Hebrews 6:9-12 – OT
Among Christians it’s become axiomatic that we do not praise the Lord for what He has done but for Who He is. Lewis talks about this in one of his essays in God in the Dock, where he disputes the idea that the faith is a mere bribe, where we worship God only as a means and in response to our salvation.
Lewis notes that the early Jewish faith had very little concept of an afterlife, which only later evolved into a vague notion of a waiting area in which dead souls slept. It’s only as the story progresses past the exile and into the New Testament that we get a clearer and clearer view of life after death, ultimately being revealed in the theological ideas we know today. Lewis humbly suggests that this delayed revelation may have been God’s way of ensuring that His holiness was observed and worshipped as an end in its own right rather than as a means to some other end, such as salvation or paradise.
However, as Piper* tells us, we derive benefit from the very fact of delighting in something for its own sake. He says if he brought his wife flowers and explained to her that it was out of duty and in obligation to the sacred commitment they had made on their wedding day, she would rightfully throw him out on his bum. It may sound selfish and mercenary to say, but he realizes that nothing makes his wife feel more loved than if he explains his gift of flowers by telling her how happy she makes him and how much he likes to be in her presence and hear her voice and know that he is loved and tended to by such a vision of beauty, etc.
In other words, recognizing our benefit in God’s grace is a much more honest and appealing way of worshipping Him than academically and dispassionately recognizing His greatness. We see this in the more joyous of the Psalms and here in Isaiah 25.
One specific note of praise that like is the fact that God’s plans were made of old, faithful and sure. Unlike Keenen Ivory Wayans in Most Wanted, God does not improvise. His plans for salvation predate Creation and the Fall. His plans for the Revelation predate Genesis. We praise God for His greatness, yes, but that greatness is inseperable from our enjoyment and benefit. His faithful and sure plans of old make Him who He is.