Someone once said, “Reverence is the very first element of religion; it can’t help but be felt by everyone who has right views of the divine greatness and holiness, and of his own character in the sight of God.”
In other words, if you’re in such a place in your relationship with God that you, as much as humanly possible, grasp His majesty and divinity, you won’t be able to stop yourself from revering Him. That’s the goal for every Christian who places their hope and trust in Christ.
In Hebrews 12, the writer is talking about the kingdom of God. Here he describes a place so holy and so awesome that it cannot be shaken, a place where one can witness, “innumerable angels in festal gathering” (Hebrews 12:22). This place is the dwelling of the Most High, our Creator, Redeemer and King. It is a place promised to all believers who have come to know the truth and so we eagerly anticipate what is to come.
Because we have this most holy place to look forward to, the writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28).
We worship with reverence because our God is worthy of all our praise. He is awesome beyond comprehension and mighty beyond comparison. He is to be feared and honored because He is the name above every other name. His love for us is immeasurable, His knowledge is infinite, and His power is limitless. That is why we revere Him. That is why the Psalmist says in Psalm 89:7 that our God is, “A God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him.”
The fear I speak of is a fear brought on my tremendous respect. Because our God loved us enough to create all there is with us in mind, we bow before Him in awe and wonder of His splendor. That is why we worship Him and that is why He is worthy of our praise.
Even Christ Himself revered the Father. The book of Hebrews says that, “In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His reverence” (Hebrews 5:7). In this way He served us as an example of how we should view our heavenly Father.
It is said that His prayers went up to His Father with “loud cries and tears.” These were not cries and tears of panic but of passion. 1 Samuel 12:24 says, “Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you.” Jesus lived out His reverence for the Father by giving His whole heart to Him, even to the point of death.
Likewise, we are to revere God by giving our whole mind, body, heart and soul to Him as well. We are to strive to serve Him with the same passion as Christ, passion that may very well ignite within us loud cries and tears of reverent worship.
This kind of reverence is made harder in a world in which the devil runs freely. He has no power over us that God cannot conquer but He still whispers in the ears the weak and the weakened His plea to revere the world and the things of the world. He knows that if we worship the world for what it can do to serve our own selfish desires, our path to godly reverence will be all the harder to achieve. He knows that if we bow to ungodliness our reverence of God will diminish and die.
So, we must remain vigilant in our reverence and steadfast in our faith. God hears the cries of the reverent and He works to sooth the tears of the faithful. For those who fear Him for His magnificence, He prepares a place where we might live in that grandeur for all eternity.
But we must remain true. We must allow ourselves to open our minds to His awesomeness. We must learn to overcome the world and surrender to His glory. Not an easy task in a world that continually competes for our reverence. Trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to help you and depend on the God of all might to be good to His Word to guide the faithful. In Him we can place our trust. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, You are awesome in every way and we revere Your holy name. Teach us to learn of Your greatness and guide onto the path of understanding. Amen.