3 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
A important manly topic to get into is worshipping God. Verses 3 & 6 introduces the two points, God’s Greatness and Worshipping God, so putting it together, the title of this peice will be called Worshipping Our Awesome God! Worshipping God can take on many points. Singing, prayer, rituals all come to mind. Worship can be broken down into the individual and corporate level. Since my goal here is more fundamental, I would like to deal strictly with heart issues. A question to consider as a deep heart assessment: How awesome is God to you?
We will not worship God as wholehearted if we don’t revere Him in the highest. As J.B. Philips puts it, we should not be surprised if a child finds other superhero to fit their liking when they have outgrown the "meek-and-mild" view of God. A.W Tozer said, "God is the greatest thought we can have." We need to exand our sense of God’s greatness all throughout our lives because we can never fully grasp the greatness of God and life experience will challenge an immature view of God.
Getting into the discussion on God’s greatness, let’s ask the question: what makes God so great? I asked that question to my small group and got a number of responses. Someone said his creation or ability to create shows God is pretty awesome! We look at creation to be wowed, not to dissect things in order to puff up our pride. Behind the creation we see God’s imagination and creative powers. Another said how He is in control of everything makes God great. God is LORD of the universe. His reach definitely goes beyond the earth and our solar system. We can’t get stuck seeing God as little to only fits our little neighborhood! Still another mentioned how God has the ability to act and not act unlike anyone else. We are creatures who experience "free will" that isn’t entirely free. Our freedom is limited in many ways. In a general sense, if we’re not a slave of God, then we’re slaves to sin. Realizing that means we’re not as free as we once thought. Really God’s greatness is unlimited, so it is a healthy exercise to think about what makes God so great.
When we see God’s greatness, there is a deep sense of awe of God—“God is…awesome in glory” (Exodus 15:11)! What does it mean to stand in awe of God? I also asked the small group this question. The main theme of what they shared had to do with God grabbing our full attention. It means we are captivated by God’s wonderful qualities! Another thing happens with awe. We begin to righteously fear God. The Proverbs say, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7a). I read a great book about getting too fixated on people, where God becomes too small. It is called, When People are Big and God is Small. The author quotes Isaiah 33:6, saying how fearing God makes us fear no one else. Furthermore, awe also illicit reverence, which I find to be a specific kind of fear. If we have a relationship with God through Jesus, then we no longer fear God in a punishment sense. However before that we should tremble in that sense because God is the only One with the power to bring on the death after death (Luke 12:5). After we rise with Christ to a new life, this fear of death is cast out (1John 4:18; Hebrews 2:15). Now we fear God purely in respectful sense. That should never leave. His authority is respected supremely by members of His family. That is why Paul writes in 2Corinthians 7:1, "let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." So holiness—being holy and considering God Holy–is another concept befitting awe of God.
Can you think of other things that happen when we’re in awe of God? Since God is awesome, we should be in awe of God! Although we should not be mechanical about worshipping God, it is helpful to take time to assess our worship by checking our awe of God. Maybe we think we’re in awe of God because we attend church and sing songs or do some other ritual? However, awe of God is a heart level adoration.
In order to righteously stand of awe of God you need to have the right view of God. Perhaps we find our awe lacking? We check our hearts toward God, and we find that there isn’t the awe and wonder for God. Having a right view of God is important on many levels. A question to consider: Does our view of God stand up to the realities we confront in life? As life goes on we’re confronted with two options: 1. Expand your view of God’s greatness or 2. Deny the realities you experience in life. God is in fact bigger than we give Him credit. An example is during the Copernican Revolution, people had a hard time accepting that the earth was not the center of the universe. Their God was too small to quickly assent to the correct perspective on reality. I find the problem with atheists’ view of God is immature. They have a clash where they’ve accepted the realities of physical matter but have not assented in spiritual matters.
Let’s briefly hit on some wrong views in Phillips’ terms. You’ll have to think hard to get what he’s referring to because I’m not going to go into any of these in depth. The exercise is beneficial to at least acknowledge there are specific, very real misunderstandings about God that are harmful. Keep in mind, most of these views are accentuated aspects of God. There is the view that God is a Resident Policeman—the inner voice of right and wrong. Here we’re talking about only understanding God as some sort of feeling and nothing else. Obviously God is more than that, and it can be terribly misleading to trust in feelings. Then there is the view of Parental Hangover—feelings in the subconscious dated back from early childhood, where the view of a father figure leaves an impression hard to get over in order to properly see God. Another is Grand Old Man—where old easily becomes old-fashioned, where God is viewed mostly in past, not present or future terms…historical sense is good but people need to see a real, living God of today! Meek-and-Mild—“we can hardly be surprised if children feel fairly soon that they have outgrown the “tender Shepherd” and find their heroes elsewhere” (Phillips). Absolute Perfection—the history of our church culture (very extroverted) has had a problem with this one, which maybe makes it hard to spot; but the tender hearted, more introverted person is terrified by the “must-be-perfect” standards (page 31). Heavenly Bosom—escapism to always be protected, thus not develop emotionally through life’s trials; we know that’s not Jesus! God-in-a-box—As though we could know all there is to know about God Managing Director—god is too big to be personally involved with His people and the affairs of their lives; this view thinks it respects God. Second-hand God—knowledge of a god through second-hand experience. Perennial Grievance—resentments built from a god’s “failures.” Pale Galilean—god that surrounds them with prohibitions but doesn’t supply them with vitality and courage. Projected Image—psychological phenomenon of tendency to “project”
There are so many more false views of God, where one needs to put a finger on ways they tend to misunderstand Him.
In closing, I will briefly hit on some right views of God. Before I do that, it is worth using the illustration of the Atomic bomb to make a point. The A-bomb has caused us to realize how quick physical matter can be obliterated into nothing. By now, all the nuclear weapons indicate the world could be completely wiped out and come to nothing. Science has also taught us that our universe is expanding, and there is an finite amount of energy in our universe. There is an end to all this, then what will be said of human progress. All our books, all our apparent progress will come to nothing at some point, if you believe there is no spiritual matter coming from God. I find this an interesting way of saying how spiritual matters have become more important, not less relevant, with scientific discovery. As Philips puts it, that all makes the spiritual realities more real than the physical realities. So knowing that, what are some important views of God? For starters that God is One—with three distinct personal identities (Father, Son, Spirit). That way we don’t get too focused on one aspect about God and call it God. That has been the mistake of worshipping idols in the past. Another very important fact about God is: God is Love (1John 3:16). God reveals Himself through the most important form of communication and a need we all have greater than any other. That is what it means, God is Love. Another important aspect, God is Perfect—All present, powerful, knowing, etc. God is just, noble, righteous. There is so much about God that we don’t want to put God in a box and come off like we’ve figured God out. At the same time, there are some very foundational things to understand and build off in expanding our sense of God’s greatness.
This just serves to wet the appetite of hopefully more to come. I know it is most manly to be in awe of God. Really, the Spirit of God is what unlocks the greatness of a man. As the Spirit expands our sense of God’s greatness, so to the man’s awe, humility, and that is what truly makes a man.