God’s glory is the manifestation of all that God is—His divine attributes of holiness, grace, judgment, eternality, omniscience, and love, to name a few. To acknowledge God’s glory is to come to a greater understanding of who He is, to grasp a glimpse of His beauty, brilliance, effulgence, and radiance.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints… (Ephesians 1:18)
To glorify God is to reflect on and give back the glory He has revealed to us—in His Word, in His creation, and in our own hearts. At its core, giving God glory must start with ascribing to God all that He is.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
1 Chronicles 16 gives us a beautiful tutorial, a worship guide, of how we give God glory. It is by no means exhaustive—it will take eternity and beyond to give God all the glory due his name—but it’s a wonderful start, and the essential foundation for the fulfillment of the Pauline command: Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
How do we give God glory?
Sing. Beautiful, worshipful songs are a gift of God. Music fills heaven today and will be an all-encompassing part of our heavenly experience. Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day (v. 23).
Tell. Giving God glory means we tell of His divine attributes and the immeasurable sacrifice of His Son to all who will listen. If you are Tim Tebow or Albert Pujols, you tell everyone on national television of God’s grace and faithfulness every chance you get. The rest of us may not have a celebrity spotlight on us, but others are watching. And we can speak of His love, His faithfulness in our lives, at every opportunity. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples (v. 24).
Praise. We give God glory by praising Him for all He is and that He has done. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place (vv. 25–27).
Sacrificial Giving. Beyond our weekly offerings at church, giving calls for sacrificing to God things that we would, in our honest moments, rather keep for ourselves. (Like taking credit for things God is actually doing—pretty much every good thing.) At the heart of what “glory” means is this principle: We glorify God by giving Him all the credit due Him. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him(vv. 28-29b).
Worship. God tells us that even His inanimate creation worships Him. If inanimate rocks and oceans and trees glorify God, how much more must those created in His image? Worship the Lord in holy array. Tremble before Him, all the earth; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved(vv. 29c–30).
Thanks. We glorify God by giving thanks to Him. O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Then say, “Save us, O God of our salvation, And gather us and deliver us from the nations, To give thanks to Your holy name, And glory in Your praise. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting (vv. 34–36a).
Finally, we glorify God by doing all these things together. Then all the people said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord (v. 36b).