16 Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let such as love Your salvation say continually,
“The LORD be magnified!”
17 But I am poor and needy;
Yet the LORD thinks upon me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.
I’ve had a song stuck in my head the past few days that has spoken to me over and over again. It’s a song called “Much of You” by Steven Curtis Chapman, and the chorus goes like this:
“I want to make much of You, Jesus,
I want to make much of Your love.
I want to live today to give You the praise
That You alone are so worthy of.
I want to make much of Your mercy,
I want to make much of Your cross.
I give You my life,
Take it and let it be used
To make much of You.”
Mr. Chapman would have us remember that God truly is glorious, that His salvation is all we would ever need, and, most of all, that our lives ought to be lived to give glory and praise to God. Now, as nice as that sentiment is, I always like to put it in a Biblical context, to line it up with Scripture. It’s not that I don’t trust Mr. Chapman to sing songs that hold fast to Christian doctrine, but more that we must always start from the source of our doctrine, which is, of course, the Bible. As we can see from today’s verses from the Psalmist, Mr. Chapman’s song is right on the mark.
It seems like I am always coming back to this idea that we must humble ourselves before God. Apart from hearing it in contemporary Christian music, I suppose I mention it so often because it is mentioned so often in the Bible. Over and over, from Genesis all the way to Revelation, we are reminded to glorify God and to remember that we are His creation, small and insignificant and yet beloved by Him. Here in these last two verses from Psalms 40, David once again tells us that we are to magnify–“make much of”–the Lord our God.
This psalm is very much about trusting in the Lord through tough times, about maintaining our faith through trials and persecution. David is glorifying God for having been redeemed from his enemies, for having been lifted up “out of the miry clay” to find himself standing on the solid ground of God’s salvation. (Psalms 40:2) Through all that he has faced, David has never ceased to sing of the glory of the Lord.
9 I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness
In the great assembly;
Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,
O LORD, You Yourself know.
10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth
From the great assembly.
David reminds the faithful to glorify the Lord, but look at how he qualifies those who are faithful: “those who seek You” and those “such as love Your salvation.” (v.16) You see, if we truly love the Lord, we will seek Him continuously and “rejoice and be glad” in Him. And if we, like David, understand that we have been saved and we love the fact that we have been saved, then we will have no choice but to say “The LORD be magnified!”
But what does it mean to love salvation? It means that we don’t just take salvation for granted, that we understand the gracious gift that salvation is. Loving salvation means that we rejoice in it and we seek the Lord who has brought it to us. Loving Him who alone is mighty to save us, we therefore also glorify Him who alone is worthy to be praised. In knowing we have been saved from our own sin, we also understand that we are indeed “poor and needy,” and we are in awe of the fact that the Lord thinks upon us, that He has regarded us with love and grace. God alone is our help and our deliverer, and so we necessarily seek Him and love Him.
But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
To make much of Jesus and His sanctifying work on our behalf, we must make much of Him and make less of ourselves. As John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease. ” (John 3:30) In acknowledging our own insignificance, we naturally acknowledge God’s greatness and grace. Jesus is our Lord and our Savior, and it is in His cross and His saving work that we boast. Knowing as we do that no one comes to the Father but through the Son (John 14:6)–through the One who humbled Himself in obedience even to death on the cross (Philippians 2:8)–how humble then ought we to be? What lives of obedience to and dependence upon God ought we to live? Who shall be magnified?
Do we love the Lord? Then let us rejoice in Him. Let us find our satisfaction and our joy in His Presence. Do we love His salvation? Then let us say continually, “The LORD be magnified!” Let us sing in the assembly of God’s great works, of His worthiness and holiness, of His mercy and His grace, His faithfulness and, yes, His salvation. Let us remember that we are ALL poor and needy, that without Him we would not have salvation through Jesus Christ. The Lord is our help and our deliverer, and therefore it is only natural for us to make less of ourselves and make much of Him.
Holy Father, with Mary I join in singing “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior!” I will magnify You all my days, for Your redeeming love is the theme of my life and my joy. I am poor and needy, and there is still much of which I need to repent, but You, God, are faithful and true. You bring redemption and life where all I have known was darkness and death. I trust in You, my Lord, and I know You will not delay, for even while we were still sinners, Your Son died for us. Therefore, I will sing praises for You wherever I go, and I will seek to glorify You in this life You have given me. Humble me, O Lord my God, and so be magnified through my life. Amen.