Worship Which God?
UNLIKE the animals, we humans have the capacity to worship. This is part of our makeup from birth. We also have a moral sense, a conscience to guide us as to what is right and what is wrong. In various ways all of us follow that conscience, and in doing so, many look to a god or gods for guidance.
During the past century or two, some worldly intellectuals have disputed the existence of an almighty God and Creator. In 1844, Karl Marx declared religion to be “the opium of the people.” Later, Charles Darwin brought forth the theory of evolution. Then came the Bolshevik revolution. In Eastern Europe atheism became official state policy, and it was claimed that religion would die out with the generation of 1917. But those atheists could not change the way humans are made. This is evidenced in the resurgence of religion in Eastern Europe at this time.
However, as the Bible says, there are many who “are called ‘gods,’ whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords.’” (1 Corinthians 8:5) Through the ages mankind has worshiped a multitude of gods. There have been gods of fertility, of love, of war, and of wine and revelry. In the Hindu religion alone, gods number into the millions.
Trinities of gods have flourished in Babylon, Assyria, and Egypt, as well as in Buddhist lands. Christendom too has its “holy” Trinity. Islam, rejecting the Trinity, has “no god but Allah.” Moreover, even those who scoff at the concept of an invisible, almighty God have their own gods. For example, at Philippians 3:19, the Bible says of humans who are snared in materialistic pursuits: “Their god is their belly.”
Most people worship the god or gods of the land or society into which they happened to be born. This raises questions. Do all forms of worship lead to the same place—like roads up to a mountain peak? Or do many of religion’s mystic roads lead to calamity—like pathways to a precipice? Are there many proper ways to worship or is there just one? Are there many praiseworthy gods or is there just one Almighty God who is worthy of our exclusive devotion and worship?
The Rise of False Gods
The above questions merit our close examination. Why? Because the oldest written authority on religion, the Bible, describes how a false god, operating through a serpent, enticed our first ancestors into a disastrous course. We are experiencing the distressing results of his strategy to this day. (Genesis 3:1-13, 16-19; Psalm 51:5) Jesus, “the Son of God,” spoke of that rebel god as “the ruler of this world.” One of Jesus’ apostles called him “the god of this system of things.” (John 1:34; 12:31; 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4) At Revelation chapter 12, verse 9, he is described as “the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth.” A world empire of false religion lies under Satan’s control.
Satan is the archdeceiver. (1 Timothy 2:14) He plays upon mankind’s inborn desire to worship by promoting many kinds of deities—ancestral spirits, idols, icons, Madonnas. He even sponsors worship of human gods, such as mighty rulers, victorious generals, and movie and sports stars. (Acts 12:21-23) We do well to keep on guard, resolved to seek out and worship only the true God, who really “is not far off from each one of us.”—Acts 17:27.
Who, then, is this unique God that we should worship? Some 3,000 years ago, the Bible psalmist described him as “the Most High . . . , the Almighty One . . . , my God, in whom I will trust,” and called him by his illustrious name—“Jehovah.” (Psalm 91:1, 2) Earlier, Moses had said of him: “Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) And the prophet Isaiah quoted God himself as saying: “I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory, neither my praise to graven images.”—Isaiah 42:8.
Jehovah God purposes to clear his name of all the reproach that the false god Satan has smeared upon it. He illustrated how he would do this in the year 1513 B.C.E., when he used his prophet Moses to deliver the people of Israel from Egyptian oppression. On that occasion, God linked his name Jehovah with the words: “I shall prove to be what I shall prove to be.” (Exodus 3:14, 15) He would vindicate himself against Egypt’s Pharaoh, but first he told that wicked ruler: “For this cause I have kept you in existence, for the sake of showing you my power and in order to have my name declared in all the earth.”—Exodus 9:16.
The situation is similar today. Like Pharaoh of old, the god of this world, Satan, defies Jehovah God and craftily carries on spiritual warfare against those humans who love righteousness and truth. (Ephesians 6:11, 12, 18) Once again, God has purposed to magnify his name in the face of Satan’s opposition. However, before showing his power by destroying Satan and all his works, Jehovah sends forth his worshipers to declare His name in all the earth. This witnessing to his name is a vital part of true worship.
Appropriately, God himself has said that these worshipers would be his witnesses, Jehovah’s Witnesses, “the people whom I have formed for myself, that they should recount the praise of me.” (Isaiah 43:10-12, 21) How do they recount Jehovah’s praise? They preach and teach publicly and from house to house, declaring the good news that Jehovah’s Kingdom, ruled by his Son, Jesus Christ, will bring eternal blessings to obedient mankind on this earth. Thus, they worship God “without letup,” as did true Christians in the first century. (Acts 5:42; 20:20, 21) Have they enjoyed divine blessing in this? The following pages will answer.