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Why does God demand, seek, or request that we worship Him?

translate God demand worship audio

As the Lord Jesus conversed with a Samaritan woman whom He encountered at Jacob’s well, He tells her something about God the Father: “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (John 4:23). Jesus’ statement here raises some questions:
• Why does God seek people to worship Him?
• Does He need something from humans in order to bolster His self-esteem? Does He get emotional support from us?
• Does He require human acknowledgement and worship to help Him in some way?
These questions from honest inquirers are legitimate. They deserve an honest answer. That answer points us to the very nature of who God is and who we are as human beings made in His image.

Bolstering Jesus’ statement that the Father is seeking worshipers are several Old Testament statements that actually say God demands worship. For example, God tells Moses, as part of the Ten Commandments, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). God doesn’t want any other being or thing to take His place in our hierarchy of values. He insists on total allegiance and commitment from His worshipers.

Our understanding of the nature of God, based on His self-revelation in the Bible, includes the fact that He is the Creator and Sustainer of the entire cosmos. He is eternal, infinite, and transcendent in His Being, needing nothing outside of Himself to maintain and sustain His existence. He is the only Self-Existing Being. In contrast, human beings need plenty of things to survive. We require air, water, food, and sleep. Without those things, we would cease to exist. God, however, doesn’t need any of those things. He simply IS, eternally (Exodus 3:14). Existence is part of the sheer reality of who He is.

The God who seeks worshipers is Himself light, love, and life (1 John 1:5; 4:8; 5:20). He is the true source of those foundational realities. We, as created beings, are fully and completely dependent on our Creator God for our existence and sustenance. The apostle Paul said that in God we “live, move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). God provides the air we breathe, our ability to move about, the water we drink, the food we enjoy, and every other “good and perfect gift” (James 1:17).

Since God is described as Love itself—“God is love” is how the apostle John says it (1 John 4:8)—and we know that His love toward us is the highest form of love, namely agape, then God’s command to worship Him works out for our benefit, not His. The One who shows agape is the giver; we are the receivers.

We naturally value things: we place worth on certain items, ideas, and people. We all have a hierarchy of values, and that hierarchy is made evident in the amount of money, time, and energy we invest in people, projects, and possessions.

The Creator of all things visible and invisible knows that, if we don’t assign ultimate worth to Him—the One who is light, love, and life—then we will esteem something else as ultimately worthy or valuable. And that thing, which will perforce be a created thing, will not be worthy of the honor.

The things of this world are temporary (but not necessarily unimportant) and perishing. They are unable to give us real and eternal light, love, and life. Giving ourselves to temporary and perishing things will lead to eventual ruin. God is fully aware that nothing in all creation can give us what we really need. He knows that our ultimate benefit lies with knowing Him and having a personal relationship with Him, the only true and living God, the source of all good things. The thing we need most is God Himself.

For these reasons, God the Father is seeking worshipers who will worship Him “in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). We were designed for worship. If we fail to worship God, we will worship something else—an idol of our own making, something temporary and perishing. Worshiping the true and living God recalibrates our hearts and lives around what is ultimate. This empowers us to love God and other people rightly. True worship keeps God’s greatness and grace in Jesus Christ in the forefront of our minds. It fills our hearts with thanksgiving and overflows into purposeful living for God’s glory.

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Why does God demand, seek, or request that we worship Him?
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This page last updated: April 5, 2024