This article is written by Andrew M. Davis and is sponsored by Baker Books. In his new book, The Glory Now Revealed, Andrew paints a dynamic, scripturally-based picture of heaven as a place where we continually discover new aspects of God’s glory displayed in his past works throughout the history of the world.
Who can fully appraise the treasures of God’s glory woven into even a single day of history? We all underestimate the value of those treasures! The Bible makes this amazing assertion about time: “With the Lord one day is as a thousand years” (2 Pet. 3:8). It is as though God sees every single second of history in extreme slow motion. The activity of any single day is utterly mindboggling: all over the world, human beings are speaking, acting, making choices, creating. And God is there, watching and recording everything.
But Scripture goes beyond a simple assertion of God’s presence and awareness. The doctrine of providence teaches that God is acting decisively through the greatest and smallest events to bring about his sovereign purposes. He controls the casting of a lot (Prov. 16:33) and the decisions of a king (21:1). He oversees the death of a sparrow (Matt. 10:29) and the birth of a mountain goat (Job 39:1). He chooses the time and circumstances of our birth as well as our death, numbering all the days in between (Ps. 139:16). He acts in ways that are incomprehensible to us, and his footsteps cannot be tracked (Rom. 11:33). The daily actions of God are immeasurable and worthy of praise: secretly restraining tyrants, directing the complex flow of international commerce, answering the prayers of a child, protecting persecuted house church leaders, convicting Christians of secret sin, orchestrating the initial meeting of a man and woman who will someday be married.
The sovereign salvation plan of God was crafted before the foundation of the world, bought at infinite cost by the blood of his Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit to individuals in every generation and in every corner of the world. Every day, that plan generates unique treasures . . . thousands of years of thousands of years.
But most details of that plan are hidden from human view, forgotten by succeeding generations, lost through the death of eyewitnesses, and buried under the rise and rubble of nations. God is temporarily deprived of the glory he deserves for both his mighty and minute deeds.
The vast majority of God’s glorious deeds in history have never been recorded in any book and never will be. They were performed in the obscure lives of people the world would consider unremarkable. These ranks of the redeemed received amazing grace poured on them, and their stories are well worth learning to the glory of God. Yet not only are those stories lost to posterity but the full dimensions of God’s activities in saving their souls were often veiled from them as well. They never fully realized how God orchestrated providential occurrences in space and time to bring them to faith in Christ and to help them grow in grace after that. But why should God be robbed of his glory by having those works hidden forever, lost in the dust of the past?
Increased heavenly understanding of earthly history will in turn increase our heavenly joy. This eternal education in history will be glorious! We will be so free from selfish concerns for our reputations that we will finally see God at the glorious center of it all—the Redeemer, Protector, Warrior, Ruler, Healer, Feeder, Author, Perfecter—in a word, the Savior worthy of all praise.