Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” ’ (Luke 4:8)
The worship of God has always been challenged. Right at the beginning Satan, formerly God’s highest angel, somehow got it into his heart that he deserved to be worshipped, just like God. Christians have long seen in Isaiah’s depiction of the King of Babylon a prophetic insight into Satan’s heart at that time as he said, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’ (Isaiah 14:13-14). Thousands of years later he was still challenging Jesus in the wilderness over who deserved worship. Two thousand years on, and he’s still doing the same, whether through atheistic politics or diverse human philosophies. But more subtly, his challenge can even come through the thoughts in our own heart: ‘Why worship God?’
Let’s be clear first of all that God doesn’t need our worship. He’s not some sort of ‘divine battery’ that needs recharging nor some inadequate being who needs ‘pumping up’ through worship. God needs nothing – that’s why he’s God! No, it’s not God who needs our worship; it’s us!
We need to worship, first, because it’s what we were made for. Peter says that the very reason for our life is ‘that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light’ (1 Peter 2:9). St Augustine summed it up like this: ‘You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.’ Second, we need to worship because worship is the proper response to God’s love. How can we think of our Father’s love in sending Christ to the cross for us and not worship? It would be churlish! But third, we need to worship because worship keeps us in our proper place. It reminds us that the universe does not revolve around us and our plans; that there is someone greater; that we are not God!
Why worship? It’s what you were made for and how you live best!
'Let my people go, so that they may worship me.’ (Exodus 8:1)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont
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