Children Need To Know: Reverence

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Oswald Chambers penned, “With focused attention and great care, you have to ‘work out’ what God ‘works in’ you – not work to accomplish or earn ‘your own salvation,’ but work it out so you will exhibit the evidence of a life based with determined, unshakable faith on the complete and perfect redemption of the Lord.”

Writing to the church at Philippi, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:12-13, NLT).

How Children Think

Kids may hear about God’s holiness and wonder, “Why fear God?” Though children often hear about God’s love, they rarely learn about the fear of the Lord. They are largely unaware that God commands people to fear and revere Him. As a result, children show disrespectful, indifferent, or flippant attitudes toward God and have trouble submitting to Him as Lord.

How God Thinks

To those who fear Him, God promises deliverance, love, protection, restoration, and reward. Those who truly know the Lord God Almighty possess a deep reverence and awe for Him. The “fear of the Lord” provides exclusive access to the halls of knowledge and wisdom. In fact, learning cannot take place until we fear the Lord! (Proverbs 1:7). When we rightly understand God Almighty’s vast power and respect Him as the Faithful, Sovereign, mighty Ruler — then we have no trouble trusting His leadership. If we view life through this lens, then we happily choose to live according to God’s commands, not our own desires.

True Story

Protective services placed Jonathan and his two siblings into a new home. They showed no interest in the God of their parents who had abused and neglected them. The children had frequently heard God’s name misused and had little reverence for Him. The new parents set out to help Jonathan see that God was holy and His name was only to be used with respect and honor. They memorized God’s command, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” (Exodus 20:7, NIV).

Before long, a reverent fear settled over Jonathan. He understood the seriousness of keeping God’s name holy. When Jonathan was ten-years-old, he often watched a kid’s movie called Bolt. Months later, his new Mom asked why he hadn’t been watching Bolt lately. “I threw it away,” Jonathon responded. When she asked why, he said, “Because in one place Bolt says ‘Oh my G-O-D.’” Jonathan spelled God’s name and refrained from even saying it as he quoted the movie. This showed his radical transformation! During the next three years, Jonathan’s new family has never heard him misuse God’s name.

Historical Example

The “knights of old” provide insight into reverence. Carefully selected knights served the king and were known for their faithfulness and bravery. To serve their king, they enforced the law of the land, protected the people, and conducted themselves with the utmost honor. It would have been unthinkable to “go rogue” and complete tasks outside of the king’s authority. Knights defended the ruler’s honor and refused to speak ill of him. A knight’s effectiveness rested in his ability to submit to and respect the authority of his sovereign. If a warrior could not bow in allegiance and offer his sword, then he could neither serve the king nor move freely within the kingdom.

This wonderful example illustrates how believers can show reverence to the Lord. If we “get low” in humility to honor and respect God for who He is, then God is pleased to use us for His Kingdom’s purposes.

What You Can Do: 5 Ideas

Teach children about God’s majesty—His character, attributes, and nature. The more they know about God’s holiness, the more they will revere and love Him.

  1. God’s very name is holy (Exodus 20:20). Always speak about Him with great reverence.
  2. God delights in those who fear Him and love Him (Psalm 147:11). Show your child that the Lord sets Himself apart from sin—and that He deeply loves people.
  3. Take your child to see powerful activities in nature (Psalm 29). Observe with awe a waterfall, vast canyon, or starlit sky. Experience a small slice of God’s greatness.
  4. Read about Elijah’s boldness with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:16-39). Elijah alone knew the Lord’s power and stood up for His name—even when the people around him did not believe. God came through with fire from heaven!
  5. “Fear of the Lord” sets God’s children apart from those who do not acknowledge Him (Exodus 20:7). Without being prideful about being set apart, we humbly love others and introduce them to our awesome God.

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One Response

  1. Linda Ranson Jacobs September 24, 2013

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