Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Friday, September 27, 2013

That we would magnify the Lord

I have added a text to the header of this blog for a reason; that we would magnify the Lord. The text is from Luke 1:46-47, "And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." I have been dwelling on this quite a bit, along with the recent post by  A. W. Pink on worship.  
Before I go farther into those verses, I want to address some issues that have been troubling me concerning our approach to worship and adoring our God. Whenever I have any kind of conversation with other Christians, including those in my local church, it seems we are consumed with much worldliness. We tell how well our kids are doing in school and/or what career choices they've made; or we speak of our grandchildren, our own career moves, etc. At church, the worship service seems to be lacking, it's almost as though it were mechanical. In other words, our hearts do not appear to be in it.
What concerns me most in all of this is - where is our boasting in the Lord? Where is our telling of what our God is doing or has done at this present time? Where is the reflecting on what He has done and giving Him glory? I understand, many of us do this privately. I also want to say that I am just as guilty as the next person. We seem to be able to rattle on and on about our kids, or earthly things. We are able to go to different websites and engage in debates with others over whatever issues are presented, fighting over everything from sports to theological issues; we are consumed, it seems, with telling one another how to live and act,    and fighting among ourselves -  but how consumed are we with joining one another in magnifying our God?  


Here is commentary on Mary's praise for God, from Matthew Henry...

"Observe how Mary here speaks of God.
(1.) With great reverence of him, as the Lord: “My soul doth magnify the Lord; I never saw him so great as now I find him so good.” Note, Those, and those only, are advanced in mercy, who are thereby brought to think the more highly and honourably of God; whereas there are those whose prosperity and preferment make them say, What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? The more honour God has any way put upon us, the more honour we must study to give to him; and then only are we accepted in magnifying the Lord, when our souls magnify him, and all that is within us. Praising work must be soul work.
(2.) With great complacency in him as her Saviour: My spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour. This seems to have reference to the Messiah, whom she was to be the mother of. She calls him God her Saviour; for the angel had told her that he should be the Son of the Highest, and that his name should be Jesus, a Saviour; this she fastened upon, with application to herself: He is God my Saviour. Even the mother of our Lord had need of an interest in him as her Saviour, and would have been undone without it: and she glories more in that happiness which she had in common with all believers than in being his mother, which was an honour peculiar to herself, and this agrees with the preference Christ have to obedient believers above his mother and brethren; see Mat_12:50; Luk_11:27, Luk_11:28. Note, Those that have Christ for their God and Saviour have a great deal of reason to rejoice, to rejoice in spirit, that is rejoicing as Christ did (Luk_10:21), with spiritual joy.

2. Here are just causes assigned for this joy and praise...


(1.) Upon her own account, Luk_1:48, Luk_1:49. [1.] Her spirit rejoiced in the Lord, because of the kind things he had done for her: his condescension and compassion to her. He has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden; that is, he has looked upon her with pity, for so the word is commonly used. “He has chosen me to this honour, notwithstanding my great meanness, poverty, and obscurity.” Nay, the expression seems to intimate, not only (to allude to that of Gideon, Jdg_6:15) that her family was poor in Judah, but that she was the least in her father's house, as if she were under some particular contempt and disgraced among her relations, was unjustly neglected, and the outcast of the family, and God put this honour upon her, to balance abundantly the contempt. I the rather suggest this, for we find something toward such honour as this put upon others, on the like consideration. Because God saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, Gen_29:31. Because Hannah was provoked, and made to fret, and insulted over, by Peninnah, therefore God gave her a son, 1Sa_1:19. Whom men wrongfully depress and despise God doth sometimes, in compassion to them, especially if they have borne it patiently, prefer and advance; see Jdg_11:7. So in Mary's case. And, if God regards her low estate, he not only thereby gives a specimen of his favour to the whole race of mankind, whom he remembers in their low estate, as the psalmist speaks (Psa_136:23), but secures a lasting honour to her (for such the honour is that God bestows, honour that fades not away): “From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed, shall think me a happy woman and highly advanced.” All that embrace Christ and his gospel will say, Blessed was the womb that bore him and the paps which he sucked, Luk_11:27. Elizabeth had once and again called her blessed: “But that is not all,” saith she, “all generations of Gentiles as well as Jews shall call me so.” [2.] Her soul magnifies the Lord, because of the wonderful things he had done for her (Luk_1:49): He that is mighty has done to me great things. A great thing indeed, that a virgin should conceive. A great thing indeed, that Messiah, who had been so long promised to the church, and so long expected by the church, should now at length be born. It is the power of the Highest that appears in this. She adds, and holy is his name; for so Hannah saith her song, There is none holy as the Lord, which she explains in the next words, for there is none beside thee, 1Sa_2:2. God is a Being by himself, and he manifests himself to be so, especially in the work of our redemption. He that is mighty, even he whose name is holy, has done to me great things. Glorious things may be expected from him that is both mighty and holy; who can do every thing, and will do every thing well and for the best."

Very briefly, Adam Clarke has this to say, 'My spirit hath rejoiced - Exulted. These words are uncommonly emphatical - they show that Mary’s whole soul was filled with the Divine influence, and wrapped up in God.' I am impressed with this, that Mary's whole soul was filled with the Divine influence and 'wrapped up' in God...oh to have such a soul! It is possible, for the nearer we draw to Him, the more our souls will magnify our God. 

Magnifying God is worshiping Him. What can hinder worship? I want to quote A.W. Pink from his article I mentioned earlier, "One other fatal hindrance to worship needs to be mentioned, and that is worldliness, which means the things of the world obtaining a place in the Christian’s affections, his ways becoming “conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2).  A solemn example of this is found in the history of Abraham. When God called him to leave Chaldea and go into Canaan, he compromised: he went only as far as Haran (Gen. 11:31; Acts 7:4) and settled down there. Haran was Half-way House, the wilderness lying between it and the borders of Canaan. Later Abraham fully responded to God’s call and entered Canaan, and there “he builded an altar [which speaks of worship] unto the Lord” (Gen. 12:7). But there is no mention of his building any “altar” during the years he dwelt in Haran! O how many children of God today are compromising, dwelling at Half-way House, and in consequence they are not worshippers. O that the Spirit of God may so work upon and within all of us that the language of our lives, as well as that of our hearts and lips, may be “Worthy is the Lamb”—worthy of whole-hearted consecration, worthy of unstinted devotion, worthy of that love which is manifested by keeping His commandments, worthy of real worship May it be so for His name’s sake."  I can only add a hearty 'amen'.


6 comments:

Darrel said...

Sadly, your observations of worldliness in the church is correct. Discussions on any subject are ok for most and to top it off, it is declared to be "fellowship." Maybe it is, but not the fellowship with the Lord. Raising the question will get you a dumb-founded look (as if you are the one off the rails) or maybe a polite "ignore."
Scripture tells otherwise. We are to exhort one another daily-Heb. 3:13 & 10:25; teach and admonish each other-Col 3:16; stir up the minds of others-2Pet. 1:13 & 3:1.
And how many times does the discussion of worldly things end up in a laundry list of complaints, with no thanks or praise being offered to the only One worthy? Ouch!
Worthy is the Lamb!! God help us to praise Him as He is due.

lyn said...

you have absolutely nailed it Darrel. I often wonder what good does it do if your children are smart, successful, and excelling if they are going to die without Christ. The emphasis is always on how well somebody's child is doing, not on what God is doing. I do not consider this fellowship, I have no true fellowship with anyone in my church. It is a battle for me to even go to church, to sit through weak sermons and mechanical motions, songs, etc. I leave there empty and feeling like we are missing what true worship is. I am so grateful I came across the article from Pink.

dora said...

Concerning worship, a few thoughts have gone through my mind in the past few weeks.

Someone said, worship is singing.

Is it?

Jesus tells us in John 4 that we worship God in spirit and truth.

If singing is worship, then when the unsaved sing, they are worshipping God. Since they are not saved, they cannot worship God, they can only sing.

I don't want to get technical about it, but I believe, as we look through scripture, that worship and singing are different.

God bless.

lyn said...

Dora,

worship is not singing, as you stated, for the unregenerate sing; but do they worship? Worship stems from a changed heart and involves heart and soul when we worship. Have you had a chance to read the post from Pink here concerning worship? It is worth taking time to read.

I agree with you Dora, singing is not worship. Sadly, in the visible church, so much passes itself off as worship, and yet, it is a stench in the nostrils of a thrice-holy God.

dora said...

Have read the article by Pink, and it says it so well as to what worship is.

Also, I wonder, is prayer a form of worship too?

Consider, to Whom do we approach?

When we consider the greatness of God, you have to worship.

Maybe we consider petitoning, intercession, pleading, crying before God, not worship.

If they are not, then what are they?
And when we fail to pray, and come before our God, what then does that say of us?

These are just rhetorical questions, food for thought.

God bless.

lyn said...

That is some excellent 'food for thought' Dora! Wouldn't prayer indeed be a form of worship, for we come before the throne of the Almighty God of all, not in any flippant way, but with both humility and boldness, hearts laid bare. We pray from the heart right? Worship also comes deep from within, out of reverence. I would hope that prayer would be seen as worship, true worship. It is an intimate time with our Lord, most do NOT have this high honor or great privilege to approach the throne of grace. I am grateful that you have got me pondering prayer and worship, bless you!