Honoring God’s Word takes more than simply being careful how we handle our Bibles. Leaving it sitting in a special place until it becomes dusty is not…Table of Contents hideI. What the Bible says about Honoring GodII. 8 Ways to Honor God
Darrel Lee is Superintendent General of the Apostolic Faith Church and pastor of the headquarters church in Portland, Oregon.
What the Bible says about Honoring God
In the Book of Malachi, God addressed a question to Israel that applies to us today. We read in Malachi 1:6, “Where is mine honour?”
Israel had dishonored God. The prophet was speaking to the nation approximately 100 years after their return from captivity. The people had come back to their homeland with an expectation that God’s promises would be immediately fulfilled. The city and the temple had been rebuilt, but then Israel had fallen into a state of complacency. What started out as great hope and anticipation of God’s restoration had disintegrated into indifference.
The Book of Malachi is a rebuke. The message was not one that the prophet took delight in bringing, but he delivered it faithfully, for his message was true and it was what the people needed to hear.
We face complacency in our day, so the words of Malachi apply to our society also, and in particular to the Christian culture of our day. God has done great things for our nation and for each of us as individuals. Yet, there is a danger of our drifting into a state of indifference where we fail to honor God as we should.
As Malachi presented certain truths to the nation of Israel, he anticipated the objections that would come. He posed the questions that would be asked of him, and followed those questions with the answers. This series of questions and answers points out how the people had dishonored God by their irreverent worship, by failing to obey God, by despising His commandments related to marriage, by withholding their tithes, and by accusing God of being unjust. God repeatedly asked them, “Where is mine honour?” The question could be phrased, “Where is the respect, the esteem, the reverence that should be given to Me?”
8 Ways to Honor God
Imagine God himself asking that question of us. God is worthy of our honor for the same reasons that He was worthy of Israel’s honor. God has called us as He called them. He has preserved our nation as He did theirs.
He has blessed us as He blessed them. He has loved us with an everlasting love, just as He loved them. For these and countless other reasons, God is worthy of our honor. But how do we honor God?
Honoring God by honoring His house.
God’s house is more than a building. It is a holy place, a house of prayer, a sanctuary. It is a place that God would like to inhabit, so in that sense, when we come in, we are approaching
God himself. Psalm 89:7 says, “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.”
The first Apostolic Faith Church service I attended was on March 17, 1974, I was a 21-year-old college student, and as I sat there with my sister, I observed as newcomers do. I noticed that when the musicians came out onto the platform, they knelt in prayer before taking their seats. When the ministers came out, they knelt also. The meeting was conducted in a simple but effective manner. At the end of the service, the whole congregation knelt to pray at benches in front of the pulpit. I could tell that it was a place of reverence just by the way the service was conducted, and that was very appealing. Though I was an unchurched individual, I left that meeting with no doubt that those people had a great deal of reverence for the God they claimed to serve.
Honoring God by our approach to Him.
We should come before God in a manner that is respectful, and that includes both how we dress and how we conduct ourselves. When I went to that first meeting, I had gone a decade or more entering a church. However, when I had gone to church a time or two as a boy, I was “slicked up before I went. Even though I had been reared in a home that did not have the light of the Gospel, I knew what my Sunday best ought to be. After I was saved, I knew I needed to go to church, and before I went to a service, I put on my best.
It makes sense to approach God by with our best. Dressing appropriately for church is not done to earn God’s favor. Rather, it is to show honor to Him and to His house. What would have do if we were invited to a dinner with the governor? How would we dress? How would we approach him? We would approach him with the respect due him because of his position, and that would manifest itself in our appearance and conduct.
Honoring God by honoring His name.
Matthew 6:9 includes a very simple phrase: “Hallowed be thy name.” The word hallowed means “holy.” It refers to something set apart for a sacred use. God’s name is holy. It is sacred! We should never use the Name of the Lord flippantly, casually, or should not use slang words that represent the Name of the Lord. We should not use His name as an expression of anger or disgust. When we speak that precious Name, we should say it with in utmost reverence and respect.
When hearing some of the words that come out of people’s mouths, I wonder if the Lord does not step back and say, “Where is my honor? Where is fear, where is reverence?” When we use His name, let it be in a reverent manner.
Honoring God by Honoring His Word.
Psalm 138:2 tells us, “Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” if God has magnified His Word, we realize how important it is to treasure and value the Bible. The Bible should be treated like no other book in the house.
We can show respect to God’s Word by not stacking things on the Bible or placing it on the floor. The way we take care of the Bible is not a matter of superstition. We are not living in
Old Testament times when if a person did the wrong thing at the wrong time, he risked being stoned. We will not be struck dead if we mishandle the Bible, but we miss a blessing. God says,
“Where is mine honour?” In honoring the Word of the Lord and respecting it, we have shown God that we reverence Him.
Honoring God’s Word takes more than simply being careful how we handle our Bibles. Leaving it sitting in a special place until it becomes dusty is not honoring God. We want to honor Him by reading the Book and then by observing what it tells us to do. That is how God gets His honor. That is when God places His name upon His people, so the Lord has indeed magnified His Word above all His name.
Honoring God by honoring His day.
On any given Sunday as we drive to and from church, we likely see people washing cars, mowing lawns, or working on their houses. Many people use Sunday to run to the mall, to attend sporting events, or to catch up on household chores and other errands.
God says, “Where is mine honor?” In Genesis 2 we read that God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it”
(Genesis 2:2-3). To rest, in that verse, means “to cease from labor.” God did not need rest because He was tired, but He did it to institute a day of rest for us. We read that God sanctified the day, which means He dedicated it, hallowed it, set it apart to be a day devoted to spiritual renewal and the invigorating of the inner man. On our day of rest, we cease the other six days of the week in order to focus on the inner man. We do not want to become casual or careless about our activities on that day, and be distracted from its real purpose. God is worthy of our honor and our reverence.
In Isaiah 58:13-14, we read promises for those who set apart a day each week for honoring God. We read, “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth.” If we honor God, God will honor us.
When I got saved, I was employed on a neighbor’s farm. My brother worked there also, along with a handful of others. I was the only Christian among them, and I knew I needed church. So on Sunday, I just went to church. I did not tell my boss that I would not be at work that day, but he let it go. And before the summer was over, everyone was taking Sunday off! I find it somewhat humorous that as a new convert, I changed the whole employment policy of that operation! Somehow, that desire to honor God by attending church was down in heart.
Honoring God by tithes and offerings.
The Children of Israel had become neglectful of tithing. Through the prophet Malachi, God asked, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, wherein have we robbed
thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation” (Malachi 3:8-9). The Israelites had dishonored God by withholding their tithes that provided for the support of the Levites and for the maintenance of the House of God. So He asked, “Where is my honor? Honor Me with your substance.
Proverbs 3:9 reads, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase” The Children of Israel were not to take for themselves everything they wanted and then see if there was anything left to offer God. They were to give God His due first.
The tithe belongs to God, not to us. What we give God is His to begin with. God gave us the 100 percent and trusted us to return the 10 percent to Him. He does not need our money, but we need His blessing. If we honor Him, He will honor us.
Honoring God with our bodies
In 1 Corinthians 6:19, we read, “Know ye not that your body is the of the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought it with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Paul was reminding the Corinthian church that the Blood of Christ bought them, and that they should glorify God in their bodies for that reason. The same charge is ours today.
The world accepts and promotes immodesty, immorality, and even the defacing of the body with piercings and tattoos. Parents send their twelve-year-old daughters out looking like street women. Young boys are allowed to dress like thugs and gangsters. I am stunned that society would deem such inappropriate attire and filthy behavior as acceptable. May none of us be entertained by that! May none of us expose our beloved children to that element!
Our bodies are to be the temple of God. The Bible standard is one of purity, chastity, and holiness. As Christians, We should be distinguished from the world in the way we look and conduct ourselves. We must not relinquish our faith or our integrity to the spirit of the world.
Romans 13:1-2 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” Every aspect of life demands submission to authority.
When I was a boy, I rode a school bus. I had a propensity to misbehave on the bus, so finally the driver assigned me a particular seat. When that happened, I knew better than to go home and complain to Mom and Dad. Even if the school bus driver had been wrong, they would not have supported me. They stood behind those in a position of authority.
I am frankly amazed again when parents so quickly rally to the cause of their child who has disrespected authority. When we teach a child to honor authority, even if that authority is less than perfect, we are teaching them to honor God.
The system of authority was established by God for our good. It is for our protection. It is for our blessing. We cannot think we are honoring God if we dishonor our employer, our parents, our schoolteacher, our spiritual leaders, or our spouses. When we honor them, we honor God.
The end result
When we honor God, this is the end result: “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of
the stall” (Malachi 4:2).
Honoring God is a formula for going through life satisfied. As we honor God in every aspect of our lives, we will find that every aspect of our lives is blessed.
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