Another response to the trustworthiness of God that we need to exercise is to worship Him in times of adversity. As Job had just lost all of his family, we see that his initial response to the disaster was: Job 1:20–21 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Instead of reacting against God in the time of his calamity Job worshiped Him. Instead of raising his fist in the face of God he fell down before God and worshiped Him. Instead of defiance there was a humble recognition of God’s sovereignty, and what God in His sovereignty had given, and what God in His sovereignty has a right to take away.
Worship involves a two directional view, looking upward we see God in all His Majesty, power, glory, and sovereignty as well as His mercy, love, goodness, and grace. Looking at ourselves we recognize our dependence upon God and our sinfulness before Him. We see God as the sovereign creator, worthy to be worshiped, served, and obeyed. We see ourselves as mere creatures, unworthy sinner who has failed to worship, serve, and obey Him as we should. We deserve nothing from God but eternal judgment. We are continuous debtors, not only for His sovereign mercy in saving us, but for every breath we draw, every bite of food we eat. We have no rights before God. Everything we are and we have is because of His grace. Everything in heaven and earth belongs to Him and He says to us in the words of the land owner of the workers in His vineyard: Matthew 20:15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’
There is another dimension to God’s sovereignty. We saw earlier that God’s sovereignty involves His absolute power to do whatever pleases Him and His absolute control over the actions of His creatures. God’s sovereignty includes His absolute right to do as He pleases with us. That He has chosen to redeem us and to send His Son to die for us instead of sending us to hell is not due to any obligation toward us on His part. It is solely due to His sovereignty, love, mercy, and grace. He said to Moses: Exodus 33:19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
God is saying: “I am under obligation to no one.” In times of adversity worship from the heart implies an attitude of humble acceptance on our part of God’s right to do as He pleases in our lives. We must acknowledge that whatever we have at any time; health, position, wealth, or anything else we may cherish, is a gift from God’s sovereign grace and may be taken away at His pleasure.
God does not act toward us in bare sovereignty, wielding His power oppressively or tyrannically. God has always acted toward us in love, mercy, and grace and He continues to act that way toward us as He works to conform us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. When we bow before His almighty power, we can also bow with confidence that He exercises that power for us not against us. So, we should bow in an attitude of humility, accepting His dealings in our lives but we can also bow in love knowing that those dealings however severe and painful they may be come from a wise and loving heavenly Father.
How difficult is it for you to worship God during times of adversity?