“Thus you shall pray in this way: Our Father, who is in the heavens, let your name be reverenced.” (Matthew 6:9)
“After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9, KJV)
I wonder whether we spend enough time in our own lives reflecting on the nature an attributes of our God. God is to be reverenced; his name is hallowed; God is the very definition of holiness and righteousness and purity and power. God is glorious above all things that we think of as glorious. And he is wonderful and just. He is light and truth. He is the beginning of all things and the end of all things. He is God and God alone.
We should adore God for who he is. All too often, when we speak of why we worship, we only speak of worship in relationship to what God has done for us. Indeed, we should be eternally grateful for what he has done for us and worship him as a result. But don’t let yourself fall into the trap of worshiping him wholly based on what he has done, because that will lead you to a self-centered relationship with him. When things are good you will worship with gusto. When things are bad, you will be lead to question. Worship God first for who he is and then for what he has done.
Think about things in this manner. When you go to a fine restaurant and dine on a fine meal, you naturally praise the chef. You don’t praise him because he has done you any special favors. You paid a fair price for the meal and it can be assumed that the chef prepares equally fine dishes for each and every patron of the establishment. You praise the chef for two reasons. First, because the chef has demonstrated his skills by creating a meal that was remarkable in every way. It would be rude not to compliment him on his skills in the kitchen. And secondly, you praise the chef because it brings a sense of satisfaction to you and it is pleasing to do so. Given that we are assuming that none of us are world-renown food critics, writing for a prestigious culinary magazine and given that the chef has already secured for himself a good job at a respected restaurant, it would seem that the chef neither needs your compliments nor would be heartbroken without them, never-the-less, they are pleasing to him as well.
Now, let us turn our eyes toward God’s work. Certainly, God is infinitely more remarkable than a fine chef. He demonstrates his glory in his works of creation. And just as God is infinitely more praiseworthy than a fine chef, it is infinitely more appropriate that he be praised. He neither needs our praise nor is his existence based upon it—he is God—yet he gracefully accepts our praises and is pleased by them. Just as it would have been rude to deny the chef praise for his fine meal, it is infinitely more rude—in fact, downright damnable—to deny God praise for his being who he is and for his revelation of his glory in the universe. And, just as it is satisfying and pleasurable to praise the chef for his fine creation—it is infinitely more satisfying and pleasurable to praise God for his being. In fact, since God is the most infinitely fine and good thing that we might praise, I would suggest that the praising of God brings the highest and most infinite pleasure and satisfaction.
Friends, it is a joyous thing to worship the great King of the Universe not just for what he has done, but simply for who he is, and that is why unbelievers who refuse to praise God stand guilty—because their offence, is infinitely condemnable. We don’t often think in these terms, but we must. One of the things that the Baptist preacher, John Piper regularly points out is that God desires us to worship him not because he is needy, but because we are needy and God understands that the worship of him is the highest pleasure that we can experience and he wants us to experience that pleasure.