My son and I just watched Tangled the other day—I love that my 12-year-old son will still sit with me and watch animated movies that include unreasonably long hair and singing. Near the end of the film, the villain, Mother Gothel, shrivels up and turns to dust after Rapunzel’s hair, which was the source of her youth, gets cut off.
I’ve been reading through Leviticus, a lengthy tale of “how to’s” on sacrifices and offerings. So, watching this brought to mind an image of God shriveling up to nothing and withering away at a lack of thanksgiving. (Weird, I know, but shockingly, it’s not the weirdest thought I’ve had recently.)
Why does God continually tell people to worship him? I mean, read the Bible; it’s everywhere! Is he something akin to mother Gothel, where he will wither once his source of power, our praise, is gone? Is he twisting his hands, obsessively staring at the “praise-o-meter” while gratefulness and thanksgiving are lacking?
Spoiler Alert: the praise is for us, not Him
Does he deserve our praise? Yes, absolutely. But does he need our praise? No, he doesn’t.
You’d think this would be pretty obvious, but I so often miss the obvious, especially when I’m in the middle of pain. I turn praising God into a system or a “must do” rather than a “get to.” I forget that everything he asks of us is for a purpose and is always for our benefit.
Always for our good
I’ve heard God described as a megalomaniac before, like the reason he demands worship is for his benefit. And hey, I’m not going to lie, it’s a pretty easy picture to paint, especially reading through some old testament spots. But in reality, every mention where our praise floats heavenward towards him leaves an exchange in blessings for us.
It’s nearly impossible to be discouraged or ungrateful when actively being thankful. A heart is actually protected by praise.
Our worship of him blesses us in so many ways, but the biggest blessing is how it takes our eyes off of ourselves. When we stand in awe of all he is, we forget how small we are and how large our problems seem. Our worship is not belittling ourselves. It’s forgetting ourselves—it’s a focus shift.
Worship and praise to God are for our good. Does he receive glory from it? Yep, he sure does, as he should. But we are the ones who benefit the most from our praise.
A heart protected by praise
When I read Leviticus from this perspective, I see God’s plan he set in place thousands of years ago and how it still protects our hearts today: From idols, discouragement, and bitterness.
We are blessed with a heart and mind aligned with his when we humbly bow before Him. Our praise signals the end of our striving and the beginning of our abiding in Him.
God doesn’t thrive off our worship, hoarding it up or withering away when the worship is no longer there to breathe in. No, it’s we who suffer the consequences of growing hard and bitter when we stare at circumstances rather than Him.
Our worship isn’t to fuel a monster; it’s meant to fill and protect our hearts.
As always, friend, thank you for stopping by,