God lives in an atmosphere of worship: “You are the Lord, you alone… And the host of heaven worships you.” (Nehemiah 9:6) God does not need our worship, but he does seek our worship and invites us into his presence. But what does God do while we worship? He knows all things, so our worship does not surprise him. He owns all things, so our gifts do not enrich him. He is perfect in every aspect of his character, so our fellowship with him cannot improve him. What then does our worship do for God?
We may not be able to explain it, but the amazing truth of Scripture is that as we glorify God, he takes delight in it. The Bible says that God rejoices over you with gladness, that he exults over you with loud singing. As we love and praise God, we are bringing joy and delight to his heart. Worship in the New Testament church is not simply practice for some later heavenly experience of genuine worship, nor is it simply pretending, or going through some outward activities. It is genuine worship in the presence of God himself, and when we worship we enter before his throne.
Think of it, even though we do not see God with our physical eyes, nor do we see the angels gathered around us, or the spirits of believers who have gone before us, we are joining our voices with those already worshiping in heaven every time we gather to worship. Therefore, our only appropriate response is this: “let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).
But not only does the sound of our celebration of gratitude enter into the heavens, God descends and makes himself known in our midst in some way. As we celebrate he lifts us up, and we receive mercy and grace to help us in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). God ministers to us as we minister to him.