Column: What’s up with worship?

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A recent visitor to our church asked me:

“It’s weird when people worship God — people lifting their hands up, someone was even crying — does God really need this? Is he really this big guy in the sky demanding that we all give him our attention and worship? That’s kind of weird and honestly doesn’t make God look good. It makes him look needy.”

Exodus 34:14 says “For you shall have no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

This theme holds true through the Old and New Testaments.  God wants our greatest affection and attention. So it’s true?!

I will briefly address one of multiple thoughts on this.

It isn’t because he needs it. It’s because we do.

Humans are idol factories, all of us, and what we choose to worship shapes everything about us. By worship I mean what captures our affection, what we want, find pleasure in and ultimately place our hope in.

We could worship totem poles and carved images like primitive man, or we can worship our 401k, medicine, plastic surgery, shoes or even a new electronic device like modern man. Either way, the actions are the same. From a narcotic, to cars, plastic surgery or a gym membership, we all put our hope in something. God wants to free us from putting our deepest hope in temporal, empty, corporeal things, things that don’t really have power to satisfy for long.

God doesn’t need our worship. He is fully complete without us. However, we need to be set free from trying to quench deep eternal longings with dry lifeless things that waste away or have no lasting power.

So when God says “look at me,” he isn’t at all a needy child. It is the rescuer calling out to those lost at sea, it’s the father saying “over here” to a lost searching child. Moreover, when you walk into a church and see people worshiping with deep gratitude, yes even some in tears, or even cheering at times, it is not because you see a needy God. You see someone lost who has been found, you see the treasure hunter who finally found what he was looking for and you see the child elated because he is now home.

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