“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
Worship is many things to many different people. It has a myriad of appropriate expressions, and finds itself imbedded in many different styles (traditional, contemporary, high church, low church, contemplative, etc…) But there are some qualities to worship that are true and necessary regardless of the style and flavor we put on it. These essentials are what we will explore for the next few months in this “Worship Is…” series.
We begin with one of the most important qualities – “Reverence”. The dictionary definition of “reverence” finds words like “honor”, “respect” and “profound adoring”. Those words certainly scratch the surface. But, we need to dig deep to the heart of where reverence begins.
It begins within a person’s heart who knows for certain how blessed they are to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Knowing that without God in your life, you would be destined for death and permanent separation from God. Formulating that kind of “profound adoring” means you understand how God saved you, and your response is profound love and appreciation for what He’s done. Without that awe and respect, we are simply going though the proverbial motions of worship.
Reverence is needed also in our worship because it forces us to understand where we are in this relationship. We are the meek and lowly – He is the mighty and high. When we approach God in worship with our eyes gazing upward in respect and awe, we and He are placed in the proper contexts and He is able to minister to us in our need. Even Jesus benefited from His reverence of His heavenly Father…
“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” Hebrews 5:7
Did you catch that? Jesus cried out to God…with tears! His reverence allowed His appeal to be heard by God. God wants to respond, but nothing brings a response from the almighty like the reverence, awe and adoration of His children.
So what does reverence in worship look like? It’s undistracted, Christ focused worship with a thankful heart! It’s not worrying about what the next person thinks, it’s singing with a full and thankful heart even though you do not have a good singing voice! Reverence is not quiet piety, it is both humble stillness and exuberant clapping and shouting! It’s about respecting who God is in your life and approaching Him with that thankful heart.
“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24
Do you consider what great things God has done for you when you come to worship? If so, what is your response to what He’s done? This is the beginning of reverence – the recognition of how blessed you are, and how He is deserving of your respect and awe. This is, after all, why we worship Him – to express back to Him how grateful we are for what He’s done! So, let’s gather in reverence to worship the King!
“Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!” Psalm 33:8