Glorifying God’s Name

“I am Jehovah: this is my name: and my glory I will not give to another.” —Isaiah 42:8

AS WE sing hymns of praise during our services, we express and evidence our desire to glorify God’s holy name. How beautiful it is to hear a consecrated chorus singing loud Hosannas to Jehovah. We can recognize in their exuberance that each one thrills to know the meaning of the words they are repeating, and the listeners are touched with the same desire to glorify God! When we sing, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,” our hearts are lifted up, and our prayer is that God’s splendid name may indeed be glorified!

But what does the word glorify actually mean? In the original Greek, the thought is to ‘have an opinion’; that is, to have a high, exalted opinion of someone. When we manifest to others the heights of Jehovah’s majesty by telling of his magnificent character, his wonderful attributes, and his benevolent plans, we glorify his name! We magnify, praise, acknowledge, confess, declare, or render the honor which is due him.

There is some small distinction between praising God, and glorifying God. By our words, by our songs, we praise God. But we glorify him by our works and actions. Both are proper. The psalmist says, “Praise is comely for the upright [his saints]” (Ps. 33:1), and we should praise our Father with our words and music. But in a deeper sense we truly glorify him by putting his principles into action in our daily lives. David’s advice, “Give unto the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Ps. 29:2) is carried out by putting on the graces of the Holy Spirit so that our lives and characters exemplify what we have learned about him in his Word.

Let us consider what we mean by glorifying God’s name. Before we can glorify Jehovah, we must really know God’s name; by this we mean we must know God’s character. In Isaiah 42:8 we are told, “I am Jehovah: this is my name: and my glory I will not give to another.” The name Jehovah is magnificent in its beauty and meaning—it is God’s proper name. There are many other ways by which we refer to him: Father is a most endearing one, Lord, God, Creator. These show different aspects of the One we worship, but Jehovah is his name.

The name Jehovah comes from the original tetragram, or four letters, JHVH, to which the vowels have been added giving us the word JEHOVAH. This word comes from the Hebrew verb ‘to be’. Jehovah, with its three syllables, contains the three tenses: he who always was; he who is; he who always shall be. This concept relates to Jehovah as the eternal one, the immortal one, who never had a beginning. He always existed, now exists, and always shall exist. This translates into the connotation of Jehovah being a covenant-keeping God. The way he was yesterday, he is today; and the covenant he made he will keep tomorrow. He is constant. The scripture says, “I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant.” (Gen. 17:7) The word Jehovah conveys the thought that he is a covenant-keeping God. “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my mouth.” (Ps. 89:34) This is God’s character in a sentence. “My word shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please.”—Isa. 55:11

Do we know God’s name as Jehovah? Is he a covenant-keeping God to us? Do we go through our Christian experiences constantly convinced that the covenant, or all the words which he has spoken, are constant? Do we feel assured that they will never change—though we vary; they will be fulfilled—no matter what our performance is?

If we do recognize this in a practical sense, it will be a great blessing; we will never doubt our Heavenly Father or his providences in our lives. As the poet wrote, “But thinks he makes mistakes when e’er he sends a hindrance, our eager haste offends.” When we murmur and complain we are, in fact, questioning God’s providences in our lives; and when we question we are not considering him in the majesty of his name—Jehovah—a covenant-keeping God. Without a doubt, he will certainly send, or allow, those experiences which are for our best interests. “O for a faith that will not shrink, though pressed by every foe.”—Hymns of Dawn, #197

Daniel, that great prophet of God, knew Jehovah’s name! He read in the Book of Jeremiah that the Lord would punish Israel by allowing them to suffer seventy years of captivity in Babylon. Daniel gave praise to the Lord after the seventy years were accomplished, saying, “O Lord, the great and dreadful [to be reverenced] God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and keep his commandments.” (Dan. 9:4) With these words, Daniel expressed his confidence that God would deliver them from bondage at the stated time because he, Jehovah, had testified of this matter through his former prophet.

The name Jehovah occurs nearly seven thousand times in the Old Testament, but it is hidden by not being so translated. Only four times is the Hebrew word translated Jehovah. A great blessing is missed by this, because the magnificence that is contained in this name, Jehovah, is diminished by other words, such as Lord. However, the King James translation does point out when the tetragram is indicated, by using the word Lord, in small capital letters. If, you will take note as you read the Old Testament, the magnificence that is due his name will be brought to mind. See Strong’s Concordance, Hebrew Lexicon #3068.

In Scriptural usage, a name is full of meaning. Names reveal facets of character or attributes. It is very significant, then, that Jehovah, a covenant-keeping God—the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow—is the meaning of the name of the God whom we worship, and whose name we desire that our lives shall reflect.

Let us consider several ways in which we can grow in our efforts to glorify our Heavenly Father’s name:

“Whatsoever Ye Do, Do All to the Glory of God.”

This must be our motivation; let us learn well this lesson. Our names and reputations may be damaged and brought low, but God’s name must be glorified in all things. We must concentrate upon serving God, glorifying his name, in our jobs, in our homes, in whatever we do. With this motivation, each response to the day’s small experiences will be accepted by the Father as efforts to glorify his name.

Although the world will not listen to our Gospel message, they will read our lives, and God can be glorified in them every day. We glorify God through character development: “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” (John 15:8) To abound in the graces of the Spirit should be our main preoccupation in life. Even our hymns express this well. For example: “O for a closer walk with God, to glorify his name,” and “To God be the glory, great things he hath done!” (Hymns of Dawn, #196 and #367) With this as the motivating theme in our hearts, how earnestly we will go forth each day, striving to put these principles and graces into practice.

Bearing Our Trials Submissively

This is another way in which we can glorify God. We read about Job, who, although he suffered the loss of property, family, respect of his friends, and his own health, continued faithful to God. He said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21) Job recognized that God’s name must be glorified, and that this, by far, transcended any trial that he would undergo.

So he continued to give God the glory, since Jehovah had permitted these things; he was able to recognize that there must be excellent lessons for him to learn. Jehovah gave, and Jehovah hath taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah! What an example and challenge this presents for us to follow! How often we see brethren who are suffering serious illnesses, trials, and problems, accepting them submissively as divine providences; how they glorify God’s name in this evidence of the faith which God has wrought in his people.

“If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (I Pet. 4:16) Let us remember this when the trials come, and say, “God’s name must be glorified by my patient endurance of this trial.” By praying for God’s assistance in the matter, also, we will have the grace and strength to endure the vicissitudes of life, and submit to God’s will for us.

“Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Ps. 50:15) First we must call upon the name of Jehovah, the covenant-keeping God, whom we know will allow only those experiences which are best for us. When trying events occur, would that we will have the grace to thank him for these providences, submitting to them, and thus glorify his name.

Have Faith in God

We glorify God by evidencing our faith in him. Abraham “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” (Rom. 4:20,21) How beautifully God’s name is glorifed when he is taken at his word! “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4) How carefully we should study God’s Word so we may see that our daily lives are in harmony with it.

Suffering for Principle

We can bring glory to God by being faithful to his principles, even when this faithfulness brings us suffering. Remember the three Hebrew youths of Daniel’s day who, because they were faithful to God’s principles, held Jehovah’s name as the central commitment of their lives, were willing to die in the fiery furnace, and, in so doing brought glory to God’s name! As we recall, they were spared by a miraculous salvation! Note the feelings later expressed by King Nebuchadnezzar, who had sentenced them to this horrible death: “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore, I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.” (Dan. 3:28,29) How the sterling characters shown by these three young Hebrew men affected the great monarch, Nebuchadnezzar, and he was moved to praise their God.

Daniel, too, was willing to suffer for principle in order that God’s name would be glorified. On one occasion Daniel interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the tree that had been chopped down. He said it represented a period when the king would suffer a siege of madness, and that he would eat grass till “seven times [years]” had passed. Daniel said this would be a learning experience for Nebuchadnezzar, “till thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomsoever he will.” The prophet was willing to make himself vulnerable to the anger of the king by this unwelcome prediction! At the end of the seven years of the king’s illness, again Nebuchadnezzar glorified God due to the faithfulness of Daniel. He said, “At the end of the days [seven years], I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation. … Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the king of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”—Dan. 4:34,37

Because of the faithfulness of God’s people, others may have been moved to glorify God’s name. It is rare for us to hear about these instances, as we have been told of Nebuchadnezzar’s case. But faithfulness to God does elicit praise to his name. That we, who are sinful and imperfect, can be raised up from this condition into an attitude of glorifying God’s high and holy name, is an actuality which people can understand, relate to, and appreciate.

Let Your Light Shine

We glorify God by witnessing to his goodness as shown in his plan, and by our works of faith. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your works and glorify your Father in heaven. Jesus said, “I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work thou gayest me to do.” (John 17:4) The prime motivation of our Lord in his ministry was glorifying God’s name. This was uppermost in his mind, in everything he did and said. Later he prayed, “I have revealed your name unto the men you have given me.” He was not talking about the spelling or the title, but the meaning of God’s name. He revealed the Father to us in all his majesty—he who knew the Father intimately. And he has revealed him to you and to me through his Word.

Let us consider the thought of how Jesus exemplified God’s holy name. “I have revealed your very self, your real self, to the people you have given me out of this world.” (John 17:6, Amplified Version) The King James Version reads: “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gayest me.” This was the primary thought in our Lord’s mind. He must always bring glory to God’s name. So, too, it should be our first thought, our aim in life, to glorify Jehovah’s wonderful name!

All the miracles of healing, including raising the dead, Jesus performed only to bring glory to God’s name. When his friend, Lazarus, was sick, Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death,” explaining, “but for the glory of God.” (John 11:4) In other words, it was simply another occasion where Jesus could show God’s great glory in this momentous exhibition of his power—to raise one who had been dead several days back to life and health! This was what was foremost in Jesus’ mind, that this miracle would bring glory to his Father’s all-glorious name!

At the very end of Jesus’ ministry, when he was celebrating the Last Supper in the upper room, Judas left. Jesus was aware of the sequence of events that would happen that night, and he anticipated the final, terrible trial which was to press down on him in a few hours. After Judas’ departure, his words were, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” (John 13:34) This was the mind of Christ—this was how Jesus reacted when trials pressed down upon him! He said, Now God’s name shall be glorified, and if that is true, it does not matter if I suffer! And the Apostle Paul told us to “let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.”—Phil. 2:5

As his earthly career ended, Jesus prayed, saying, “My soul is troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name.” (John 12:27,28) This is how Jesus reacted to the trial that awaited him so soon: he would be arrested, forsaken by his disciples, condemned, and crucified. He said, simply, “Father, let this glorify your name.” When trials come upon us, do you and I react in this way? Let us take Jesus as our example and say, “Father, glorify thy name in this experience.”

Then came the cross. As a focal point in history, this one event glorified God’s name more than any other moment. There on the cross we see Jesus fully desiring, willing to present his life a living sacrifice—a ransom price—so that God’s name would be glorified forever in due time.

When All Will Glorify God’s Name

God’s name will be glorified in the Millennial Age. And if we put on the graces of the Spirit, and are faithful to our training as part of the sympathetic priesthood, we shall have a part in glorifying God’s name in that glorious day. How our hearts rejoice when we look forward to a perfect, restored earth, and picture all mankind together raising their voices in praising God in a grand, loud Hallelujah! This means, ‘Praise Jehovah’. They will sing “the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord [Jehovah] God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints [nations, Margin].” (Rev. 15:3) “Who shall not reverence and glorify your name Jehovah? For thou only art holy: all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”—Rev. 15:4, Diaglott

What a wonderful time that will be! What a thrill to share a part in rehabilitating the world to that state where they can with one voice say that Jehovah is great and marvelous! Who will not glorify his name when his judgments are abroad in all the earth! What a wonderful prospect is ours if we are faithful!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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