There are times in our world where you must simply stand up. When the judge walks into the courtroom, the bailiff instructs everyone to stand for the honorable judge so and so. When the doors open at the back of the sanctuary and a beautiful bride makes her grand entrance on her wedding day. When a grieving family makes their way to the front of the church to say goodbye to a beloved relative. Hopefully we have enough manners stand up when someone we respect greets us, or when a guest joins us at the table.
I have always found it interesting that a public address announcer must instruct a crowd to stand during the performance of the Star Spangled Banner. That is a song that demands that we stand, without being told. There are some hymns that we sing as a church that demand that we stand. Have you ever been in a church and sat through the resounding chorus, “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross…?” Perhaps you’ve found yourself “sitting” on the promises of Christ my King.
Standing for a judge or a bride or a grieving family or a guest of honor or a song is simply a way of showing respect. It is a way of demonstrating importance or significance. When something is worthy of respect, we want to make sure to give it the respect that it is due.
I find it interesting that we will snap to attention for a judge or a president, but respect for our Creator seems to come up short in our world today. Respect for God has a different name though, we call it reverence. In my opinion, reverence is something that only God is worthy of. Plenty of people are worthy of respect, but only God deserves reverence. Reverence is what compels us to take our shoes off because we are standing somewhere holy. Reverence is what compels us to lift our hands because we recognize our lowly status. Reverence is what pushes us to the ground because we realize how unworthy we are to be in the presence of our King.
Reverence is what is missing today. A lack of reverence is expected from those on the outside. It should never surprise us to hear someone use the name of our Lord as a swear word. It should never surprise us when a non-Christian artist uses a Christian symbol or images of our Lord in some debase, blasphemous work that they would call art. Offensive? Certainly. Surprising? Not in a million years. But what about when Christians fail to show God the reverence that He deserves? This does more to bring reproach to the name of Jesus than anything a nonbeliever could do.
In 1 Samuel 24, David reveals that he is a man of reverence. When given the opportunity to kill his enemy, King Saul, David ignores the voices of his men and spares Saul’s life – because he reveres the commandments of his Lord. Instead of seizing upon the opportunity for a coup, David freezes on the fact that Saul is the anointed king of Israel. That was an office that David was in no position to try to undermine. God would establish David’s throne in His own timing, not David’s.
Do we reveal this level of reverence when it comes to the things of God? Are we willing to put ourselves in a lesser position so that the commands of the Lord are held in a higher position? Are we willing to humble ourselves so that God might be exalted? That is what true reverence actually looks like in the life of a Christian. Can we be known as men and women of reverence?