Have you ever wondered why we worship God? Or why God wants us to worship Him? It seems like an odd concept, a God that demands He be worshipped. If a human demanded worship, they would be categorized as either ridiculously egotistic or horribly insane. Does this mean that God is actually some whacked out, megalomaniac in the sky? Certainly few of us would be willing to lavish on our affections on someone who was so hopelessly selfish.
It’s true that God created us for His own pleasure, and it’s also true that God wants us to worship Him. Is this a sign that God is actually severely self-serving? Not at all, because comparing His pleasure to our selfishness is like comparing apples to architecture. Not only are they different things but they are completely different realities. God’s pleasure amounts to our blessing. In other words, it is His pleasure to bless us.
Truly, God is as good as the psalmist tells us, and we were created to be recipients of that goodness. And, if we can’t see God’s goodness from His creation, then we certainly should be able to tell it from Jesus’ death and resurrection.
You see, when we taste God’s goodness, our natural response is worship. In fact, when God shows up in a tangible way, we really have no other desire than to worship Him. When God comes to us, we are overcome by His goodness, and we revel in His love.
But why does God want us to worship Him alone? Simply, because it’s the absolute best for us. The Old Testament stories highlight again and again that the object of the Israelites’ worship set their direction and harnessed their attention. When Israel worshipped foreign gods, they took on the qualities of those gods. Worshipping those gods led down paths of death, where things like infanticide and religious prostitution were commonplace.
Worship of the real God, the God who established Himself through the ancients (like Abraham and Moses) never leads us to such horrific ends. True God-worship puts us on a path toward life, to a place where we begin to take on qualities of God’s goodness, mercy, and patience. It is a path that leads to real joy. And a God who patterns out a path to pure joy for His creation can hardly be called selfish.
Dig Deeper: Isaiah 48
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