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“Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” – 1Chronicles 16:28-29 (NIV)
The Hebrew word, translated here as “ascribe,” literally means “to give.” We think of ascribing as acknowledging some attribute of someone other than ourselves; in this case, God.
Ascribing things to God makes more sense to us because there is no way in the world we can “give” God glory and strength. We have nothing to add to either. Neither does he possess them with our permission. But let’s don’t give up on the idea of “giving” things to God just yet, because I really believe it might help us have a better understanding of just where worship starts for us.
We believe worship is our response to God. If worship is our response to God, then we need to be able to distinguish ourselves from God. Just acknowledging that God has certain characteristics seems to make it more of a mental exercise. That’s why I think “giving” makes so much more sense.
If I am “giving” something, then I have an active part. It involves a decision. It involves a conscious effort. It also leads to something important. It leads to the place where all worship begins; humility.
If I “give” God glory and strength, I am not giving to him out of my wealth. Rather, I am humbly relinquishing my right to those things. To “give” God glory and strength means I am giving up any claim I might have to them, and giving them completely to God.
The same is true when I “give God the glory due his name.” To “give glory” is “to give weight to.” To give God the glory His name is due is to humbly give up any illusion that my name carries any weight when compared to the weight carried by the name of God.
Maybe what it all boils down to is that worship begins with the humble confession that I am not God. Most of us would say we know that we are not God. The question is, does that knowledge reflect in the way we live our lives each day?