According to Mayan legend, the gods who made the earth wanted someone to praise and worship them. So they created people made of clay; but the clay was soft and the clay people couldn’t stand.
So the creator made people of wood. These could stand, but had no minds or souls, and forgot to worship the gods who made them. So the gods sent a great water to wipe them out; and then made people of straw, who became the Mayans.
As Don and I listened to our tour guide at Tulum, a Mayan ruin on the stunning turquoise Caribbean coastline, I was impressed with two thoughts.
First, I was reminded of the truth of Romans 1:20-21: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
It seems every culture has an understanding that there is a God.
And second, the parallels (like the flood, or God’s desire to be worshipped) between ancient tradition and God’s Word remind me that God has always desired to make himself known to his creation.
And He desires our worship. Psalm 9:11 exhorts us to “Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people.” And Psalm 30:4 says “Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise His holy name.” But he longs for this to be of our own volition, in recognition of who he is and what he has done, and will do, for us.
We praise Him for:
- Revealing Himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ, through whom we have eternal life in the future, and meaningful life now.
- Rescuing us (I’ve been rescued when I lived in the LA ghetto, and probably other times I’m not aware of). “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him” (Exodus 15:2). We can rely on Him.
- Being great and glorious and above all. (Psalm 150).
- Loving us–amazing as that is. So many cultures and belief systems focus on currying favor with the gods, whereas the God of the universe, of Creation, came to earth so we could know Him and have a relationship with him. (John 3:16).
- His grace (Ephesians 1:6) and mercy (I Peter 1:3).
- His faithfulness in all times (Psalm 40:11).
- His comfort in times of sorrow, loss, distress (II Corinthians 1:3-5).
- His guidance: Psalm 16:7 says “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.”