Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Lord's Holy Name: Reverence and Awe

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Hebrews 12:28)

The year is 1890, and bible professor Russel Carlisle's new book, which asserts that morality can be taught independent of Christianity, is soon to be published. But a devout colleague, Dr. Anderson, believes that what Carlisle has written will seriously affect the morals of future generations. To prove his theory, he sends Carlisle more than 100 years into the future (using a time machine his father created), offering him a glimpse of where his writing will lead.

Carlisle not only finds himself in a strange culture, but he's also astonished by how far technology has come. He attends a church and is invited to attend movie night. Imagine this man from the nineteenth century snuggled in a theater next to other church members, and watch this:

Later, as he discusses his distress over the people's lack of shock and anger over the Lord's name being blasphemed with the church group, one man whispers to his buddy, "This guy must be one of those legalists that thinks all movies are sinful."

I found myself relating to Carlisle here. The Church is no longer astonished or disgusted when the Lord's name is used in vain.  In fact, I have heard many who proclaim themselves as Christians toss around the Lord's name as if it's a curse word.

The other day, my family and I were hanging with some (Christian) friends when I heard their teenage daughter sigh, "Sweet baby Jesus," in response to something ridiculous someone said.  No one even blinked an eye. 

It's one thing to hear the world mingle the Lord's name with the F-word, but it's even more astonishing and sickening to me when I hear those who bear His name use it so flippantly.

I've been studying reverence lately, and last night these words rung in my ears:
[Says the Lord of Hosts] "My covenant with him [Levi] was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of my Name.  True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity."  Malachi 2:5-6 (NASB)
In the Old Testament, “reverence” occurs as the translation of two Hebrew words: Yare’ (pronounced yaw-ray’), which carries the meaning of “fear.” This word is used to express the attitude toward God Himself, the thought being one of fear, awe and respect. The second word, shachah (pronounced shaw-khaw’), carries the meaning of “falling down” as in the prostration of the body- the thought with this word being honor, submission and obeisance. [1]  [Obeisance -noun: a movement of the body expressing deep respect and submission; acknowledgment of another's superiority or importance.]  In the New Testament, the fear of God comes from the Greek word phobeo meaning to show deep respect, and awe.

Last night, my husband and I were talking about how today's generation does not understand what it is to respect someone.  I have to admit, I myself am still learning what true reverence and respect is because it is not something that is commonly portrayed. It is difficult to see those who say they are Christ's to toss around His name as if it's meaningless or even swear by God [Why don't we let our yes be yes and our no be no? (Matt 5:37, James 5:12)].

We should not become accustomed to hearing the Lord's name used in vain without an ounce of respect, awe, or love for our Creator, Savior, and King.  If we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, it should sicken and sadden us deep within. It should shock us every time!

And, maybe this will make me "one of those legalists that things all movies are sinful", but we should avoid movies, shows, and books that disrespect the Name of the Lord.  We need to remember that His name is Holy. His Name matters. The bible has to say a lot about His Name. His Name is the name above all names (Phil. 2:9). Christ is "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come" (Eph. 1:21) and there is life in His name (John 20:31). It should bother us when His Holy, Great Name is used disrespectfully! His Name is everything!

You know what else bothers me? When people improperly use the word Holy.  Poo is not holy. Cows are not holy. Moly (molĂ©?) is not holy. Don't call them such. Only God is holy. Reserve that description for Him. By His power and in His Name, we are made holy, and I am grateful for that!

See post: A Holy, Righteous God: No Room for Irreverence


No comments:

Post a Comment