Worship Requires "Seeing" God
WORSHIP REQUIRES “SEEING” GOD
Some of the most startling words in all the Bible come from the lips of Jesus to a Samaritan woman—a cultural nobody, by most people’s estimate. But to this woman he relays the glorious news, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, FOR THE FATHER IS SEEKING SUCH PEOPLE TO WORSHIP HIM” (John 4:23, emphasis added). Imagine that. The Father seeks worshipers, And when we understand the nature of worship, we marvel yet again.
For worship requires that we see God as high and exalted, supreme and glorious, holy and pure, mighty and loving. And this view of God is not from an indifferent distance, as it were; a purely objective, ice-cold, merely factual “seeing” of God will not elicit worship. Rather, worship happens only when we are granted eyes to behold God’s magnificence, and splendor, and glory, and majesty. This is a seeing with deep and abiding longing, a seeing that savors, eliciting a savoring that satisfies. In this seeing, God invades our lives, and we experience the truths about him that we have beheld. Truth about him becomes existential within our own minds, hearts, hopes, fears, plans, dreams, values, and desires. We marvel at his character, we embrace his will and his ways as we savor the richness and bounty of all that he is. And as this happens—as we are deeply satisfied in God—we worship. So, God seeks worshipers because he seeks to fill us with himself, that we in turn may give to him the honor, thanks, and praise due only to him. [Here, the author gratefully acknowledges his dependence on the writings of John Piper.]
— Bruce A. Ware, GOD’S GREATER GLORY: THE EXALTED GOD OF SCRIPTURE AND THE CHRISTIAN FAITH. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004, pp. 157-58. ISBN 1-58134-443-0. This book is a companion volume to the author’s GOD’S LESSER GLORY: THE DIMINISHED GOD OF OPEN THEISM (Crossway, 2000). Both books are highly recommended.
Have a great week.
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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