The drive to worship is deep in the heart of humanity. For evidence of this we need to look no further than any stadium in which an NFL game is being played. The energy behind the worship of the professional football team in the city near which I live is impressive. On game day during football season, green jerseys are seemingly everywhere. Thousands flock to the stadium, to bars and to homes to gather for worship of their beloved team.
I’m not saying that it is wrong to be a sports fan, I am saying that the fervor displayed by many fans is evidence of man’s inherent need and capacity to worship.
Apart from the Judeo/Christian world view, objects of worship are people, things or concepts that have their existence in the physical world. In some cultures they worship idols and other objects that are considered sacred. In the western world of the 21st Century, many worship science and technology as the saviors of mankind. All these religions (modern atheism demands the same level of faith and commitment as any religion) are grounded in what can be apprehended through the physical senses.
Demands for proof of the existence of God are rooted in the physical realm. It is considered foolish to believe in something that cannot be seen or touched. Yet, that is what God expected of Israel and what he expects of us today, to believe in him. He sets himself up as the God who is above and beyond the physical world and is worthy of worship.
He does not leave us in the dark to grope our way to him. He, the one who created the physical realm and our ability to perceive it, has provided the means for us to gain knowledge of him. There are two means of apprehending God that I would like to highlight.
The first is his word as revealed by the Biblical authors. God has revealed himself to us in terms that we can understand. He is a God who wants to be known and he makes that clear to us. I cannot touch God in a physical sense, but I can handle his word given to me. I cannot hear God’s voice with my ear, but I can hear through his word.
The second is the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. The Apostle John writes about the fact that Jesus could be seen, heard and touched. Jesus, as God in the flesh, revealed the nature of God to us in a way that we can understand. He, being fully human and fully God, could bridge the gap of separation between us and God in a way that no human could do. To look on the face of Jesus was to look on the face of God.
These thoughts were prompted by my reading of Exodus 20 this morning which contains the Ten Commandments. One of the commands is that no images are to be worshipped. Yet we see that humanity has had a bias toward worshipping what can be seen over the God who is unseen. God alone is to be worshipped but men refuse to bow to him, preferring to put their faith in other men or in science or in their own ability.
Men and science do not have a particularly good track record to date. The 20th Century was the bloodiest century on record. The century which had the greatest “freedom” from God had the most tyranny and destruction.
A common business proverb is, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Yet we keep denouncing God and trusting men and we are disappointed every time. I guess that means that as a culture we are insane . . .