"I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other..."
It is one of the first lessons parents work to teach their children. It is one of the hardest disciplines for any of us to put into practice. Share. Little ones are implored to share their toys. Adults are encouraged to share their wealth. Many times, both groups struggle equally as much to do so.
Sharing is a biblical command. Hebrews 13:16 says, "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have." Sharing is also a mark of a changed heart. Ephesians 4:28 states, "Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need." It is good to share.
Yet, there is one example in Scripture of something God Himself refuses to share: His glory. That which belongs only to Him He will not share. Isaiah 42:9 declares, "I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other..."
There are several principles we can pull from this declaration.
1. If God will not share His glory, it must be for our good
We know that God gives us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Therefore, we can also conclude that whatever He may not share with us, is also for our good. Simply put, we were not made to be able to handle glory. God's refusal to share His glory with us aids us in our life because we were not made to receive it.
2. God alone is worthy of glory
He will not share His glory with us because He alone is worthy. It is the Lord who created all things, rules over all, and will reign forever and ever. We do well to give God alone the glory that is rightfully His.
3. His refusal to share His glory is what allows us to be saved
We are sinners and in desperate need of forgiveness. Man's problem, ever since the Garden of Eden, has been wanting to enthrone himself as subservient to no one. In fact, this same sin pre-dates Adam and Eve as Lucifer himself was cast from heaven for wanting to have the glory only due to God. So, it is our rebellion and pride that causes us to express our disobedience to the Lord. As long as we continue living that way, we will never find salvation. Yet, God graciously sent His only Son to be our atonement. It is through the Spirit of God that our eyes can be made open to see that God alone is worthy of glory and we, who are deserving of judgment, have been offered grace. This is the very realization the Spirit of God uses to bring us to a place of repentance.
It is for our good to never seek the glory that only belongs to our God. We are to praise Him, worship Him, obey Him, and live for Him because He is worthy of such commitment. When we walk in step with His will and design, we experience His blessing. So, it is absolutely for our good that God would not share His glory with anyone or anything.
A. W. Tozer said it beautifully when he penned, "God is looking for men in whose hands His glory is safe." Is God's glory safe with you? If He did a miracle on your behalf, would His glory be safe in your hands? If He used you to accomplish great things, would His glory be safe in your testimony? If He gave you good gifts, would His glory remain the priority of your life?
We know that sometimes we do not have because we do not ask. I wonder if sometimes we ask but do not receive because God knows that the glory of His work would not be safe with us. Perhaps we would be quick to want the attention to be on ourselves. Maybe we would be tempted to fall in love with the gift rather than to give glory to the Giver.
God will share His gifts with HIs children. He will share His Son with the world to be a sacrifice for sin. He will share His heavenly dwelling with the redeemed. Yet, one thing He absolutely will not share with us is His glory. And that is for our good!
"God is looking for men in whose hands His glory is safe." I have to ask myself today if my heart and life is a safe place in which God can display His power and glory. I am praying the answer is Yes! I pray it is for you as well.