Reverence toward God is the only proper way for us to draw near to Him. "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (Heb. 12:28). "Holy and reverend (awesome -- NKJV) is His name" (Psa. 111:9). It it because of reverence for God that we can love Him and walk humbly with Him (Mic. 6:8). Reverence also helps us to worship in spirit and in truth (Jno. 4:24) "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those who are around Him" (Psa. 89:7).
"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?" (Psa. 8:3,4). "By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth" (Psa. 33:6). "It is He Who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture" (Psa. 100:3). "The earth is the Lord's, and all its fulness, the world and those who dwell therein" (Psa. 24:1). "All things are of God" (2 Cor. 5:18). "In Him we live and move and have our being...We are the offspring of God" (Acts 17:28,29). "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28).
We show reverence for God when we use His name only with the greatest respect. "Hollowed be Your name" (Matt. 6: 9). It is irreverence to use His name as a by-word or in any other empty fashion. We also show reverence when we respect the authority of God and of His Son. We show respect for His authority when we study diligently to learn what He wants us to do, and when we then obey His instrustions without murmuring or disputing with His Law (Phil. 2:14). Humility demands that we "consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness" (1 Tim. 6:3-5).
All of us should be able to see that reverence is a learned dispostion of mind and behavior. Children must be taught continually in order that they learn to show reverence to God in a PROPER way. Cain's, Nadab's, and Abihu's offerings were not displays of true reverence, regardless of how "reverently" they offered them. We as adults must also be reminded of these lessons. We should prepare our minds as the time draws near to offer praise and worship in the assembly of the saints. We can (but should not) set a wrong example for children by acting indifferently and frivously as worship is offered to God. Our quietness and reverence and our hearty singing of praise to God, plus our teaching our children to participate and our restraint upon them in requiring respectful behavior, will show them the way until they are able to understand why we are behaving this way. No person of understanding expects little children to understand the depth of meaning in songs, in prayers, and in the Lord's Supper; but we have every reason to expect proper discipline to be exercised in order to train children in the ways of righteousness. All of us msut learn the greatness of God and our complete dependence upon Him so that we may live in awe of His power, in respect of His holiness, and in love for His love and mercy offered to all who will obey Him (Heb. 5:9).
By Gilbert Alexander.
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