Radiant like a sunrise

Morning sunrise

Picture a glorious sunrise.
The sun’s light gradually falls on the scene around you.
The darkness slowly slides away.

Oscar Hammerstein ll and Sigmund Romberg captured the glory of a sunrise in their song “Softly as in a morning sunrise’ which they composed for the operetta ‘The New Moon’ in 1928. In fact, the song actually refers to the budding and blossoming of love. Yet, it nevertheless conveys the gradual radiance created by an early morning sunrise.

  • Can you recall an awesome sunrise that you once witnessed?

An amazing sunrise I experienced many years ago comes to mind. At the docks in Cape Town before dawn one morning I awaited the arrival of one of the Union-Castle liners. In those far-off days, Union-Castle liners travelled regularly once a week from Southhampton U.K. to South Africa.

As I sat on the dockside the sun began to rise across the sea horizon. As I turned to look back at the beautiful Table Mountain, I watched in wonder as the sun’s rays slowly illuminated the face of the mountain, little by little, moving from top to bottom. It was an awesome sight.

Habakkuk seems to have had this kind of picture in mind as he tries to describe the glory of God.

Habakkuk 3:4 NIrV

‘Your glory was like the sunrise. Rays of light flashed from your mighty hand. Your power was hidden there.’

Image by Iatya Prunkova from Pixabay

Brightness like a sunrise


The English Standard Version puts it this way:

“His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power.”

The suggestion is that most of His power remains veiled, or concealed.

Consequently, several commentators have likened this to God’s glorious appearance on Mount Sinai.

“…and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.”(Exodus 24:16,17 NIV).

Some compare it to the pillar of fire which guided the Israelites through the desert.

“By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”  (Exodus 13:21 NIV)

Rays of light

Light has a particular significance in scripture.

The CEV says in Hebrews 1:3 that

God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory.

Light is also associated with the preaching of the Gospel.

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16)

This comes in fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy, 

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.’ Isaiah 9:2)

Consequently, the Gospel has brought and continues to bring brightness and light to a dark world enmeshed in evil. Those early disciples who witnessed Christ’s glory could, with all authority, proclaim Jesus to be the light of the world.

Bathed in light

Since His return to heaven, Christ is bathed in light, crowned with glory and honour, and highly exalted at his Father’s right hand, above all principalities and powers.

“Jesus Christ, who has gone to heaven and is at the right side of God, ruling over all angels and heavenly authorities and powers.” (1 Peter 3:22 GNB)

God is not only seen as a Light, He is the Light. The Light of God is like a garment in which God is clothed.

“Now the message that we have heard from his Son and announce is this: God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him.” (1 John 1:5 GNB)

Many who have had an after-death experience, have testified that in the spirit they were drawn towards a bright light before returning to their earthly bodies.

Hidden Power

In the beginning, when God created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate.   The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water. Then God commanded, “Let there be light”—and light appeared. (Genesis 1:1-3 GNB)

The power of God is revealed in that light. The very name God in the New Testament translates the Hebrew word ‘El’ (singular) and ‘Elohim’ (plural), with a root meaning ‘to be strong.’ (Illustrated Bible Dictionary by M G Easton). When ‘El’ is used to indicate deity it is often linked with ‘almighty’. For example, the title El-Shaddai means God Almighty or all-sufficient. (The New Bible Dictionary)

So here we are talking about a powerful God.

Trinitarian power

Now, this is where it gets really interesting. In Genesis 1:1,3 we read,  “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth………And God said, ‘Let there be light,….'” The Hebrew word for God in both of these verses is ‘Elohim’ which is masculine plural. (Strongs Lexicon)

So from the very creation of the world, we see all three members of the Trinity involved. Again in Genesis 1:26a we read “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness...”  There can be no doubt of the involvement of our Trinitarian God (in other words, three-in-one God) from the very beginning.

Isn’t it simply amazing that the Almighty Creator of our planet and the universe in which it exists, is the same God who sent Christ, one of the Trinity, into our world to rescue us from the power of sin? And then to cap it all, the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Godhead, takes up residence in the lives of those committed to Christ as Saviour and Lord.

What a mighty God we serve!

Why not spend a few minutes now in communication with Elohim just thanking Him for His amazing love and provision for your every need.

If you would like to listen to the song Softly as in the morning sunrise here it is sung by the old crooner Bing Crosby.

PS. If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.

To Whom Do We Give the Glory?

Habakkuk 1:11 NIV

“Then they sweep past like the wind and go on– guilty people, whose own strength is their god.'”

When we give glory to super heroes

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

We live in a world dominated by hero worshippers. Where people give glory to super-sportsmen and women, popular movie stars, amazing entertainers, musical groups or bands, charismatic leaders, popular politicians and the like. 

Some of my favourite television programs are those in which amazing talent is displayed for example, the ‘X factor’, ‘America has talent’, and ‘Britain’s got talent’ shows. It is mind blowing the things that people have the ability to achieve.

  • What sort of television programmes do you enjoy?
  • Is there someone you hero worship? Maybe a film star? Or maybe a grandchild, or a brother who has done amazing things.
  • What attracts you to people?
  • Is there any person whom you give glory to in place of God?

Many countries claim to be Christian. Yet both those in power and the people themselves do not live lives that give glory to God. They depend instead upon their own ability and strength.

The God is Dead philosophy

Perhaps much of this type of thinking can be laid at the door of the “God is Dead” protagonists.

  • Have you encountered folk who do not believe there is a God?
  • How might one counter their arguement?

One only has to spend some time on social media to see there is a large segment of society who believe either that God is dead, or that there is no God.

A short while back two films were released on circuit which countered this philosophy, entitled ‘God is not dead’ and ‘God is not dead 2’. I’ve just realised there is a third in the series. I plan to look for it on Netflix! These films provided sound evidence for the fact that God is still alive and active in our world today. You can see the trailer for the first film here.

Though the Chaldeans were God’s instruments of judgment, their confidence and excessive self-glory would ultimately lead to their own downfall (see Habakkuk 2:2-20). For in God’s sight they stood guilty of idolatry and blasphemy.

Who did the Chaldeans give glory to?

The only reason why they were permitted to be so successful was by God’s grace and his judgement upon his sinful people. Yet the Chaldeans arrogantly claimed the credit for themselves and insisted that their false gods had given them the ability to conquer.

  • Is this not a danger we all face, of taking credit for some achievement when in fact it was accomplished through God’s grace? He gave us the ability in the first place.
  • Can you think of an occasion when something amazing happened through God’s intervention for which you received the praise and failed to give glory to God the glory?
O Lord, You have given me so much. Give me one more thing - a grateful heart. Share on X

Who do we give glory to?

  • Many Christians are guilty of pride. Is that perhaps a major obstacle in your own witness?
  • Do you pray regularly for the ability to give glory to God for your achievements?

As a pastor, I face this problem regularly when greeted by folk at the church door at the end of a service. Many will express their thanks for the message. Some will even comment that they were personally blessed. My general response usually is ‘Praise God.’ But there is a risk of self praise. Perhaps a better response would be “I am so glad the Lord has blessed you.”

Paul’s encouragement to the Thessalonian believers was, “Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.” (1Thessalonians 5:18 CEV)

  • Has the Lord blessed you in some amazing way recently? Who did you share it with?
  • Do you perhaps realise now that you forgot to give glory to Him? How about stopping to do so now?

“Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle” (James 1:17 MSG).

Please join with me in praying a prayer based on Hebrews 13:21 (GNB)


“May the God of peace provide me with every good thing I need in order to do His will, and may He, through Jesus Christ, do in me what pleases Him. And to Christ be the glory forever and ever! Amen.”

Take time at the close of each day this week to reflect on your day and give glory to God the glory for His involvement.

Share with us one item for which you give glory to God.

P.S. If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.