READ: Genesis 4-6, Psalm 2, Matthew 2, Acts 2
We have reduced worship to what we personally like. One key to experiencing the ongoing presence of Jesus is to worship Him in the way that He wants to be worshipped. God did not respect Cain’s worship (the implication is that worship was not costly enough to Cain). Cain essentially kills his brother Abel over worship. Herod kills innocent children when the sages worship Jesus. True worship not only costs us something (we give from our treasures), but it also costs those connected to us something.
It is not only individuals who resent God’s preferences for worship. The nations resent the rule of God; they do not want to worship Him in the way He proscribes. Collections of peoples want to worship God according to their own customs and preferences, and outside the super exaltation of the divine Son. He who sits in the heavens laughs at this short-sighted rebellion. Every tongue will worship Jesus eventually — the only matter under consideration is if we do that joyfully (even if sacrificially) now, or fearfully at the last day.
God has highly exalted Jesus that we might worship Him, that all peoples might worship Him. Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 was attended by Iranians, Iraqis, Egyptians, Kurds, Libyans, and others who now are considered Muslim peoples. In the midst of perversity (Cain, Noah’s contemporaries, Herod, and our own continually evil hearts), God goes to war, and He wars by demanding worship on His terms (Genesis 6:5).
God’s expectation of worship is that it costs us something, that it costs something to those that love us and that we love. He expects us to lay down our treasures at His feet. He expects us to walk against the flow of perversity in our day. He expects us to open our mouths and loudly praise Him – even when we don’t feel like it, and especially when we don’t feel like it. Praise that costs us something is worship Jesus is pleased to receive. Crucial to walking in the unmitigated presence of Jesus is the ongoing battle with ourselves to worship Jesus on His terms.