Every Sunday I have the privilege of joining the worship band at my church in leading our congregation in praise and worship. We sing a large variety of songs, including… “We will glorify the King of kings…” and “To God be the glory, great things He hath done!” Chances are, you have sung these familiar songs of praise and worship at some point too. Have you ever wondered what the word “glorify” means? It’s important that we understand what we’re singing, because otherwise our words are empty. They’re meaningless. You could even go so far as to say that they’re lies. So what does it mean to “glorify” God?
To glorify means “to ascribe weight by recognizing real substance” (Bible Hub). In other words, it means recognizing the magnitude of God’s greatness, and giving Him the honor and praise He is worthy of. Why do we glorify God? The answer to that question is threefold.
God Deserves Glory
The first reason we glorify God is because it’s what He deserves. In 1 Chronicles 16:25-27, we read:
“Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens! Honor and majesty surround Him; strength and joy fill His dwelling.” (NLT)
We honor people when they accomplish something note-worthy. We stand and cheer for our friends as they graduate from high school or university. We congratulate our siblings on a good grade. And we are excited for our family when one of our parents gets a promotion at their workplace. How much more should we honor and glorify the God who “made the heavens”? There’s no doubt about it: God deserves our glory.
God Commands Glory
Not only does God deserve our glory, but He commands we glorify Him. Consider the words of the psalmist in Psalm 29:1-2:
“Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings; honor the Lord for His glory and strength. Honor the Lord for the glory of His name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.” (NLT)
If you paid any attention during English 101, you’ll likely realize that the phrasing used in the passage above indicates that the sentences are imperative sentences. In other words, they are commands, and the subject is assumed to be you. “You honor the Lord… You honor the Lord for His glory and strength…” It’s not a suggestion, but instead, a command.
We Were Created to Glorify God
The third and final reason we glorify God, is because that is what we were created to do. If you were to take God out of the picture, our lives would be completely meaningless. Everything else we hold dear—from our accomplishments, to our possessions, to the status of our relationships—is temporary. People die, possessions break, and accomplishments are easily forgotten. God, however, is permanent, and His glory will never fade away. There is therefore no greater use of our time, our energy, or our resources than investing in our relationship with Him by giving Him the glory and honor He deserves.