The question might be raised: “What right does God have to demand our respect?” The answer is seen in the following four categories:
1. His Perfect Justice (Deuteronomy 32:4).
God had been true to His covenant with the Jews and their fathers. “Nothing” that He had promised had failed (1 Kings 8:56). If any severe and protracted trials had come upon them, it was because of their own undutiful and perverse conduct; not to any vacillation or unfaithfulness on the part of God (James 1:17). God’s character was marked by justice and judgment, whether they had been exalted to prosperity or plunged in the depths of affliction.
2. His Boundless Power (Psalm 62:11).
The Psalmist pointed to the awesome power of God in creation as a motivation for the earth to fear (respect) Him: “Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” (Psalm 33:8-9). “For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens” (Psalm 96:4- 5). God’s power is seen not only in the creation, but also in His sovereignty over the nations (1 Chronicles 16:23-26; Isaiah 40:17; Psalm 66:3-7; Psalm 67:4; Psalm 86:9).
The Lord is certainly worthy to be praised and respected simply because He is God, and we are not! As finite creatures we must humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord (James 4:10). The Scriptures provide several examples of the rewards of humbling oneself before God (2 Chronicles 32:26; 2 Chronicles 33:12,19,23; 2 Chronicles 34:27; Proverbs 15:3).
3. His Infinite Wisdom (Psalm 147:5; Proverbs 2:6-7).
God declared through the prophet Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
4. His Matchless Love (1 John 4:8)
Moses reminded the children of Israel that they should fear the Lord out of sheer appreciation for how He had taken care of them in the wilderness and in how He had brought them to the threshold of “a good land” (Deuteronomy 8:1-18). Samuel admonished
the people to fear the Lord and serve Him with all of their hearts. And what reason did he give for motivating them to do so? He said, “for consider what great things he hath done you” (1 Samuel 12:24). The Psalmist gave similar emphasis: “O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Psalm 34:9-11).
God has demonstrated His love to us by sending rain upon the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). Indeed, God has given us “rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). Of course, the greatest exhibition of God’s love is the evidence called Calvary. The death of Jesus upon the cross for our sins is the “zenith” of the love of God and its expression (John 3:16; John 12:32; John 15:13; Romans 5:6-10; 1 John 4:9). In view of all that God has given to us, how can we not respect, honor, and adore Him?