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 and 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 and fearing him. But how else can you worship God?
If God is your God, then you should trust him. After all, if you didn’t trust your God, there wouldn’t be much point in worshipping him. And much of the Bible encourages trust/belief/faith in God – the importance of faith in God cannot be overstated. For example, Isaiah commands: ‘Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal’ (Isaiah 26:4). And David exhorts ‘Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge’ (Psalm 62:8). Jesus regularly speaks of the need to believe, particularly as recorded in John’s gospel. And Peter encourages believing in God through Jesus Christ: ‘For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God’ (1 Peter 1:18-21).
Similarly, if you worship God, then you must hope in him. This should be obvious, for if you didn’t hope in God, then you wouldn’t bother worshipping him. Thus the Psalmist describes the hope we should have in God: ‘I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins’ (Psalm 130:5-8).
Moreover, the God of Christianity is one who wants his people to delight in him. David says: ‘Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart’ (Psalm 37:4).
And closely related to the command to delight in God, is the need to worship God by rejoicing in him. The Psalms are full of commands to rejoice: ‘Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!’ (Psalm 32:11-33:1). And: ‘But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds-his name is the LORD-and rejoice before him’ (Psalm 68:3-4).
So do you trust in, hope in, delight in and rejoice in God? Far too often our faith is weak, our hope is small, our delight is slight and our rejoicing is feeble. And so our fulfilment of the first commandment is lacking. But thankfully Jesus always trusted, hoped, delighted and rejoiced in God as we should. And his work is attributed to us if we trust in him, no matter how weakly. Do you trust in Christ?