Honoring God

By Steven Chan

1. Honor refers to “respect paid to superiors, denote the testimony of esteem or submission, by which we make known the veneration and respect we entertain for any one on account of his dignity or merit… denote real services: Honor thy father and mother (Exodus 20:12);” that is, not only show respect and deference, but assist them, and perform such services to them as they need. By honor is also understood that adoration which is due to God only: “Give unto the Lord the honor due unto his name (Psalms 29:2).” (McClintock and Strong’s Bible Encyclopedia)

2. The need to honor God comes from the fact that God is the One who created us. “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” (Rev 4:11). The fact of God being our Creator would result in us acknowledging His greatness and power: “Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty” (Psa 104:1). So the apostle Paul declared: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Tim 1:17)

3. The failure to acknowledge God as our Creator to whom we need to give an account is often the reason for many not giving due honor to Him. The Bible has warned us: “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Rom 14:10-12)

4. Some do acknowledge God as Creator but they still failed to honor God appropriately. In Mal 1:6-10, God Himself revealed His displeasure with the failure of the people and priests of Israel: “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? Says the Lord of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ 7 “You offer defiled food on My altar, But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the Lord is contemptible.’ 8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts. 9 “But now entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us. While this is being done by your hands, will He accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts. 10 …I have no pleasure in you,” Says the Lord of hosts, “Nor will I accept an offering from your hands.”

When we offer to God that which less than the best, then we insult God and He has said that He will not accept our offerings. Today we are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to Him: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God” (Rom 12:1). In order to be acceptable to God, our bodies need to be holy – that is: separated from sin and consecrated to God.

When we come to offer our sacrifices to God – the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips and our good works (Heb 13:15-16) but our lives are stuck deep in the quagmire of sin from which we fail to repent, then our sacrifices would not be acceptable to Him.  This does not mean that we are to be sinless but that we should ensure that we do not continue to indulge in sin (Psa 66:18; 1 John 2:1-2; Rom 6:1)

5. The example of King David shows the appropriate attitude that one needs to have towards one’s offering to God as recorded in 2 Sam 24:24-25: “Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.”

King David declared that he would not offer to God that which costs him nothing! What do our offerings to God cost us?

“For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor 6:20)

The sad and tragic situation is when one is physically present in the assembly of the saints offering our worship to God but one’s heart is far from Him (Matt 15:8) as one’s mind is focused on other things of this world as he chit chats with those sitting nearby, or plays games on his mobile phone or stay outside the assembly when brethren are already gathered together to worship God. Would one do that when the King is in our midst? Is that showing proper respect to God?

Brethren, these things ought not to characterize our worship to God. If you are aware of those not showing proper reverence to God during our worship services then we ought to gently help them to direct their attention to worshipping God with proper respect due to Him (Gal 6:1). Needless to say, one ought not to imitate or encourage such misconduct in the assembly of the saints. Let us truly honor God and glorify Him by our attitude and conduct at all times.