I’m co-teaching the 8th grade Sunday School class at Trinity CRC this year. The material we’re using is helping us explore worship – both Sunday worship and our Monday-through-Saturday worship – and this week we talked about how God is indeed worthy of our honor and praise.
I hope my students learn this easier than the Philistine god Dagon did. In a story in 1 Samuel that makes me laugh out loud, the Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant and put it in their pagan temple. (That’s not the funny part – it’s coming now…) The next morning, the Philistines open the doors to their temple and the statue of Dagon is face down on the floor in front of the Ark! The people quickly restore Dagon’s dignity by standing the statue back up again. But the following morning when the Philistines open the door to their temple, Dagon has fallen down in front of the Ark again – except this time the statue’s head and hands have fallen off!
I laugh at the way even an inanimate object somehow “knows” to fall down before the Lord. It’s sad, though, how long it sometimes takes intelligent human beings to realize this – human beings such as myself. It’s so easy for me to lose the focus I’m invited to have on God and bow instead to things like money or possessions or recognition. In His grace, God sometimes gently draws me back to Him. For example, it might be something I read in the Bible or the words of a song. Or, in His grace, God sometimes brings me to a breaking point to force me to wake up and realize He is God and I am not. For example, it might the painful correction I need to receive from a friend. Regardless, things always go better for me when God receives the glory.
All this reminds me of Brian Doerksen’s song “Come, Now Is the Time to Worship.” It refers to how one day all of creation will confess the sovereignty of God. But blessed are those who realize and confess and live this reality sooner rather than later! If my 8th graders grasp this, they’ll be well on their way for years to come.