Much of what a believer does in the way of glorifying God might be said to be (or at least appear to be) spontaneous—for example, the interspersing of a testimony in casual conversation, the spontaneous expression of thanks to the Lord for some benefit received, or the “automatic” kindness to a brother in need or distress. I say that his actions may appear to be spontaneous, but if they are genuine, the seeming spontaneity is rooted in a life lived close to the Lord, one immersed in the Word, one bathed in prayer, and one shaped by obedience. Such actions, then, are scarcely the product of a chance moment and a casual response. They are the fruit of a life that has been devoted to the Lord. And genuine glorifying of God never comes from a life lived carelessly or even casually. God is glorified when we deliberately seek to live our lives in a way that glorifies Him. Declaring that “the mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken,” Asaph penned these words: “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God” (Psa. 50:1, 23).
Praising God’s excellency glorifies God. Our text suggests two significant points. The first may seem deceptively obvious: when we give verbal praise or thanks to God, He is glorified. But the truth is that not all words of praise and thankfulness do actually glorify God. How many times, for example, have we sat down to a meal and given thanks without any genuine thankfulness for the food? Surely, such expressions without heart are empty words that bring no genuine glory to God. They are merely a religious act. Thanksgiving that erupts from a heart that is thankful for God’s goodness and bounty do glorify Him. But in addition to empty words, how many times should we have given praise to God for some beneficence we have overlooked because of cold or carnal hearts? On the one hand, it takes almost nothing to praise the Lord for His wonderful goodness to us. On the other hand, genuine thankfulness comes readily to the lips only of those who have spent much time in the presence of the Lord, reading His Word, meditating on who He is and what He has done. A casual Christian is a thoughtless one: thanksgiving is far from his lips. But find a believer who has lived a selfless life, who has, like Joshua, “departed not out of the tabernacle” (Ex. 33:11), and you will find a believer who glorifies God through praise and thanksgiving.
The second point of our text may be less obvious: “him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” In other words, the linking of this thought with the previous one, suggests that praise neither begins nor ends with our tongues. Genuine praise involves our “conversation,” i.e., our “way,” or manner of life. If there is a disconnect between our words and our actions, we are not truly glorifying God. True praise, hence genuine glorifying of God, begins with hearts, minds, and wills that have been submitted to the Word of God and choices that accord with His will rather than with our convenience. The world says that talk is cheap. James agrees, “I will shew thee my faith by my works” (2:18). And God Himself knows the difference between empty words and meaningful works. Hot-air hypocrites verbally praise God while living for themselves. Warm-hearted believers bow their knees in praise and bend their backs in service. In other words, glorifying God is more a way of life than a wagging of the lips. Anyone can say a “thank-you.” But God is truly glorified when a believer lives a “thank-you.” It is not mere coincidence that the word “offereth” in our text could be translated “sacrificeth,” as in “Whoso sacrificeth praise . . . .” Genuine praise costs the believer something. Like David, we should never offer God that which costs us nothing. God derives glory from dedicated lips, a devout heart, and a devoted life.
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