“Reverence in Worship” by Bobby Stafford

Psalm 89:7 “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.”  NKJV  The text stresses the need for reverence on the part of those who would draw nigh to God.  The Bible commands this throughout.

Model Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13  “In this manner, therefore, pray:  Our Father in heaven, Hallowed by Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

The word “hallowed” basically means to make holy, to set apart.  We should realize how far above every other name is the name of God the Father.  (Hebrews 12:28) “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” NKJV  Reverence shows caution and apprehension.  Be careful to consider all circumstances before acting.  (John 4:24) “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Worship literally means to kiss toward; the act of homage or adoration paid to God.  The concept of reverence raises certain questions which need to be answered for us to more fully understand its significance.

What Is Reverence?
If one does not understand the Biblical concept, then he cannot comply with it!  It would then be impossible for him to know if he is being reverent in his worship to God. Reverence is not merely respect, not merely being quiet in assembly, nor is it merely participating in the outward forms, even though all of these are necessary. 

What is “reverence” then?  The Hebrew word used in our main text literally means “terrible.”  It reflects an attitude of both piety and godly fear.  Piety itself involves devotion to religious duty.  Therefore, the word “reverence” describes both an attitude and behavior where the worshipper desires and is careful to please God and refrain from offending Him. 

Some thoughts:
1.  The worshipper should be cautious regarding his observances during worship.
2.  His approach is not flippant or half-hearted.
3.  His regard for worship is one of highest esteem.
4.  It involves respect for the authority of God.
5.  It demands awe and fear on behalf of the worshipper.
6.  It requires careful consideration of the power and majesty of God.
As a side note, before we continue:  Sometimes we are more afraid of offending some human dignitary than we are God in heaven!  
We are more careful about what we wear and how we act in a court of law than we are in services.  The same is true in our regards to the President.  Even though he is the highest ranking official in America, his power and honor pales compared to our God.

To Whom Do We Owe Our Reverence?

Let’s turn to the Holy Scriptures to find the answer.  (Psalm 107:32) “Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, And praise Him in the company of the elders.”  NKJV  God is referred to in this passage as the one we should exalt and praise.  (Psalm 111:9) “He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name.”  NKJV  

The name of our Father should be held in awe by His worshippers and should call to mind how vastly inferior we are to Him.  (Psalm 5:7) “But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.”  NKJV


With reverence, we worship Him who extended mercy toward us by sending His Son to die upon a lonely tree.  Let us love Him all the days of our lives.  

Habakkuk 2:20 reminds us of His greatness.  “But the Lord is in His holy temple.  Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”  NKJV  Not only is reverence due to our Father, but also to His word.  (Isaiah 66:2b) “But on this one will I look:  On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.”  NKJV  [trembles – reverences]  Let us never forget the One to whom our worship and reverence is directed!

How we conduct ourselves during the worship services may say a lot to others about how important we feel worship is.  If people see us acting irreverently toward our God, does it not say to them that we do not take our religion very seriously?  Would not this influence others in a very negative way?


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