Ever think about how we should approach God in worship? I’m not talking about where we worship, the position of our bodies, or even the words we use – but more our attitude before Him.
I read these verses earlier this week, and I’ve been grappling with them ever since:
“But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You.” Psalm 5:7
“Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.” Psalm 2:11
“You shall keep My sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the LORD.” Leviticus 26:2
“Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,” Isaiah 29:13
“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
God not only calls us to worship Him, but to worship Him with reverence and awe. Because that’s the kind of worship our God Most High finds “acceptable.”
Friends, are we guilty of ignoring reverence? Or dismissing it altogether?
In today’s church, do we grasp reverence at all?
As these verses have turned over and over in my mind, I’ve had the sinking feeling we approach God far too casually or halfheartedly much of the time. It’s as if He weren’t really there or didn’t deserve more than we throw His way without much thought or preparation. (For comparison, picture how our worship might change if the invisible God became visible before us!)
According to the Isaiah verse, reverence does not result from using just the right “words” or engaging in “tradition learnedly rote.” But he says it’s a “heart” issue.
It’s the heart obeying His command to keep the “Sabbath” reverent in worship. It’s the heart responding in humility to His “abundant lovingkindness” that even allows us to “bow” before Him. And most of all, it’s the heart acknowledging who our God is, remembering what He’s done for us and responding in unmitigated “grateful”ness and “awe,” because . . .
“I am the LORD.”
What kind of heart bows in reverence before God? Usually the heart that’s already been still before Him.
It’s the heart that’s yearned to see Him and know Him. It’s the heart that’s repentant in the revealing light of His holiness. And it’s the heart that’s overwhelmed by the utter incomprehensibleness that is our Lord God Almighty.
So reverence isn’t something that’s easily whipped up in a moment’s notice on Sunday morning over a God we’ve ignored the rest of the week. The fruit of neglect will be pseudo-worship with “hearts far from Me.”
Not reverence. Not awe. Not true worship.
God deserves nothing less than eyes open upwards and hearts prepared and positioned to bow low in reverential awe before our King – whether on Sunday or any other day. (And yes, I long for churches to embrace bowing the knee – the ultimate sign of surrender and reverence. For the Bible also calls for this!) Let’s strive for it. Let’s fight for it. For He is alone is worthy!
“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!” (Psalm 96:8-9).
What steps can we take to make sure that we’re entering our time of worship with more reverence toward God and less casually? What about corporately on Sundays?
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