Why does God command us to worship him?
Is it because he needs constant affirmation? Is he divinely insecure, so he requires us to praise him day and night? To tell him he’s good enough, smart enough and doggone it, people like him?
In Psalm 50, God corrected his people who thought he somehow needed the sacrifices he commanded:
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats? (8-13)
God didn’t need their sacrifices. He doesn’t need our worship either. God has no needs. He is infinitely perfect and complete. For all eternity the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have enjoyed perfect love and fellowship. God never gets hungry, lonely or unhappy. He is the fountain of all joy and gladness, satisfaction and fulfillment.
So what did God tell Israel to do to please him?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (14-15)
God says here is how to please me: offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, then perform your promises to thank me when I deliver you from trouble, then call on me the next time you’re in trouble. I’ll rescue you again and you will glorify me again by thanking me.
Our worship glorifies God. But he doesn’t need it. So why does God tell us to do these things? For our benefit!
All of God’s commands are for our delight in his glory.
He doesn’t need our obedience or our money. He is completely self-sufficient. When we thank and praise him it blesses us! It increases our joy and delight in him.
God has designed us to enjoy beauty and excellence and to express that enjoyment. We enjoy the of glory of nature, amazing athletic feats, delicious food, great movies, and a thousand other blessings, and we increase our enjoyment when we express it. When we see a sunset or the Grand Canyon we can’t help but say, “Wow that is so beautiful.” When we watch an athlete make a fantastic play we have to cheer. And when we express our admiration of a Van Gogh or Hanz Zimmer soundtrack or say how delicious a steak is, it adds nothing to the painting or soundtrack or steak but increases our enjoyment of it.
Our worship and thanks add nothing to God but increase our enjoyment of him.
Isn’t God good? He wants nothing but our ever-increasing joy and delight in glory. So he gives us worship, not because he needs it, but that we might have more and more pleasure in him.