2 Chronicles 7:1-2
1 As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house.
When Solomon finished praying at the temple’s dedication, God did something amazing. God sent fire down from heaven and totally consumed the burnt offerings and sacrifices.
Right now, stop and make sure that you are picturing this. If you’ve ever seen a ceremony for the opening or dedication of a new building, I guarantee you that this is different. Instead of having a few photographers from a local paper, a ribbon, an over-sized pair of scissors, and a smiling person who wants to be seen as important making a speech, all we have here is the king praying and then, bam! Fire falls from heaven. The sacrificial animals that were on the altar are totally consumed in an instant.
And if the fire from the sky is not enough, the glory of God fills the temple. This brilliant, bright, glorious cloud covers everything. This picture has been seen in Israel before at the dedication of the tabernacle in the wilderness. And this picture serves to tell the Israelites that God is present and that he is setting apart the temple as special, a sanctuary.
The priests, the men whose job it was to work inside the temple making sacrifices and caring for the items in the temple, were unable to enter the temple. God’s glory was there. They knew that to walk into such holiness would be deadly. So, until the cloud went away, the priests had to do what the crowd did; they had to stand back and simply marvel at the presence of the glory of God.
Looking at what happened right here, we have our first lesson for thanksgiving. If you really want to be thankful as God wants you to be thankful, you must first be captivated by a picture of the glory of God. God has designed us all with a hunger to see and to be inspired by things that are amazing, that are beautiful, that are bigger than we are. The greatest thing we can ever imagine is the glorious presence of God. So, if you want to be truly thankful, you need to first seek a glimpse of the glory of God.
So, what should you do. Let me suggest a couple of ideas. If you want to see the glory of God, the first and best place you can look is the word of God. Our Lord has revealed his glory to us in the Bible. The Bible is where we look to hear the account of fire consuming offerings on the altar and the glory of God filling the temple. The Bible is where we look to learn about the waters of the Red Sea sliding apart, about entire armies being put to flight before tiny groups of men, about giants falling before teenagers, about the dead being raised to life, about the son standing still in the sky, and about so much more. The word of God shows us the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and all of the glory of God dwelling in bodily form. So, if you want to glimpse God’s glory before giving thanks, start with the Scripture.
But you can look other places to glimpse God’s glory.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
God’s glory is seen in his creation.
We can also see God’s glory as we look back over our lives and remember the things that God has done for us in the past. Perhaps we can learn more about God’s glory as we talk to one another about the things that God has done in our lives.
And let me suggest that, if you want to see the glory of God, you pray that God show you his glory. God loves his children. He will answer your prayer to see him at his best. He will allow you to glimpse his majesty if you are genuinely wanting to know him more. He stands at the door of your heart and knocks as Revelation 3:20 says, and he is anxious to come in and fellowship with you. So, if you want to sense more of God’s glory, ask God to help you to see his glory. Before giving thanks, seek the glory of God.