Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD has said, Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.” Leviticus 10:3 (ESV)
Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, suffered grave consequences because they dishonored God by offering profane fire before him. Webster’s dictionary defines profane as showing disrespect or contempt toward sacred things; irreverence. These two priests attempted to enter God’s presence with an offering made with their own hands; an offering God had not commanded. Their sin was approaching a holy God as though he where something common. Their offering was disrespectful and irreverent and did not honor God.
During his ministry, Jesus would not do many miracles (manifest all his glory) in his own country because the people did not honor him. As He taught in their synagogues the people were astonished and said, Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things? (Matthew 13:55-56 ESV) The very people who were watching and waiting for the Messiah missed his visitation because they were too familiar with him. Again, God refused to fully manifest his presence among people who considered him as common.
Should we expect God to fully manifest his glory if we do not give him the honor and reverence due his name? We cannot expect God to permit us to come into his presence with an attitude of disrespect.
I am not making a case here for a “solemn” assembly each time the church meets. The psalmist wrote, Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. (Psalm 2:11 ESV) The Hebrew word used for rejoice is guwl which means to spin around under the influence of any violent emotion. When we come to God in worship, whether dancing or bowing, we should come in reverence; honoring his majesty and kingship.
We should always approach God with seriousness and respect. I understand that he is our Father, and we are invited to come to him for rest and safety (Matthew 11:28, Proverbs 18:10). However, we must also understand that he is Almighty God and honor and glory are due his name. We must remember that we have not earned the right to enter the holy places. Though we may enter with confidence, we only do so through the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19).
We profane God’s name when we treat his commandments as suggestions thus stunting the growth of fruit in our lives. The result of fruitlessness is a life that is not worthy of the name it bears; giving no glory to God. Paul wrote to the Ephesians that their manner of life should be worthy of the calling to which they had been called (Ephesians 4:1). To the Philippians Paul wrote they they should let the manner of their life be worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27).
Are you too familiar with God? Do you haphazardly approach him as if he were common? Does your manner of life display your reverence for him?
Scriptures for meditation:
1 Timothy 6:16