My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has shown concern for His humble servant. (Luke 1:46-48)
A metrical Psalter is a kind of Bible translation or paraphrase from the Bible’s Book of Psalms. It translates a Psalm into poetry, often for singing as hymns in a church. James 5:13 asks, “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” For the Jewish people and early Christians, the Psalms were their prayer and hymn book, exclusively or along with other songs. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
Before the Protestant Reformation, lay members (non-clergy) of a congregation were not allowed to sing hymns in church. Singing or chanting was done by priests, monks, nuns, and other specialists. The Reformers translated singable versions of Psalms for worship and involved everyone in praising God. Robert Crowley (1517–1588) produced the first complete English metrical psalter with musical notation. The Bay Psalm Book (1640) was the first book published in the British colonies in America.
Last time we looked at Psalm 34:1-10 briefly. You can read Christ’s Friendship Toward Us. Today we look at a metrical Psalm version of the same Scriptures. Again, I interpret the Psalm in a Christ-centered way.
RPCNA Version of Psalm 34
1 In every time I’ll always bless the Lord; / His praise will ever be within my mouth.
2 My soul will make its boasting in the Lord; / Let all the humble hear it and be glad.
3 O join with me to magnify the Lord! / Let us together raise His name on high!
4 I sought the Lord and He has answered me, / And He from all my terrors set me free.
5 O look to Him, be radiant, unashamed! / 6 This poor man cried; the Lord from trouble saved.
7 The Lord’s own angel constantly encamps / Around those fearing Him, and rescues them.
8 O taste and you will see the Lord is good! / How happy is the one who trusts in Him!
9 O fear the Lord, all you He has redeemed! / For those who fear Him never suffer want.
10 Young lions hunger; they may lack their food; / But those who seek the Lord shall have no want.1
Let’s Magnify Jesus Our Constant Helper
Today I focus on verse 3 only. It says, “O join with me to magnify the Lord! Let us together raise His name on high!” Other Scriptures call us to magnify Christ’s work and ways, to praise Him in song, to glorify Him with thanksgiving, and to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Magnifying Christ means to make Him large in our lives.
When I saw the Statue of Liberty in New York from a distance, it seemed small. But it “got larger” as I approached it by boat. The statue didn’t actually get bigger, it was always 151 feet tall on a 154 foot high pedestal. But when I was up close to the Statue of Liberty, my perspective and view of it changed. Now I could see it in its full size.
That’s a little bit what magnifying the Lord Jesus is like. When we draw near to Him by faith and prayer, God the Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us in Scripture, and we see Him as He is. Jesus is larger than anyone or anything we can imagine, including our problems and troubles. So we are blessed when we magnify Christ, rather than things that bother us. The Bible says, “Come near to God and He will come near to you….The LORD is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you….As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”2
One Way to Magnify Christ is to Celebrate Him
- He is the God who has been our Shepherd all our lives.
- He is the Mighty One, the Rock of our salvation.
- Jesus is our Champion who triumphs over His and our enemies.
- He is God over all earthly nations, for He made the heavens and earth.
- The Lord’s way are perfect, His word is flawless.
- He shields all who take refuge in Him.
- He has mercy on us, according to His unfailing love.
- According to His great compassion, He blots out all our transgressions.
Christians often know these truths, but we forget them or fail to focus on them as we should. We are to remember our Creator all our lives. We are to remember Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection especially as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day. We are to remember that:
Christ our God is with His believers;
He is the Mighty Warrior who saves us;
Jesus quiets us by His love;
And He takes great delight in us and rejoices over us with singing.3
Thank God, Jesus the Son of God is our Great High Priest who has ascended into Heaven. He is able to empathize with our weaknesses and share His strength with us. Now we can approach God’s throne of grace with confidence. Christ loves to give us mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. We can never ask too much of Him in prayer!4
Prayer: Gracious God, when we read Psalm 34 and the rest of Scripture, we see how little we trust you. We shrink you down in our minds. We limit you by our expectations and fears and the opinions of others. Forgive us, Lord. Expand our minds. Transform our hearts. Embolden and empower us to live all out for you. Help us to magnify you, holding nothing back. Help us to trust you, seek you, glorify and enjoy you forever with every fiber of our beings. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.5
Notes (various Bible translations): 1 Psalm 34C from the The Book of Psalms for Singing, published by Crown & Covenant Publications of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA). 2 James 4:8; 2 Chron 15:2; Psalm 73:28. 3 Zeph 3:17. 4 Heb 4:16-18. 5 This prayer is adapted from one I heard at a recent prayer meeting.