A different kind of famous (Deuteronomy 4)

Do you ever get tired of churchspeak?

You know what I mean? The vaguely abstract language we Christians use, like “surrender”, “give it to God”, “overcome”. Or even the supposedly simple words, like “worship” or “glorify”.

Because it’s like, what do those words really mean? How does one “surrender”? What’s step one? What’s step two? What is “worship” and what isn’t “worship”? How do you tell the difference?

And what on earth does it mean to “glorify God”?

Maybe that’s just me, but that’s okay. No matter how offbeat the question, there is Someone who has all of the answers. And they’re in the delicate pages of His word.

Which brings us to Deuteronomy 4. It’s a long chapter, as Moses continues talking to the Israelites. This time he goes way back, all the way to when they were in front of Mount Sinai, receiving the law and commandments from God’s very own mouth.

He’s reminding them of their roots. As they prepare to cross into their Promised Land without him (verse 22), they need to be reminded of Who they serve and how to serve Him.

Essentially, Moses explains, in concrete, specific terms, how to glorify God. So how do we do it?

Make God famous…

The word “glorify” means “to represent as glorious”. “Glorious” means “possessing or deserving glory”.

So glorifying God essentially means to make it obvious just how great He really is. And Moses in this chapter explains two simple ways of doing this: glorifying God with our actions and with our words.

…with our words.

“What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us…? Do not forget the things your eyes have seen…teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (verses 8-9)

We glorify God when we talk about Him. When we go on and on about Him. When we tell stories about Him and what He’s done. When we describe His sweetest character traits.

It’s like hyping up one of our friends to another friend. It’s spreading the gospel through the most basic methods – word of mouth. It’s making Jesus famous.

…with our actions.

“See, I have taught you decrees and laws…observe them carefully, for this will show…the nations.” (verses 5-6)

We glorify God when we do what He says. Anything worth doing is only worth doing because it makes your life better.

At first, obedience seems like an itchy, too small coat, something that closes your life up. But God promises that obeying Him will make our lives more free, more abundant, and more open. And if our lives are living examples of that, how can Jesus not become famous?

“I am worthy of glory and honor and praise.”

Christians get a bad rap these days because, well, a lot of them deserve it. We don’t glorify God with our actions or our words. We glorify ourselves. Or we glorify a person. Or we glorify tradition. Anything but God.

But why is that? Think about it. If you can’t stop talking about something or you devote yourself to a cause, it’s because you believed it was great first. It’s because you glorified that thing in your heart first.

And that’s what Moses gets at in verses 32-40. “Ask yourself”, he says. “Ask yourself if there’s anyone like God?”

Ask yourself if God is glorious to you. Do you know anyone like Him? Has anyone else ever done what He’s done? Is there anyone with His power? Or His love?

And if we’re still not convinced, can’t we tell Him so? And can’t He remove the veil from our confused hearts and reveal to us once and for all that He is truly great? Great enough to obey? Great enough to talk and talk and talk about?

Moses told the Israelites to “acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.” (verse 39)

In other words, believe for yourself that God is great.

And then you won’t be able to stop showing the world.

What do you think? What does it mean to “glorify” God? Start the conversation in the comments!

 

3 thoughts on “A different kind of famous (Deuteronomy 4)

  1. i think it means just what you said – to keep the focus on God and Him alone. not yourself or the cause or the event or the people leading or in charge or the people benefiting from said causes or events, but strictly on God. In other words, go about doing the business of life but give God all the glory for the success of everything in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a PERFECT definition of what it means to glorify our God! And I love the point you made about how God will actually REVEAL Himself to us so that we can glorify Him!

    Liked by 1 person

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