Tiny Midges

God desires our praise. He invites it, He summons it; He commands it. Not only do we have explicit commands throughout Scripture, we also have the examples set by God’s people over and over again, down through the centuries. In one sense, nothing seems more natural than that we should praise God, and that He should require it of us.

But there is an oddity involved in it. Sometimes questions do arise. God does not command us to worship Him with some sort of creepy megalomania, as though He were somehow needy for our praise. How could that be? God is everlasting joy itself, and so how could He be needy? Just as He did not create us because He was lonely, so also He did not create us to be a huge audience, so that someone would be around who would applaud for Him.

In the first place, we are not a huge audience. When we consider the size of the cosmos, and the billions of stars in our galaxy, along with the fact that there are billions of galaxies, and we consider the fact that our planet is microscopic in comparison to all of that, and that we and our voices are microscopic in comparison to our world, it becomes apparent that our volume is not exactly enormous. As a simple matter of decibels, God could certainly have done bigger and better.

But in a sense, size is irrelevant. God’s summons to us, where He requires our praise, is a gracious condescension on His part. He knows that in His creation of us as little beings, bearing His image, tiny midges with eternity in their hearts, He could not give us minds and hearts—as He did—without also giving us the correlative necessity of acknowledging where our minuscule existence came from. If He created us, we must be small. But we need not be small and blind.

As Lewis says somewhere, in the final analysis, God has nothing to give us but Himself, and if He is to create anything, it must be finite, and if it is finite, it must be helpless, contingent, and utterly frail in comparison to the Infinite Glory. The greatest archangel prostrates himself just as we do. The seraphim, glorious dragons, before whom we would cry out in fear, themselves cry holy, holy, holy incessantly. The cherubim are humble, not haughty.

For God to create sentient beings at all is for Him to create beings who are absolutely dependent. And because they have hearts, choices and wills, He knows that unless those hearts are bent to acknowledge this foundational reality, those frail and finite beings will also be stupid, lost, blind and arrogant.

The requirement to praise Him is therefore an act of gracious condescension on His part. We praise Him as the one who is everlasting and eternal love.

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