Note: I often look back at the issues of Christianity Magazine and re-discover valuable writing, like this from the pen of Brent Lewis.
The Psalms in Practice
What It Means to Magnify the Lord
“I will bless Jehovah at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in Jehovah: the meek shall hear thereof, and be glad. Oh magnify Jehovah with me, and let us exalt his name together” (34:1–3).
We are told in this great psalm what one who magnifies the Lord will do and when he will do it. The Christian must never forget that his aim in life is lofty and sublime. He seeks, as Paul did, to magnify Christ in his life (Philippians 1:20). Just what is it that such a disciple will do?
- He will bless and praise God (verse 1). “I will bless Jehovah at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Too often we heap praise on undeserving men and neglect the praise of the Almighty. Let us never become so enamored with the rich and powerful of this world that we are unimpressed with God. He alone is the proper object of our praise, and among His creatures we have the unparalleled privilege of offering Him praise. We are assured that He accepts it, for He says, “whoso offereth the sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifieth me” (Psalm 50:23).
- He will do this “at all times” or “continually” (verse 1). It is easy to become forgetful. We have a perpetual duty to God to praise Him for His mercy and kindness. The Christian fully recognizes that “It is of Jehovah’s lovingkindnesses that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23). If we will cultivate an awareness that His mercies are “new every morning,” it will be hard not to magnify Him. We must habitually develop a thankful spirit under every circumstance, in every situation; before, in and after trials; in bright days of happiness and somber nights of sorrow. Our God can bring sunshine into the darkest nights. In the same way that Paul and Silas praised God in prison (Acts 16:23–25), that Job blessed His name amidst tragic personal loss (Job 1:20–21), and the beaten disciples rejoiced in their suffering for His name (Acts 5:40–41)—so can we “bless Him at all times.” We have abiding reasons for blessing God even in the face of sorrows and trials. If we will think upon them and enumerate them, the scale by which we weigh God’s mercies will grow heavy, and the scale by which we weigh our difficulties will grow light.
- He will boast in Jehovah (verse 2). “My soul shall make her boast in Jehovah.” Man’s boasting is usually in himself (Luke 18:9–14). The Christian will fail to magnify God by mundane, arrogant self-boasting. God says, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he hath understanding, and knoweth me, that I am Jehovah who exerciseth lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith Jehovah” (Jeremiah 9:23–24). Yes, our boasting must be in Jehovah. Perhaps the greatest boast in all of Scripture was made by Paul, and can be echoed by every disciple today—“I can do all things!” (Philippians 4:13). But even this boast takes on humility when he adds, as I must—“in Him that strengtheneth me.” (See 1 Corinthians 15:10; Psalm 44:8).
Finally, notice in verse two the result of magnifying God in one’s life. “The meek [humble] shall hear thereof and be glad.” If you will praise God in all the circumstances of life and boast only in Him, you can be a significant influence on others for good. “Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). It is true that all men will not be constrained by your example. But the “meek”—those who have been brought low in their own esteem because of life’s adversities—will sit up and take notice of what such a person does.
Would you magnify God in your life? Put this psalm into practice: praise God at all times, boast only in Him, and good results are sure to follow.
 Lewis, B. (1985). The Psalms in Practice: What It Means to Magnify the Lord. Christianity Magazine, 2(5), 25.