Today, I want to talk to you about the matter of Respect — particularly respect for God.
Aretha Franklin once sang a popular song titled “Respect.” The late comedian Rodney Dangerfield was famous for saying, “I can’t get no respect.” Perhaps you have been told to have self-respect. I am sure there are people you have respect for and people whom you would like to have respect from. However, the only way you will have a proper understanding of respect is if you have a healthy respect for God. That is what we will discuss today and in our next few broadcasts.
The Bible uses the term “fear” to describe respect for God. Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” This fear does not mean being afraid of God. Rather, it means having a healthy respect and reverence for God because of His holiness.
Fear of God, or respect for God, is closely tied to obedience. If we have the proper respect for God, we will obey Him in our everyday lives. Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” Just as God hates sin, respect for God will lead you to hate sin and the consequences that come from sinning. And that respect will keep you out of a whole lot of trouble along the road of life.
Fear of God, or respect for God, is also tied to the gaining of wisdom and knowledge. People have a tendency to become proud from the knowledge or education that they gain. Even though each of us will only learn about a tiny fraction of all that there is to learn about the universe, we will be tempted to become puffed up with the little knowledge that we have. Having knowledge without a proper respect for God (who knows all things) is foolish. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Realize that no matter how much you study, you will never come close to knowing all that there is to know. However, since God is omniscient (all-knowing), He demands and deserves our respect.
Finally, today, notice that fear of God, or respect for God, is the foundation of self-respect and respect for others. Why? Because you and every other person in the world is made in the image of God. You and every other person in the world carries God-given potential, dreams, and destiny. Never look down on yourself or on anyone else. Never belittle your gifts and talents or the gifts and talents of others.
When you have respect for God, you can have the proper respect for yourself and others.
We will take more on this matter of respect in our next episode.