“It was as though they were revering the memory of a Grand Old Man, who was a great power in His day, but who could not possibly be expected to keep pace with modern progress!”
There is a poison today which holds many back from seeing God as He truly is. It is not necessarily a deadly poison, but it is a potentially dangerous one, and should be considered with great care. It is the view that God is but a Grand Old Man who doesn’t really understand the complicated lives we live today.
It begins naturally enough. As children we almost must see God as an “Old Man” simply due to the fact that since all of our superiors are older than us, then God, being the most superior of all, must be that much more ancient. This is natural and acceptable, but it cannot be where the journey ends. Unfortunately this perception is often one that is allowed to follow us throughout our lives, and indeed tries to lead how we think, feel, understand, and worship God. In reading the Bible we sometimes get caught up in the language it is in, rather than what it says. At times prayers can become so formalized that they lose the intent behind them. How many worship services have we attended where our speech becomes technical jargon and we sing about the “Night with Ebon Pinion?” God is not just the God of the past and ancient terms and old paths. He is a living, breathing, present God who knows just as well how to handle modern terms as ancient ones, and who calls us to Himself either way.
This is not to say that there is no place for it, and this article is not to say that there is no beauty or truth to be found in it. This article is to say that if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the “right” way of doing/saying/singing things, simply because since God is “old” He must like the “old” way of doing things, we miss the point. There are without doubt certain ways that God has made clear He wants things done, but whether or not it is done in a modern tone or an ancient one is not, what I believe, matters to God. What matters to Him is whether we are fully embracing Him and working to follow His will in a way that allows Him to strengthen us.
Worship is to God, but it is for us. Worship and communication to God is what He has blessed us with so that we can be in tune with Him and His will. If every human on the planet decided to quit worshiping or believing in God, He would not be any less God. In the same way if we speak to God in our normal manner of speech, and we worship Him in our normal manner of life, without coating it with an extra layer of “ye olde English,” it will not make any our worship any less acceptable to Him.
This Grand Old Man concept is important to me. Personally I like using a little bit older language and thought process. God is the Great King and Creator who is worthy of every ounce of respect we can muster and more. But He is not an Old Man who cannot understand cell phones, cars, and daily life in the modern world, and there are too many today (especially among younger people), who get stuck on this point. Yes, God was and is the God of the ancient world, but He is also the God of today, and is just as active and powerful as He ever has been. He is a personal God, and He is a modern God, who is here, and who understands everything (even better than you do).