My dear wife used to tell me that we are commanded to magnify only one thing in Scripture, and that is God. To “magnify” is to “make large”.
“But,” you might object, “How can anyone make God bigger than He is?”
Of course we can’t. But we can see Him as big as He is.
One amazing example of this is in the Old Testament. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, followed God’s commandments and was pleasing to Him. But in 2 Chronicles 20 we learn that the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Meunites were coming in hordes to attack him. In his fear he gathers the nation together to ask for help from the Lord.
He then magnifies God by seeing Him as Creator and ruler of all. He sees Him as He actually is.
He said, “O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You. (2 Chronicles 20:6 NASB)
Then he reminds himself of God’s mighty acts in the past.
Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? (2 Chronicles 20:7 NASB)
He then cries out to God for deliverance. Most importantly he acknowledges their helplessness and by his words shows us exactly where he is looking.
For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, But our eyes are on You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NASB)
In response to their heartfelt prayers God reassures them through the prophet Jahaziel.
He said, “Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s…. You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ (2 Chronicles 20:15, 17 NASB)
Jehoshaphat is an amazing example of a man who kept his eyes on God.
Threatened by hordes of invaders, he acknowledged his helplessness and told God that his eyes were firmly fixed on Him.
Not only that, but he sent praise singers out before the army and appealed to God’s covenant by thanking Him for His covenant love (hesed: translated as “lovingkindness” in the NASB).
When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” When they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed. (2 Chronicles 20:21-22 NASB)
Jehoshaphat is a magnificent example of a man who magnified God. As I said before, we cannot make God bigger than He is. But we can see Him as big as He is.
Where does it tell us to magnify God? Mainly in the Psalms.
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified.” (Psalms 70:4 NASB)
I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving. (Psalms 69:30 NASB)
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let those who love Your salvation say continually, “The Lord be magnified!” (Psalms 40:16 NASB)
Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication; And let them say continually, “The Lord be magnified, Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.” (Psalm 35:27 NASB)
O magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. (Psalms 34:3 NASB)
“When you focus on a problem instead of on Me,” the LORD seemed to be saying to me one day, “you magnify the problem instead of magnifying Me. You make it bigger than Me. In that way you dishonour Me.”
I was silenced. Then “Sorry, Lord.”
When it’s put like that, it seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? How could any problem possibly be bigger than God? Absurd!