For most of my life, I never understood why God wanted us to glorify and worship Him. It seemed to be narcissistic, or arrogant, or otherwise similar to behavior demonstrated by my comic book villains. For a God that wanted our complete attention and obedience, He didn’t seem to be a very selfless or humble being. He didn’t seem very loving. He seemed pushy. In short, it didn’t make sense to me why a supposedly selfless God would seem so greedy.
Now that God has led me up the road a bit, it makes perfect sense to me why God would want our adoration. It’s hard to explain because it’s a matter of perspective. You have to see it.
If you climbed to the top of a plateau overlooking an African savannah at sunset, you could tell me how gorgeous the view was. You could tell me it brought tears to your eyes and inspired you. If I was still sitting at the bottom, I wouldn’t really understand. How could I? I hadn’t experience your sunset on the plateau. It wouldn’t matter whether or not I believed you, I just couldn’t know.
If we climbed up to the top of the plateau together the next day at dusk, then I would stand next to you and nod and feel the goosebumps on my arms. “Yes, now I understand. It is gorgeous.”
Giving God glory and praise is the same way.
While I have spent decades studying God, it feels like only recently that I have gotten to know Him a bit. When I say “know” Him, I mean to participate in real fellowship and relationship. Knowing facts about God isn’t the same thing as knowing God just as knowing facts about light isn’t the same thing as seeing that sunset on the savannah. What I’ve seen gives me goosebumps and the urge to tell people about what I’ve seen, even if no one seems as excited as me (yet). God wants us to give Him glory and worship because he is beautiful, the source of all beauty, and He deserves it. And when we see that, we are so much better off. Our lives will be more joyful and fruitful,we will know our place in the world, and we will know our place in His Kingdom. Even when he demands our worship, God is not being arrogant or selfish. He’s helping us.
If you are searching for God and you haven’t found the beauty yet, don’t be discouraged. If you ask, He’ll lead you up to the plateau and you’ll see with your own eyes.
Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
letting them drink from your rivers of delight.
For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. (David)