The Lens


by: Bruce Nevin Haines

Psalm 34:3

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.

MAGNIFY:  become great or important, promote, make powerful, praise, magnify, do great things

When we think of the word “magnify” we typically associate it with the use of microscopes, telescopes, or perhaps a magnifying glass. When I read the words “magnify the Lord with me”, a few thoughts occurred to me that I felt I should share. When we see a magnified image, we see the original as larger or closer. But the reality of its size, or the closeness of the thing itself, has not changed! When birdwatching with binoculars, the bird does not “grow” in size, it only appears bigger or closer to us because of the lens that we are using. When we view the stars and distant galaxies with even the most powerful of telescopes we do not affect their size at all. Again it is only the lens that gives us a closer, larger, and more detailed view. So when we “magnify the Lord” his size does not change, only the size of his image to us.

It was also interesting to me that the Hebrew meaning shown above seems to require a participant. If God is to become great or important, then to whom is he great or important? If God is “promoted”, or “made powerful”, then who does he have this position of authority and power over?

In John 3:30 John the Baptist said “He must increase and I must decrease”. John already knew that God was great and powerful. But he was still compelled to say these words, and to acknowledge the need to yield to Jesus power and authority. Any “authority” that John had over his disciples was now yielded to Christ.

If I am to truly magnify the Lord, then I must yield my life to his power and authority as a cooperate participant, not just an observer. If we feel that we have power and authority in our own lives, like John the Baptist, we also must defer to the authority of Christ.  God will appear bigger in our lives as we are yielded to his authority. We will see him larger, and closer, and in more beautiful detail as we get to know him. Then we can become a lens that others can see through, to see God as mighty and powerful, and merciful as he really is.

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