Why does God need to be worshiped?
DT 6:10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you--a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant--then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Here are the verses immediately preceeding the "angry" verses. The Israelites have no excuse for abandoning the God who brought them out of the land of slavery.
because Yhwh your God, who is present with you, is a jealous god
If He is present, and deliberately abandoned, He would be right to be angry.
...Are there times or ways that jealousy is a right response? I would think that in marriage, a man should be jealous if his wife begins to stray. Not because he is insecure, but because his relationship means they have pledged their love and loyalty to the other alone.
Here are a few more, all from the ot. Sorry that they are from the nwt. Feel free to requote them from another bible if the nwt give the wrong idea.
*** Rbi8 Exodus 20:5 ***
because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion,
*** Rbi8 Numbers 25:11 ***
?Phin´e·has the son of El·e·a´zar the son of Aaron the priest has turned back my wrath from upon the sons of Israel by his tolerating no rivalry at all toward me in the midst of them, so that I have not exterminated the sons of Israel in my insistence on exclusive devotion.
*** Rbi8 Deuteronomy 4:24 ***
For Jehovah your God is a consuming fire, a God exacting exclusive devotion.
*** Rbi8 Deuteronomy 5:9 ***
because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion,
*** Rbi8 Joshua 24:19-20 ***
Joshua said to the people: ?YOU are not able to serve Jehovah, for he is a holy God; he is a God exacting exclusive devotion. He will not pardon YOUR revolting and YOUR sins. 20 In case YOU should leave Jehovah and YOU do serve foreign gods,
*** Rbi8 Ezekiel 5:13 ***
And my anger will certainly come to its finish and I will appease my rage on them and comfort myself; and they will have to know that I myself, Jehovah, have spoken in my insistence on exclusive devotion, when I bring my rage to its finish upon them
*** Rbi8 Nahum 1:2 ***
Jehovah is a God exacting exclusive devotion and taking vengeance; Jehovah is taking vengeance and is disposed to rage.
Bebu: I don't say it is not "right". But, as your (biblical, cf. Hosea) analogy of marriage and adultery implies, we are in a polytheistic context where each god is entitled to the exclusive worship of his people, and has some "rightful" motive to be jealous because he's not alone: there are other gods out there. In monotheism there is no real grounds for adultery or jealousy, for there is only one God. So the jealousy motive will be reinterpreted as anti-idolatrous polemics (which is not the same).
To get back to the core of the topic: in the polytheistic system the gods wanted to be worshipped, i.e. served in their houses (temples) with many things they liked: the food of sacrifices, the fragrance of incense, the music of psalms, etc. This is apparent in ANE texts and still shows in many OT texts (e.g. Leviticus). A monotheistic, purely "spiritual" "God" (with capital G) would certainly not ask for that kind of worship (e.g. John 4:22ff). But why would he demand worship in the first place?
Those texts show that YHWH didn't want them devoting themselves to any other gods (highlighting the jealousy aspect), but what about demands for worship?
Didier, you rightly highlight the "service" aspect, but is this necessarily worship?
Surely I can do what someone asks without worshipping them?
I'm thinking of that scripture in Peter where he says:"God is not slow, but patient with you so that none should be destroyed by his Son when he comes to destroy all those without faith." I know I added the last part,,but none the less that is what the bible teaches.
If you don't worship the god of the bible your toast according to scripture.
(sadly I mist hit the sack, and hopefully pick this up again tomorrow - Night guys.)
Ross: In my previous post I tried to show how originally the "worship" of the gods was a very concrete "service": providing food etc. to gods who could "really" eat, drink, etc.
With the shift from polytheism to monotheism (and from mythology to theology) we are left with pretty empty concepts, still metaphorically drawing on the memories of the old practice: "spiritual sacrifices", "worshipping in spirit and truth". What does that mean, really?
First off, I'd like to apologize to anyone who felt offended by the content of this thread. That was not the intent at all. ((( LT )))
Secondly, I'm very impressed with the reasonableness of the discussion. Before I posted I was kind of worried that it might deteriorate into something nasty, and I'm delighted to come back here and see that it hasn't.
There have been some really interesting comments that have given me lots to think about.
Free Willy writes:
It's funny, if there is anything at all that I am grateful for from my JW experience, it is the fact that I am now free from any "need" to worship anything. I certainly feel i have found greater objectivity and appreciation of life in the process.
At this point in my life, I feel very much the same way... as though I'd given so much of my earlier life to God (or the JWs) that I need to take the time I have now to figure myself out and do something with my life that I found meaningful and purposeful.
What parent expects worship from his/her progeny, why should god?
I've used the analogy before that when human parents have children, the last thing on their mind is to have the children worship the parents. In fact, it would be considered the sickest of human conditions for parents to demand worship from their children. Or else face the terrible consequences of not doing so.
Only the most perverted of human parents would force such an act on their children. What does that tell you about a God who demands worship upon pain of death, then?
Perhaps because mankind is ensecure we created an ensecure god who needs attention and praise.
If god is a human idea, however, then isn't it utterly predictable that he wants power and adulation?
Bertrand Russell via Valis:
I observe that a very large portion of the human race does not believe in God and suffers no visible punishment in consequence. And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt his existence.
These thoughts pretty much mirror where I'm at now. If God created people with the sole purpose of having those people worship him, it seems to me to be a very selfish thing to do. If he demands worship (or exclusive devotion) on penalty of death, pestilence, pillaging by hostile armies, destruction at Armageddon, etc., doesn't that constitute coercion? Would it render suspect all acts of worship by people who are familiar with the above terms of worship, no matter how freely given or sincere those acts of worship were? Once a reward/punishment clause enters the picture, is it wrong for someone to develop the expectation that "If I do what God wants, my life should be peachy"? And how is it possible to cling to the notion that enduring horrible tribulations is pleasing to God?? Does God enjoy watching "his" people suffer??
The way I think about the notion of God now is that if God exists, there is nothing that I can do for him. Nothing. He is, after all, "everything" personified. And if I can't do anything for him to make his existence better, worship is an exercise in futility. However, if I use the gifts and talents that I have within me to make my life and the lives of those around me better, then that should be what makes God happy with me. Why would he want anything else than for me to achieve my full potential and help my children reach theirs? Isn't that enough for God?
I can definitely do some metaphor-free thinking, but it's more like pre-cognition and you need a sligthly unnatural form of language if you want to put it in speech. If you're interested in my examples (I only have one), PM me (it's a bit off topic on this thread).Please feel free to expand on this here. I don't mind in the least. Terry writes:
Each man is large in his own life and "ME" drowns every sound and thought.Your posts always make me think. Wonderful stuff. Thank you. Narkissos, I've really enjoyed your comments - you always have something interesting to add to the conversation. I may not always quite "understand" the deep stuff you bring, but I'm very glad that you share your thoughts. I'm going to read some more and come back to this later. Good stuff, everyone! Love, Scully
God is ....."other"....and the most demanding other possible.
Ex3:12 He said, "I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain." NRSV
Ex4:22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the Lord: Israel is my firstborn son.
23 I said to you, "Let my son go that he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; now I will kill your firstborn son.'" NRSV
Mt4:10 Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! for it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'" NRSV
Lk4:8 Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'" NRSV
Farkel makes a good point, it would be very strange and unusual for parents to demand their childern worship them.
But, Kings have demanded to be worshipped, and what do Kings provide an individual to demand such worship? or rather, what do the individuals provide the King such that the King demands worship?
I think there might be a deep insight here.