The Exaltation of God or Man?

Flying over the Alps (Photo by: Mark J, Booth)
Flying over the Alps (Photo by: Mark J, Booth)

We love to exalt celebrities. We read about them, think about them, talk about them, and even pattern our lives after them. These celebrities do not know us personally. They have no interest in us, neither will they bring comfort, peace, and hope into our lives. Yet, we adore our celebrities.

It is interesting that our exaltation of sports figures, entertainers, and reality show participants never creates a hostile reaction in others.  Yes, others may not agree with our choice of an “idol”, but they don’t get angry. We choose to accept that one person’s “idol” may not be to our taste.

Our culture believes that exalting man is acceptable. Man has a need to exalt something or someone if they choose not to exalt God in their lives. Believers have trouble exalting God because they are fearful of the reactions of those around them. “Yes, you can exalt a man, but don’t exalt God in my presence!” Does this attitude affect our exaltation of God? Have we become fearful to exalt God before others?

God has called the believers to exalt Him, not only among believers, but also before the whole world. “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10) “Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.” (Psalm 99:5)

God commands His people to exalt Him in spite of the consequences. Remember Moses who exalted God before a rebellious nation. Stephen exalted God in spite of being stoned to death. David exalted God in spite of Saul’s persecution. Daniel exalted God in spite of the lion’s den. Paul exalted God in the midst of those who would put him to death. If the world can exalt its celebrities, we should never be embarrassed to exalt the True and Almighty God.

The word exaltation has the idea to elevate or to place above. God’s rightful place is above not only His people, but all people.  We tend not to exalt God in our lives for various reasons.

  • We exalt ourselves above God.  We feel that we are the center of the universe.
  • We allow sin to erode our elevation of God.  Remember Saul!
  • We are ignorant of the person of God.  The more we know Him, the more we will exalt Him.
  • We allow the world to frame our attitude about God. Notice how we no longer talk about the Justice, Holiness and Wrath of God.

Isaiah, the prophet, wrote in a time when people exalted their false gods above the true and living God. In Isaiah 25:1, he tells us why we should exalt God above ourselves and all others. “O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.”

Isaiah had a personal relationship with God. He understood the attributes and the works of God.  Isaiah had also experienced God’s faithfulness in his life.  God’s truth was central in Isaiah’s life.  Isaiah’s exaltation of God was the result of his many years of serving God and communing with Him.  Do we see God as Isaiah saw God? If so, we will have no problem exalting our great God.

“Dear Lord, sometimes, I allow the world around me to influence me in my relationship with you. I see the exaltation of man going on all around me. My culture may not have wooden idols, but they have idols of flesh and blood.  Help me to climb above this culture and exalt you. You are worthy of my exaltation because of your salvation, your person, your works, your faithfulness and your truth. Give me the courage to exalt you not only privately, but before others.  Amen.

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