Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Beauty of Reverence

…While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. I Peter 3:2 KJV

…When they see the purity and reverence of your lives. I Peter 3:2 NIV.

“Who in the days of his flesh, when he (Jesus) had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Hebrews 5:7-9. The NIV translates the word "feared" as “reverent submission”.
Do you feel like you are standing on holy ground when you read this passage? I do. What love God had for us to allow Christ to suffer on earth for a time, rather than to snatch him right back up to heaven immediately! What love Christ had for his Father and for us to endure such suffering so that we could be saved! What deep connection the two must have experienced as Jesus poured out his heart to his Abba Father. How amazing that our Holy, Awe-Inspiring Father shares this tender moment with us.
There’s so much in this passage that we could chat about, but I want to focus on one thing: Jesus’ reverence for God. This reverence moved him to submit himself completely to the Father’s will. Even though he had been with God and was God (John 1:1), he put his glory aside in order to carry out his Father’s mission.
What was the nature of Jesus’fear as described in Hebrews 5? The Greek word used is eulabeia, which, depending on the context, can mean reverence, veneration, godly fear, caution, circumspection, fear, dread, or terror. (Strong’s Concordance).
Let's look at Jesus example to get a clearer picture: Jesus was the Perfect Son of our Heavenly Father. As the Perfect Son, he had a healthy, deep, consuming respect for His Father. He had a deep regard for his Father’s holiness. His driving passion was to obey His Father and to do His will. It was said of Him that zeal for his Father’s house consumed Him.
Jesus was also God in the flesh and the visible image of God. As such, He expressed a righteous indignation towards hearts that were hard and self-righteous. While he freely proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, He also taught a lot about the fear of God.
In John 8:29, Jesus said, “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hat not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him (God, the Father).” What an incredible thing to be able to say! Those words inspire a feeling of deep awe in me.
Likewise, I am astounded and inspired by Jesus’ preceding statement in John 8:28, “I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.”
Jesus was the Word Incarnate! Yet, He did not presume to speak on His own, but spoke only what the Father had taught Him. Likewise, He did nothing on His own, but revered the Father in everything He did. If Jesus, our Lord, was this reverent toward God, how foolish I am when I act and speak on my own – without praying and considering God’s word first.
Jesus reverent submission pleased his Father. In the same way, God asks Christians to be reverent or to have godly fear. Most verses about godly fear are written to all disciples of Christ in and apply to male or female. A few are written specifically to men. A few are directed towards women. Because this is a site for keepers at home, let’s see what we can learn as women striving to demonstrate our love for our Holy Father through our reverence of Him.
As referenced in I Peter 3:2 above, two keys to pleasing our Father and having a wholesome impact on our husbands are purity and reverence or godly fear. Here, the Greek word for fear is: phobos. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, This word means “fear, dread or terror, a reverential fear of God as a controlling motive of life in spiritual and moral matters. It is not a mere fear of his power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing him. It is a fear that influences the disposition and attitude of one whose circumstances are guided by trust in God. Reverential fear of God will inspire a constant carefulness in dealing with others in his fear.”
Our reverence for God is to be evident in our life, especially to our husbands. It is interwoven with our inner beauty of a meek and quiet spirit, which is so precious to our Father. (I Peter 3:1-6)
Proverbs.31:30 KJV gives us an old covenant picture of the beauty of reverence: Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” The NIV puts it this way: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
A charming demeanor may merely mask an ungodly heart, and sheer physical attributes diminish over time. But, the beauty of a reverent heart is never false, and it never fades.
It’s no wonder, then, that Titus 2:3 exhorts older women to be examples of reverence or, as the King James puts it, to “be in behavior as becometh holiness.” This quality is the foundation for an older woman to be able to train a younger woman in godly character.
The word used in Titus 2:3 is “hierprepes”. It means that which is suitable in persons, actions, or things consecrated to God or that which is suited to a sacred character. An Old Testament example that might help us grasp this concept is the things that were consecrated and set aside for worship first in the Tabernacle and, later, in the Temple.
It’s always fascinating to me to read God’s detailed instructions to the Israelites for building and moving the Tabernacle. He even prescribed the formulation of one certain incense, the exact proportions of which was not to be used for anything else.
Under the New Covenant, Christians are all to be consecrated and set apart for God’s holy purposes. Our heart and our actions should represent our devotion to Christ. In order to achieve this, we must have a profound respect for God’s word, and we must put the word into practice. Like Christ, we should seek God’s will in everything. What a high calling it is to be consecrated to God! What grace Christ bestows on us to free us from our sins by his blood and to make us to be a kingdom and priests to serve God, the Father. Revelation 1:5
Ephesians 5:33 tells us that wives are also to phobeo or to respect their husbands. Showing respect to our husbands flows out of the reverence that we have towards God.
Consider how reverence for God blesses our lives. In Jeremiah 32: 29-41 God promises, “I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.”

Enjoy the beauty of reverence!



Anonymous said...

I haven't time to read your post unfortunately, it looks wonderful I will certainly pop back, I just wanted to come over to wish you a very wonderful anniversary tomorrow and I pray you will be really blessed . Have fun!

Elizabeth said...

You are so thoughtful to remember our special day, Mrs. Blythe!

I'm looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post Elizabeth, I'm so glad I had time to read it this morning. I was thinking about how Jesus' love is a light in our lives and how if we yield to Him how that light shines into the darkness of our lives and exposes the sin. The we can do nothing but in reverence, fear and gratitude repent and start over afresh in His Word,