Lately I have realized that I do not reverence God as I should. If we are all honest, none of us reverences God as we should. To think angels veil their faces before him, and cry “holy, holy, holy” is an awesome thought. My finite mind cannot comprehend the majesty of God. When Moses met God in the burning bush, he was told to take the shoes from off his feet for the place where he stood was holy ground (Exodus 3). When God came down on Mount Sinai, the whole mountain shook, His voice thundered and man dared not touch the mount lest they died instantaneously (Exodus 19, 20). When Isaiah saw the Lord “high and lifted up,” the prophet exclaimed, “woe is me; for I am undone” (Isaiah 6).
When people assembled for worship in years past, they considered it a holy convocation. They prepared and sanctified themselves. They understood that where God’s presence is, it is holy. They understood that they could not come before the presence of God just any way, and they could not behave however they pleased. They understood that they were in the presence of One who is far superior to any earthly monarch or dignitary.
Today many have lost that understanding. We sing, “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence,” and ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord,” but as we do laughter and talking can be heard, even while cell phones go off and people actually have the audacity to answer them, in the sanctuary. In what is an ultimate disrespect, we fall asleep in the face of the Almighty Sovereign of the universe. The sanctuary has lost its sacredness. No longer is it dedicated and set aside for God; it has become an all purpose center that we use for our pleasure. We fail to conceptualize that the God who created the world, the God in whom we move and have our being, the God whom no man can look upon lest he dies, is always watching. And while we enjoy ourselves and treat flippantly the services of God, He stands by and is not amused. It is only because of His mercy that we are not instantly consumed.
In Malachi 1:6, God says, “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master; if then I be a father where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear?” Meditate on that question for awhile. Reverencing God is about giving Him the respect and honor due Him. If He is indeed our father, and we are told by the fifth commandment to honor our fathers, where is God’s honor? Where is His respect? Where is His fear? God is that friend that sticketh closer than a brother, but he is not one of our “besties.” We cannot become so familiar with him that we fail to understand that He is the Almighty God.
As we worship from this day forward, let’s really understand and visualize to whom our worship is ascending. Let’s remember that when we are in the temple of God, we are standing on holy ground. Let’s turn the cell phones off (notice I didn’t say put them on vibrate or silent), spit the gum out before we step into the building, and reserve the conversations for after service or, better yet, call that sister or brother during the week.
I am sharing with you what the Lord has shared with me. The way we behave in His presence grieves his heart. It hurts Him to know that we give more reverence and honor to politicians than we do Him. We would never behave in the White House or Buckingham Palace the way we behave in the house of the Lord. Yet, are not those politicians mere mortals like you and me? Were their hands and feet pierced for us? Did they die in our place? It is because God has given all for us; it is because of His great sacrifice that He deserves our honor and respect. I pray that from this day forward we will truly begin to examine our conduct in God’s house and by His grace come up a little bit higher