I recall in college in Philosophy class, which was generally more of a humanism class, being asked the question by my professor in one of our long discussions in his office “Isn’t it a bit self-righteous and ego maniacal for God to ask everyone to worship Him, and for everything to be about Him?”
It does seem through Scripture that God, in His three persons, is profoundly self-centered. He calls us to love Him more than anything else. If anyone else said this to us, we might wonder as to their sanity. It is an interesting question though. All throughout Scripture God calls us to worship Him, and if that weren’t enough, to worship Him alone. At first glance, from a human perspective, this might seem presumptuous. The fact remains, however, that God is the only person who is worthy of being worshipped at all. We can see this picture in Isaiah’s vision of God’s holiness, the vision which caused Isaiah, the renowned prophet of God, to see his profound unholiness. As human beings in a nature of sin, we often reject the worship of God in favor of the worship of just about anything including, what has become most popular in today’s humanist society, ourselves. Our nature is to worship that which we treasure above all else. This is the ultimate expression of enjoyment in something. C.S Lewis said it like this…
“My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value. I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.”
-C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms
My reply to my professor’s question was this… “No, it is self-righteous and ego maniacal for us to presume that we should not worship God”.
It is our own sin nature that causes us to be drawn to other things. We presume much in our failure to worship God. “Prone to wander, oh I feel it” said the hymnist. This much is true. Human beings are uniquely prone to worshipping everything but God to their supreme and ultimate disappointment in death. This is where the cross comes in. The gospel is meant to give us the opportunity to see God and to be inspired to worship. Its greatest goal is not simply to save man, but ultimately to bring glory to God (Ephesians 1:4–6).
God calls us to enjoy and worship Him, not because He needs some affirmation, but rather to the benefit of us for His glory. In our worship of Him, we find the ultimate expression of joy in the only thing that we can experience fully that is not a simple façade of a fallen world, that is the person of God. In the worship of God we find completeness, holiness and righteousness that transcends the passions of this ever fading world. He calls us to worship Him, because He is the truest thing we will ever know. God’s profound self-glorification is not an expression of needy ego, but of profound and infinite giving of self. Praise God.