You don’t have to go far on the internet these days to find an article questioning or criticizing modern worship.
One of the frequent criticisms is that this generation’s worship is too focused on us and what God has done for us, instead of Who and What He is – that our worship is too self-centered and instead should call attention to the greatness and grandeur of God Himself.
To that very last phrase, I would say, Yes. With all my heart, yes. Whether or not He ever does another thing for us, isn’t God worthy of our worship, simply based on Who and What He is? Doesn’t the fact alone that God always has been and always will be make Him worthy of any praise we could utter?
So yes, I believe God should indeed be worshiped on the simple basis of His greatness. There should be room in our day for recognizing what an awesome and powerful God we serve.
Does anyone remember the first proclamation made by the angels on the night Jesus was born? Anyone remember the reason the angels gave for His glorious appearing?
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” ~ Luke 2:13-14
Much, if not all, of the goodness proclaimed of God is toward us, His creation. And while He would be good whether we existed or not, He has chosen to be good to us – has good will toward us – loves us and plans good for us – because He is good.
So here is my humble, non-Biblical scholar opinion:
It is never self-centered to worship God for His goodness toward us, because that was what was proclaimed by the angels from the sky on the night Jesus entered this world in human flesh, to fulfill His purpose toward us – Peace on earth, good will toward men. THAT is the proclamation of the Gospel, and the Gospel is indeed a legitimate reason to worship.
I think that in our efforts to treat God with the reverence and respect He deserves, we sometimes forget we worship a tangible God – a God who broke the barrier of our sin – sent His Son to make us holy – so that we could once again have intimate fellowship with Him.
Not only did Jesus come to make us holy and to restore us to fellowship – He came to show us WHO and WHAT God is:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. ~ Colossians 1:15
Jesus…. the compassionate, kind, gracious, patient, forgiving, gentle, humble, attentive, hospitable, merciful, supportive servant of all, who himself was touched by our pain and tempted in every way we are… this Jesus is the image of the God we worship. He is the relate-able, touchable, full-of-good-will-and-tender-mercies heart of God.
Let me ask you something: if you were drowning, and someone risked his own life to save yours, how would you thank that person? How would you feel about him? Would your worship and adoration be based on that person’s magnificent qualities, or what he did for you? Do you think that person would like to hear a run-down of how great his personality is, or a great big “THANK YOU!”?
What He did for us is how we initially relate to God – He is our redeemer – He rescued us! He is God Almighty, yet He adopted us as children, so that we could cry out to Him as Daddy God.
…but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” ~ Romans 8:15
Our relationship with God is based entirely on our need for and dependence on Him. Don’t ever be afraid to be intimate with Him in worship and in fellowship – you are communing with the One Who desires your fellowship and meets your every need.
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:16
So honor Him, reverence Him, maintain a healthy fear of the majesty of all He is, and above all be obedient to Him… because the more we dwell on His grandeur and majesty, the more we are awed and humbled by the thought that He would even take time for us…
But be careful. Be careful not to forsake your first Love – don’t become so religious about your reverence that you forget the passion you have for Him based on what He has done for you because of His great and undying love for you.
He is not a far-away God. He is near, He is personally involved in your life, and He loves for you to acknowledge His goodness toward you personally.
Even Jesus expressed a desire to hear “thank you,” when the one leper ran back to thank him for healing him, and Jesus said, “Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17)
“Thank you,” blesses His heart, and He comes even closer, because close to us is where He desires to be.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. ~ Matthew 12:30