We think that God is all about us. Well, let me tell you, God is all about Himself. God is all about promoting, preserving, and protecting his glorious character and nature. Everything God does is motivated by a desire to be praised.
Don’t get me wrong, we benefit tremendously by what God does for us including our redemption. We are not the center of the universe. We hear many times praise to the glory of God for the results of God’s actions – God answers prayer and provides say a house payment or a job, and we give glory to God for his actions – He provided what was needed. God is great and we love God for that.
We don’t hear praise often to God’s glory for the goal and purpose of that action. The goal or purpose was to find satisfaction in him and in our praise of him to enjoy him to the fullest.
God governs this world and everything in it to the end that He might be admired, marveled at, exalted, and praised. Jesus is returning one day, why?
II Thessalonians 1:10 – “when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints and to be marveled at among all who have believed…”
It is ok and easy to think that God is worthy to be praised, but it is hard to imagine that God actively seeks to be praised. God’s clear purpose in Scripture is to exalt Himself in the eyes of man. He is to be admired, praised, and marveled by man.
Christ is returning to this earth so that he can be marveled at, did you see that? God wants to be admired. I hope to show you as best as I can that God’s aim and effort is glory for Himself and that there is no fault in God for that.
Why is this important to understand?
First it is important to understand because God is worthy of glory – He is worthy to be admired & praised!
Secondly, it is important to understand, because if we are not careful we begin to think that all of this is about us.
- We are prone to think that God must always do right by us by our standards of what is right. We are prone to fail to see God’s ultimate purpose for either all of the good stuff in our lives or the bad stuff in our lives.
- We are prone to misrepresent God and teach falsely that God had a need, or that God was lonely, or that God created us for fellowship, or that God created us in order to save us.
- We are prone to think more highly of ourselves than we should and we are prone to make ourselves the center of our universe rather than God as the center of our universe For the record by the way, this makes us many times no different than the prosperity gospel or health and wealth false teachers:
- We begin to think that God is only good when my bills are paid, my children are behaved, my car is running, and I am happy! God is good when the bills aren’t paid, and the house is foreclosed upon, and the children don’t behave, and the car died, and you are sick and not happy.
Let me share this truth with you that I learned from John Piper. He learned this truth from C. S. Lewis. I really want you to get this. C. S. Lewis describes his insight from his book on the Psalms
“But the most obvious fact about praise -- whether of God or anything -- strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless sometimes even if shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it.
The world rings with praise -- lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game -- praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians and scholars…
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. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are, the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. (Reflections on the Psalms, pp. 93-95)
What does Lewis mean? Did you get what he meant? Do you see what he said? He said… We praise what we enjoy because the full enjoyment is not completed until our enjoyment is expressed in praise. Let me say it again.
We praise what we enjoy because the full enjoyment is not completed until our enjoyment is expressed in praise. If we are not allowed to speak of what we value or enjoy or delight in, our joy would not be full or complete.
Therefore God makes it His aim to win our praise for Himself, Not because there is a weakness or flaw in God and it is not because God is compensating for some kind of deficiency, but God seeks our praise because he loves us and wants your joy to be full or complete. Your joy of God can only be full or complete when you are praising him and exalting him.
So, when God says in Ephesians 1 that He does all things for “…to the praise of His glory.” He is giving you and me the only thing that can satisfy of our all heart, the opportunity to fulfill our joy by praising Him.
This is the answer to the faulty charge of why God does what he does in the exercise of his will. Yes, God could prevent cancer, he could prevent divorce, adultery, bankruptcy, foreclosures, job loss but it is through these things that he seeks to be praised in order for our joy to be complete in him and not in those things. God is not operating to make our life easy, fun, fulfilled, or grand. Joel Olsteen is as far wrong as a person can be. Our best life will never be now. In this life we are called to a life of suffering. Our best life will be when we are in the presence of God and he lavishes the grace of Christ on us for all of eternity. (Ephesians)
God in his grace and wisdom is always moving in our lives to drive us to himself. Everything is necessarily in his will and it those things determined or purposed by God that becomes the means or the vehicle in which God presents himself so that we can admire him, love him, and praise him.
Too many times we want the gift and not the giver of the gift. We want the grace and not the giver of grace. God allows evil and heart-ache and sovereignly uses it in order for us to seek him and to be totally satisfied with him. This total satisfaction causes us to praise him which is the expression of our joy in its fullest state.
Tomorrow, I want to look at two situations engineered by God for his glory. I also want to tie in comments from the first post also.