I was privileged recently to attend a gathering in San Antonio, Texas, of World War II veterans from the 104thTimberwolf Division. These venerable survivors gather each year to reminisce of war memories, catch up in recent events and celebrate each other along with any accompanying children affectionately known as “pups.”
Major General T.K. Moffett shared with the gathered assembly a video production of the current 104thDivision. At one point in the CD, the 104thband played the Star Spangled Banner for a group of Soldiers headed to Iraq. Immediately upon hearing the national anthem, 30-40% of the gathered audience rose to their feet and stood at attention until the song finished playing. Chills ran down my spine as I witnessed this incredible act of esteem. We had already stood that morning for a live rendition of the national anthem. Respects had already been given! Yet, many of these men and women would not think of sitting while it played, even though it was meant for another group at another time in another place.
Romans 13:7--Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.
Kathleen and I want our three children to understand and value the concept of respect. When elders walk into the room, we expect them to stand up, give eye contact and respond appropriately. We hope that they will hold the Bible as sacred Scripture and not take their Lord for granted but revere Him. They are to treat people kindly and not speak poorly of others or take revenge when mistreated. I get angry and discipline them if I hear them use sarcasm or speak disrespectfully to their mom. Why? Because Leviticus 19:3 says, "Each of you is to respect his mother and father. You are to keep My Sabbaths; I am Yahweh your God.” If we are honorable and they don’t respect us, they won’t respect God. One cannot dishonor the created and honor the Creator.
In the Bible God held people accountable for respecting: their leaders (Exodus 22:28), their parents, the Sabbath, holy offerings (Lev. 22:2), the elderly (Deuteronomy 28:50), commands (Proverbs 13:13), husbands (Ephesians 5:33), wives (1 Timothy 3:11), masters (1 Ti.6:1), and marriage (Hebrews 13:4). Is there any reason why we should suspect that God would not want these same things respected today?
In observing those WWII vets, I noted superlative behavior. First, most of them were respectful towards God. He held the preeminent place in their ceremonies as evidenced by prayer and message. Second, they were respectful of their nation and the values they fought to defend—liberty, justice and the right to pursue happiness. Third, they were polite and respectful not just to each other but also to all of us attending their meetings. Most were kind, gentle and exceedingly loving. It was inspiring to be in their presence.
Loss of respect is a sure sign of a nation’s decay. When God is disdained hell is attained. If people are slighted a nation is blighted. Wherever there is devaluation of customs, traditions, authority or objects, there will quickly arise a proliferation of self-centeredness, lawlessness, relativism and pollution. No nation on earth has ever escaped the downward decline of respect. This by itself proves the existence and power of sin. To think we can achieve utopia by human effort is as laughable as trying to stop graffiti. We can erase markings but we cannot mute the cry of the restless, meaning-seeking heart in a world whose back is towards God.
I suspect that respect for God grows in the sincere heart of one whose life is nearly over. Oh Lord, may we fall on our knees before You and give You the glory due Your name. May we live like You are in the room beside us and may You grant us the mercy we have too often ignored in our prideful condition.
He had taught me how a thing can be revered not for what it can do to us but for what it is in itself.—C.S. Lewis in Surprised By Joy
©2007 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)