Two kinds of magnifying…get it right!


Moab shall be destroyed and be no longer a people,
because he magnified himself against the Lord.
Jeremiah 48:42

Let them be put to shame and disappointed altogether who rejoice at my calamity!
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves against me!
Psalm 35:26

WHO and HOW do YOU magnify?

John Piper comments:

David said, “I will magnify God with thanksgiving.” The word “magnify” can be used in two different senses.

MicroscopeIt can mean: make something appear greater than it is, as with a microscope or a magnifying glass.

telescopeOr it can mean: make something that may seem small or insignificant appear to be as great as it really is.

This is what our great telescopes help us begin to do with the magnificent universe which once upon a time spilled over from the brim of God’s glory. So there are two kinds of magnifying: microscope magnifying and telescope magnifying. The one makes a small thing look bigger than it is. The other makes a big thing begin to look as big as it really is.

When David says, “I will magnify God with thanksgiving,” he does not mean: “I will make a small God look bigger than he is. He means: “I will make a big God begin to look as big as he really is.” We are not called to be microscopes, but telescopes. Christians are not called to be con-men who magnify their product out of all proportion to reality, when they know the competitor’s product is far superior. There is nothing and nobody superior to God. And so the calling of those who love God is to make his greatness begin to look as great as it really is. The whole duty of the Christian can be summed up in this: feel, think, and act in a way that will make God look as great as he really is. Be a telescope for the world of the infinite starry wealth of the glory of God.

Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! (Psalm 34:3) and I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30)

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4 thoughts on “Two kinds of magnifying…get it right!

  1. This is very timely. I’m leading a worship this week and there’s a song Magnify Jesus. This illustration helps a lot. Thank you. šŸ˜šŸ˜Š

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