“Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.” (Psalm 33:8)
Twice in my life I have seen royalty in person rather than as a picture in a magazine. Once I joined a large crowd on the sidewalk to watch as the British royal family rode past. The other time I did not recognize the lovely lady and two young girls riding through the resort grounds in a carriage, but a friend told me who they were.
As an invited guest to a royal function, I would need to know not only “who” but also “how” for there is a set protocol on meeting royalty. Any high position entails certain forms of etiquette and calls for respect for that office. When Queen Esther desired to come before King Ahasuerus, she knew there were rules to be observed. Only the extremity of the circumstance caused her to enter his presence uninvited.
There is One of royal blood whose presence I enter frequently. I come at His invitation, and He is always available to receive me. It is still important, however, to come before Him with reverence, or as David says, stand before Him in awe (Psalm 4:4).
Modern culture seems to encourage casual behavior. White gloves and a hat on a lady are nearly as extinct as the dinosaur or dodo bird. It isn’t unusual to see people in sports attire or jeans in nice restaurants, at concerts, and even in church. Everyone from the nurse in the doctor’s office to the child next door thinks nothing of calling someone by his first name. Is it possible that this informality leads to the same casualness and lack of reverence toward God and things holy? Have we lost our awe for the majesty of God?
God is our friend and is very approachable, but He is still Almighty God. Moses was instructed to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground (Exodus 3:5). Joshua had a similar experience (Joshua 5:15). Both men stood in awe of their God.
When we hold God in awe, we recognize His majesty and power. We give the honor due Him. (Read Psalm 89:5-18.) Reverence and worship are closely entwined. It is an attitude of our lives, not something reserved for Sunday morning church. We model to our children how to approach God.
- Our conversation will be reverent. We do not take God’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7). We know not to curse, but we should also refrain from using such expressions as Oh God, OMG, geez, and Oh Lord to punctuate our speech.
- Our actions will be reverent. We enter the sanctuary in an attitude of worship, not boisterous or loud, but as one coming into the presence of the King. We teach our children the difference between God’s house and a playhouse. Philippians 1:27 reminds us to “let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (NKJV).
Hebrews 12:16 calls Esau a profane person. He was devoid of reverence. In selling his birthright he gave up not only the material inheritance of the firstborn but also relinquished the spiritual leadership of the family. He did not esteem the things of God. He had no awe.
When we prepare to meet an important person, we dress with care. Our hair is combed, our clothes are pressed, our shoes are polished. When we come before the King of Kings, we should also dress with care: clean hands, pure heart, and garments of praise. We should approach the Lord without sin (Psalm 4:4).
The King holds forth His royal scepter. Come worship His majesty. Come stand in awe before Him.