Reverence. A few years ago while on our way to a mid-week church service, glancing over at my then 11-year-old son, he was wearing his favorite ‘Ducks’ cap. I asked him to make sure to take the cap off before going into the church, explaining that it would show reverence to the Lord. His weird smirk gave evidence he didn’t quite understand. I proceeded to tell him; taking his favorite cap off, told God He is TOTALLY COOL, thanking Him in such a way as to bow to His coolness. His response, “Oh I get it.”
How do we bow?
David wrote, “But I, by Your great mercy, will come into Your house; in reverence will I bow down toward Your holy temple.” (Psalm 5:7) And again in Psalm 22:23 “Praise the LORD, all you who fear Him! Honor Him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show Him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!”
Reverence, not something commonly displayed these days. If a head is bowed, or a knee taken onlookers raise an eyebrow or two.
The writer of Hebrews strongly declares: “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. For our “God is a consuming fire.” (12:28-29)
This godly reverence paints a most honoring picture; it isn’t a haphazard quick nod of the head as to casually acknowledge something or someone. It is to recoil, recoiling in the presence of goodness, conveying the idea of downcast eyes. It is expressing the need or desire to withdraw oneself, merely not due to their reputation, but the reality of being. GOD IS GOOD! His holiness makes Him so ‘other.’ Yes, we are commissioned to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) But may we not do so with lack of awe and wonder, in that we might dishonor. Remembering, the One Who sits on the throne is indeed, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, His goodness alone sets Him apart.
How is our reverence, are we giving a quick nod or a complete He is worthy bow?
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrew 10:24)
I am known by many names depending on who is using it. To my parents I am Diana, to my sons, Mom. Hopefully when my granddaughter begins to address me besides the cute smile, it will be Gramma. When the Tele-marketers call, I am Ms Moravik (click). To my mentor, I am her Timothy. Some use endearing names such as Geek, friend and even Sweetie. But to most, I am DeDe.
Our name can define relationship, title, personality and even our character, (ok, so I ‘am’ a silly geek). Take a moment and think about how we address others. It really is sad when we don’t know someones name, and it comes out “Heh You!” So extremely impersonal. Or they impact our life even in some small way and our response is, “Um, I didn’t catch your name.”
Have you noticed the many names used referring to God these days? I have heard ‘Big Guy in the sky’, or ‘Dude with the rules.’ God is sure to love THAT one. For some, using these lessens the impact. Or so they think. I am going to be extremely blunt. Jesus is offensive. Just the mere fact of Who He is and saying His name, offends many. He is the Son of the Most High God, Creator of all things. In light of that statement, we are SMALL, so very very small in comparison, and most don’t like that. Let’s face it, the mere mention of Jesus can invoke action from the heavenly realm, so we better be oh so careful of its use. I was once in a restaurant and a gentleman used Jesus’ full name (if you will) in a rather harsh way. Being bold I calmly said, “I don’t really think He is going to respond when you talk to Him like that.” The meal, $10.95, the look on his face, priceless!
Let’s bring it home. How do ‘we,’ followers of Christ, lovers of God …. address Him? Does it reflect respect, an authoritative figure, or relationship? Or all of these.
Before answering, here’s a run-through-grab-a bible study snack. God’s name. Each time in the Old Testament when we see LORD (all caps) this is known as the Tetragrammaton. Greek for ‘four letters.’ In brief, this is The Name, (Ha-Shem) YHWH, ‘Yahweh,’ meaning ‘to be’. Eyes glazed over yet? Stick with me, this is good. It is known by the Hebrew people to be so extremely holy as not to even say it … while the world curses using it, (I might add). It is the response God gave when Moses asked, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and they ask … ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” Remember the burning bush? God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Yahweh. Is that not the most beautiful name, Yahweh. Then there is Adonai (my Lord, master) and Elohim (God) they often appear together “My Lord, God” – remember what Thomas said when he encountered Jesus after His resurrection, “My Lord and my God!” Oh, that that would be my continuous response to Jesus!
Often, names were given in response to God’s interaction with man and most assuredly is a progressive revelation of … Who He is. In Scripture, the names of God are like miniature portraits. Yahweh or Jehovah Roi, ‘The God Who sees me,” Hagar in the desert (Gen. 16:13) Jehovah Jireh, ‘The LORD will provide,’ Abraham’s response when God provided a ram in place of his beloved Isaac. (Gen. 22:14). Exodus 15:25-26, God declares He is, Jehovah Rophe,’ The LORD who heals,’ in the wilderness, God heals the bitter water for drinking, and vows not to bring disease on them. A most strong name, Jehovah Nissi, “The LORD is my Banner” when hands were lifted to God, the battle was won, (Ex. 17:15-16). Jehovah Shalom, “The LORD is Peace”, Gideon on the brink of becoming ‘mighty warrior’ finds in his God, Peace. And for the gentleman in the restaurant, here’s one you might want to consider, saying with reverence, El Shaddai “God Almighty”, All-Sufficient One, overpowering strength. (Ex. 6:1-5) Pharaoh WILL let my people go, “I am the LORD… God Almighty.”
How do we refer to our God? In conversation with others, in the most intimate prayer times, or just our perspective of Him. For some it is Father, for others we don’t dare share such an intimate expression for THE God. Beloved, might I ask, WHO do you need right now? Same God, different character expressions. Is there some provision you need? He is Provider. Do you need healing? He is Healer. Do you need some overpowering strength? He is God Almighty. Do you have a tremendous battle you are fighting? Raise your hands, the battle will be won. He is.
Through out the day, there are moments when all I can say is “Jesus,” knowing full well the power, the authority, the grace. At times with my understanding, “Oh, God!” has been the only escape from my lips.
Remember it is in Jesus name that we pray, however, whether we use biblical names or reference God in our own way, make it personal, make it real, make it honest. NEVER step away from an encounter with God Most High stating, “Um, I didn’t catch your name.”
Phillips, Craig & Dean worship singing, ‘Your Name’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzviEHyIggI
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)
I recommend a wonderful devotional, “Praying the Names of God” by Ann Spangler.