Magnifying God

Psalm 34:3 says, “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!” Yes, how worthy God is of our worship and praise. God is worthy to be magnified for His greatness and goodness. However, how we magnify God is very important. It is the difference between idolatry and true worship.

The Idolatry of Magnifying God with a Microscope – A microscope, with its powerful magnifying lens, can make the tiniest objects clearly visible to the human eye. A microscope takes something small, really small, and makes it big to the eyes. This is good for science but it is not good when it comes to the worship of God. In some worship services or Christian events I’ve been to, the praise leader or the pastor tries to stir up the crowd (congregation) to get them engaged. It’s evident that the crowd is bored or unresponsive yet after some prodding the crowd plays along and even claps and sings loudly. When this happens, I wonder if this is truly glorifying to God. Of course God deserves our loudest praise and exaltation. Yet if we focus on God in worship but we really don’t think much of him at other times, we are merely trying to make God look big when he is really small in our lives. This, my friends, is idolatry. God is not a small thing to put under the microscope to take a closer look for an hour or so, and then he goes back to being small again in our lives. A long, long time ago in my youth group days, we use to sing a silly song that was theologically terrible. It went like this: “If I had a white little box, I put Jesus in. Take him out, kiss, kiss, kiss, and put him back again.” The song continued with punching Satan in a black box. We sang this song because someone thought it was cute, however, what a terrible vision of Jesus who is put in a little box to take out to kiss when we feel like it. Thank God that there are not too many songs like this. However, I would guess that many people treat Jesus in this very way on Sunday morning. Take Jesus out for an hour and kiss him and put him back again. Is this magnifying God? There is another way to magnify God.

Magnifying God with a Telescope – A telescope, with its powerful magnifying lens, makes more visible objects that are tiny in our sight but are in fact huge. A telescope takes something huge, really huge, but is far away, and brings it “closer” to our sight through magnification. In our analogy with worship, magnifying God like a telescope would be to bring the great and awesome God closer to us so that we can marvel at his greatness and awesomeness. There are many times God seems as far away to us as the stars in the sky. Like the stars, God seems, at times, distant and even small to us. But when we are lead in worship to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to see that Lord is God, we are called to take a closer look at the God who is BIG. See him for who he really is – our Great God, worthy of our loudest praise and wholehearted/whole-life devotion. This is to magnify God with a telescope.

How is your vision of God? Do you see God in the Word? Do you see God in Christ Jesus our Lord? Is God small in your eyes? Take a look at his Word. Read passages like Isaiah 6:1-8 where the great and merciful God manifests himself to the people. Also, as I mentioned a silly praise song before, here a good one: “My God is so BIG, so STRONG and so MIGHTY, there’s nothing my God can not do…” Yes, God is BIG, STRONG, and MIGHTY… and HOLY and MERCIFUL and GOOD. SO GOOD. God is SO good.

As Psalm 34:3 says, “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!”

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3 Responses to Magnifying God

  1. David Park says:

    Great post on worship. Your metaphor is clever and apropos. It’s very easy to think that God is too far or too small if we are not careful. Perhaps the problem is our language, our words to express, and various cliches continue to put God in a box. For instance, many people go to church to “find” God, but God is not limited to a building. I think a key to understanding worship is that God is looking to be found everywhere and anywhere we go. The only problem being we are mostly too preoccupied with ourselves to look.

  2. Billy Park says:

    By the way, I first heard the metaphor used by John Piper. It is not original with me. I should have footnoted that somewhere.

  3. Sam Shin says:

    Billy, I don’t remember that song. But I know there are many other kids songs out there that are like that. Wow, those are some pretty bad lyrics. HOw many kids have grown up with that view of our great and gracious God? It makes me shudder to think.

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