Are we guilty of ignoring reverence?

By on January 24, 2017

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?

 

RELATED POSTS:
What We Miss When We Don’t “Stop” 
May we never lose our wonder  
Why True Worship Requires Your Surrendered Heart 
Grasping the lavish, feet-seeking worship of Mary  
Running from the fallacy of passive worship to chase after God
Pursuing “Show Me Your Glory!” Worship 
Have any tables that need to be flipped?

 

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  1. Angela Cooksley
    January 25, 2017

    Hi Pamela.
    I find I get into worship with more focus and intensity if I’ve worshipped the Lord through the week as well, and read my bible often plus prayed each day. If life gets too busy and rushed, and I don’t get a chance to, the on Sunday morning it takes me about three songs to really worship from my heart. Our church only does 4 songs. If it were up to me I’d worship for hours. I’ve done that before, my arms ached from lifting up to him but I didn’t care. Anyway, my point is, while I’m believing what I’m singing and proclaiming it out, I can take awhile to really get into it. Some people in our church just stare with eyes open and go through the songs not worshipping (which is a bit off putting when I’m leading a song! My guess us they must be new to it all). So my point is, dedication to God through the week makes a huge impact Sunday morning for worship. Let’s not forget the enemy wants to distract us too. We will spend time with God if we love him. If we don’t feel we love him enough, we must pray that his spirit will help us by revealing himself to us so we can fall in love with him again. Because let’s face it- when we get to know him more, he’s more and more amazing!
    Love and blessings
    Angie Cooksley. Ps. I love your blogs thanks so much x

    • Pamela Haddix
      January 25, 2017

      Thanks so much for sharing that, Angie. You are so, so right – how we seek God through the week greatly affects how long it takes us to engage in worship on Sunday – or if we do at all. Can you imagine a church full of people who truly sought hard after God all week? The worship would be incredible! Thanks for your encouragement, too! It means a lot to me. God bless!

  2. Donna R. Patrick
    February 3, 2017

    Yes, we are absolutely guilty of it. For too many of us, worship means coming to church; no reverence, no seeking God’s face, no basking in His most holy presence. All we did was come to church. There is a difference between worship and church attendance. When I lead worship I first invite the congregation to remember Psalm 100, that teaches us to enter into His courts with praise and be thankful. Another good one is Psalm 95:6-7. It’s important to engage the congregation, as the worship experience is for them, too! We should be careful of our song selection, as well. Choose songs that are about God, and not about us. In other words, pray and choose songs not about my struggles and pain; but choose songs about HIM – His glory, sovereignty, greatness and His power. I believe we get far too caught up in “stage presence” than watching for the movement of the Holy Spirit in the service.

    Excellent article, my sister! Thank you for bringing this question to the forefront. It is one that every worship leader should consider.

    • Pamela Haddix
      February 3, 2017

      Thanks for sharing, Donna – love your thoughts. We need to be mindful of our own hearts, and hit “reset,” as both leaders and congregants, when we realize we’ve slipped into routine or performance mode instead of approaching the throne with the true reverence God deserves. Need to keep reminding each other. Thanks again!

    • Pamela Haddix
      February 4, 2017

      By the way, Donna, your comment about how you use Psalm 95 just reminded me of how much fun I had digging into that Psalm last year. Great Psalm! Here’s my post about that if you missed it: The Unswerving Call to be a Worshiping Church – 8 Insights from Psalm 95 http://pamelahaddix.com/2016/07/12/worshiping-church-psalm-95/

      Blessings!