I’m preaching a series in the first 12 chapters of Genesis, entitled “In The Beginnings”
This week we were in Chapter 11. This series has been a broad sweep with only one sermon in each chapter, trying to see the big picture. The big picture is that God is at work in creation, in family development, in correction, in the second chance, we will finish with ch12 and the beginning of Abraham’s line, from whence will come the Messiah, an answer to the promise of God in Genesis 3:15 to “bruise the head of the serpent”.
So, in chapter 11 the most famous story is the Tower of Babel. Yes, it is an amazing story, and yes I believe it. But God inspires the telling of the story, we get the details, and then the Story goes on. The Purpose of Man is to Glorify God and to enjoy him forever. That’s what The Westminster Confession says. That’s what got these people in trouble. It’s NOT that they didn’t know God, they knew him, but they forgot or abandoned their purpose. Paul seems to be writing their story in Romans 1, but he is writing all of our story. Though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude… exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images… They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator(Romans1:21-25)
So, let me give you the last part of my message yesterday and write about,
– Returning to our Purpose
Puritan preacher, Thomas Watson, preaching Body of Divinity – a series on the Westminster Confession, was addressing the Chief end of man – to glorify God and enjoy him forever. If we ask the question then, How Do I Glorify God? I want to use the 4 words that Watson uses, and then I’ll give my thoughts and comments on those words.
How do I Glorify God?
Gratitude, or a lack thereof, is where it starts and finishes. A lack of appreciation, or gratitude, leads to discontent, distance, and disobedience. STOP and think about those 3 results of the lack of gratitude for God, or anyone you are in relationship with, discontent, distance, and disobedience.
Robert Emmons of http://www.greatergood.com says that gratitude is an affirmation of goodness… recognizing that the source is outside ourselves. Georg Simmel calls gratitude the moral memory of mankind. Wow that’s good.
Forgetfulness by these descendants of Noah, quickly became discontented, distant, and disobedient to God, as they failed to appreciate the Sovereignty and Salvation of God.
Gratitude makes us faithful followers that live to glorify God. Cicero calls gratitude the mother of all virtues, and I think he has something there. When we fail to get gratitude right, the rest doesn’t fall into place.
Second, to Glorify God
That is loving worship. My PERSONAL DEFINITION of Worship is “an expression of adoration to the object of our affection” (JLG2003).
How do we do that in the daily? Jesus told us to pray, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. How is it in Heaven? You go to Revelation 4. There are 4 “Creatures” at the throne and all they do, day and night they never stop saying “holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come. And WHENEVER they do, the 24 Elders say, Lord and God you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because you have created all things, and by your will they exist and were created. – I personally believe the “24 Elders” is the church, so this is what the church does in Heaven, and it’s what we should be doing “on earth as it is in heaven”
Adoration recognizes God’s greatness, his goodness, and gives him glory in all things here on earth, just as they do in heaven.
Thirdly, to glorify God
When we talk about affection or love, we need to be more specific. Watson says that there are 2 kinds of affection or love. The first is a “love because”. He likens it to when we say “I love you for the harvest” – or we are loving the blessing. We love the raise, or our health, or our food, whatever, but we are loving the Blessing. But Watson says the affection that truly Glorifies God is to take delight in.
Oh my, when we get our “delight” in something besides God, everything else gets out of tune. If you remember Genesis 3:6, it was misplaced delight that got Adam and Eve in trouble, a lack of gratitude. God had only said, “no” about ONE THING, the tree. But 3:6 says the woman saw that the tree was good for food and DELIGHTFUL to look at… desirable…
Love, Worship, Adoration, Affection comes when we delight in God, because he delighted in ME. Oh there is nothing in my sinful self that is delightful, but he did. Psalm 18:16-19 says he reached down from on high and took hold of me; he pulled me out of the deep water…he brought me to a spacious place; he rescued me because he DELIGHTED in me.
Somebody hold my mule, I need to shout!
He delighted in me, and I delight in him because of WHO HE IS.
When I think about that word, delight, I think about the sweetest part of my relationship with my bride. When I see her smile, at fireworks, or at a favorite song, I just watch her smile, it is a delight to me, to see her smile.
Delight for God is to know what pleases him, makes him smile, and just look to his face to see him smile. That is to GLORIFY GOD.
Appreciation, Adoration, Affection, don’t lose that JOY, grateful joy and then lastly to Glorify God is
That might not be a word we use. But think Allegiance in Service.
Subjection is what those 4 creatures at the throne of God do. They stand before the throne, waiting for the instruction of God, at his Disposal, at his Discretion, reporting for Duty, for His GLORY.
And this then is the problem in Genesis 11. God gave a commission, and they wanted to do what they wanted to do. They were busy, grand, amazing, but they were NOT GLORIFYING GOD. Oh, selah, stop and think about that. God is great and greatly to be praised. He is to be adored, honored, in grateful obedient service.
Romans 11:33, 36 – oh the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways!… For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
Psalm 100 – Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to the Lord! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are his – his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever; his faithfulness through all generations.
Nimrod tried to steal God’s glory, he tried to Tower over God.
But Towering over Babel is the Word of God!
And I hear the words of Maltbie D Babcock:
This is my Father’s world:
Oh, let me ne’er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet
This is my Father’s world;
The battle is not done:
Jesus who died, shall be satisfied
and earth and Heav’n be one
Glorify God Today, Every Day