Inasmuch as God’s purpose was to create man in His own image and make him fit to live forever with Him, it should not be surprising that man’s purpose is to glorify His Creator. And so it is.
There are countless reasons why man, and nations, should glorify God. It can ultimately be summarized as adoration, submissiveness, and obedience. God is the Creator; therefore, the created should be submissive and obedient to Him.
The Hebrew word predominately used for ‘glorify’ is Kavedh which has several synonyms including honored, praised, and esteemed.
While David was pondering the excellencies of God he penned the following:
“All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name. For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God…I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore.” Psalm 86:9-10, 12
David, perhaps unknowingly, was speaking of the future millennial kingdom. He noted that God had made (fashioned) all the nations who would in the future, journey to Jerusalem and worship Him. Such would reflect submission and respect by the nations, thus bringing glory to God.
David and his offspring would glorify the name of almighty God forever.
David also spoke of the future Messiah’s command for all Israel to glorify God.
“I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the LORD, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, and fear Him, all you offspring (seed) of Israel.”
Israel (Jacob) was God’s chosen nation. The Messiah said that He would declare His Father’s name to the brethren. Interestingly Jesus didn’t refer to His followers as brothers until after He was resurrected. He instructed the Israelites to praise, glorify, and fear His Father.
Thus praise and glorify in the above passage are synonymous, while ‘fear’ means to revere or hold in awe.
In another Psalm, as God expounds on His sovereignty to Israel, He states another reason to glorify Him.
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” Psalm 50:15
God promised the Israelites that when they found themselves in distress or tribulation, He would rescue them. Their response was to glorify their deliverer.
The prophets also spoke of glorifying God for numerous reasons.
“O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth…Therefore the strong people will glorify You; the city of the terrible nations will fear You. For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat…” Isaiah 25:1, 3-4
Both God’s people and their enemies would honor and glorify God for His wondrous works and befriending those in need.
Perhaps most significantly; however, was that God would be glorified by His redemption of Israel.
“Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel.”
The whole earth and all its inhabitants would witness God’s redemption of His chosen nation.
Then the coming Messiah would be from the descendant of Jacob (Israel) and bring the offer of salvation to all nations on the earth.
“…You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified…‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob… I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’” Isaiah 49:3, 6
Thus God’s glory of Israel would spread to all nations.
God is also glorified by His righteous judgment on Israel’s enemies.
“Behold, I am against you, O Sidon; I will be glorified in your midst…when I execute judgments in her and am hallowed in her.” Ezekiel 28:22