The Bible says God does things in us and for us to glorify himself. Many verses encourage us to praise him.
Does this mean God is an insecure egotist who makes himself look good in our eyes because he craves our adulation?
No. God is complete and self-sufficient. He does not need our approval or praise.
The Israelite experience at the Red Sea sheds light on the issue of God’s glory and our praise.
God told the Israelites on two occasions that he intended to glorify himself through Pharaoh and the Egyptian army.
God first mentioned this intention when he told the Israelites to encamp at the Red Sea. He restated this goal after they set up camp, and the Egyptian army drew near.
So how did God glorify himself?
He stationed himself as a rearguard behind the Israelite caravan to prevent the Egyptian army from overtaking them.
At the same time, he parted the Red Sea in front of the caravan so that the Israelites could cross over to the opposite shore on dry land.
Then, after the Israelites had safely reached the other side, he drowned the members of the Egyptian army who had pursued them onto the seabed.
God glorified himself at the Red Sea by doing something for the Israelites that was immeasurably more than they could imagine.
How did the Israelites respond after God glorified himself?
They celebrated with praise, dance, and song, as an expression of their delight in him.
This same interplay between God’s glory and our praise occurs today.
God glorifies himself by doing things in us, and for us, that gladden our hearts to the point where we cannot contain ourselves.
We are so thrilled with the outcomes he produces and so amazed by how he delivers them, that we must break into song, dance, or praise to express our delight in him fully.
For this reason, we should pray eagerly and hope earnestly that God will glorify himself as we walk in harmony with him.
The Israelites did not fully appreciate God while they were under threat from the Egyptian army.
However, they delighted in him when they looked back from the opposite shore and realized how he had glorified himself through their distress.
Likewise, we may not fully appreciate God while we suffer on earth.
However, we will delight in him when we look back from heaven and see how he glorified himself through our afflictions.