Worship - Only God Is Worthy

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 21, 2013 0 comments

I’m sitting here in the living room of my home watching CNN news because my roommate has it on, and I just heard something completely ridiculous that was certainly very well-meaning. They were showing footage of the damage done by the recent tornadoes in the Midwest and covering some of the stories that have come out of the destroyed towns. As the anchor talked about the positive stories of people helping each other, he shared that one couple whose home was destroyed had a picture of themselves that was found 80 miles away and posted on Facebook by the stranger who found it so that it could eventually be returned. The couple’s daughter was interviewed and said, “It’s just a testament to the greatness of humanity”. While I agree that the stranger did a great deed, isn’t the woman missing something obvious? How does one explain how something traveled that far and that fast by weather alone, or how it “just happened” to wind up in the hands of a kind stranger, or how there were enough connections between the strangers to get the picture back where it belongs? There are only two possible options: random coincidence or the will of God. I submit to you that the story is not about the “greatness of humanity”, but about the love and faithfulness of God.

If you stop and think about it, wanting to be our own God, or in other words “be worshipped and worship ourselves”, has been the problem ever since the first sin. The serpent tempted Eve by saying that she and her husband would “be like God, knowing good and evil” if they ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:5). This obviously appealed to their hearts’ desires because they immediately took some of the fruit and ate it. Since that day, humans have been battling the same temptation. Pop stars do increasingly bizarre and inappropriate things to make sure they are getting more publicity than the competition, politicians will say and do just about anything to get your support and loyalty, and professional athletes on even the worst of teams immediately celebrate when they make a good play so that the attention is on them. Social media is also a stumbling block, as so many people boast about how many “friends” or “followers” they have.

We may not realize it, but when we worship ourselves or try to convince others that we are to be worshipped, our actions are on par with those of Satan. I understand that’s a hard truth for many, but it’s true nonetheless. After Jesus is baptized and just before his earthly ministry begins, he is led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. You can find the story in Matthew 4:1-11. The devil tempts Jesus in three different ways. After questioning Jesus’ authority as the Son of God with the first two temptations, he goes for the jackpot with the last one. He takes Jesus to a place where they can see all the kingdoms of the world and says, “All this I will give you if you bow down and worship me” (v. 9). Satan was so desperate to be worshipped that he even deceived himself. Last time I checked, the kingdoms weren’t his to give away! Jesus knew this, so he responded by quoting the Scripture that says, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Deuteronomy 6:13 and Matthew 4:10).

One of the marks of a true believer in Jesus is humility. This means that we understand that we are not good apart from him. The Bible tells us “there is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3). We know and intentionally remind ourselves that we are not worthy to be worshipped because we are mere servants of the living God, who alone is worthy. We may receive encouragement and praise from others for how we allow God’s gifts to be used in our lives, but there is a fine line between that and worship. We remind others that the gifts are from God and we are mere vessels. Two great examples from the New Testament come to mind. In Acts 10, Cornelius falls at the feet of Peter in reverence. “But Peter made him get up. ‘Stand up,’ he said, ‘I am only a man myself’” (v. 26). Peter has apparently come a long way from arguing with the other disciples about who will be the greatest in heaven. Then in Revelation 22, the Apostle John writes that he “fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing (the revelation) to me” (v. 8). He then writes that the angel said to him, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” (v. 9)

Peter and the angel were able to understand that they were not worthy to be worshipped. Did you catch that? Even an angel is nothing more than a fellow servant of God with all the brothers and sisters in Christ. Only God is worthy of worship. You and I live in a world where people are constantly looking for someone to worship and constantly wanting to be worshipped. Again I say, only God is worthy! Whether you are the one who has fallen into the trap of worshipping idols, which include everything other than God, or the one who revels in the false worship you receive from others, a redirection of your focus is crucial. Servants of God will come and go. We are here today and gone tomorrow. But God is worthy, he is the beginning and the end, and he must be worshipped!