GLORY AND HONOR
As I have been reading the Psalms following the daily reading schedule this year, one thing in particular has stood out to me: the reverence the authors show toward God. When we read the Psalms, we should get a good idea of how we should relate to God. There seems to be, in today’s society, an attempt to bring God down to man’s level. That is, there are many who want to address God and have the same kind of relationship with Him as they have with their family or their friends. They want to speak of the relationship that they have with God in familiar terms, with some even seeking to speak to Him in these familiar terms. In reality, God is not our “buddy” and he is not our “pops.” Such flippant approaches to God are disrespectful at the least, and blasphemous at the worst!
The authors of the Psalms relate to us the type of respect and honor that we should give to God. This attitude should be reflected in the way we think about Him, the way we talk about Him, and the way we talk to Him.
While any number of the Psalms could be used to illustrate this point, we will be looking at David’s writing in Psalm 29. In this Psalm, David shows the type of glory and honor that should be shown to Jehovah, but he also shows some of the reasons why God is deserving of such glory and honor. Consider how David started the Psalm:
Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. (Psalm 29:1–2 ESV)
David calls on the reader to “ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.” This glory, according to David, is “due his name.” This is not something that is given to Him simply because He asked for it, but rather because He is worthy of it. The rest of the Psalm contains several reasons for God being deserving of the honor and glory that David calls upon his reader to provide.
The focus of David’s praise for Jehovah in this Psalm is on God’s voice. David expounded upon the power that was present in the voice of God. He is able to speak and accomplish great things. In His spoken word was more power than anyone could possibly imagine!
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. (Psalm 29:4 ESV)
God, in His power, could break the great cedars (Psalm 29:5). He could cause nations to rise and fall (Psalm 29:6). By His voice, He can control nature (Psalm 29:7-9). His power was displayed over the great flood (Psalm 29:10). These, and any number of other examples that David could have used, illustrated just how worthy God was of the glory and honor that could be bestowed upon Him. He had proven Himself to His people over and over again! Because of who He is, and what He has done, He is worthy of all glory and honor!
How does this translate into our attitude toward Him today? Certainly nothing has changed concerning God. He is still powerful, and He is still worthy. While the law that we obey has changed (Colossians 2:11-15), the way that we acknowledge and treat God has not. We have the great blessing of being called the “children of God” (John 1:12-13), but that does not grant to us some right of being disrespectful in the manner that we speak to Him or about Him.
David was called “a man after [God’s] own heart” (Acts 13:22), and yet he did not consider himself to be so familiar with God as to think that he could address Him flippantly. In fact, his relationship with God made him realize, it seems, that there was a need to speak with the utmost respect when addressing Him. We need to recognize that He is worthy of this honor in all of our interaction with Him. Jesus, when He taught the disciples to pray, taught them to use the same type of respect:
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Matthew 6:9 ESV)
If the disciples of the first century were expected to show such honor and glory to God when they prayed, then we should show the same honor and glory to Him today. We can learn much from the psalmist on how to show such honor to God! Let us not think that our relationship with God allows for us to speak in a flippant or disrespectful way when addressing our Heavenly Father.