Summary: AW Tozer said, "What we think about when we think about God is the most important thing about us." Psalm 103 teaches us what to think about when we think about God.
The God We Worship
Good morning! Please open your Bibles to Psalm 103 as we continue our series on the book of Psalms. Last week we talked about the kind of worship that pleases God, and we talked briefly about how we don’t just worship an impersonal God that we don’t know anything about. We talked about how we aren’t like the space aliens in Toy Story, and their worship of “The Claw.” And this morning, I want us to go even deeper into reflecting on God’s character. And here’s why:
One of the greatest Christian thinkers of the 20th century was an American pastor named AW Tozer. In his book The Knowledge of the Holy he made a stunning statement. He said,
“What comes to mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
Now, that’s a pretty epic statement. Really? The most important thing? I would say yes, and here’s why: First, our worship of God will never be greater than what we think about God. If we have a shallow, superficial view of God, then we will have shallow, superficial worship. If we think of God primarily as a way for our needs to be met, our wish list to be fulfilled, then we will stop worshiping God when its inconvenient for us to do so.
But let’s make it personal. Tozer goes on to say that people “tend to move toward their mental image of God.” So let’s say, again, that what you think about God is that He exists to make you healthy and wealthy. If that’s the case, then you will move toward God as a means to satisfy your own greed. Which means that you actually aren’t moving toward God at all. On the other hand, Let’s say your view of God is as a demanding, vengeful, wrath-filled deity who is just waiting for you to make a mistake so He can hurl you into Hell. If that’s you, then you are most likely to keep that kind of God at a distance, aren’t you?
And that is why this Psalm is so very important. Of all the Psalms, 103 may give us the most complete picture of God’s character. Just as Psalm 19 gave us a complete picture of God’s Word, 103 gives us a complete picture of Who He is. And if we really get what 103 is saying, then its going to help keep us from creating God in our own image. Being attracted to a false view of God is just as deadly as being driven away from a false view of God.
So, if you are physically able, I invite you to stand in honor of God’s Word.
Read Psalm 103
Pray: AW Tozer’s Prayer at the beginning of The Knowledge of the Holy
O Lord God Almighty, not the God of the philosophers and the wise but the God of the prophets and the apostles; and better than all, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Those who don’t really know you might call upon You as other than You really are, and so worship not You but a creature of their own making. Therefore, enlighten our minds so that we may know You as You really are, and so love You more perfectly and praise you more worthily.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Now, I know this isn’t in your notes, but I want to point out something we see from the first couple of verses of 103: True worship begins with who God is. Not who we are.
1. Worship begins with God, not yourself (v. 1). David starts with a simple command to himself. He says, “Praise the Lord, O my soul”
2. Worship begins with praise, not requests. “All that is within me, bless His holy name.” Last week we talked about how we teach our children to say please and thank you. But in worship, we say thank you, and then please.
3. True worship begins by remembering what you have, not what you lack: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
So, first thing, right off, let’s make a decision that when we come to worship God, we are going to tell Him how great He is.
Now, verses 3-5 read a little like a job decription. On the surface, these verses seem to just be descriptions of what God does. But here’s what you need to fill in on your notes:
We know Who God is because of what God is doing (vv. 3-5)
And notice that it doesn’t say “What God has done,” but what God is doing. Each of these verbs in the Hebrew is an active participle, which means that it represents an action or condition in its unbroken continuity, and corresponds to the English verb, "to be" with the present participle. It may be used of present, past or future time. In the Hebrew, each phrase begins with