We don’t talk much about reverential fear of the LORD, but our love, trust, and commitment to Him enable us to also recognize the need to respect and to exalt Him and His holy Name.
Our God holds the power of life and of death. He is the Creator of the universe. All of these facts together teach us to revere Him for His power, His creative work, His desire to have relationship with us, mere humans, weak and sinful.
When facing death, we hope our love of Him has been faithful and true, our repentance humble and honest, and our faith solid. These are the evidences of Christ in us, so that we may be admitted to an eternity with Him.
Praying a prayer that never resulted in the fruit of transformation in our lives, our thoughts, and our motives is evidence that we may not truly know and love the Lord. No change occurring in our lives means we may not truly know Him.Praying a prayer that never resulted in the fruit of transformation in our lives, our thoughts, and our motives is evidence that we may not truly know and love the LORD. No change means we may not know Him. #bgbg2 #TrueFaith Click To Tweet
This is what happened in the lives of many of the people of Judah before they were conquered by the Babylonians. They chose to worship Baal and other of the local idols, even to the point of sacrificing their own children to these idols. These were shattering, harmful things they never should have done.
As the LORD watched, He grieved over all of this.
Centuries passed filled with this disobedience and harm, which they inflicted on themselves and on their families, morning, noon, and night. And so, when the Lord knew the time was right, knowing every area of the lives and thoughts of these, His people, He sent discipline to turn them toward Him, not to harm them. Even as He allowed and indeed brought all kinds of hardship to overtake them, He had in place the perfect plan to bring them back to Himself.
With a heart full of love and compassion, God watched and waited until the time came when He knew He could hold their attention and draw them back to Himself. He brought another king to power.
The Lord knew that the circumstances He had orchestrated would now result in the decisions of this world leader, this king, Cyrus, to return God’s people to Jerusalem, even keeping their captivity to a shorter period than other harsher kings would have done.
The Lord then inspired Jeremiah the prophet to begin to proclaim that these hardships would end and that the Lord would take care of His people.
“For thus says the Lord: ‘Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For surely I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope‘” (Jeremiah 29:10-11 NRSVUE1.).
Not only did the Lord feel about His people the same way that He feels about them/us now, but He also continues to watch out for us, His people, to discipline, to love, to guide us when necessary, to chastise when needed, and to draw us closer to Himself, using whatever means works best to bring us to Him.
With reverential fear and deep longing, we await the precious face of Christ welcoming us. Our lives are in His hands, as was true of them, too. Is this how you feel about Jesus, God the Son?
Do you love Him? Are you His?With reverential fear and deep longing, we await the precious face of Christ welcoming us into His presence. Our lives are in His hands. Is this how you feel about Jesus, God the Son? Do you love Him? Are you His? #Faith Click To Tweet
Jesus is loving, kind, compassionate, and strong. He is also God Most High, powerful beyond our imaginations. People of His time saw Him stop the moving of water after a storm, making all calm. They saw Him heal people with leprosy and cure others of horrific injuries and diseases, and many more acts.
He definitely deserves our love and reverential fear, giving credit and praise where it is due.
He has existed eternally. He created the world. He is deserving of our reverential fear and longing.
“15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross“ (Colossians 1:15-20 NRSVUE).
“‘The Word of John 1:1 is a divine Person, not a philosophical abstraction. In the incarnation, the invisible God became visible in Christ; deity was clothed with humanity (Matthew 17:2). God is in Christ: visible, audible, approachable, knowable, and available. All that God is, Christ is.’
“Jesus is Lord of Creation. The description ‘firstborn of all creation’ speaks of Christ’s preexistence. He is not a creature but the eternal Creator (John 1:10). God created the world through Christ and redeemed the world through Christ (Hebrews 1:2-4)“ (Source).
Love and reverential fear look like this: Strong’s Concordance #4172…”2. reverence, fear, i.e., respect toward a superior (Malachi 1:6; 2:5+); 3. an awesome deed, a wonder, i.e., awareness of Him in a way that causes awe, as a nonverbal sign of power (Dt 4:34; 26:8; 34:12+); 4. One who is fear, i.e., a title of God (Ps 76:12[EB 11]+)…”
Synonyms of reverential:
The post-exilic books turn us toward Messiah.
His Seed was in the lineage of the Jewish kings who descended from David, most recently in this branch of descendants from dear Josiah, and then on to godly Zerubbabel, whom the Lord Himself designated as the ruler of Israel at the end of their captivity.
Sadly, at this point in history, 597-586 BC, the reactions of the priests were like many modern clergy who have no personal relationship or attachment to Christ. The situation is truly bad when the priests don’t believe in the words and actions that they daily perform. This is hypocrisy.
The priests acted out of contempt for the LORD by mocking and disdaining the acts of worship, by talking about Him with disrespect, and by holding the entire idea of their faith in disdain.
They had not worshiped the LORD in temple worship in sixty to seventy years, yet the instructions were written in the Old Testament scrolls. The priests knew this. They ignored it. They blew it.
There was no reverential fear. There was no respect or true worship of the LORD.
Meeting together in smaller gatherings while they were in Babylon may have laid the groundwork for the synagogue for Jews scattered abroad. Synagogues didn’t require any of the sacrificial rituals. The priests needed to learn the skills necessary for the temple, for the Babylonians had brought mostly young priests into captivity. Ezra and Ezekiel surely instructed them. Yet, they didn’t listen.
What was their place now? To instruct. To teach. To pass on the Scriptures as memorized by them.
Ezekiel is the 6th-century BCE author of the Book of Ezekiel, of course, which reveals prophecies regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, and the restoration to the land of Israel.
Ezekiel, Ezra, Zerubbabel, and others were there to help the people along, to teach, to guide, and to lead.
Did the young priests let all of this slip away? According to their actions, yes. The offerings they had been giving were a shabby representation of the perfect offering God requires.
“‘I have loved you,’ says the LORD” (Malachi 1:2 ESV) were God’s first words to Israel. This fact, the most significant reality in their lives, is where they needed to focus.
God’s love for them surpassed all. Jacob I have loved (chosen as patriarch of Messiah’s lineage). Esau I have hated (not chosen, though he was the firstborn).
Like them, do we forget to focus on the goodness of God and of all of His blessings? Consider. Are we living like those who love and adore the Lord? Or are we allowing our life events and desires to lead us?
- NRSVUE is the abbreviation for the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
I am a Bible Gateway Partner and Affiliate, one of many bloggers on the Blogger Grid, #bgbg2.
My blog is also available on the BG² portfolio at: https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/bloggergrid/.
My Twitter account @MelindaVInman is on the Bible Gateway Twitter List: http://bg4.me/1DNKdv2.