In the book of Psalm, David shows the appropriate starting point for worship. It involves thinking about, magnifying, and responding to the glory and splendor of God. He reminds us in Psalm 145:3 by saying "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable!" If we go along with the starting point of worship, to praise him, to magnify Him for his greatness... We are doing it right!
Many times, it is so easy for us to get caught up in a million other things in our lives. We may get distracted by our jobs, our family, our finances, etc. When this happens, what size does God appear to be when our mind is preoccupied with all the cares, worries, and concerns of life? Extremely small. But the good news is that God is not small. God is GREAT. J.I. Packer reminds us that our personal lives are limited in every direction, in space, in time, in knowledge, in power. But God is not limited. He is eternal, infinite, and almighty. Like us, he is personal, but unlike us, he is GREAT.
The first priority of our time together as believers and as worshippers is to magnify the Lord. Sometimes we may get caught up in catching up with friends, family, our personal lives, our personal preferences, etc. but… our FIRST priority should always be to magnify the Lord. God is bigger than our problems and joys, greater than our sorrows and successes, more significant than our tests and triumphs. It can be so easy to get distracted by things in our life and by our own preferences, but in all reality, God needs to become bigger in our eyes. The distractions and preferences need to fade away and we need to focus on glorifying and magnifying God’s greatness. God’s greatness never changes… our focus does.
One beautiful example that the book “Worship Matters” gives for this is our view of the stars. The book states, "It's like looking up at the stars. To the naked eye they appear like tiny pinpoints of light, barely visible against the black backdrop. Twinkling dots suspended in vast darkness. We can walk outside and barely notice them. But when we look through a high-powered telescope, we're awestruck by what they really are: massive spheres of raging fire, millions of times larger than the earth, brighter than our human eyes can bear. The stars haven't changed... Our vision has… He doesn't change... We do."
So the question is now... HOW do we magnify?
There are 3 categories in which we can magnify God's greatness: his Word, his nature, and his works.
1. God's Word is his self-revelation to us. We come to know God's greatness through His Word. Psalm 19:7-9 states that the Word of the Lord is "perfect", "sure," "right," "pure," and "true". As believers, we live in awe that God would speak to us - encouraged by His promises, challenged by his commands, fearful of his warnings, and grateful for his blessings. We desire to see God's greatness in His Word.
2. The Psalms also focus on God's nature, conveying the reasons he deserves our praise. We'll never reach the end of them! How beautiful is that?!? All of God's attributes, the way He loves, the nature of who He is exist together in perfect harmony, perfect balance, perfect cooperation, with no contradiction, no confusion, and no diminishing of their glory forever.
3. Magnifying God's greatness, as we learn from the Psalms, also includes drawing attention to His Works. One of the problems we as humans face is that we tend to be more impressed with what we do than with what God has done. God has revealed to us all the works He has done. He has revealed them to us for our comfort, correction, strengthening, protection, and joy. He has revealed them to us for our worship.
Magnifying God's greatness, then, involves proclamation and passionate worship. Through our worship of glorifying God and magnifying His greatness, we have every opportunity to magnify and encounter our GREAT and awesome God.
May we encounter our GREAT and Awesome God as we magnify His greatness this week!