This article first appeared in the May/June 2015 print edition of Daughters of Promise.
Magnify: to make great, extol, celebrate in praise. (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
When the Romans in the first century were trying to figure out magnification through glass, they probably had no idea how popular that concept would eventually become. But they should have figured it would become popular because we, as humans, are born with the desire to magnify something.
I remember when my brother received a child’s microscope as a gift. I would borrow it and see how well it would magnify bits and pieces of food, plants, and insects. Even though I loved that microscope, there was something that I wanted even more---a telescope! I hoped that one Christmas I would unwrap a sleek, black, long tube and be able to watch Heaven’s multi-colored clouds, twinkling stars, and gorgeous galaxies through it.
I never did get that telescope, and sadly, the older I became, the more satisfied I was with only the microscope. And as I grew even older, I started to swap out Petri dishes full of microorganisms to make room to slide my grown-up issues under the lens. I started dwelling on my worries, jealousies, mistreatments, and relationship problems. They were the only things I could see, and honestly, they looked scarily big! I became so busy magnifying my problems and stresses that I forgot to pull out my spiritual telescope and LOOK UP.
People in today’s world are trying to hold down three jobs, fulfill ten thousand commitments, piece together broken relationships, and juggle financial difficulties; so it is only natural that all the earthly stuff becomes magnified and ends up as the focus of life.
Just as when one looks through a telescope into the majestic canvas of space and it makes microscopic bacteria seem pretty small in the realm of the universe, so it is when we start magnifying God instead of what is around us. God wants us to take our eyes off of ourselves and turn them towards Him. It’s not that He doesn’t care about us and the little details in our lives; it’s just that He knows how much we are missing out on when we have eyes downcast on the dry dust of earth.
Why Should We Magnify the Lord?
1. IT IS WHY WE WERE CREATED. Simple as that! God’s ultimate goal for us wasn’t marriage, a Ph.D., or a cushy Swiss bank account; it was for us to focus on His greatness and celebrate that. God had you planned from the very beginning of time. He knew that your great--great--grandpa Elmer, would fall in love and marry your great-great--grandma Susan. He knew that they would have a child John, who would grow up and marry Elizabeth, who would then have a child, Jacob, who would grow up and marry Katie, who would later have a child whom you would come to eventually know as your father. Any premature death or different marriage union would have rewritten the gene lines and you would have never been. You were chosen and designed to magnify your Creator! But He isn’t a tyrannical dictator who forces our worship; He lovingly gave us the choice to magnify Him. Even when we chose to separate ourselves from Him, He sent His Son to free us from our slavery to Satan so we might have a second chance. He does not have to have our acclamation and praise. He already has a Universe praising Him as the stars literally sing above, birds chirp, oceans crash, rain splashes, snow whispers, lions roar, and the wind whistles; but He waits and listens for us to magnify Him. He loves us unconditionally and longs for our adoration!
2. HE DESERVES OUR PRAISE. A God who can twirl pulsars at 716 spins a second, throw lightning bolts which are fifty-four thousand degrees Fahrenheit, create a human heart which can pump approximately 800 million pints of blood in a lifetime, and keep the earth rotating around the sun at around sixty-seven thousand miles an hour is definitely Someone pretty amazing! I enjoy keeping updated about Prince William and Princess Kate, and I was delighted to recently discover that some of my ancestry lived in Swiss castles. That is because royalty stirs us to reverence, admiration, and praise. If we celebrate a young prince’s birth just because he is heir to the throne, how much more should we magnify the King of the Universe?
But if you’re like me, sometimes it seems as if magnifying the Lord is the last thing on our yard-length To-Do list. There are jobs, families, spouses, and church responsibilities which should take priority, or so we think. There are decisions to make and headaches to get rid of. But when my excuses start piling up, they are quickly knocked down by examples of those in the Bible who truly magnified God. We often see in life that those with the hardest circumstances were the ones who magnified God the most, and it pleased Him very much.
David was a boy who could never compare to his older brothers, was a king’s servant, and spent most of his life escaping near death experiences and enduring the ridicule of others ----- but was remembered as a man after God’s own heart who gave us the most poetic parts of the Bible because he put magnifying God as first priority in his life.
“O MAGNIFY THE LORD WITH ME, AND LET US EXALT HIS NAME TOGETHER.” - PSALM 34:3 (KJV)
Mary-- a girl far from home, bearing a marred reputation, and giving birth in a smelly, dirty stable ---- but remembered throughout all the rest of history as the woman chosen to be the Messiah’s mother because she had kept her gaze upward. “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.” - LUKE 1:46-55 (KJV)
Ways to Magnify the Lord
1. Adoration (defined as deep love and respect) is the first and foremost way to magnify God. God knows when our love is focused on ourselves or on Him. We can try to disguise our microscope as a telescope, but we cannot fool Him.
2. Worship and praise is expressing our adoration. It can be done through prayer, song, and letting those around us know how great our God really is. We talk about that which excites us. Notice as you pass by groups of Christian people what their topics of discussion are. Usually it is the latest win in football or the coolest idea on Pinterest. Very seldom do you find someone with eyes bright and smile huge as they brag on their pretty amazing God. It is perhaps because we don’t grasp how mighty and wonderful God is. If you get a chance sometime, watch Louie Giglio’s “Indescribable”, “How Great is Our God”, or “Symphony”.
Singing is also a way of expressing worship, and one that I especially enjoy. What a perfect way to magnify! Miriam burst into song after the crossing of the Red Sea; David sang praises constantly; the Israelites had appointed singers to praise God in the tabernacle or when they moved the Ark of the Covenant; and there is singing done around the Throne in Revelation.
3. Another way to magnify is through Thanksgiving. Don’t you feel wonderful when someone expresses gratitude for a meal you slaved over cooking or a gift for which you searched hard and long? We are made in God’s image, so He feels no differently. “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.” - Psalm 69:30 (KJV)
4. We also magnify God by how we treat others. God loves every human, no matter how old or young, rich or poor, dirty or clean, and it makes His heart happy when we reach out and love those around us...whether it’s the annoying member in church, the drunk in the neighborhood, or the lonely orphan in Afghanistan. Check out Mathew 25:35-40!
Creative Ways to Use Our Telescopes
1. Go to a planetarium and view just a snippet of the mightiness of God through His handiwork. You won’t be able to help but magnify Him!
2. Buy a cute journal, decorate it with lace, ribbon, burlap, or whatever you like, and keep a “Thanksgiving Journal”. Write at least 1-2 things in it a day.
3. Pick a day to magnify publicly. Write something about our amazing God on your blog or social media sites.
4. Compose a song of praise and worship. Come up with a simple tune and words which express your magnification. If you don’t know how to write music, record yourself singing the tune and words and find a friend who can finish composing it for you.
5. Do something great for someone else this week (send an anonymous gift card, drop by their work with a frappe or chai latte, start an orphan sponsorship through Christian Aid Ministries, or come up with your own creative ways of doing something for the “least of these”).
May you put away your microscopes and enjoy the view through the telescope!