Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Rev. 4:11) One of the problems we have in worshipping God is forgetting why He is so WORTHY to be worshipped. When we do, our minds tend to shift into neutral and we end up mouthing words that we’re barely thinking about.
Part of magnifying God’s worth is recounting the reasons it’s appropriate to worship Him. One way is to recount what Wayne Grudem calls God’s “summary attributes.” Those include God’s perfection, blessedness, beauty, and glory. We can also speak to each other about more specific aspects of God’s nature: He is eternal, good, just, merciful, righteous, holy, sovereign, all-powerful, omniscient, and all-wise. He is our Shepherd, our Father, our Deliver, our Shield, and our Savior.
Obviously the list goes on forever. But a worship leader needs to remind his congregation of specific reasons God is worthy of worship. John Owen, a Puritan pastor of the 17th century, wisely wrote: “We must not allow ourselves to be satisfied with vague ideas of the love of Christ which present nothing of his glory to our minds” (John Owen, The Glory of Christ, pg. 54).
In magnifying God’s worth, we take time to remember His word, His worthiness, and also His works. Who God is can’t be separated from what He does, but it’s helpful to think of both categories as we give God praise. The Psalms are filled with exhortations to give God glory for His deeds, including this one from Psalm 150, which emphasizes both God’s works and His worth:
Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! (Ps. 150:1-2)
God’s character is intimately connected to His actions. We don’t worship some spirit-being who has no relationship with the physical world. God has acted in history and redeemed us to proclaim the excellence of all that He’s done. He created the worlds with a word, He rules over the universe, He judges the nations, He sustains every living thing, He keeps the planets in their orbits, He watches over our affairs and provides for us.
But by far the greatest of all God’s deeds is the giving of His only Son to die as our substitute at Calvary. That’s why as we gather to worship God, a primary focus needs to be the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. We’ll look at that next time.