I will exalt You.

“I Will Exalt You” – Brooke Fraser, Hillsong

I’ve been listening to this the past couple days over and over.

I looked up what some of the definitions for the verb “exalt” are, God began revealing to me how this relates to what we truly are doing when we say we will exalt Him.

Elevate by praise, glorify

When we glorify God, we choose to bestow all honor, praise, and admiration on Him alone. This means total humility and meekness of spirit before the Lord. When we glorify God, we represent Him as glorious. When I think of glorious, I think of a beautiful sunset, full of light bursting through the clouds and treetops, completely awe-inspiring and magnificent. God is so much more brilliant and bright and glorious than any sunset I’ve set eyes on or could imagine. If we are going to give glory to anything in existence, if we are going to glorify any name, let it be the One True God!

Raise in rank, power, or character

We raise God’s level of authority and power as Lord and King, as God. We lift up His character above all else because Who He is. Isaiah 55:9 says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” In this verse, Isaiah is exalting the Lord. Again, Paul exalts the Lord’s character in 2 Timothy 2:13 as he points out that “if we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” We are not like the Lord, we are fallen and human. But He is never changing. He says in Malachi 3:6, “I the LORD do not change.” Once we know Who He is, we can forever praise Him for Who we know Him to be.

Raise high: elevate

We lift Him up above all else in our lives: our priorities, needs, desires, hopes, wants, our situations and feelings and valuables… we elevate His position and authority and worth in our life as above all else as we exalt Him.

To enhance the activity of: intensify

To intensify means to “strengthen” and “sharpen.” It also means “to become more accurate.” When we are exalting the Lord, we could actually be sharpening and strengthening our view of God. We are fixing our eyes on the truth of Who we know Him to be. This makes sense, because when we glorify the Lord in worship, we focus on Who He is. When we are looking at the face of our Lord and speaking to Him that we recognize Who He is. And as we reflect on His nature, His character… we will exalt Him.

Sometimes when we come before the Lord, we sing songs of worship like this, but our lips are just repeating the lyrics. What hinders us from truly exalting the Lord?

Here are some heart-searching questions that have to mind for reflection:

Have I been boastful in anything other than my Lord, Jesus Christ?

“But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:24). In 2 Corinthians 10:17, Paul also says, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” and wrote again in Galatians 6:14, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

If we think we have anything we should boast of, we have allowed pride in our minds and exalted ourselves. Let us chose instead, like David, to say, “In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever. Selah” (Psalm 44:8).

Do I praise myself, or do I give all praise to God and acknowledge Him for every good thing?

Proverbs 27:2 wisely advises, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.” Two chapters before, in Proverbs 25:27, we also read, “It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to seek one’s own honor.” Are we seeking our own honor over giving honor to the Lord? Are we praising ourselves?  James wrote that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows” (1:17).  John said, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven” (3:27). So truly, every praiseworthy and good thing comes from God. He truly does deserve all praise and honor!

Last week God continued to direct me to verses on humility while I read the Bible, and I want to share those with you.

“But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:6, 10)

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

“He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.” (Luke 1:52)

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)

“A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.” (Proverbs 29:23)

“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low.” (Ezekiel 21:26)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)

Let us humble ourselves, remove our crowns, and lower ourselves as we lift up God, who is worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. Let us exalt  Him and not ourselves. Let our thoughts, words, and actions center around how we can exalt Him.

This even transcends into our relationships with others. Jesus set the ultimate example for us in His humility. Paul writes about it in Philippians 2:5-11.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very natureGod,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, He made Himself nothing
by taking the very natureof a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus shows us that humility is based in the love of the Father, obidience to His will, and having the nature of a servant. Humility comes from becoming nothing, so that God can be everything. Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 16:24, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” We must follow His example if we want to glorify and exalt God. We must empty ourselves and become more like Him.

And before we can even become more like Christ, we have to ask God to reveal our hearts and its true condition. Because we are not like Christ. You see, the times God has deeply humbled me, it’s been at the foot of the cross, where I have recognized that I fall so short of the glory of God. I need redemption and I am human and sinful. It’s when I come to grips with my own humanness and depravity as I realize how much of a discrepancy there is between God’s character and my own.  We are not God. There is none like Him. Even as a friend of mine, Laura, was sharing the other day about how God is teaching her to come to a place where she can say she is “the worst of all sinners” and to realize her depravity. I don’t think we like to focus on this.

I’d usually rather focus on how I am redeemed, forgiven, set free, purified before the Lord and living a victorious life in Him. A lot of praise easily and joyfully flows out of that! But I cannot forget that God is the one who did that. And I cannot forget that without Him, I would not be who I am! As Paul wrote, “I am what I am by the grace of God” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

All He has done, every good thing that we have, it all is from God.

I will exalt You.

Yours, LORD, is the greatness

and the power

and the glory

and the majesty

and the splendor,

for everything in heaven and earth is Yours.

Yours, LORD, is the kingdom;

you are exalted as head over all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11).

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