AUDIO VERSION: YouTube Podbean
Reverence is one of those four critical soul attitudes that are essential to you pleasing your Makers. Without it, you’re going to Hell—this is how important reverence is. So now let’s dig deeper. Why is reverence so important? Well, reverence is a fear based respect which is a logical response to recognizing that someone or something has the power to harm you. Humans revere fire, which is why they keep a cautious distance from it. Because they know that fire has the power to severely injure them, they are afraid of it, and that fear translates into a sober respect which prevents them from just tossing lit matches onto the carpets of their homes.
Flames, electric fences, guns, lightning—these are all examples of inanimate things that we revere in life. But now let’s move on to living creatures. You’re out in the woods and you hear some low, angry growl behind you. You turn and see a huge bear glaring at you. That feeling of terror that suddenly sweeps through you is reverence. You recognize that the bear’s huge claws can do horrible things to your earthsuit in a matter of seconds. It is the fact that the bear is so much more powerful than you are which is causing you to be afraid of him, and that is a good fear. If you had no reverence for the bear, you might do something really stupid, like poke him with a stick. But because you have buckets of reverence, you’re straining your brain to think of anything you can do that might pacify the bear and make him lose interest in shredding you. It is reverence that keeps us in touch with what limited, fragile flecks we are and curbs the development of wrong soul attitudes like arrogance and domination.
When it comes to the creatures of earth, we humans often find ourselves outmatched. From poisonous snakes, to giant sharks, to racing cheetahs, there is plenty of cause for reverence when we’re facing off with lower lifeforms who are acting agitated by our presence. But when it comes to dealing with our own kind, things change. You will only revere those who you believe have the ability to harm you, and how much you revere them will change as your understanding of their abilities changes. When you can see that you’re physically stronger than the punk who just stopped you in an alley and is now demanding your wallet, you might not feel any reverence, thus you tell him to step off. But when he pulls a gun out of his pocket, suddenly the game changes. The sight of the gun cues you that his ability to harm you just shot up, and suddenly you feel afraid. That sudden shift in your emotions is reverence kicking in. Reverence always reacts to the ability to harm.
Now when humans organize themselves into societies and choose leaders to govern them, they assign those leaders different amounts of power. The American style of government is one in which the power is intentionally divided between three branches of government. The purpose of this is to prevent a situation of tyranny in which one person has all the power and no accountability, thus he is free to become totally abusive. But the American style of government is just one of many options which humans have experimented with. Another style of government which has been very popular throughout history is that of an absolute monarchy. In this kind of system, there is only one ruler—the monarch—who has absolute power over the people. Now here is where it gets interesting, because the less power leaders have, the less ability they have to harm. Since reverence is focused on the ability to harm, you will find that public mockery of rulers increases as the power of those rulers decreases. If you’ve ever wondered why Americans are so grossly disrespectful towards their leaders, the answer is that Americans perceive their leaders to be relatively unthreatening, thus they do not revere them. Where there is no reverence, mockery, griping, and insults abound. If the American president functioned like a monarch with absolute powers, then he would be able to order executions with a single word. In such a situation, you would see Americans suddenly locate their manners and no one would be daring to post derogatory comments or pictures of their leader. You see, it’s not that Americans can’t be well-mannered, restrained, civil people–it’s that no one is requiring them to be. Reverence is a lost concept in American society. Our judges can be paid off. Our law enforcement officers are told they have to just eat the daily rudeness of civilians without retaliating. Our politicians are pretty powerless, and our president can’t make a move without hundreds of people agreeing to go along with his idea. Our schoolteachers used to be able to send snarky kids off to the principal’s office for a good whoopin’. Now many of them can’t even verbally scold children without getting reprimanded themselves. On the one hand we’ve got a bunch of parents totally abusing their kids as a means of coping with their personal issues. At the same time, we’ve got a bunch of parents who are so threatened by their kids not liking them that they won’t dole out the discipline that’s needed. Instead of killing those who intentionally murder others, we just give them a slap on the wrist and send them out on parole after they spend a few years in a prison that looks like a five star hotel compared to the hellholes other countries are stuffing their criminals into. When Americans look around, they don’t see any leaders who are worthy of reverence. Sure, everyone has personal enemies who upset them, but American society as a whole has no strong authority figure leading it, thus Americans deservedly get a global rep for being a bunch of ill-mannered brats. It is reverence which motivates us to submit to authority, obey instruction, and put effort into restraining our carnal instincts. Without reverence, we just run amuck.
So now that we see how reverence affects the way we treat other humans, let’s talk about the God-human dynamic. How we respond to our Creators is far more important than how we respond to our fellow humans, the creatures of earth, and inanimate things. The true Gods are the Ones who determine our eternal fate, and They are the Ones who control the quality of our existence. So while lipping off to your boss might cause you to lose your job, crossing certain lines with your Makers will result in your soul being eternally stuck in a situation of conscious torment. So how do we steer clear of that nightmare? It’s all about submission.
We often say that salvation is attained through sincere submission to the true Gods. But a critical point to understand is that there are many degrees of submission. When you do what your boss tells you to do half of the time, that’s a form of submission. But when you spend the rest of the workday playing on your cell phone, that’s a form of rebellion. In America today, it’s become very hard to find good employees, and by that we mean employees who are willing to submit to their bosses on a regular basis. Submission is when you do what you don’t want to do in order to please someone else. Submission is motivated by reverence. After all, we humans are self-serving, prideful creatures, so why would we ever do something that we don’t want to do? The answer is to avoid punishment, and that comes back to reverence. So when your boss who you don’t even like says, “Do this report my way or I’ll fire you,” you submit to his authority and obey his instructions in order to avoid being harmed by him. You’re not afraid of your boss beating you up physically, but you are afraid of his power to harm you financially, and that’s enough to get some reverence going.
You will only submit to someone to the degree that you revere that person. Revering someone doesn’t mean you cower in their presence and constantly dread them suddenly lashing out at you. As soldiers get to know General Tom, they learn that Tom is a very reasonable, patient guy. So soldiers feel comfortable around him, but they are also quick to obey him because they’ve seen what happens when he gets mad. General Tom doesn’t make empty threats. When someone gives him too much attitude, he comes down hard on that person and makes an example out of them which helps everyone else maintain a lot of reverence for Tom. A lot of reverence results in a lot of submission, and as a result, General Tom runs a very smooth operation.
So how does it work with you and God? Well, God begins your existence in this world, He surrounds you with evidence of His awesome power, and then He says, “If you don’t meet My demands for submission while you are here, I will make you eternally sorry.” To help you develop reverence for Him, God intentionally flaunts His power in your face in countless ways every day. He ravages coastlines with epic hurricanes, He collapses buildings with violent earthquakes, He tears ships apart in storms, He trashes crops with droughts, and He washes whole towns away in floods just to keep us in touch with the fact that He has infinitely more power than we do. He kills people. He rescues people. He starts and stops plagues. He raises up terrorists then crushes them again. He invents new diseases, then tells us how to treat them. He prevents us from constantly injuring each other through sheer carelessness. He boggles our minds with more and more revelations about how totally fragile and utterly complicated this entire planet is, then He shows us glimpses of the vast universe we live in to help us get some sense of what tiny little specks we are. It’s all about helping us develop reverence, because reverence drives submission, and submission is what keeps us out of Hell.
So how much submission is enough? Well, the three Beings who created us reign with absolute power over all created things. They are Supreme Gods who answer to no one and are not bound by any laws. They are all-powerful, all-knowing, and omnipresent. They are unpredictable, uncontrollable, and uncontainable. They have also designed us to be totally dependent on Them, which means we need Their help to put one foot in front of another. Given the immense difference in power between you and your Creators, how much submission do you think is enough? Do you think submitting to Them to the same degree as you do a mere human is going to cut it? Do you think treating the true Gods like your servants, friends, or partners is good enough? No, it’s not, and yet if you start paying more attention to the language Christians use in their prayers and worship songs, you’ll discover a shocking lack of submission going on. You simply don’t dare to say certain things to a God who you view as having infinite power and a very real wrathful side. But where there is no reverence for God, there is no submission, and out comes the kinds of obnoxious soul attitudes that we find being expressed in the song Show Me Your Glory which was popularized by the group Jesus Culture. Written by Kim Walker-Smith, Kathy Frizzell, and Nate Ward II, this song is a great example of how snarky we become when we lose our grip on reverence. Let’s now take a close look at the lyrics of this bomb so we can understand why it is so offensive to our Gods.
We have three Gods, and we like to keep changing which God we’re insulting during our corporate worship sessions. In Show Me Your Glory, Yahweh is the God who we’re talking to in Verse 1, and we start out by reminding Him of certain personal moments He had with Moses back in the book of Exodus. We then demand to get a piece of that action. Wow.
To properly appreciate how twerpy we’re being with our request, there are a few facts we need to understand about what went on between Moses and Yahweh. After plaguing Egypt with those ten famous plagues, and leading a bunch of Hebrew slaves and some tagalongs through the miraculously parted Red Sea, Yahweh ended up with a mob of spiritual rebels on His hands who didn’t give a flip about who He was. After spending centuries in Egypt, the Hebrews were spiritually devoted to the Egyptian gods, and they weren’t about to just flip their loyalties over to a God who they didn’t even know. Sure, Yahweh was “the God of their ancestors,” but so what? He was new, He was foreign, and they just didn’t care.
What is it that motivates souls to submit to God? Reverence. Well, the mob of folks Moses was leading had no reverence for Yahweh. So how does Yahweh help them acquire some? Well, what does reverence care about? The ability to harm. So what this massive mob of twerps needed was some dramatic demonstrations that Yahweh had the ability to severely injure them. In other words, they needed Him to flaunt His power—preferably in some frightening way. So that’s what Yahweh did. He picked a mountain named Mount Sinai, and then He announced that He was going to personally descend on that mountain. This was figurative language, of course—Yahweh wasn’t literally camping out on Mt. Sinai. The point was to make the Jews associate the big display of power that Yahweh was about to put on with Yahweh’s Divine Presence. And they did. When ominous storm clouds and crazy lightning and thunder started happening all over the mountain, the Jews were good and scared. Being scared is a very good thing when we need help developing more reverence for God. As the people all scrambled away from the mountain, everyone was feeling relieved when Yahweh singled Moses out to be the only guy who was authorized to go hiking up that sacred slope and disappear into view inside that freaky looking cloud. No one else wanted a piece of that action—it all looked too terrifying.
There are a couple of key points we need to grasp about the Sinai account. First, Moses was commanded by God to hike up the mountain. Moses received a Divine invitation to enter that sacred cloud—he didn’t just shove his way in. The second point we need to bear in mind was that the whole purpose of the Sinai show was to increase reverence for God. Bearing these things in mind, let’s now check out the first verse of Show Me Your Glory.
[Verse 1] I see the cloud, I step in
I want to see Your glory like Moses did
Flashes of light and rolls of thunder
I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid
Wow, what a mess. For starters, only a spiritual idiot boasts of having no fear of God, and that’s what you’re doing when you sing “I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid.” And what makes your lack of fear so totally obnoxious is that you’re specifically referring to not being afraid of Yahweh’s Divine power.
Whenever Christians start nagging God to show them His glory, they mean that they want to get a good faceful of His awesome power. As a human living in this world, your exposure to God’s power is miniscule. Even though He has designed this world to be a human killing machine with its inhabitable climates, deadly animals, and lethal storms, the power being displayed in this world and in the universe around us doesn’t begin to give us a complete understanding of God’s actual capabilities. Remember that hulking bear that you met in the woods? Would you chuck a pine cone at the bear’s nose just to see what he would do? Would you sing, “I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid” while you did so? Of course not, because as a defenseless hiker, you would consider it very foolish to try and provoke a hulking beast with paws the size of your face. And yet here you are telling God Almighty that you have no fear of His awesome power. It’s like you’re saying, “Come on, Yahweh, show me what You got. Wow me. Shock me. Give me Your best shot. I’m not afraid of You or Your power. I’m marching right into it. You don’t impress me in the slightest.” And after that snarky little opening, you come to the chorus, in which you try to spur Yahweh into action by demanding over and over again that He perform for you.
[Chorus] Show me Your glory, show me Your glory,
Show me Your glory, show me Your glory
In Exodus 33:18, Moses was in the middle of a personal conversation with Yahweh when he asked Yahweh to show him His glory. Yahweh agreed. Well, you’re not Moses. You’re not the one Yahweh invited up the mountain. You’re not the guy that Yahweh chose to be His spokesman during the ten plagues. You’re not the guy He chose to be the first prophetic leader of His nation. You’re just the bratty little soul whose trying to horn in on a personal moment between God and someone else. You’re like the nosy neighbor who barges into Fred’s house right when Fred is giving a box of chocolates to his wife as a demonstration of his love for her. When you see the box, you shout, “I want some! I want some! Hand it over, Fred! It’s my turn to have some!” Who even gave you permission to come into Fred’s house, let alone try to steal what Fred is giving to his wife? Are you getting a feel for how obnoxious you’re being when you sing this song at Yahweh? You’re saying, “Hey, You showed Moses Your glory and now it’s my turn! I wanna see, I wanna see! Show me now! Now, now, now! I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid! You can’t scare me!” Do you really think Yahweh is going to grant your request when you approach Him with such a domineering, disrespectful attitude?
[Verse 2] I’m awed by Your beauty, lost in Your eyes
I long to walk in Your Presence like Jesus did
Your glory surrounds me and I’m overwhelmed
But I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid
Here’s more cheek. As you imagine yourself being surrounded by Yahweh’s glory, you admit that you might feel a bit stunned, but you rush to clarify that you’re not afraid. Nope, you’re not afraid. You certainly don’t want Yahweh to get the wrong impression about how you view Him. He’s got some nice qualities, but nothing that would inspire you to press your face into the dirt. You tell Him that He’s pleasant to look at, and He’s got nice eyes, but He’s just not sparking any reverence in you. You’re not afraid. Not one bit. Why should you be? He’s only God.
Notice how you say that you long to walk in Yahweh’s Presence like Jesus did. What on earth does this mean? Jesus is God Almighty, not some mortal who had a Moses moment. Jesus is Yahweh’s Peer, and as such, He doesn’t react to Yahweh’s Presence the way that you would because Jesus is just as magnificent as Yahweh is. You’re the only speck in this group. You’re the one who would be paralyzed with terror if any one of your Gods were to ever give you a true glimpse of Their awesomeness. But why should They? Why should They teach you anything more about who They are when you’re standing here bragging about how much you don’t revere Them?
[Chorus] Show me Your glory, show me Your glory, my God!
Show me Your glory, show me Your glory, yeah!
So demands the speck. And since our Gods detest the soul attitude of domination in humans, all of your bratty demands for Them to reveal Themselves to you will only get you permanently banned from ever knowing Them. You see, it is a privilege to be invited closer to God. It is not a right. When you start treating privileges like rights, you end up having your privileges permanently revoked.
[Bridge] I long to look on the face of the One that I love
I long to stay in Your Presence, it’s where I belong [x2]
It’s where I belong [x2]
I belong in Your Presence! [x2]
Show me Your glory! [x3]
You don’t get to make this call. You have no claims to God’s Presence. You have no grounds for saying that you “belong” there. It’s His Presence. It’s His turf. You only belong there if He says you do, and He’s not going to invite you closer in when you’re talking so disrespectfully to Him.
Oh how we love You, oh how we love You
Oh how we love You, Jesus
If you really loved Jesus and Yahweh, you would sincerely care about Their preferences and be wanting to please Them. You wouldn’t be trying to dominate Them the way you are in this song, and you certainly wouldn’t be boasting of how unafraid you are of Their Divine power. This song was clearly written by people who had no clue about what it means to love or respect God at the time that they put these obnoxious lyrics together. We can only hope they will do some serious maturing before it’s too late. Meanwhile, you should certainly not be following some idiot’s lead in singing this kind of irreverent rot at your Gods.
Understanding the Purpose of Terror in the End Times
The End Time Prophet: Driving Us Closer to God
Offensive Worship Songs: LORD, LET YOUR GLORY FALL by Matt Redman
Singing Smack to the Holy Spirit: CONSUMING FIRE by Tim Hughes