Magnify the Lord: look a little closer

O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. (Ps. 34:3)

What does it mean to magnify the Lord? We normally think about magnifying things that are small. Sometimes there is no other way to see the details. We put small things under a magnifying glass to see them better. We put tiny things on slides and view them under a microscope and can see their cellular structure. The most powerful electron microscopes are even used to look at things at the atomic level. That’s really small.

But God isn’t small. Why do we need to magnify Him? How is it even possible to make Him bigger than He is? We already know that He is bigger than we can even fathom. But the reality is that if you try to see all of God, you won’t be able to comprehend Him. You can’t step back far enough to get a perspective on the whole of God. It’s impossible to focus on all of God. To really see Him, you have to change your perspective. You need to look a little bit closer.

That’s what it means to magnify the Lord. It’s about getting up close and personal with one of the many aspects of who He is. It’s about looking at the reflection of light from a single one of His facets.

What Can You See?

Think for a moment about satellite pictures of the earth. As beautiful and awe-inspiring as those images are, you can’t look at those pictures and think you’ve really seen all you can of the earth. You can see the whole earth, but you can’t see the details that make it so magnificent. To do that, you have to increase the magnification so you can look a little closer. You zoom in to see more detail. A continent. A coastline. Go for more detail – focus on a particular city. A street. A house. Even a single person, tree, or flower if you are using the right camera.

But you aren’t done there. That person has details that can’t be seen with the naked eye. There are tissues, cells, atoms, and molecules. Each aspect, each detail, celebrates the glory of God. But you can’t see it unless you look a little closer.

How Much Do You Know?

Another way of thinking about magnification is the ability to not just see God, but to understand Him. If you’re reading this, you know the English language. But how much do you know, really? What if someone gave you a copy of Webster’s Unabridged dictionary? It’s highly unlikely that you know more than a relatively small percentage of all the words contained in that massive tome. You know the language in general, but you don’t know all of its details.

Chances are I know some words that you don’t because of choices I’ve made and things that I’ve been involved in. I have some specialized training in music, for instance, that has exposed me to words that not everyone knows. There are also words you will know that I don’t for the same reasons. When I need to know a word that I haven’t come across before, I will look it up in the dictionary (usually online these days, but the principle is the same). The dictionary helps me focus on the specific meaning of a specific word. It magnifies a specific piece of the language that I know, revealing something new to me.

And with every degree of magnification, my perspective changes. With language, it helps me communicate more effectively. If I’m looking through a telescope or a microscope, it helps me understand the world a little better. Unfortunately, there’s no device that will help me get a closer look at God. So how do I do that?

I think there are three basic areas in which we can magnify the Lord in our own lives and for others.

In Thoughts

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Phil 4:8)

Our thoughts matter. There is an epidemic of depression in this country, and I believe that at least a portion of it is due to the epidemic of negativity with which we surround ourselves. On television we see hour upon hour of fake reality that can cause even the best of us to become snarky, judgmental know-it-alls. There are comedies that invite us to laugh at the failings of others. There are dramas telling us that serial murderers are lurking behind every door. And the news, such as it is, is less concerned with reporting the facts than supporting their factions. It’s no wonder we forget how to think on things that are honorable and pure and lovely – we see so little of it.

To magnify the Lord in our thoughts, we need to intentionally think about Him. Think on the good things He has done for you and others. Think about the many blessings you have received. Think about the prayers He has answered and the miracles He has performed. It may be difficult at first – we are so conditioned to think about failings and loss and lack. But as you practice – as you put God’s truth back into proper perspective and look a little closer at the good – it will come to you more easily.

In Words

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Pr. 18:21)

…The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev. 19:10 b)

Like thoughts, our words make a difference. If you speak words of life, you magnify the Lord with what you are saying. When you testify of what He has done, you release His power and magnify His goodness. When you declare the truth of who you are from His perspective, you empower yourself to be everything He has planned for you to be.

And if you don’t, you potentially miss out on blessings He has planned for you and the blessings He wants to release through you for others. It’s not because He is angry or punishing you; it is simply because you can’t see His truth when you aren’t focused on His goodness. You just need to take a closer look!

Choose to magnify the Lord with your declarations! Speak testimonies of what He has done for you and for others! Give voice to genuine gratitude! Sing His praises! As you do, you will find you understand facets of His goodness, His mercy, His love, and His grace that you can’t see in any other way.

In Actions

“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” (Matt. 10:7-8)

RISK. That’s a word that we use a lot at Summit Church, as in, “How do you spell faith? R-I-S-K!” More than just a cute buzz-phrase, it highlights one of our core values. Faith is just a word until you act on it. Faith isn’t a pie-in-the-sky belief that God is out there, somewhere, and maybe He’ll show up and do something good once in a while. Instead it’s the certainty that I am the conduit through which God is going to touch the world.

You are an emissary, an ambassador of the living God, creator of the universe. But more than that, you are the only means by which some people will ever experience His presence in their lives. Because of your unique position, it’s important for you to see from God’s perspective so you can do the work God wants to do in your sphere of influence.

That is absolutely true for every one of us who calls Jesus, Lord. Each of us has been called and commissioned with the same authority that Jesus gave the twelve. We are to change peoples perspectives by healing them, restoring them, performing miracles, and giving them hope. It’s not just about telling them that the Kingdom is near – we are to be a living, breathing demonstration of the Kingdom. We are to give ourselves, just as Jesus gave Himself for us. Not to draw attention to ourselves, but to magnify the Lord – to give people a little closer look at Him.

That’s what all this is about. We need to see God more clearly so we can help others see Him more clearly. We need to focus on and remember the details in order to reveal the big picture. So go ahead. Look a little closer at God. You might be surprised at what you find in yourself when you do.


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