The Wisdom of Reverence and Sincerity
Submitted by Debbie’s Dad
“Observe the commands of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.” Deuteronomy 8:6
Early in the history of Israel, Moses reminded the people in Deuteronomy chapter 8 of God’s guidance and provision throughout the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. In the passage above and earlier in Deut. 6:24 Moses reminded the people to obey the commands or statutes of the Law. This provided a way of life that would keep their focus on revering and obeying Jehovah. The passage, here, focuses on the means to observe the commandments – to sincerely live (walk) life in accordance with God’s way of living, and to maintain reverence for Jehovah.
When Moses died and Joshua led the people into the promised land, he reminded them of the admonition from Moses. Joshua summoned the tribes of Israel and in Joshua chapter 24, he recounts their history and Jehovah’s faithfulness. He emphasizes, “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in truth and put away the gods which your father served” (Joshua 24:14). The esteemed scholars Keil and Delitzsch note on this verse the emphasis on service “without hypocrisy, or the show of piety, in simplicity and truth of the heart.
So Moses and Joshua admonished the people to worship with two attributes:
· Fear (reverence) which is the beginning of wisdom.
· Truth or genuine sincerity of the heart (the application of wisdom).
But we know that the nation of Israel struggled to maintain its faithfulness to Jehovah. They adopted these practices as they came in contact with other nations that worshipped the idols of their own creation. The nation accepted these idols and throughout the divided kingdoms of Israel (to the North in Samaria) and Judah (around Jerusalem to the south) the people lost their reverence for Jehovah, and their sincerity of heart. It reached a point that for some of the people in Samaria it was recorded that, “They feared the Lord, and served their own gods.” (2 Kings 17:33). They became double minded as Jesus warned in “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [riches]” (Matthew 6:24) and also as James warned in his epistle (James 1:8).
This core principle was reiterated to the woman of Sychar, Samaria that he met at the well. It is particularly interesting to note that this woman was a Samarian – perhaps a descendant of the people who feared the Lord and served their own idol-gods. The interchange between Jesus and the woman is well-known, but Jesus concluded by telling her, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24). There it is again! We worship God:
· In reverence for God who is Spirit (See v. 4:24) we worship from our spirit
· In truth or genuine sincerity of our heart
This is the core of worship of God, to acknowledge Him in fear and reverence, and to genuinely live in communion with Him – in prayer and reading the Bible.
Today’s culture emphasizes how we look – our “image” or “brand” and the “optics” or context that others see about us. Instead, God is simply interested in our recognition of Him as our powerful Creator and loving Father and our sincerity in worship by walking in his ways.
NOTE: Reference: Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1886-1891). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 2, p. 168). Hendrickson Version (1996)