The good ole days probably weren’t as idyllic as we sometimes try to make them, but they did have many good qualities.
Remember the days when a man would always give up his seat for a lady?
When he would open the door for her?
Remember when young people were taught to honor older folks?
When those in positions of authority—presidents, police officers, judges—were spoken of and to respectfully?
It was a “Yes sir, No sir” kind of world, at least in some places. Speech patterns vary according to where we live, of course, but the attitude of respect that undergirds them ought to be more consistent.
In the last couple of decades we’ve developed a more flippant, casual society, which isn’t all bad, of course.
But when a lot of young people in the world are growing up without being taught the old-fashioned notion of respect, things go awry.
Especially when people don’t respect God.
Have you heard anyone call him the “Big Man Upstairs”? (I hope that makes you cringe).
That kind of flippant attitude toward God would’ve made people in the Bible dive for the nearest rock.
People were always overwhelmed with God’s holiness when they came in contact with him.
Take the story of his descending to Mt. Sinai, for example. Notice how sacred the occasion was.
The LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” . . . On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up (Exodus 19:10-13, 16-20).
It wasn’t exactly casual Friday, was it?
God wanted the people to know that he was God, the great I AM, Yahweh.
He wanted them to respect him and be in awe of him so that they might learn to obey him.
I think some of that is missing today.
It’s true, of course, that we can directly approach God today because of what Jesus did at the cross. There’s an intimacy in our relationship to God that people in the Old Testament couldn’t experience.
But intimacy doesn’t eliminate respect.
God’s nature hasn’t changed. He’s still worthy of our utmost respect, awe, and admiration.
We show it in our worship—how committed we are to honoring him.
We reflect it in our language—how we talk about him.
And we show it in our lives—the degree to which we obey him.
God condescended to us in Jesus, giving us the wonderful honor of seeing who he is, what he’s like.
But God is still God, and he’s not like us.
He’s holy, high and lifted up, exalted, sinless, and infinite.
He still deserves our respect.
Have a great Friday!