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Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth. Ps. 96:7-9, NIV
Have you ever wondered about the purpose of praise and worship? Why do we sing and pray about God’s greatness and majesty? Atheists often mock at the idea and charge God with being some egomaniac that needs people to tell Him how great He is. Sometimes their poison seeps into Christian thinking as we wonder why God wants praise and worship.
If a human being was demanding to be praised and worshipped, requiring others to continually tell him or her how great he or she is, they would indeed be an egomaniac. They would be seeking to build up a shaky self-image and/or exercise power and control over others. We might even question their sanity.
However, God is not a human being. Our God is the Creator of the Universe. With His Words He made all the stars, some of them dwarf our sun. The universe is so vast we have not even found an edge to it yet! On planet earth, the complexity and structure of the human body, the variety of plants and animals, and the harmony of all of creation when operating as designed is mind-blowing amazing. All of this designed in the mind of God and spoken into existence by His Word. And that is not even the greatest of His works! He loved us so much that He humbled Himself and limited Himself to become a true human being and die a horrendous death on the Cross so that He could redeem our hateful, rebellious souls.
So when we consider why God requires praise and worship, we have to keep in mind that He is not as we are. We are creation, He is Creator and Redeemer. God is the only Being that is totally self-aware. We all have parts of ourselves that we have not discovered yet. Hidden secrets, corrupt motivations, and even virtues that have not yet been revealed even to us. God; however, has no such hidden areas. He is totally aware of every aspect of His Being. He has no need of us or anything in creation. He knows how great He is - without the pride that often accompanies human achievement. God has no need that we tell Him what He already knows! God has no need in Himself for our praise and worship.
God is Love. Everything about God is giving for the benefit of others. Praise and worship is not for God’s benefit, but for ours! As we worship God for an aspect of His greatness - whether it be Who He is, some part of His creation, His redemption and work in our lives personally, etc. - what we are doing is aligning our minds and spirits with the Truth. We are changing our thinking patterns from believing and acting on satanic lies to the Truth of how things really are. We are the ones who need to realize how great our God is. Praise and worship is a powerful method of doing that. God is Truth and as we align our minds and spirits with Truth we are drawn closer to God and experience more of Him. [We have to avoid the error; however, of thinking of Truth as cold facts. Ultimately, Truth is a living Person Who enters relationship with us. This is not a scientific study, but a relational journey!] While we need to be in an attitude of praise and worship at all times, this is especially important as we go through times of emotional distress - depression, fear, doubt, etc. - because then, more than ever, we need to align our very being with Truth.
So, since God doesn’t need our praise and worship, does He care about it or enjoy it? Of course He does! Worship, as we have said in other places, is an intimate relationship with our Lover, Creator and Redeemer. The intimate husband/wife marriage relationship is the only thing that gives us even a small picture of this relationship. [This is one reason why satan loves to pervert sex and destroy people with it - to give a false image of God and drive people away from Him in fear.] God does not need, but He enjoys, our praise and worship response to His love and greatness. Even in the natural, a father, who has a healthy self image, does not need his son or daughter’s admiration, but he appreciates it and it helps to build relationship [as opposed to a son or daughter who is distrustful or rebellious].
Let us move forward in our Christian life in an attitude of praise and worship and reach new heights in our relationship with our fantastic God.