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Worship is what is evoked by the presence of God. It is a response, not a self-initiated, creative activity on our part. Worship is the only activity that can involve the totality of our personality without any residue. All other relationships are partial. Worship is always extravagant; Elders throw down their crowns, Mary pours out precious ointment, people prostrate themselves. We don’t worship for what we can “get out of it”
Worship is the submission of all our nature to God:
- The quickening of the conscience by His holiness
- The nourishment of mind with His truth
- The purifying of imagination by His beauty
- The opening of the heart to His love
- The surrender of the will to His purpose.
All this is gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable, and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.
-Edmund Clowney. “unpublished sermon,” in Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People, 3rd ed. (Downers Grove, Il: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 156.
The apprehension of God’s infinite knowledge should fill the Christian with adoration. The whole of my life stood open to his view from the beginning. He foresaw my every fall, my every sin, my every backsliding; yet, nevertheless, fixed his heart upon me. Oh, how the realization of this should bow me in wonder and worship before him!
Arthur W. Pink, The Attributes of God (Grand Rapids, MI: 1975), 26.
It is God’s unique identity which requires worship of him alone. Worship of other beings is inappropriate because they do not share in this unique identity.
Jews understood their practice of monolatry [worship of one God] to be justified, indeed required, because the unique identity of YHWH was so understood as to place him, not merely at the summit of a hierarchy of divinity, but in an absolutely unique category, beyond comparison with anything else.
-Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament’s Christology of Divine Identity (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008), 12.
God has identity. This may seem very elementary but it is a very starling fact in this day and age. To most God is either far off and nebulous or a pattern of their own desires. There is nothing definitive about him/her/it.
As the Jews in the midst of pagan polytheism believed so we as Christians believe: God has an identity. He is somebody. Just like we each have our own identity which is not modeled by someone else’s desires so The Lord has a distinct identity.
This means, at first point, that what one believes about God really doesn’t mean anything. What matters is who God IS. Belief is grounded upon the actual identity of who God is. As Frances Schafer famously said we don’t have “faith in faith” we are to have faith in an actual being who has a definite identity. Our faith does make God. Our faith rest upon what YWHW has declare Himself to be, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7).
The second major point is that we do not decide that God is worthy of worship. His identity demands He is the only one worthy of worship. Where as the presents of our identities is a reflection of His identity categorically His identity is totally separate and unique. Our response is to be that of Moses after hearing YWHW reveal Himself, “And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped” (Exodus 34:8). So distinct and majestic is the Lord’s identity it is appropriate to worship Him alone.
Calling people to worship the Lord, then, is not seeking an exchange of personal preference. It calling people to quit the wrong practice of worshiping what does not deserve worship and to rightly worship Him who deserves it.
Just as faithful Jews stood alone in their world with their belief so we carry on the practice in claiming there is only one Lord and He alone is worthy of worship.
A time lapse video of a erupting volcano in Iceland. enjoy
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke! I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD. Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory! (Isaiah 6:1-3)
“The fear of God in which godliness consists is the fear which constrains adoration and love. It is the fear which consists in awe, reverence, honor, and worship, and all of these on the highest level of exercise. It is the reflex in our consciousness of the transcendent majesty and holiness of God. It belongs to all created rational beings and does not take its origin from sin.”
“The angelic host is overwhelmed with awe and reverence before the manifestation of God’s transcendent holiness.”
~John Murray, The Fear of God: The Soul of Godliness
True fear of the Lord has nothing to do with sin. When we truly fear God it is not because sin is anywhere near the equation. No, true fear is being in complete awe and adoration of the Lord, because He is who He is.
Just think, the holiest created beings in this universe have to shield their eyes to the full display of God’s majestic greatness! There is nothing in this universe that will not be blinded by the greatness of His splendor! That is where the true fear of God resides.
There will never be a point in our lives in all of eternity when we will not fear Him! For no matter how holy we are in our glorified state, we will be infinitely lesser than His infinite greatness!