I stand in awe of who You are
You have overwhelmed my heart
My all in all, my everything
With abandon I have come
to meet You here
In my life above all else
Be lifted up
My eyes have seen
Filled with wonder
Now my soul must sing
There is only one true God
Who is holy
You are holy
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Throughout the Bible, there are many, many, many records of those who truly exalted God in their hearts and with their words of praise and through their actions!
A few who quickly come to my mind are,
But one example that I just love is Mary, the mother of our Lord. Oh, what a heart she had! She is a great standard for having the right type of heart and life. Mary was so very humble! (Check out Luke 1:38.) Her pure and praise-filled heart for her God is shown in many ways. One illustration is found recorded in Luke chapter 1. Upon hearing her cousin Elizabeth confirm what the Angel Gabriel had told to Mary, she was filled with praise! Listen to these words of hers…
And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is upon generation after generation
Toward those who fear Him.
He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
And she continues in her praise to exalt her God, the Almighty One. But what does it mean to ‘exalt’ God? One reference I checked, defines exalt as
EXALT‘, v.t. egzolt’. Low L. exalto; ex and altus, high.
- To raise high; to elevate.
- To elevate in power, wealth, rank or dignity; as, to exalt one to a throne, to the chief magistracy, to a bishopric.
- To elevate with joy or confidence; as, to be exalted with success or victory. We now use elate.
- To raise with pride; to make undue pretensions to power, rank or estimation; to elevate too high or above others.
- To elevate in estimation and praise; to magnify; to praise; to extol.
We can see through these definitions and practical usages of the word exalt that clearly it is to ‘raise…elevate…magnify…praise…extol.’ And it is easy to see how and why our God is THE One to be exalted! As Ben Cantelon sings, ‘You alone and no one else, be lifted up!’
The following psalm suggests another important perspective to exalt that includes our own bowing down.
The Lord is king!
Let the nations tremble!
He sits on His throne between the cherubim.
Let the whole earth quake!
The Lord sits in majesty in Jerusalem,
exalted above all the nations.
Let them praise Your great and awesome name.
Your name is holy!
Mighty King, lover of justice,
You have established fairness.
You have acted with justice
and righteousness throughout Israel.
Exalt the Lord our God!
Bow low before His feet, for He is holy!
Notice in verse 5 the difference between the two exclamations made: “Exalt the LORD our God!” is given in comparison to “Bow low before His feet.” In studying this verse and looking at the Hebrew words used, I read that the word translated as “bow low” is one of the basic Hebrew words for worship. Literally it means “to bow low” or “to prostrate” oneself before and worshipping a sovereign, a king.
Wouldn’t you say this could apply to how we can exalt God, figuratively, by not only by raising our voices in praise to Him, but also by humbly bowing low before Him in worship. Truly, at times, we are literally bowing before God as a response to His incredible and awesome greatness! This physical act can help our hearts to humbly bow before Him. But whether we kneel or are prostrate on our faces before God or not, we can exalt Him within our hearts as we recognize and praise, “Be exalted…in my life above all else, be lifted up!”
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May our prayer and our praise be to always exalt Almighty God whether we be standing with arms raised in praise, or singing joyfully out our praises, or kneeling humble before Him, or flat out before Him in submission to Him!
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My life makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.