“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence?” says the Lord of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, “In what way have we despised Your name?” (Malachi 1:6)
Reverence In Our Worship
The seventy year captivity of Israel was in response to the people of Israel following after the gods of the nations around them. God had warned them emphatically the punishment to come upon them if they turned to other gods but they rebelled against Him and He sent them into bondage in another nation. The history of the Jews following captivity was characterized by the absence of idol worship. For all practical purposes the punishment did its job. However, the devil is always going to find another door to enter and he began to urge the people of God to be more consumed with themselves than the true devotion to the Lord. He convinced them of the pride they had in giving up idols and they could feel good about themselves all the while taking their hearts away from God.
Malachi the prophet bemoans the spirit of the people of God as the Lord charges them with the failure to give devotion to Him. The hearts of the people were only going through the motion. There was no deep desire to serve God. They did what they had to do and often not even the best they could do. Sacrifices were marginally offered and often a pale comparison to what the law required. The lack of love on the part of the people was evident.
Worship to God has always required a full heart of devotion. There are many words to describe worship. It suggests adoration, love and respect. It is easy to become like those Malachi writes about where the hand does what is required but the heart is far removed. True worship comes from the spirit of devotion and the truth of God’s word. Spending time to honor God is not a time to offer the maimed sacrifices of our lives but the best we have.
The church today does not worship idols and for that we are ‘proud.’ Often in our smug hypocrisy we gather on the first day of the week and go through the commandments avoiding the idols of other churches content in the knowledge that we are the one true church. Worship ends about twelve o’clock dull and we return to our homes happy in the failed knowledge we have done our duty. Praise God. Ho hum.
The Lord asks, “Where is my reverence?” Worship is not going through motions. The heart of our worship is the worship of the heart. Reverence is found in the deep respect and love for who God is and what He has done. Our worship today should not be the offering of lame excuses upon altars of apathy but glorious honor to the only One who is deserving of praise, honor and glory. Today is the day He raised His Son from the dead. This first day of the week is HIS DAY and we should honor Him, praise Him, loudly acknowledge our dependence on Him and GIVE HIM GLORY TODAY. God is so good. Today is a day of reverence. Let our worship today be filled with the awe of our God. Let us give reverence in our assemblies today.
God is of no importance unless He is of supreme importance. (A. J. Heshel, Man Is Not Alone, 1951)