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Reverend Is His Name

by Kent Heaton

The book of Psalms is a powerful testimony to the majesty, praise, glory and awesome power of Jehovah God. Isaiah wrote the words of the Lord, "To whom would you liken Me and make Me equal and compare Me, that we would be alike . Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me" (Isaiah 46:5,9). How majestic is the name of the Lord and holy. The Lord instructed the children of Israel not to take His name in vain as He prescribed the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7).

The name of God is "Jealous" (Exodus 34:14) because the Lord God is a jealous God. To be jealous is to be "intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness; hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage" (Webster). The Lord is intolerant of those who would seek to put other gods before Him or take His name in vain. No one can be equal with Jehovah God!

An unnamed psalmist penned the words of Psalm 111 to declare the power of the Lord in creation. Seen clearly in the psalm is the overshadowing power of the providential care and grace of the Lord to the faithful. All men must stand in awe of the Creator of this world to declare the name of Jehovah God as the great "I AM" (Exodus 3:14). How great is our God and yet how small is man. In verse nine of the text the psalmist declares the name of the Lord is "Holy and reverend (awesome)".

The holiness of the Lord is unquestionable. Peter exhorted the early disciples to be holy because God was holy (I Peter 1:16). The name of God is "reverend" because it is a name to be feared and worshipped. The Lord is worthy of reverence because of His greatness, His grace, His sacrifice and His love. What man among men can take the name "reverend" to be feared, worshipped or adored?

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) wrote in The Treasury of David: "The whole name or character of God is worthy of profoundest awe, for it is perfect and complete, whole or holy. It ought not to be spoken without solemn thought, and never heard without profound homage. His name is to be trembled at; it is something terrible; even those who know him best rejoice with trembling before him. How good men can endure to be called 'reverend' we know not. Being unable to discover any reason why our fellow-men should reverence us, we half suspect that in other men there is not very much which can entitle them to be called reverend, very reverend, right reverend, and so on. It may seem a [small] matter, but for that very reason we would urge that the foolish custom should be allowed to fall into disuse."

Spurgeon suggest that this is a small matter but God considers it a matter of greater importance. Asaph wrote in Psalm 50:21, "These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes." The triviality of man's respect for the name of God will not go unnoticed by the Creator. "Holy and awesome is HIS NAME" (Psalm 111:9).