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Why Does God Insist on Being Glorified?

Posted on: December 13, 2016

WE AUTOMATICALLY GLORIFY ANYTHING OF VALUE IF WE TRULY GRASP ITS VALUE

Throughout Scripture, the Bible lifts up the glory of God as a preeminent thing:

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.  Psalm 19:1

One (of the seraphim) called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,The whole earth is full of His glory.  Isaiah 6:3

“I am the Lord, that is My name;  I will not give My glory to another…”  Isaiah 42:8

A cynic might say, “Why is God so hung up on His own glory? Why does God insist that everything glorify Him?!? Why does He require that I – and all of humanity – glorify Him? Is He some cosmic egomaniac, demanding that His subjects (who didn’t ask to be created) grovel at His feet? Especially when much of humanity suffers a cornucopia of troubles not of its own making. What kind of a God would take pleasure in tormenting His children just so they could glorify Him for tormenting them? That doesn’t sound like a good God to me. That’s what a cynic might say.

A little less extreme, but still on point, C. S. Lewis, in his book Reflections on the Psalms, confessed that for years, he was troubled by God’s call to praise and glorify Him, because, among humans, such a desire for praise was seen as a vice, not a virtue.

Lewis and others have identified two powerful reasons for glorifying God.

First, because He is truly glorious, and not to see that reveals an insufficiency, an inadequacy, a limitation in us. Since God is glorious and praiseworthy, there is something wrong with us if we don’t see it. And since God wants us to be mature and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4), He commissions us to glorify Him, for our good, so that we will come to see reality accurately.

Another C. S. Lewis book is entitled The Weight of Glory. The title implies that there is weight to glory. Significance. Importance. That is, the things that are most important, the things that have true weight, are things that are automatically glorified in our minds if we perceive their weight. For us to grasp the weight of something is automatically to give it glory.

For example, someone might give us a $100 bill. We think, “Nice!” We see what it is – one hundred dollars! – and immediately it has weight… it has glory.

By contrast, another person might give us what looks like a mere rock. We think, “what is this?” We’re not impressed. Then, the person explains that this is a diamond in its natural state. It is ten carats, and is worth – when cut and polished – one million dollars!

So now… now that we understand, our mind is completely changed. From being unimpressed with a dull rock, we are now very impressed with a precious diamond. Our mind goes from worthless to worthy, from no weight to great weight, from no glory to great glory.

There is no change in either the $100 bill or the diamond in the rough. The change is in our perception.

In the analogy, God may look to us, initially, like a diamond in its natural state, and we think it is a mere rock. We do not perceive the true importance, the weight. Yet, the Holy Spirit is continually cutting and polishing that diamond in our eyes so we can see its true magnificence. He is not making God better. He is helping us more accurately perceive Him. And as that happens, as we increasingly perceive God’s value, we automatically begin to give God the glory that is inherently due Him.

We automatically glorify anything of value if we truly grasp its value.

So, if we grasp the value of who God is, we will automatically glorify Him. If we don’t glorify Him, it is because we do not yet perceive His true value. So, God calls on us to glorify Him because, for our good, He wants us to perceive His value. He wants us to understand that He is the ground, the source of all that is truly good, pleasing, joyous, beneficial, blessed.

He wants us to understand that the closer we come to Him, the more we become like Him, the better our life will be. For our own good, He does not want us to remain in our stunted state, so imperceptive that we do not grasp His weight, and therefore do not draw closer, to become more like Him, and therefore remain in an unblessed, or less-blessed state.

Second, God calls on us to glorify Him because we need to place Him as the highest thing in our life for our own good… in order to be fulfilled and safe. If anything matters more to us than God, then we are giving higher glory to something else… and if that thing is taken away from us, as it may easily be, we are shattered.

Timothy Keller writes, in his book Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering,

It is one thing to love somebody and get a lot of joy out of the relationship. But if that person breaks up with you and you want to kill yourself, it means you have given that person too much glory, too much weight in your life. You may have said in your heart, “If that person loves me, then I know I am somebody.” But if that person then takes the relationship away, you collapse and melt down because you have ascribed more glory and honor to him or her than to God. If anything matters more to you than God you are placing yourself and your heart into something external. Only if you make God matter the most— which means only if you glorify him and give him the glory— will you have a safe life.

Glorifying God does not mean obeying him only because you have to. It means to obey Him because you want to – because you are attracted to Him, because you delight in Him. (Keller, Timothy, 2013-10-01. Walking with God through Pain and Suffering – Kindle Locations 2685-2689. Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)

So, we glorify God because He is glorious, and if we don’t see that, there is a deficiency in us that needs to be corrected, for our own good. And, we glorify God because only as we perceive Him as the most important thing in life will we be truly safe.

So, God is not a cosmic egomaniac, demanding that we grovel at His feet whether we want to or not. Rather, He is a loving heavenly Father, and everything He asks of us is to give something good to us and keep some harm from us.

God wants us to grow, to increase, to “become,” to the point that we actually perceive His weight accurately, and accurately perceiving it, we glorify Him as the greatest value in life.

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