In continuing on in the spirit of thinking about worship and what was previously said in our brief discussion on Psalm 89:7, let me offer a few more thoughts on this subject since I feel it is of huge importance.
I have had the privilege of reading John Piper’s Let the Nations be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions and I have found some real gems to ponder at a time when I needed them. The book should be a “must read” for anyone contemplating missions to make sure they are approaching this responsibility for the right reasons. The very first line in the book goes a little like this
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t”. [i]
The first chapter is devoted to the subject of the glory of God in worship. Piper does a fantastic job at demonstrating what we had tried to unpack in the text of Psalm 89:7 that worship should be approached in fear and reverence if they wish to approach Him as His people with the intent of worshipping. Piper explains that in many pulpits in Christian churches, the preachers have failed to present to the world the grandeur and majesty of God. Christians have often failed to really lead the nations to see what Paul wrote about in Romans 1:20. Piper proceeds give an example of someone who had been repulsed by the lack of the proclamation of God’s greatness. He goes on to quotes Charles Misner regarding Albert Einstein’s view of the church as followed.
The design of the universe…is very magnificent and shouldn’t be taken for granted. In fact, I believe that is why Einstein had so little use for organized religion although he strikes me as a basically very religious man. He must have looked at what the preachers said about God and felt that they were blaspheming. He had seen much more majesty than they had ever imagined, and they were just not talking about the real thing. My guess is that he simply felt that religions he’d run across did not have proper respect… for the author of the universe.[ii]
Piper than comments by saying:
The charge of blasphemy is loaded. The point is to pack a wallop behind the charge that in our worship services God simply doesn’t come through for who he is. He is unwittingly belittle. For those who are stunned by the indescribable magnitude of what God has made, not to mention the infinite greatness of the One who made it, the steady diet on Sunday morning of practical how-to’s and psychological soothing and relational therapy and tactical planning seem dramatically out of touch with reality- the God of overwhelming greatness. [iii]
Approaching God in any other way than this really doesn’t cut it when it comes to worship. We must place God on the throne and present his enormity for all the world to see. Before we can present God to others in this fashion however, we must firstly experience this for ourselves. We must come to a vision of God that reflects the reality of His greatness and the glory of His attributes. How can we also approach God in fear and reverence when we have not first envisioned Him in this way? This is the problem with our churches and our lack of reverence in church worship. We have too small a view of God to truly approach Him with fear and reverence.
Let us continue to ponder…
[i] Let the Nations be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions, Baker Academic, John Piper Page 17
[ii] As quote by Piper Page 18