The Glory of God is His manifested presence. Man was created in the image of God and she was clothed in the Glory of God, from the top to the bottom. When the Bible describes the fall of man it talks in these terms, that she "fell short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23). It is this sense of loss, that something important is missing, that drives people to invent all kinds of ideologies and religions, to fill that emptiness. But there is really nothing that can satisfy a human being other than the Glory of God, because the Glory of God is the manifestation and revelation of Himself.
Therefore all human efforts to satisfy man are nothing but vanity, and this was exactly what Solomon found out. If someone really has ever tried to do it, he is that man. He had probably lived a better life than most people, if you looked on the outside. Still yet, he was not satisfied and we see this very clearly in Ecclesiastes. I would like to dare say, that Solomon actually was more unsatisfied than most others. The reason was this very fact: he had everything that money could buy. He was the richest man in the whole region and perhaps the richest man in all the world. He had everything, but he had nothing. The Glory of God was not present in his life, and he came to the point when he hated life.
Depression and anxiety — caused by lack of the Glory of God
Don't think that depression and anxiety are 20th and 21th century problems! No, they is far older than this. Often the reason is nothing other than this, that the Glory of God is missing — God is missing. Perhaps there has been a form of lip service, confessing God with your lips, going to church every Sunday, and as far as anybody could tell, living a good Christian life. But in the heart, the Glory of God is missing. In reality, you are not one ounce better than the drug dealer downtown or the mafia leader in the ghetto. Man without God is without hope and without reason, and this is what the Apostle Paul illustrates in Eph 2.
Man is created to live in fellowship with God, in the Glory of God, and it is obvious that if she is not doing this it hurts. She looses her destiny and lives in a different way than what she was created for, just like a screwdriver can be used to hammer in a nail. It can surely be done, but it is not used in a way for which it was created. Wouldn't it be best to move it to its proper place and use the screwdriver to drive in screws?
From the time of the fall and forward the Glory of God was not commonly spread among people. A few number of people, like Enoch and Noah, experienced it. Enoch experienced it so much that he lost all connection to this world. It came to the point where he "lifted" from the earth and was caught up to heaven. Is this not a glorious way to end your earthly days?
Then, something happened. Approximately two thousand years after the fall, God found a man that he could entrust the secrets of his heart. He found a man, that showed himself to be faithful and stubborn enough to prevail. He was even ready to sacrifice his most valuable treasure to please the Lord: his only son, Isaac. The name of that man was Abraham.
The Tabernacle and the Temple — the Dwelling Place of the Glory of God
The descendants of Abraham became a people called Israel. Through this people, God chose to make himself known to mankind again. This was necessary, for the revelation of God had been partially lost since creation. How did God make himself known? Through the tabernacle and later on the temple, which were both initiated in the Sinai Covenant in Exodus. You can read this yourself, from chapter 26 and onwards. It is a beautiful text about how God finally, after approximately 2500 years, creates a place where His glory can dwell. It is not yet in man, but it is at least a step in the right direction. Now, the people of God had a place where they could go and sense the presence of God in a way that no man had done for a very long time. We cannot even fathom with our minds how wonderful this must have been for Moses, Aaron and the others.
The Glory of God, his shekina, was specifically what filled the tabernacle and the temple. Without the Glory of God they had no right to exist on their own. The disciples of Jesus thought the temple was a beautiful building and of course, this was true in a natural sense. But Jesus showed clearly that the temple only had a value when it filled its function. It had no purpose in itself but existed for one single reason: that God himself would dwell among his people!
This was exactly what happened when Jesus came to this earth and became a man. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [...] And the Word became flesh and dwelled among us" (Joh 1). The word "dwelled" here is a Greek word that literally means "to tabernacle", like when you dwell in a tabernacle. It is referencing to the tabernacle, in which the Glory of God dwelled. The Body of Jesus became the physical place where the Glory of God came to be manifested, for healing, forgiveness of sins and the restoration of people in the love of God, to the praise and Glory of God.
Today, Jesus is not here on this earth. He died on a cross for you and me, and was buried, but on the third day he arose from the dead. Forty days later he stepped up to heaven. But then what? Well, the wonderful fire of Pentecost fell, ten days after the resurrection. The Church was born with thunder and lightning, and speaking in other tongues. The Spirit of God worked a form of wonderful confusion that led a great multitude of people to believe on the Name of the Lord. And suddenly, God had created his new temple in this time: his Church! The will of God is that His glory should hover over and be manifested in the church, both in us as individual members and in the church as a greater part.
Hindrances for the manifestation of the Glory of God
Because this is the very purpose of the Church, it is so incredibly tragic when people in the Church choose to go a way that prevents the Glory of God to be manifested. This opens up for the Devil to roam, who hates the Glory of God and will do anything to prevent it from ever again be seen on this earth. This can happen in different ways, but one way that has become increasingly popular in our days is what Isaiah talked about in chapter 5, verse 20. You start calling evil good, and the good evil, and replace light with darkness. You call bible-believing Christians that don't want to accept homosexuality as something good "narrow-minded", "fanatics" and "old-fashioned". Perhaps you even go as far to describe Jesus as some kind of drunkard! I heard about this erroneous view of Him as late as today, from the mouth of a person who claims to be a Christian.
The Glory of God can only be manifested in a church that whole-heartedly follows the Lord, without compromising and flirting with the world and the spirit of the world. Then, and only then, is the church ready for the full manifestation of the presence of the Lord. Not as some kind of spiritual pleasure-seeking but as an active, powerful force that breaks down all our strongholds and yokes, and sets us free — free, not to run around and do whatever we feel like, but free to serve the Living God in the way that He has ordained. Then, we can partake of the Glory of God, not just for our own sake, but also for a world that desperately needs it, even though she might not seem so interested when she first gets in contact with it. But in the long run, no man can survive without the Glory of God. Have you experienced the Glory of God today in your life?