Godly Boasting

“I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” (Psalm 34:1-3)

This is an open praise. David is “bragging” about God to anybody who will listen. The boast that his soul is making is broadcast so that everyone will know of his joy. The Hebrew word translated “boast” in this passage is halal, from which hallelujah is developed. Halal is most often used to convey the idea of excitement or delight.

Our boast is designed to magnify and exalt the Lord so that we can halal together. “Magnify” (Hebrew gadal) is an imperative verb that demands us to “make great” or elevate to “great importance” the memory of the Lord. “Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty” (Psalm 104:1). With similar emphasis, “exalt” (Hebrew ruwm) demands that we “raise up” the name of the Lord above everything else. “I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth” (Isaiah 25:1).

Our church environment often connects the idea of praise with musical episodes during our worship or moments of celebration (clapping, vocal response, etc.). Although these may contain elements of magnification or exaltation, they are not the focus of David’s request. The boasting that David is speaking of brings about body language that is unmistakable. “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; . . . as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10). HMM III

Adapted from Treasures in the Psalms, Henry M. Morris III, 347-348.

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