Summary: You’re not the audience. God is. We are all players, performers who live and worship before Him.
Today, we are wrapping up our series “wired for worship.” But how do you worship God in a world of pain and suffering? The problem is huge. And on August 29, indescribable suffering showed up again as Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
Some say that we can still worship God because this was an act of His judgment of those sinners on Bourbon Street. They say people suffer because of sin. Well, that’s a partially true statement. But there are babies who have suffered in Louisiana. And Jesus rejected “sin” as a blanket explanation for suffering. Check out John 9. You can’t always trace suffering back to sin.
Others say that we can still worship God in the face of suffering because God is not really fully in control. They say that He wasn’t in control of that hurricane, that God is doing the best He can under the circumstances, but He lacks real power. But the scriptures paint a different picture of God than that!
He makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers.
Psalm 104:4 (ESV)
He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow…
Psalm 147:18 (ESV)
God is “The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.”
Isaiah 45:7 (ESV)
If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?
Amos 3:6 (ESV)
[God] does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand or say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’”
Daniel 4:35 (ESV)
So, the question is: “How do you worship in the face of suffering this God who is almighty? How could a good God allow these things to happen?”
Some might say “Look at the suffering around us. If God is God He is not good, if God is good He is not God. God can be good, or He can be strong, but when I see all the suffering in this world, I can’t believe He is both.”
But the Bible also says,
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 (NASB)
Faith says, “God is great and God is good.” Yes, we want to know “why.” But God is not mainly to be explained. He is mainly to be admired and cherished and worshiped.
Piper, p. 50…
Let’s talk about how we can live for audience One even in the face of suffering.
You’re not the audience. God is. We are all players, performers who live and worship before Him.
Let’s set the stage for this story.
The first king of Israel was a man named Saul. Saul started out OK but in the end, he was a jealous, power-hungry failure as a leader. So, God started over with a young man named David.
After David defeated a giant named Goliath, he became a great leader in Saul’s army. That’s when Saul became jealous of David.
It ticked Saul off that Saul’s daughter, Michal, fell in love. Saul agreed to give Michal to David to marry if David would go out and kill 100 enemies in battle. He hoped David would die. But David killed 200 enemies and Saul was forced to give Michal in marriage to David.
One time, Saul’s jealousy of David grew so great that he sent soldiers to David’s house to kill him. Michal warned David of her father’s plans. She took a statue and put it in their bed and disguised it as David. Michal told the soldiers that David couldn’t be disturbed because he was ill. That delay gave David time to sneak out through a window to escape.
Finally, David was forced to run into the wilderness to get away from Saul. Saul hunted him down to kill him. While David was away, Saul gave his daughter, Michal, David’s wife, to another man.
Finally, Saul died. And that’s when David returned to Israel and the people declared him their king. And David asked that Michal be returned to him as his rightful wife. Sounds like a good end to a love story, right? Things should have turned out well, but they didn’t.
David wanted to restore worship in Israel. So, he organized a worship service to being the ark, the symbol of the presence and power of God, to the capital city. It was a major worship celebration. Singing. Dancing. People lining the streets. Let’s pick up the story in II Samuel 6:16…
16As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD,