For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God Exodus 34:14
Look under a thousand roofs in any city and you may find 1000 gods (or more that people choose to worship. They may call him (or her these days) Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Kali, or any of a host of other names. There is really nothing new in any of this at all. Back in the “Good Old Days” we might imagine that things were different; however the real world that has always been is just a lot more overt than it used to be Where we need to pay careful and close attention is in our own attitudes towards worship and to what God thinks about it. Yes God loves the whole world and sent Jesus to die for all of our sins; but when we worship our God is very insistent even demanding that all our heart belong exclusively to Him.
Begin any discussion about worship today in the church and you will hear words like “anointed, awesome, powerful” and you may listen to conversations about the “presence of God” or the “move of God”. All that may be well and good, however from God’s perspective he is far more interested in what and who we worship than about the specific form or feeling that we attribute to our “worship time.”
In this 21st century of relaxed informal worship a newcomer to the church may come away with the impression that God is not too fussy or opinionated about things. He loves all kinds of people and understands if they are a bit off in what name they call him. Maybe some people just call God by another name or they use images to assist them in thinking about what the invisible God is truly like. They may sense that the God we praise in church is okay with just about anything as long as it is “intimate” and that the worshipers are accepted if they just come with open hearts.
But in fact the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is quite particular about worship. He is far more than picky. God almighty expects that everything we do, everything we say and every thing we imagine be done in the name of Jesus Christ. God is not only jealous but He willing takes on Jealous as His name. He will never accept any worship, no matter how sweet, to be directed to anyone else but Him. He is not just a “Higher Power” He can not be called by any other name. There is no other way to the Father than worship that springs to life in our hearts because of the cross of Jesus Christ.
I love our very formal older people. They never just slide into the pews and begin to talk, but they bow and pray for a moment. A latecomer don’t simply cheerfully join in the singing rather they kneel for a moment and dedicate the moments to God and then join in. As Paul once told the Corinthians about taking communion. “But let a man first examine himself…” 1 Corinthians 11:28. Maybe it would be a great idea for each of us to begin to re-examine our worship and how we talk about it to those living under those thousands of roofs in our city. Oh yes our God is a God of love! But our God of love is a very jealous lover!
Holy, Holy Holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity! Reginald Heber