Some kind of worship can be found in the archaeological history of virtually all cultures. People have always been religious and have always believed that the gods demanded something of them. Some believed they demanded human sacrifice. Some believed they required food. Some believed they required elaborate and ecstatic rituals. Some believed they required esteem and reputation. We now consider this a primitive notion, foolish and ignorant. But if Christians accept that the ancient barbaric view of worship was more insightful than today’s snide rejection, we can see how big a job it was for God to enlighten us through the progressive revelation of Scripture, especially in the special Revelation of himself in the God-man Jesus Christ.
Worship is an integral part of the Christian faith, and God’s demand of our worship should be a cause of great joy – it is an act of justice, truth, goodness, generosity and compassion toward us. But one objection to Christian worship is resentment toward God for demanding worship. C.S. Lewis, before he was converted, believed that the constant demand of worship from God and the Psalms were like that of a vain, insecure old woman demanding praise and complements. The extent to which we believe this will repel us from adoring and enjoying God through worship. So is God vain to demand worship of us? Is it the product of divine insecurity and therefore only offered by us out of fear?
Why do we need to go to church? Why does participation in a congregation play such a central role in our lives of worship? You may ask yourself these questions or find yourself trying to answer this for someone else. Here are 12 points Donald Whitney makes in his book “Spiritual Disciplines within the Church”:
Isaiah 40:3-5 – 3 A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
Bob Grahmann preached two weeks ago from Isaiah 40. I never really liked Isaiah 40:3-5.
I spent several years as a wilderness leader climbing mountains and paddling rivers. Mountains and valleys are basically my favorite things in the natural world. I know it’s going to sound like a shallow objection, primarily because it is, but the mental picture that the coming of Christ was glorified by all of life’s topography being erased bothered me. And for some reason, I equated this with heaven – that somehow this passage was saying that heaven isn’t a place where the mountains are high and the valleys low but instead is a place of flattened-out sameness.