Sunday, July 31, 2011

Magnify the Lord!

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Sometimes the oddest little remark starts a chain reaction...

This morning, my pastor said something about magnifying the Lord. He was talking about whether we would consider God to be larger than our problems/issues or consider our problems/issues to be larger than God, but the word 'magnify' started a little thought process that ended up with the Hubble Telescope.

So of course I thought it would be good blog material.

The first thing I did was come home and look up 'magnify' in my NIV Exhaustive concordance.

And was surprised to find only one listing:

The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. - Dan. 11:36

Wow...we could spend some time on that, but it's another topic for another day. I wanted to know where the phrase 'magnify the LORD' came from; I've heard it over and over for years and years, but I hadn't ever traced it to its source.

Next stop: King James. Or, rather, New King James. I followed my hunches and, sure enough, in Luke 1:46 I found My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior leading off Mary's song of praise.

So I pulled out the Zhodiates Word Study and looked it up, and found that magnifies is translated from megaluno: from megas to make (or declare) great, i.e., increase or (fig.) extol:-- enlarge, magnify, shew great

Megaluno is also found in:
Matt. 23:5 - "But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments."

Luke 1:58 - When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.

Acts 5:13 - Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly

Acts 10:46 - For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God

Acts 19:17 - This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

2 Cor. 10:15 - not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men's labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere

and Phil. 1:20 - According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

I want to say there is a reference to magnifying the Lord in Psalms...but it's obviously not in the NIV, and my KJV exhaustive concordance is in a box in the attic somewhere. A VERY quick skim through Psalms didn't yield a 'magnify' reference, so I'm going to say that the basic reference to 'magnify the Lord' must be from Mary's Song (AKA 'The Magnificat').

But, be that as it may, it's not the origin of the phrase I'm looking's the application.

Our common connotation to 'magnify' is 'to enlarge, to make something small appear big' (that's just my quickie definition). That is, we generally think of something small that we need to enlarge to see clearly.

But I submit to you that something small is not the only thing we magnify in today's world.

We also magnify things that are astronomically huge...because we are too far away to see them properly.

Instead of making something bigger, magnification, in this sense, means to see something as it really is.

Here is where I was going to insert some photos from the Hubble Telescope, but, wow, so many spectacular pictures! I'll post one, just to have a thumbnail for the Facebook link...but you gotta go look at them - Hubble Telescope. Take as long as you want, and when your awe-meter is redlining, come back.

Spiral Galaxy M100

See, those they stars, galaxies, nebulae, whatever...are out there. Their size staggers the imagination. But we couldn't see them.

Until...we put a camera up above the atmosphere of earth and focused it on those objects and magnified them.

In the same way, when we magnify God, we are not enlarging Him beyond what He is. He is vast beyond imagining. But, when we get away from the world's atmosphere and focus on Him, He is magnified. Then we can begin to comprehend just the smallest amount of who He really is.

He is, truly, Awesome. When He is magnified, that shows more and more...


  1. Ok, this is strange (but isn't that how God works sometimes?). I'm going through new blog posts this morning, right after devotions and I see the title of your post and can't believe it. I've been asked to do some work with drama for the high school and have been contemplating pieces and now is the time to think about things to perform at Christmas. I was considering writing a reader's theater piece for Christmas with two shepherds as the main characters recounting the night of the visit of the angels. I was reading Luke 2 to get a feel for it and wanted to add some more scripture in some way that glorified God, so I turned to Luke 1 to Mary's song of praise and for some reason that phrase, "My soul doth magnify the Lord." stuck with me and I was thinking of that when I came over to the computer. Hmmm . . maybe I should get to writing that piece?!?

    Thanks for the post - we sometimes do get clouded by our own atmosphere or by focusing too closely on things that don't matter.

  2. Wow, Summerset...ok, I want to read your piece when it's written ;-)

    Actually, this has been percolating in my spirit for quite some time; I once heard someone mention 'magnify the Lord' and then added 'we need to make God large'. I thought, 'No, God IS large, we need to enlarge our vision' and began to think about the magnification of galaxies. It was yesterday's comment that reopened that and provoked me into finally putting my thoughts down.

    You're absolutely right; God pays attention to even the little things.