Psalm 34 is a call to worship God. Verse three says, “Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.” The word for Lord, you might notice, is all caps. The translators used that convention to identify the personal name of God, rather than the general term for God. His name is Yahweh! But in the New Testament his name is Jesus. As Christians, I believe we can read Psalm 34 as calling us to “exalt the name of Jesus.” To exalt Jesus’ name means to lift it up above the mundane place our society gives it (sometimes as a swear word) and give it the highest priority in our lives. We “exalt” (or lift) up Jesus by giving Him the highest priority in our lives.

Forty years ago George B. Shea was attending Bible School. But, he really loved to sing. He won an audition at a radio station in New York City and was offered a significant contract to sing. His job was to sing the songs on the current Hit Parade. Success, wealth, and fame were in his reach, surely the goal of every “American Idol” aspirant. His mother placed a poem on the piano one evening and in the morning he took it and composed a melody to the words and made the song’s message the major focus of his life. He “exalted” the name of Jesus. You’ve probably sung the song:

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather be His than have riches untold; I’d rather have Jesus than houses or land; I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause; I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause; I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame; I’d rather be true to His holy name.

Chorus: Than to be the king of a vast domain or be held in sin’s dread sway! I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.

Shea turned down the contract. As Paul Harvey might say, “Now for the rest of the story.” Shea was later introduced to Billy Graham. You know the rest: he became a well known Gospel singer who “exalted the name of Jesus” his entire life.

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)