Why does God require worship?

Many Christians often wonder why God commands us to praise and worship Him. Sceptics go a step further in saying that God is egotistical or vain and that is the basis for why He requires worship. Although this is a very common misconception both within and outside Christian circles, it is important to understand that a god who is narcissistic and self-absorbed is not the God of the Bible, and not the God whom we worship. 

The first point that I would like to address is that God did create us to worship Him. There are multiple places in scripture where we are commanded to express our gratitude and thanks to God. However, where we make a mistake is in likening God to sinful man. Let’s take a look at this passage in Isaiah:

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

    neither are your ways my ways,”

declares the Lord.

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways

    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

                                                Isaiah 55:8-9

The ways of God are not comparable to the ways of man. Yes, if a man on earth were to receive significant praise and worship I have no doubt that they would be filled with pride and arrogance. However, the issue with this reasoning is that we assume that God possesses the same sinful tendencies that we have. This is untrue. God’s humility is manifest in relationship with man, and the pinnacle of humility was demonstrated in His rescuing of sinners. God cannot be both humble and prideful at the same time, and God has displayed His humility and compassion countless times throughout the Bible. 

I would like to now bring your attention to the book of Psalms. Broadly speaking, the Psalms are songs of worship and praise to God, but a commentary I recently read from Charles Spurgeon highlighted the humility of God.  Psalm 149 on a whole speaks about praising and worshipping God, however,  Psalm 149:4 says For the Lord takes pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation”. From this verse Spurgeon expounds saying:

What condescension is this on Jehovah's part, to notice, to love, and to delight in his chosen! Surely there is nothing in our persons, or our actions, which could cause pleasure to the Ever blessed One, were it not that he condescends to men of low estate. The thought of the Lord's taking pleasure in us is a mine of joy never to be exhausted. He will beautify the meek with salvation. They are humble, and feel their need of salvation; he is gracious, and bestows it upon them. They lament their deformity, and he puts a beauty upon them of the choicest sort. He saves them by sanctifying them, and thus they wear the beauty of holiness, and the beauty of a joy which springs out of full salvation. He makes his people meek, and then makes the meek beautiful. Herein is grand argument for worshipping the Lord with the utmost exultation: he who takes such a pleasure in us must be approached with every token of exceeding joy.

And that is the key. When we come to the realisation of the true character of God, there is no way that we can label Him as egocentric or self-centred. God is love and compassion and mercy, and it would be impossible to reconcile these evident characteristics with the qualities of vanity or deceit. It just goes against the definition of who the God of the Bible is. The mercy and compassion of God embodied in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus dispels any false or misconceived notions about God’s character.


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