You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve

Dear Friends,

“Suddenly Faramir stirred, and he opened his eyes, and he looked on Aragorn (a picture of Jesus Christ as King of kings) who bent over him; and a light of knowledge and love was kindled in his eyes, and he spoke softly. ‘My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?” (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King; The Lord of the Rings, #3) Command me my King! This will be our greatest desire as believers when we finally see, face to Face, the Lord Jesus Christ as our glorious and majestic King. And God calls us to grow in that desire now as we see Him by faith. Over the last two months we have been looking at our relationship with the Lord and we have focused on God’s passionate love for us, even His jealous love for us. (See letters at:; As we saw in our study, God loves us passionately and wants our response of whole-hearted love for Him. And we are called to grow in our knowledge of His great love for us (Ephesians 3:16-19) and to respond with an ever-increasing love for Him and others.  This exchange of love with the Lord can be understood to some degree through our desire to receive and give love in our human relationships; e.g., with our spouse, family, friends, etc. But this month will look at something that’s reserved for God alone – worship. “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” (Matthew 4:10) Worship is a creature (humans) to Creator relationship, not a creature to creature relationship, and when we worship any part of creation, other people, ourselves, things, etc., we are committing idolatry.  “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3) (Hidden idols of the heart can usually be discovered by examining our true motives, strong desires, and negative emotions. Our drivenness, fears and worries are a sign we are trusting in our idols rather than God to meet our needs as we know deep down they are not trustworthy.)                                                                                    

Worship God only! “For it is good to sing praises to our [gracious and majestic] God; Praise is becoming (lovely/beautiful) and appropriate.”  (Psalm 147:1) Worshiping God alone is not only good and appropriate but it is actually “becoming”; it beautifies our soul. “The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love.” (Henry Scougal) “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11; also see Isaiah 43:7, 21) “Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.” (Psalm 57:5) We are created by God for His pleasure and glory and as we live for His glory and pleasure we find our highest pleasure and dignity. “Every soul belongs to God and exists by His pleasure. God being Who and What He is, and we being who and what we are, the only thinkable relation between us is one of full lordship on His part and complete submission on ours. We owe Him every honor that it is in our power to give Him. Our everlasting grief lies in giving Him anything less. Let no one imagine that he will lose anything of human dignity by this voluntary sell-out of his all to his God. He does not by this degrade himself as a man; rather he finds his right place of high honor as one made in the image of his Creator. His deep disgrace lay in his moral derangement, his unnatural usurpation of the place of God. His honor will be proved by restoring again that stolen throne. In exalting God over all he finds his own highest honor upheld.” (The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer)                                                              

What does it mean to worship God? The Greek word for worship is “proskynéō and it is a probable derivative of G2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):—worship.” (  It conveys the attitude of great humility and reverence and love all in one word. Worshiping God is seen in Scripture as people express their high praise in song and dance and poetry to God. (Psalm 45, 150) But ultimately Romans 12:1 includes all the aspects of what it means to worship God. “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.” Isaac Watts expressed it well in the closing line from his hymn, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”                                        

The Lord is not an egotist. He calls us to worship Him because worshiping and serving Him is ultimately what brings us the greatest joy and honor. The Lord says, “those who honor Me I will honor.” (1 Samuel 2:30) This does not mean the honor that comes from people of the world. In fact, those people hated the Lord Jesus and will hate us as we follow Him and share His truth.  “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19; also see John 7:7) Jesus Christ, the One Who loved and worshiped God more than anyone, was then and is today, the most hated and dishonored person who ever lived. But He has and will always receive the highest and greatest honor from God the Father for all eternity: “ Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility], who, although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes—the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it];  but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man].  After He was found in [terms of His] outward appearance as a man [for a divinely-appointed time], He humbled Himself [still further] by becoming obedient [to the Father] to the point of death, even death on a cross.  For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (sovereign God), to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)            

Here is part of a quote from C. S. Lewis that will help us grasp the Biblical understanding of worshiping God. When a believer “looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys” – then he is a true worshiper of God. It ultimately comes down to obedience to God and at any cost. “And He (Jesus) was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].  For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake, he is the one who will save it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God].” (Luke 9:23-24)                                                                                  

God’s “want ad” is in John 4:23-24 seen as follows and the heading in a newspaper might read: GOD SEEKING WORSHIPERS. Jesus says, “But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers.  God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  Being a worshiper of God may not bring the wealth and health that prosperity preachers promise but it will bring us what true worshipers want most of all: God’s praise and commendation : ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your Master.’ (Matthew 25:21) The benefits are “out of this world.”

Until He comes again,

Len and Kristen                              

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