Thursday, July 23, 2020

Is It Wrong for God to Desire Glory?

What does it feel like when you perform a special act of kindness for someone and they show appreciation for what you’ve done? You didn’t do it for the gratitude, but isn’t it nice to receive it? On the other hand, how do you feel when some form of benevolence that you have done isn’t acknowledged, not even a casual “thanks”?

Or consider this: If you’re at all creative or into craftsmanship, how does it make you feel to capture an unusually captivating photo; or take an art class and create a painting better than you imagined you could; or lovingly sew a beautiful quilt for a shut-in, or craft a special piece of furniture out of wood? When one of our children comes home with a picture they did at school, don't they delight when we praise them for it - even if it's not "perfect"?


Whenever most of us do such things, we surge with a sense of pride and satisfaction. We enjoy being part of a job well-done, whether working on our own or as part of a team. I’ve felt gratification each time when, after months, even years of writing and editing a book, it finally becomes a finished, published product. (It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to being pregnant and giving birth.)


This response, as I understand the Scriptures, is as it should be. It tells us we’re “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). That’s one of the primary reasons He put us here. Shouldn’t we experience a level of satisfaction as we’re doing them?


So, is it any surprise that the Bible declares that the Lord delights in the praises of His people, that He loves receiving our expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for all He does for us?


Over and over, the Word of God states how important it is to praise Him and offer thanks. Psalm 8 starts with the declaration, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise" (Psalm 8:1-2). 


Then, after briefly describing the wonders of His creation and the special place He has made for all of humankind, the psalm closes with the same words: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth” (Psalm 8:9).


In the very next psalm, the writer – King David – picks up where he left off: “I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High” (Psalm 9:1-2).


I love the opening verse of Psalm 19, which announces, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Nature, it seems, was created with the capacity for glorifying and praising its Creator. Have you ever thought of the chirp of a bird, the buzz of a bee, the rustle of leaves and the twinkling of stars light years away as forms of praise emanating from the universe?


We could look at countless other examples, not just in the Psalms but in virtually every book of the Bible. What brings this to mind is a comment an agnostic friend of mine made years ago, one that to this day causes me to shake my head whenever I recall it. He said something to the effect that, “If there is a God, He must be some kind of super-egotist to expect people to always give Him praise and honor.”


Really? Seriously? As noted above, we find it nice to have appreciation shown for our kind gestures. It’s not required, but we enjoy having our efforts recognized – or at least being able to see the positive impact of what we’ve done. And we justifiably take pleasure in our own accomplishments, regardless of the areas of endeavor. 


Why then would it be wrong for the God of all creation, who fashioned everything we see and touch and hear, taste and smell and work with, including the physical laws that govern them, to seek honor and glory and praise and thankfulness from us? 


It’s not only a good thing to do, but out of love and adoration and worship for the Lord, it’s pretty much expected. Perhaps this is why the apostle Paul offered this exhortation: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).