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Worship: Dialogue or Monologue?

Some folks view God as a heavenly chum. A rich buddy who likes to flatter them by having a good chat with them every once in a while. Consequently, these folk’s worship takes on a form that is strikingly similar to that of a coffee break with a generous sponsor. Lots of easy conversation and backslapping. Happy dialogue with the Almighty, or at least so it is perceived by its purveyors to be.

Other people view the Almighty as a megalomaniac; a despot who wants to do all the talking while His anxious subjects do all the listening. When these people worship God, they are too afraid of Him (or too bored with Him) to respond in honest expression to what they hear Him say. When He speaks, they sit it out until He is finished. And then they return to their lives. Their response, or lack of it, is carefully designed to avoid any confrontation with the tyrannical and snobbish God of their imagination. Their worship amounts to a sort of one-sided “conversation.” Monologue.

The Bible tells us about many men and women who walked and talked with God. Take a moment and think of Enoch. Noah. Abraham. Or consider the biblical account of the lives of Ruth, David and Esther. Peter, James, John, and Rhoda too. All of these men and women, and more, are depicted as serving a God who fits neither the austere, megalomaniac mold nor the superficial, coffee-break-companion mold.

Perhaps you know a seasoned man or woman of God in your community. Ask them what their God is like. They will certainly tell you of someone who is very “other,” someone quite unlike any human hero. Someone neither megalomaniac nor flippant. Someone both deserving of reverent worship and desirous of close companionship.

So, our worship of God, should it be dialogue or should it be monologue?

All the way from pre-Fall Adam and Eve, down to present-day redeemed men and women of God, those who know Him the most intimately consistently experience worship more as dialogue than monologue. Not the kind of dialogue that happens between equals, to be sure. But dialogue, nonetheless. Dialogue of the kind that happens between a benevolent King and his grateful, voluntarily submissive citizens. God the King leads in that conversation. And His faithful worshippers follow in it, responding to Him in many ways.

Do you know God? Are you known of Him? Then engage. Dialogue with Him. Listen attentively and respectfully to what He says, then respond reverently and with great joy. That response will be worship. It will become a lifestyle. It will be a daily, living sacrifice that will be pleasurable to both of you.

Engage. Worship. Dialogue with the Almighty!

—Daniel Huber

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