I am afraid that God and His word are taken much too lightly today. Great emphasis is placed upon the love of God and the fact that He is our Father. This is well and good, but He still demands our honor and reverence. God says in Malachi 1:6, “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence?” This is a serious matter!
As the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, God must be respected. In Psalm 46:10, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” God is the Supreme Being! He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is our Master. He means what He says and says what He means.
For example, when God told Adam and Eve they were not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, He meant it. The day they ate of the fruit, they died spiritually, just as God said they would. Spiritual death is separation from God, just as physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. When they disobeyed God, Adam and Eve were separated from Him and from the beautiful Garden of Eden.
In Genesis 4, we read about Cain and Abel offering sacrifices to the Lord. Abel offered a lamb unto God. He did so by faith (Hebrews 11:4), and God respected Abel and his offering. We know that Abel’s offering was in obedience to God’s command because faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17).
On the other hand, Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. God did not respect Cain or his offering. His offering was not of faith, because he tried to offer something that God did not command. When God specifically tells us what He wants, if we have reverence for Him, we will not try to substitute something else.
When God specifically instructed Noah to build an ark out of gopher wood, that eliminated all other kinds of wood. God also told him the exact dimensions to make the ark, as well as how many of each animal he was to take into to ark. By faith (Hebrews 11:7), Noah did exactly what God told him to do. He did not try to change or omit any of God’s instructions to him. Genesis 6:22 says, “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.” Noah demonstrated true obedience. In doing so, he showed his honor and reverence toward God.
On one occasion, Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, who were priests, were trying to offer fire to God which God had not commanded. They apparently did not think it mattered that they did not use the specific fire that God commanded. But God, in anger, sent fire from heaven that consumed them on the spot! Leviticus 10:3 tells us why: “And Moses said to Aaron, This is what the Lord spoke, saying: By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified. So Aaron held his peace.” Those who regard God as holy will do exactly what He says to do. That is the way to glorify Him. That is the way to show reverence to Him.
In I Samuel 15, King Saul disobeyed God by not utterly destroying the Amalekites and all that they possessed, as God commanded. Saul spared some things so he could sacrifice them to God. But he was told that obedience is better than sacrifice. Partial obedience is not obedience. God expects us to honor and reverence Him by doing exactly what He tells us to do. We must obey God’s word rather than try to change it. When God says to do one thing and man does another, that demonstrates a lack of respect and reverence. Since God is God, we should do exactly what He tells us to do.
Steve Lay is the evangelist for the Chouteau Hills Church of Christ.