Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God

Here is how Jonathan Edwards explains the way knowing God and loving God glorifies God:

"God glorifies Himself toward the creatures also in two ways: 1. By appearing to . . . their understanding. 2. In communicating Himself to their hearts, and in their rejoicing and delighting in and enjoying the manifestations which He makes of Himself. . . . God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it. His glory is then received by the whole soul, both by the understanding and by the heart."Jonathan Edwards, The “Miscellanies,”ed. Thomas Schafer, vol. 13, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994), 495, Miscellany 448; emphasis added. See also Miscellany 87, pp. 251–252; Miscellany 332, p. 410; Miscellany 679 (not in the New Haven vol.).

In other words, God gets glory from his creatures in worship by our knowing him truly, and by our enjoying him duly. Where knowledge of God is defective, his glory will be diminished in our defective knowing. Where delight in God is restrained or hindered or discouraged, his glory will be diminished in our diminished enjoyment. Essential to glorifying God is seeing him clearly and savoring him dearly.

What Worship Leaders Do, Including the Preacher

The implications of this for life and worship are immeasurable. This reality touches us at so many levels and in so many ways, no one will ever trace out all the implications. But for our purpose here, one implication is plain. When Christians gather for worship, the aim of those who lead must be to put before the mind of the worshipers the truest, clearest views of God possible, so as to waken in the heart of the worshipers the purest and most suitable affections toward God.

I say “suitable affections” to refer to all the emotions we are capable of that correspond appropriately to whatever truth about God is presented to the mind, for example, joy (Philippians 4:4), contentment (Hebrews 13:5), delight (Psalm 37:4), fervent brotherly love (1 Peter 1:22), hope (Psalm 42:5), fear (Luke 12:5), peace (Colossians 3:15), zeal and fervency (Romans 12:11), grief (2 Corinthians 7:10), sorrow (James 4:9), desire (1 Peter 2:2), tenderheartedness (Ephesians 4:32), gratitude (Ephesians. 5:19–20), and lowliness (Philippians 2:3).

Wherever emotions are strong without some truth to warrant them, we call this “emotionalism” and put no value on it. And wherever beautiful and valuable truth about God is clear and there is little response of the heart, God is dishonored. Or as Edwards said, “When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it.” And where God is less glorified because the heart is lagging behind the head, worship is jeopardized.Content taken from Expository Exultation: Christian Preaching as Worship by John Piper, ©2018. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187. (

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