SERVING GOD ACCEPTABLY WITH REVERENCE AND GODLY FEAR

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

APRIL 18, 2024

TOPIC: SERVING GOD ACCEPTABLY WITH REVERENCE AND GODLY FEAR

BY T. O. BANSO. 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29 New King James Version).

It is said that familiarity breeds contempt. It seems that some Christians had more regard, respect, or honour for God many years back than they have now. They had more reverence for God when they were younger Christians than they do now. The older some are in the faith, the more familiar with God they become. Sadly, some non-believers have more reverence for God based on their knowledge about Him. Because God no longer punishes people quickly today in the manner of the Old Testament, some Christians don’t serve Him with holy fear and awe! This ought not to be so.

Even though we should not have a negative fear of God that makes us run away from Him, we must not lose our sense of holy fear and awe for Him. That God is our Father and loves us as His children does not mean we should become blind to the other side of God as a consuming fire. We must not abuse His love.

Hebrews 12:28-29 says, Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (New King James Version). The last part of this scripture says, “God is a consuming fire.” Deuteronomy 4:24a also calls God a consuming fire.

Because of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, God does not relate to human beings as He related in the Old Testament in fearful and, sometimes, instant judgment, but He is still a consuming fire. Nobody plays with fire. Truly, we are in the dispensation of grace, but we must not take God for granted. We must not abuse grace. 2 Peter 3:9 says the Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Note the phrase “Serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” in Hebrews 12:28-29 that I quoted earlier. God is a consuming fire, and we should worship Him with holy fear and awe. The New International Version renders the phrase as “worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” Note the word “acceptably.” In other words, if God will accept our service or worship, we must offer it with reverence and godly fear. Do you worship Him acceptably with reverence and awe or godly fear?

The more you walk with God, the more fear of Him you should have. Some Christians will not do some things that they do today even in their service in the house of God if they fear Him and are serving or worshipping Him with reverence and godly fear.  The last part of Proverbs 16:6 says by the fear of the LORD, one avoids evil.

Nadab, and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, were priests, but they didn’t fear God. They offered a profane, unauthorized, or strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. Fire went out from the LORD and devoured them. They died before the LORD (Leviticus 10:1-2). Nobody’s worship or service will be acceptable to God if he will not worship Him in holy reverence and awe or godly fear.Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:8-9 New King James Version). 

The Bible does not explain what the profane fire Nadab and Abihu offered before the LORD was, but they should have known it was unacceptable to God. Their father, Aaron, was still alive when they died. They died before their father did, and they had no sons (1 Chronicles 24:2). See what God said after their death: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” (Leviticus 10:3 New King James Version).

The children of God should not wait for this kind of judgment before they worship God in reverence and holy fear. Uzzah held the ark of God when the oxen stumbled. As a Kohathite, Uzzah should have known that God had commanded that nobody should touch the ark of God and other holy things or look into them (Numbers 4:15, 20). The anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act.

David had sinned by transporting the ark the wrong way instead of the Kohathites carrying it with poles on their shoulders (Exodus 25:14-15), but Uzzah’s irreverence act caused his death. God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God (2 Samuel 6:7). Have reverence for God. You don’t need to wait till you see someone experience something similar to Uzzah’s case before you serve God in reverence and godly fear.

Ananias and Sapphira did not have reverence and godly fear otherwise they wouldn’t have lied to Peter and, indeed, the Holy Spirit after selling their property and keeping back part of the money. The husband first died instantly after Peter had pointed out his lie. The same thing happened to the wife, who didn’t know her husband had died. Acts 5:11 says,Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events” (New International Version). Many Pastors may be prosecuted if this type of death should occur in the church today, for believers to serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear! There may not be tragic deaths, but people are suffering in other ways for not serving God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

Serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Psalm 2:11 says to serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. You cannot please God except you worship Him with holy fear and awe – another way of putting reverence and godly fear. The New Living Translation renders Hebrews 12:28 thus: “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” You will only please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. This, according to the Contemporary English Version, means “We please God by worshiping him and by showing him great honor and respect.”

God is great and mighty. He is the Almighty God. He is a consuming fire. Show Him great honour and respect. Reverence Him. “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?’” (Malachi 1:6 New King James Version). Honour and reverence God; don’t despise Him or become too familiar with Him. All the children of God, including pastors and their members, must serve or worship Him acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

King Darius of Persia, writing to the people of every race, nation, and language throughout the world, said, “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions” (Daniel 6:25-27 New International Version). Note the phrase “must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.”

The God of Daniel is also the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is also your Father if you have given your life to Jesus. Serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Deuteronomy 6:13a says, You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him” (New King James Version). Deuteronomy 10:20 says a similar thing: “You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him” (New King James Version).

If you reverence and fear God, you will obey and serve Him. And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13 New International Version).

Serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear by obeying His Word. Joshua 24:14a says, “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth” (New King James Version). Also, Ecclesiastes 12:13b says, Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (New King James Version). Avoid irreverent acts before God. Honour Him. Serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: I shall not become too familiar with God but honour Him. I will Serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Holy Spirit, help me to fear God and obey His Word.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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