Winston Churchill, for all of his brilliance, frequently fought depression. He referred to his depression as the black dog. Depression affects millions. Yet, God has not left us to ourselves in this fight. He has given His creation weapons to employ in this great struggle.
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. Timothy 1:17
Prior to this passage, Paul has just finished proclaiming God’s mercy in His life by saying that even though he had been a Christ-hater & Christian persecutor God showed him mercy because he had acted in ignorance. He had been blind to the truth of who Jesus was and as a result, Paul was seeking to exterminate the Name of Jesus (and his followers) from the face of the earth—all in the name of zeal for the Lord. Still, God showed Paul mercy.
Consequently, Paul proclaims this doxology, and in my meditation, I got stuck on the word invisible. I thought, why would Paul praise God for being invisible? I thought about this for a while in light of other Scriptures, and this is what I discovered.
God does not need anything from us. I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it (Psalm 50:9-12).
God is self-existent.
We are dependent upon Him for our very next breath, but God did not even need to create the world in order to be glorious. Jesus prayed before His death, “Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5). God’s glory would not be diminished one bit if the world did not praise Him. Therefore, He does not need to be seen by His creation.
We, on the other hand, need to be seen, thought well of, considered hardworking, athletic, beautiful, giving, intelligent, artistic, money-wise, disciplined, etc. to feel like we have value. We need the praise of others to think we are significant. If all we ever received in life was criticism and hatred from others, we would naturally feel worthless. It happens all the time—that is why there is so much depression and suicide in the world.
But God does not even need to make Himself known to us to be glorious and worthy of all praise and adoration. Yet, He chooses to make Himself known to us. “What may be known about God is plain… because God has made it plain.” (Romans 1:19). God chose to make Himself known to us for our good. God knew that in creating us that our highest joy in life would come through knowing Him and praising Him.
Dr. John Piper once used the following illustration (loosely paraphrased) to illustrate the nature of praise. “Imagine that you were given the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl to watch your favorite team play. When you enter the stadium you receive a card that states:
‘Please enjoy the game. However, there is one rule—you are not allowed to make any noise or express ANY emotion if your favorite team makes a good play or scores a touchdown. Other than that, please enjoy your Super Bowl experience to the fullest.’
How ridiculous would that be? How futile would that be? How worthless of an experience would that be? Why?
Because joy is made fully complete by being expressed.
Our highest joy comes not only through seeing what God has made known to us but also through rejoicing in what He has made known to us. Our praise makes our joy and satisfaction complete.”
God, though He remains invisible to many because of their unwillingness to believe, if He has made Himself known to you, praise Him today! Even though He was not obligated to do so, He has chosen to so that your highest joy might be in Him.
You may be surprised how your outlook on life changes.