Would you know how to behave if you were presented to a king – what to wear, what to say, how to show proper respect? In our increasingly casual world, deferential respect can be a difficult concept to relate to. Most of us don’t have to bow or curtsy our way through life. We don’t have to be concerned with order of precedence and formal titles. We have been taught to believe we are just as good as the next person and to voice our opinions openly. We probably even feel entitled to criticize those holding the highest offices in the land. But God, who is as far above every human ruler as the heavens are above the earth (Isaiah 55:9), deserves not only our deferential respect but our reverence.
It’s impossible for us to fully grasp God’s complex nature, encompassing both infinite mercy and absolute judgment. The temptation, though, is to focus only on the more soothing side – God’s unconditionally love, Jesus as our best friend, the comfort of the Holy Spirit. These things are true and vitally important, but alone they form an incomplete picture. By thus limiting our view, we can lose sight of God’s incredible majesty. By ignoring God’s astonishing power to destroy as well as create, we may forget to hold Him in sufficient awe. By denying God’s position of absolute authority, we will fail to show Him proper respect. If we are ever tempted to treat God too casually or question his right to rule, we should consult His words in Job.
“Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone, while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:2-7)
Only our Creator God has done these things. Therefore, only He is qualified to be in control. Not just because He’s all-powerful but because He’s good and holy and wise beyond measure (see Psalms 19:7- 11). How fortunate that He, not any of us fatally flawed human beings, is in charge of the universe. How incredible that the King of Kings desires to be in relationship with us. We serve a holy and awesome God! Let us worship Him for His beautiful character – all sides of it – grateful to call Him our friend while remembering to give Him the deep reverence He deserves.