Why does God want us to worship Him? Does God need our worship? God has unlimited power and knowledge, and can do anything He wishes.
He created us in His image by His own choice and formed a world for us without our input. Then why does God want us to worship Him? There are straightforward answers in the Bible. Let’s investigate!
Definition of Worship in the Bible
My Bible dictionary¹ describes worship this way: to bow down; give honor, reverence, and homage. When given to God, it involves acknowledging His divine perfections and may be public or private.
Psalm 95:6 NIV gives us an example of worship:
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”
What Does the Bible Say about Worship?
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11
We worship God by giving Him glory and praise for creating us, giving us a purpose, and pouring out His love and guidance on us. He deserves our praise! Our worship expresses our thankfulness and love for Him.
Does God demand worship?
Yes, He does, and for good reason! He knows our wayward hearts and minds.
Let’s look back on the Israelites. They had just come out of Egypt; a land of many gods. The Egyptians worshipped many gods because they thought each one brought a special blessing. More gods=more blessings.
God didn’t want to be just one more god on a long list. He spoke these words to the Israelites (the 1st commandment):
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:1-3.
He is to be our one and only true God.
Why does God want us to worship Him? You can put the emphasis on the word “Him” and conclude that it is because He alone deserves all our glory and praise.
You can also put the emphasis on the word “worship” and conclude we all worship something. Is it our family, job, recreation, sports teams, or social media, etc?
When we concentrate our time and devotion to anything other than God for pleasure, security, and meaning, they become gods.
God wants to be at the center of our lives- He demands worship because He knows that is where we will find perfect refreshment, joy, contentment, peace, and rest.
Did God Create us to Worship Him?
He created us to be like Him, and to be in a close personal and eternal relationship. That includes worship.
Isaiah 43 is a beautiful passage of Scripture. He tells us He is our creator and redeemer and calls each of us by name. He also explains why He created us.
We have a God-given purpose to worship Him.
“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth- everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43: 6b-7.
“…my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.” Isaiah 43:21.
He didn’t create us because He needed us, was lonely, or looking for companionship. He created us because it was His pleasure to do so- He considers us His most valuable creation!
We can know who He is and give Him the glory He so rightly deserves.
David pondered the thought and wrote:
“What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:4-5.
God created you and me and crowned us with the same attributes as His own kingship: glory and honor. How can we even respond to that expression of worth in God’s eyes?
By bowing down before Him in deep gratitude and love.
If you have ever doubted your worth, remember that God considers YOU extremely valuable. He has put the stamp of Himself on your very soul.
Worship in Spirit and Truth
Jesus gave us an important aspect of worship in the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4).
The woman brings up the differences in where the Jews and Samaritans worshiped God. But Jesus turns the conversation back to the “how” of worship.
He tells her: “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” (v23).
Worshiping in spirit is heartfelt praise from the depths of our being. The Holy Spirit, who lives within us, leads it. It can be an overwhelming flood of powerful praise rising from within, or a refreshing breeze that settles over us. Either way, it comes from our heart and soul in grateful praise.
Worshiping in truth is exactly what it sounds like- worship that comes from our hearts and minds being grounded in His word.
Jesus tells us He is Truth:
“I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:6.
He is our path to the Father, and the realizations of all God’s promises. He brings life everlasting when we join our lives with His.
How Do You Worship God?
What comes to mind when you think of worship? Hymns? Contemporary music? Silence? We express worship in many ways, but it is not about music, a church building, or an event.
There are many ways to worship God.
•Spiritual Act of Worship
Paul gives us guidelines for living out our worship in Romans 12:
“Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship.” (v1)
To “offer our bodies” was Paul’s way of explaining that as a redeemed people, we surrender our lives back to Jesus in praise and thanksgiving for all He has done.
•Worship Through Prayer
Prayer is a central part of worship. We are placing ourselves in the presence of God when we come to Him in prayer.
Prayer focuses our attention on God, whom we praise and thank for His work in our lives. We can use prayer to worship His glorious attributes and ask for our will to align with His.
•Worship not only involves our soul and mind, but our bodies as well.
Some examples from Scripture include kneeling (“everyone present knelt down and worshiped”), the bowing of heads, lifting up hands (Nehemiah 8:6) and even dancing (“let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.”)
•Sometimes we equate music with worship, but it is much more than that. Paul reminds us:
“But be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the lord with heart.” Ephesians 5:18-19 ESV.
Worship is not just singing songs. It’s possible to sing the words with hearts that do not worship God. Music is a beautiful gift from God and can be a powerful expression of our heart’s worship.
Musical skill or a fine voice doesn’t matter to Jesus. (Great news for me!)
Singing with a heart surrendered to Him is what matters most.
“My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast, I will sing and make music.” Psalm 57:7.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” Psalm 100:1-2.
Worship in the Bible
• God parted the Red Sea and saved the Israelites from the Egyptian army. Moses, Miriam, and all the Israelites joined in singing a joyous worship song to celebrate the greatness of God in Exodus 15:1-18.
•The feasts in the Old Testament (Passover, Tabernacles, Purim, etc.) celebrated the great things God had done for the Israelites and were an important part of worshiping Him for blessings they received.
•The first example I think of in the New Testament was when Paul and Silas were in prison. The Romans had wrongly imprisoned them, then ordered them beaten and shackled. Despite their horrible conditions, worship broke out in the middle of the night!
“About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.” Acts 16:25
When we face trials and storms, do we worship, pray, and sing? Nothing- absolutely nothing- should be able to imprison our worship of God!
•In another example of a different kind of worship, a sinful woman brings a jar of precious perfume to a dinner where Jesus is in attendance. In humble and contrite worship, she wets Jesus’ feet with her tears and the perfume; drying them with her hair. (Luke 7: 36-38)
No matter our circumstances in life, or what sin we have committed, we can come to Jesus with worship and true faith in our hearts.
Why Do We Worship God?
We worship God for so many reasons, but the beauty of worship is that He never forces us to do so. It comes from our heart, knowing all of who He is and, therefore, worthy of all our worship and praise.
When we think of all He has done for us, we can’t help but worship Him. He created each of us in His unique image, and loves and adores us just as we are, but wasn’t content to leave us in our sin. God sent His own Son to redeem us.
Why does God want us to worship Him? Because He alone is worthy and deserves it!
Worship is our loving response to all Jesus has done for us.
Because He gave His life for us, we joyfully give our life back to Him. His forgiveness and promise of eternal life are more than we could ever ask for or imagine.
“Through Jesus therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Hebrews 13:15.
- Worship. Zondervan’s Compact Bible Dictionary (1993)
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