Worship Around The Throne 2
What is the essence of worship? It is to recognise the infinitely superior value (or worth) of the one we adore. The original word for worship comes from the idea of a dog kissing its master's hand. That may not seem very flattering about us human beings who worship the Lord, but it is consistent with Psalm 123:2: "As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy." Compared to Him we are so insignificant, and yet He has lavished His love upon us (1 John 3:1). It is because He has bridged that huge moral distance between us and Him, by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that our awe and respect and gratitude overflows, and will continue to do so for all eternity.
The whole church of Christ, as pictured by the twenty-four elders, has no self-importance in His presence. Whatever authority they have been granted (Luke 10:19), and the promise of reigning with Christ (2 Timothy 2:12), cannot support any pride in His presence. They cannot even stand or sit in front of the Lord. Their sense of unworthiness compared with His worthiness is so immense that they fall prostrate before His throne. Their crowns of responsibility, ministry or authority or status mean nothing, and they lie bare-headed before the King of kings. In that position He could crush them (Joshua 10:22-26), but instead He gives them the honour of worshipping Him for ever and ever.
In this, the first of three expressions of worship precipitated by the four living creatures, the theme is God's amazing creation. As in John 1:1-3 the Lord is the creator of everything; there is nothing in the natural world which He did not cause to come into being. God's creative capacity is the theme-song of the Old Testament. It is the first point of faith, as Hebrews 11:1-3 says, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."
For too many believers, worship has degenerated into cultural expressions which give us pleasure, be they music, dance, silent meditation, individual or corporate experiences, retreats or celebrations. But although worship may use some of these forms, they are not what worship is really about. Worship is the awe-inspired capitulation of all personal pride, and acknowledgement that only God can do all things well; that He is our Master who thrills every horizon of our hearts. Creation should inspire us, through the eye or microscope or telescope. Although it is fashionable amongst Western unbelievers to pretend that creation, and therefore we, are accidents of chemistry and physics, that is not the truth about God or His creation or us. We are made by Him to be accountable to Him. And if we refuse to worship Him, we have no good eternal future.
© Dr Paul Adams