To begin our focus on exalting the LORD, read Hosea 11, select verses:
When Israel was a youth I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.
The more they called them,
The more they went away from them;
They kept sacrificing to the Baals
And burning incense to idols.
I pulled them along with cords of a man, with ropes of love,
And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws;
And I bent down and fed them.
They will not return to the land of Egypt;
But Assyria—he will be their king
Because they refused to return to Me.
So My people are determined to turn from Me.
Though they call them to the One on high,
None at all exalts Him.
Though God has led His people with cords of love, His people refuse to turn towards Him in heart, mind and soul; none at all exults Him. None. They carry out their worship by rote, they bring sacrifices but for their own purposes, not His.
So it is sometimes in the worship of His people today. Many go to church, without any heart motivation. And in some cases, our prayers, as we reflect the culture around us–are demanding, grumbling, and from a posture of nonchalance, there is no desire or passion or love, just the motions.
When we realize this is the case, when our hearts seem cold and lifeless, we should not merely act the part and pretend to pray. Rather, set your gaze upon Him once more; return to your first love–ask Him to pour out His love (Romans 5), abide in His Word (John 8:31ff) asking that He use it in you. He has promised to refresh us and restore our souls in His Word (Psalm 19).
Pause here to read it in full.
Notice how David’s prayer, offered while fearing for his life, opens and closes with praise. In between he pours out his heart. Likewise, when we pray, we do not demand, we do not call down fire from heaven, we do not name and claim. Rather, we come boldly while knowing our access is through Christ alone, our perfect Mediator who constantly makes intercession for us. We come to the throne of grace that we may find mercy. We humble ourselves that He may exalt us (1 Peter 5).
We come as little children–utterly dependant, and completely sure of His love; confident that if He says we are the apple of His eye, he means it. We rest assured that He is the Father who runs toward His prodigal child (that is you and me, beloved). We come knowing this is His heart: Isaiah 30:18
Part of exalting Him is being willing to proclaim His excellencies: Exodus 15; 1 Peter 2:9-10.
A perfect weekend meditation: focus your heart on hallowing His name, and delighting in His excellencies.
Hosea 11:4, 5, 7
Isaiah 25:1; 33:5
Psalm 18:46, 49; 34:3; 57:5, 10-11 99:5, 9; 107:32; 108:5-6 118:16, 28