The Psalmist wrote, “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him” (Psa. 89:7). Webster defines reverence as: “Fear mingled with respect and esteem; veneration.” Reverence is what is offered when one has the greatest respect for someone with more power, authority, and importance, and is determined not to do anything to bring the negatives of that authority to bear upon his own head. The highest level of reverence should be directed toward the being that is greater than all creation and holds authority over all things. So what has happened to reverence toward God?
Today’s Americans live in a society that does not require reverence toward anyone. The government is designed to answer to the people, not the other way around; in many places the hands of public officials are so tied by various regulations that the ones least concerned with answering to the law are the ones breaking it. Americans are not in the habit of reverencing anyone, and it shows in their religion as well.
When one reveres another, it requires placing the desires of the one being reverenced above personal desires. Yet we live in a religious society that is, as a general rule, both ignorant and apathetic about what God has required and the reasons he has given for those expectations. Instead, man has made his own rules of worship based upon his desires and lusts for entertainment. He has, as Jeroboam did, created his own allowances as to who can serve in the leadership of congregations and even attempted to create his own positions of authority based upon his own desires and lusts for power. The religious groups in our country claim to be worshiping the same God, but show no concern for what the God they claim to serve has said must be done to adequately fulfill his law.
Most religious people in America have never heard of Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1-2), or Hophni and Phinehas (1 Sam. 2), or Jeroboam (1 Kings 12-13), but it is time we reminded our people of what happens when men refuse to show reverence to God. Man cannot show reverence without deference, and he cannot show deference without obedience.
As the body of Christ, faithful Christians must ensure that God is reverenced with the levels of fear and respect required by his place and position. It is written, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28-29). We must work to ensure we have the authority of God for all that we do (Col. 3:17). We must ensure that we are not enacting programs and pursuits because we like them and we want them, but because they follow the standard of godliness, stewardship, and service that must distinguish his people from the rest of the world. Let us show the proper reverence toward our Creator and in so doing fulfill the Law of Christ.