be good – good – in Him. No man, no angel, no other created being or object can ever be deemed good outside of God. In light of this, why would anyone abstain from praising and honouring God? Why would anyone abstain from seeking every opportunity possible to give thanks and glory to the divine source of all that is good? Why would anyone not want to rejoice and sing praises to God as He destroys anything that stands in opposition to His person and goodness (no matter how small an opposition it may seem to be). Why would any seek to deny God His just due? It is because of sin! It is sin in man, sin in the flesh of believers, sin in the devils that rebelled that causes anyone to not reverence and glorify God as we ought. To deny God the glory due him or to glorify anything other than Him is to side with sin and death; it is an alignment of oneself with all that is wicked and abominable. Thank the Lord that He exhorts us to praise, honour, and glorify Him. Thank God that He exhorts us to glorify nothing and no one but Him. Thank Him to the utmost for working in His people to both will to praise Him and to actually praise Him.
Remember, even the smallest opposition to the eternal and holy Lord, even the most “trifling” thing committed by a “maggot” or “flea” (which is what we are spiritually, by nature, as the fallen children of Adam) against the Lord and His people is an eternal, imminent, and massive affront to the office and Person of God. The slightest rebellion is as the destruction of a multitude of worlds. If you doubt this, if you think this is an exaggeration, then simply look to one man’s rebellion and all of the sin and destruction that he ushered into this universe by it. “All Adam did was eat a piece of fruit” they say, as if any rebellion (disobedience) against God of any kind could be deemed an insignificant or slight matter. Thank God that He not only fights against the largest of threats and foes but the seemingly smallest amongst them as well. Thank God that He not only hates and punishes the largest of sins but the “smallest” infractions of His holy law in addition. Thank God that He defines all rebellion as great and wicked and that He acts victoriously against all such occurrences. He does so for the sake of His elect, for the sake of magnifying His great love for them, and for the sake of exalting His perfect justice and righteousness. Oh what a great Refuge, Husband, and Avenger we have. Unto our Lord and Master is all praise due; may He have all of the glory and preeminence in our hearts, even over all things. Amen.