BACK GROUND: The following is a letter that I wrote some years ago to a man who called in on a talk radio program which I hosted. He was related to one of the local church members who attended with me. He wanted to know if it was egotistical of God to want us to worship Him. I briefly answered his question on air. I also followed up with a letter. Here is a summary of the letter.
Dear John (not real name),
I am excited about your inquiry. It demonstrates a desire on your part to know and understand God better.
You ask why God would demand worship from humanity. Is He an egotist? Is He vain? Is He self-absorbed?
Nothing could be farther from the truth! Acts 17:24-25 says, “God who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything (Emphasis mine), since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.” None of us really add glory (beauty) or honor (weight) to His essence. He does not depend on man. He needs nothing from man (read 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17; Acts 7:47-50; and Acts 17:22-28).
Yes, He does receive joy and pleasure from man’s doing what is right (read Psalm 149:4; Luke 15:7, 10,32; 2 Corinthians 2:15; Philippians 4:18). Yes, He wants to spend eternity with us (see Matthew 25:34; John 17:24). But, God needs nothing from man. It is man who needs God.
It is not that He needs our praise. It is we who need to praise Him. One man, Leroy Brownlow, observed, “No man can be truly happy who regards himself alone. The unhappiest person and the most self-centered person I know are one in the same person.” Again, he wrote, “As the little flower seed never becomes beautiful and fragrant until it breaks out of itself, and grows up and blossoms, so it is with man.”
Now God is certainly worthy of praise and honor for all that He’s done; But it is really we who need to give praise. It gives man something bigger than self to live for each day. Consider Romans 15:5-7. God brought Jew and Gentile together. He brought men of different backgrounds and nationalities together. How did He do this? He got man to look to Him and focus upon Him instead of self and local pride.
Read also 1 Corinthians 1. Division and strife were a great problem at Corinth. If my count is right, Jesus is mentioned by name (Jesus), title (Christ, Lord), and personal pronoun (Him, His) 13 times in the first 13 verses. It is as if Paul is telling them that if they take their eyes off of Him, and place them on man, that division will be the result. He said, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no division among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment… Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10, 13). Man needs something to focus on larger than himself. In 1 Corinthians 10:17 Paul writes, “For we, though many, are one bread, and one body; for we are all partake of that one bread.”
I hope this brief letter helps. I am available for anything I can help you with in understanding His will.
May God bless you.