CS Lewis and praise
Monday, June 11, 2007
I've been reading a book by CS Lewis called 'Reflections on the Psalms'. Yesterday, I read the chapter on praise in the Psalms. He brings up an interesting question... Is it selfish for God to demand praise from his worshippers? Not only that, but God wanting his people to worship him makes it seem as if he is weak and needs our compliments.
There are two good answers to the question.
Lewis goes on to say that someone who genuinely values something can't help but praise it. Whether it's a poem, a song, a good joke or a piece of art, valuing something leads to praise. His challenge is that if we value God above all things and if we see him as supreme, then the praise we give him should be supreme over the praise we give everything else. It isn't as if by praising God we are just giving him a compliment to satisfy some meglomaniacal urge he has - like a tyrant or dictator. We praise him because we genuinely value him and what he has done. He is valuable above all things - so all things praise him. Luke 19:40 'If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out!'
I listened to John Piper's sermon from New Attitude this week on God seeing God as the most important thing in the universe. It gave a second answer to the question. God is the only being in the universe who can ordain praise for himself without being selfish. This is because God is the best thing to Praise. The action of praising God is supremely valuable for us as we do it. We are recognizing God for who he is and this is right - as opposed to worshipping anything else in all of creation. God is the only true God. So for God to command us to praise him is the most loving, generous thing he can do. Go could have chosen to hide himself from us and to let us continue to worship idols but instead he reveals himself to us and shows us the only being worthy of our praise... Himself!
Posted byDan at 9:21 AM