Summary: Magnification is useful because it enlarges the object of our attention. It's what we do in worship every week.
Is. 6:1-8 & Revelation 4:1-11
Even though it’s not used as frequently as it used to be, I still like a magnifying glass. It takes something that’s hard to see and makes it bigger. It brings the word or subject into clearer focus so I can see it more clearly. Camera lenses accomplish much the same thing. Through zoom lenses I can bring small objects in the distance up closer. I can magnify them – enlarge them – and see them up close and personal. I can see details I otherwise would miss. Magnification is useful because it enlarges the object of our attention.
It’s what we do in worship every week. It is, in fact, worship. WORSHIP IS THE MAGNIFICATION OF GOD. In worship we enlarge God – we bring Him up close and personal. There are some stirring examples in the Bible. We read from Isaiah 6, a scene of worship. The passage describes a very difficult time for the prophet Isaiah. “In the year that King Uzziah died…” gives us a glimpse of Isaiah’s frame of mind. Uzziah (2 Chron. 26) had been a hero. He became king at age 16 and reigned for 52 years – his rule was 2nd only to the splendor of King Solomon. But it turns out that Uzziah had feet of clay – once he became powerful he also became proud. Eventually he attempted to burn incense– a task reserved by God for the priests. God struck him with leprosy and eventually he died. So Isaiah was concerned – with the downfall of such a great king, what could the future look like? So Isaiah went into the temple to worship. And there he saw the Lord “seated on a throne, high and exalted…the thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.” Isaiah worshiped - the Lord God was magnified. Isaiah saw him as never before, enlarged, up close, and personal, and his life was changed forever. Worship is the magnification of God.
A second scene is the one we read from Revelation 4. The beloved apostle John had refused to quit preaching and teaching about the risen Lord Jesus Christ. So he was sentenced to isolation on the Island of Patmos. The Spirit of God transported John up into the sanctuary of Heaven, where worship was taking place. There he saw the risen, reigning Lord Jesus Christ on His throne, being praised by the heavenly worshippers. God was magnified. John saw God in Jesus enlarged, up close, and personal. He saw Jesus as never before. He then received encouragement and strength as He saw God’s plan for the ages unfolding.
The message is clear. THE PURPOSE OF OUR WORSHIP IS TO MAGNIFY GOD IN JESUS CHRIST. The Psalmist invites us to join him in worship (34:3 NKJV): “Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” Put the zoom lens on your eyes and bring the Lord up close and personal. Magnify the Lord. Make Him larger.
This is underscored when we recognize that ‘worship’ is a verb not a noun. Worship is active, not passive. Worship is giving, not receiving. WORSHIP IS NOT SOMETHING GOD DOES TO US BUT SOMETHING WE DO TO AND FOR HIM. One way to magnify God is to give to Him in worship. This takes great effort and has at least two implications.
The first implication is that, if we are to sincerely give to God, WORSHIP TAKES PREPARATION. If we are the givers, if we are the ones doing something to and for God, we must be prepared. Suppose you paid some big bucks to see our favorite team play – and the teams came out and said they were unprepared to play so they would only run through some drills for a while? How would you feel? God paid with the life of His Son so we would worship and magnify Him. How much time and energy did you devote this week to preparing for this morning? What have you done? What and how do you plan to give? Have you read and reflected on the Scripture for the day? Did you come with a heart focused on magnifying the risen, reigning Lord Jesus Christ? The focus of our worship is to magnify Jesus Christ. We dare not come causally and unprepared.
The second implication is that WORSHIP TAKES CONCENTRATION. It’s amazing how much energy we can put into some important task, how focused we can be when we really want to be. We know how to invoke our powers of concentration when needed. We need to call upon those powers in worship. Someone has pointed out that the pussy cat that went to London to visit the queen was so distracted in chasing a mouse under the queen’s chair that she missed the splendor of the court and the sight of the queen. So often in worship we are distracted by little mice and miss the glory of God and the splendor of Jesus Christ. We start to focus on the mice - on the person behind us who coughs, or the person in front of us who exits for a few moments and then returns, or the baby who cries, or the microphone that squeals, or the attire of the person across the aisle. We cannot stop ourselves from seeing the mice – from seeing or hearing the distractions – but we do not need to chase them and give them occupancy in our minds. Indeed, the mice should remind us to refocus on giving to Christ.