Glory and Praise
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:20, ESV
Have you ever seen something so awesome you don’t know what else to do but to use the most amazing words to describe it? Like seeing the Grand Canyon or a shooting star or an early morning sunrise or evening sunset. You say things like “That’s amazing,” “That’s beautiful,” or “That’s awesome”! Why? Because you say what you see. If you see something awesome, you will likely call it awesome.
Here in today’s verse, the shepherds saw something glorious and praiseworthy! So they respond with giving glory and praise to God. In this context, to glorify and praise means to give verbal honor for the mighty acts of God. These shepherds have had seen the very presence and power of God shine around them when the angel first appeared to them announcing the birth of Christ! (vs.9) This glory of the Lord that shone around the angel hadn’t been seen in over 500 years since God’s glory left the temple (Ezk. 10:4, 18-19, 11:22-23).
To see God’s visible glory was an absolute privilege! This glory that the shepherds saw was the same glory that Abraham had witnessed in the land of Ur (Ac. 7:2). It was the same glory that appeared in the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34-35). It was the same glory that appeared in the temple (I Kg. 8:11). Now that glory was back! It was in Bethlehem, shining bright, shining down on some shepherds. For the first time in half a millennium, God’s glory was visually present and powerful (vs. 9). They witnessed something extraordinary! Heavenly hosts appeared giving praise to God, saying “Glory to God in the highest!”(vs.14) Some scholars estimate that there were no less than 12,000 angelic creatures singing. Imagine you are in a sports arena with 12,000 fans cheering. That’s the sound these shepherds suddenly heard come from the dark sky above.
The shepherds witness this dramatic presentation of God’s glory. They have seen the very Glory of God, just as Abraham saw it, that which was once in the tabernacle and that which was in the temple. Now it is in the field where they watch their sheep. Something glorious happened in an ordinary place with ordinary people. Wow! The only response to seeing glory is to give glory. The only response to seeing something so praiseworthy is to give praise. So that’s what they did. They returned glorifying and praising God!
Questions for reflection and discussion
1. Why do you think God wants us to give Him glory and praise?
2. How does giving God glory and praise feel?
Lord, I want to see more of Your glory in my life, my family, and my church, my community! Have Your way with me. I want to give You the glory You are worthy of. Reshape my desires to give You glory and praise more. In Jesus’ name, amen.