My dear friend Sommer is back for this week’s Word Nerd Wednesday talking about how to properly exalt God. I think you’re going to be both challenged and encouraged!
from the Hebrew: eg-zolt’ (rum, gabhah (mappiq he), nasa’)
Most often translated “exalt,” “exalted,” is rum; “to lift up,” “to be or become high.”
The word exalt is similar to the word extol, which we discussed a couple of weeks ago. While extol seems to imply audible praise of God, exalt seems to be something that can be done both internally and externally.
Exaltation is a lifting up or placing high. This is not something we can literally do, as if we could pick up God and raise Him above our heads. Instead, we must discover what exalting the Lord entails in our internal, spiritual life.
God Doesn’t Need Our Exaltation
Let it be clear that God is always high, in His high place, as creator and sustainer. He doesn’t need us to lift him up, yet he calls us to do so.
Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain;
for the LORD our God is holy!
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
As a worship leader, I have often contemplated how to encourage others to praise the Lord with sincerity and creativity. I often encourage others to write their own songs of praise to the Lord. I can’t help it; I’m an artist. In exalting him, in glorifying him, we speak of his incomparable character and works.
Great is the Lord,
The High and Almighty King
Gracious, forgiving, loving all His created sons and daughters
His arms are far reaching and His voice calls clearly both night and day.
His ways are astounding and beautiful in detail.
There is none who can compare
For no one sees as clearly or completely.
From the height of sovereignty and perfection,
He reigns, rules, directs, loves, cherishes, and graces
Our Exaltation is Never Enough
There are so many words a Christian can use to exalt the Lord. We can speak and speak, but even still sometimes feel it is not enough. We can sing. And sing louder. Yet still it seems we fail to be able to exalt God sufficiently. He is so worthy of good and excellent praise that we can sometimes feel our words are simply not enough.
So what do we do when our words and our songs fall short? We must look within and examine our hearts. Perhaps we feel the anguish of our exaltational failings because we in fact exalt ourselves in unknown ways in order to properly exalt the Lord.
This is not to say we are not sincere, but it is to highlight our sinful hearts who consistently choose self over anyone else, often even God. To examine ourselves fully, I posit that we must understand humility in radical ways.
Examination Before Exaltation
Here is a prayer that continues to shake me and illuminate unsuspecting and difficult ways I have maintained a fortress of pride and self-exaltation. I have borrowed it from our Catholic brothers and sisters and have been praying it regularly the past six months.
To use the prayer for your own self-examination, pray the bold words of each section after each line of each section.
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…
Exaltation Through Humility
In short, to exalt the Lord is a two-pronged practice. We lift Him up with sincere words of praise flowing from our hearts and we lower our view of self through sincere humility and contrition. As bowing before a King and addressing His highness, we exalt the Lord our God.
We lower ourselves so that He is lifted high in our hearts. We lower our view of self so that we can come even remotely close to a proper view of God’s high and exalted place in our lives and universe at large.
Again, as I have come to find a theme in my writings lately, the key here is our humility. Our view of self must be properly humble, contrite, even selfless to truly be able to exalt the Lord.
Dear God, forgive my brazen pride. May I be a vessel of praise to sing and shout your goodness and glory throughout the earth, in my community, and in my very home. You have been good for all eternity; may my life be a testimony your beauty.
Sommer holds a degree in music from Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, where she also studied composition and communications. She has produced and recorded two CD’s of original works, featuring her skills as a singer-songwriter. They can be purchased here:
She has written musical scores for both plays and movies and directed a variety of plays and musicals during her 6 years as a K-12 music educator and high school choir director. She especially loves writing wedding processionals for her friends.
Over the past 19 years, Sommer has led worship in a wide variety of contexts including large non-denominational churches, home gatherings, Army chapel services, youth groups, children’s services, women’s Bible study programs, a Baptist church in Rome, Italy and many more. Each context has brought her into more discussion amongst friends and colleagues as to what worship really means. Her study of worship began with a desire to choose good worship songs as a teenager and has now become a lifelong inquiry.
Sommer’s most recent project, writing the musical score for the independent film, “The Circle,” finished this past summer. (Connect here.) https://www.facebook.com/christcompanyresources/?fref=ts She is now focusing on mothering three incredibly cute children, loving and encouraging her dear husband, drinking the perfect amount of coffee, and rotating her chores at reasonable intervals at her home in Concord, North Carolina.
She attempts to create beauty occasionally at her blog Naphtalia. https://naphtalia.wordpress.com/
She does not tweet on the twitter or snap on the chat or do cool-kid type things, mostly because she’s trying to make an espresso before her children wake from their naps.
Should you wish to connect further, feel free to comment below and she will respond accordingly.
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday.