A Worshipping People

a worshipping people

“Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Let everything that breathes sing praise to the Lord!” (Psalm 150)

Genesis 1 can be read as a description of God dedicating all of creation as his temple. Is God trying to tell us that he designed all of creation to bring about his worship? It would appear so. The writers of the Psalms pick this up often. John’s throne room vision in Revelation agrees:

And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever.” (Rev. 5:13)

Humans were created to be worshippers. But we have strayed so far:

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshipping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshipped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1:20-22)

Do we still have idols? We do! Lots of them! Tim Keller says an idol is a “good thing we turn into an ultimate thing”. In other words, “anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God”. I believe Keller is right. Those idols are everywhere. Sometimes we even acknowledge idol worship like Hozier did in the 2013 Grammy nominated hit, “Take Me To Church” (not a Christian song):

My lover’s got humor, She’s the giggle at a funeral, Knows everybody’s disapproval,

I should’ve worshiped her sooner, If the Heavens ever did speak, She’s the last true mouthpiece
Every Sunday’s getting more bleak, A fresh poison each week, “We were born sick”, you heard them say  My church offers no absolutes, She tells me, “Worship in the bedroom”
The only Heaven I’ll be sent to is when I’m alone with you…
Take me to church, I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death, Good God, let me give you my life.

We’ve been talking about the calling of the church this blog season. 1 Peter reminds us that we, the church, are a called-out people who are to display the goodness of God (2:9). Later in his letter, Peter says:

You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

Peter is clearly calling us, the church, to renounce our idols and worship the one true God who brings a hope the idols of the land cannot. Simple, right? Is it though?

I suspect our desires and imaginations have become shrunken and hollow due to our lack of attention, and the appeal of the gods of the land. It takes time to reorient ourselves as worshippers. How can we spur one another on in worship? How can we help each other see God’s truth, goodness, and beauty in stark contrast to the idols? Togetherness is key here. Alone we easily can become inattentive and unaware of God and may replace him with a weak temporary substitute. What if we, with a group of our peers, read one of those big bold revelations of God in Scripture each day? Could that subvert the lure of the idols? Here are a few that always refocus my attention:

  • The last few chapters of Job (38-39) – where God asks all his questions
  • Psalm 8, Psalm 19, Psalm 139
  • Isaiah 6, Isaiah 40
  • Ezekiel 1
  • John 1:1-18
  • 1 Corinthians 15
  • Revelation 1, Revelation 4-5, Revelation 21-22

Let’s help each other see a big, bold, wonderful, True, Good, and Beautiful God together!

“Oh Lord, you’re beautiful, Your face is all I seek! And when your eyes are on this child, Your grace abounds to me.” – Keith Green

Neil Bassingthwaighte
ServeCanada Director & Interim Prayer Catalyst