In these bulletin articles, we’ve been going through a list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism, published in the 17th Century. We’ve been looking at God’s law as summarised in the ten commandments. We started by examining the first commandment: ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20:3). We’ve seen that the first commandment requires that you acknowledge and worship God by remembering, esteeming, honouring, loving, desiring, fearing, trusting, praising, obeying and pleasing him; by hoping, delighting and rejoicing in him; and by being zealous for him. It also means being sorrowful for your sin. That’s quite a list! But is there anything else we should remember about how we are to worship God?
Humility is another act of worship. In fact, all acts of worship towards God must come from walking humbly with him. If you are proud, you will not humble yourself and submit to God and therefore you will not worship him as you ought. But if you remember that God is god and you are not, then you will humble yourself.
The prophet Micah makes a very clear statement about the humility that we need in worship of God. He says: ‘6 With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’ (Micah 6:6-8). God doesn’t want sacrifices of animals and oil or even your children. God wants you to walk humbly with him.
Similarly, the prophet Isaiah says: ‘This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word’ (Isaiah 66:1-2). Again, God doesn’t need anything material from us. What he wants is humility.
In the New Testament, Jesus says that humility is essential to enter God’s kingdom: ‘And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 18:3-4). Although children can be very proud, they have to be very humble at times as they are utterly unable to help themselves. Babies are particularly dependent upon those above them. And that childlike humility is the humility that we should show God.
Sadly, many people proudly offer worship to God. They think that their acts of worship give them high status before God. But our worship should never be tainted with pride. Our worship should always be offered with a deep humility, knowing that without the work of Christ at the cross, we could not possibly seek to worship God.
So have you humbled yourself before God in order to worship him?