Daily Bible Reading Reflections

Exalting What God Has Exalted

I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name
 for your steadfast love and your faithfulness… (Psa 138:1-2a)

As David sings and gives thanks to the LORD with his “whole heart,” notice especially what he says in the rest of verse 2:

…for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.

“You have exalted.” To exalt is to raise in rank, power, or character. When we “exalt” someone, we are elevating them above others (and ourselves) in some way. When we “exalt” some thing, we are personally acknowledging and encouraging others to recognize that thing as worthy of attention, respect, maybe even personal application. Exalted things stand out. Exalted things shouldn’t be taken for granted, carelessly glossed over, or ignored. Exalted things really matter.

So take the time on this first day of the week to thoughtfully listen to what we’re being told in Psalm 138. Your Creator has exalted his name and his word “above all things.” Think about that. We live in a world where many people and a multitude of things are “exalted.” Kings and queens. Presidents and prime ministers. Celebrities, elite athletes, and online influencers. Skyscrapers, monuments, mansions, movies, and much more. But nothing—not one thing in the universe—is higher in rank, power, or worth than the name and the word of God. His name is more important than my name, your name, and every other name put together. His word matters more than my word, your word, and every other word that has ever been or ever will be.

Our responsibility? To recognize those realities, to follow our Creator’s lead, and to exalt what he has already exalted. In fact, that’s the opportunity before each one of us on this, the Lord’s day—to say, just as David wrote 3,000 years ago, “I give thanks to you, O God, with my whole heart. I sing your praise. I honor you for your steadfast love and faithfulness. I exalt your name and your word above all things.”

Let’s worship with that sort of heart-fuel today. Let’s live with and view the world through that lens this week: no thing and no one matters more than God and his word. Could your personal prayers use a breath of fresh, God-provided air? You’d be hard-pressed to find something better than Psalm 138:2 to adopt and pray as your own over the next few days: “Father, help me to exalt your name and your word above all things.”

In a world that can be discriminating, selfish, and cruel, maybe you’ve been struggling to believe that you can belong. Does God really care? About me? “Who like me Thy praise should sing,” after all, “O Almighty King?” If that’s you today, listen carefully to Psalm 138:5-6:

…great is the glory of the LORD.
For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly…

Not all human beings who have been exalted by others have much “regard” for the lowly. There’s more than enough sad human history of the powerful oppressing the weak and the exalted taking advantage of the lowly. But not the God of Psalm 138. Though he is infinitely high, he cares for the very low with steadfast love and faithfulness. So the apostle Peter encouraged us, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Pet 5:6-7)

Incredible. The exalted One has promised to exalt those who humbly lift his name and his word above all things. That’s how–even today–we can live with the confidence of Psalm 138:8:

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Let’s exalt what God has already exalted and trust him to take care of the rest.