Familiarity or Reverence with God?

Written by Paul J Bucknell on November, 19, 2020

Familiarity or Reverence with God?

An examination of the flippant attitude Christians and non-Christians have towards God

Excessive familiarity with God runs in the land. Familiarity refers to the similar way we treat God and others. People can come as they want, when they want, to God. This attitude, however, is different from what the Scriptures teach. Though, we should not confuse this flippant attitude with Jesus’ welcome for all the poor and needy to come to Him (Mat 5:3-4). That welcome always beckons those that need a Savior to come to Jesus. Today’s attitude, however, is anything but respectful, mainly due to God’s powerful presence. From Genesis 1 onwards, an assumption in scripture is that people everywhere should respect God and his Name. The first of the Ten Commandments exhorts us, but this is not what we find today (Ex 20:1-7).

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them nor serve them” (Exodus 20:4-5).

People are comfortable criticizing and judging God, the Judge. They are willing to converse on God’s mistakes and point out errors in His plan. In disobedience to God’s first command, they reform God according to their likings, believing their viewpoints as superior.

This pride in oneself is astonishing! But perhaps, we should not be so surprised at the outcome of the humanism’s infiltration into the church. “God should be more like me!”

It’s time for people everywhere to repent from their idealistic views of self and only revere the one truly awesome and holy God. Familiarity with God derives from incorrect theology, allowing people to enter His presence causally. Familiarity is the opposite of treating God holy—separate, different, and pure. God is our Maker, not our cousin.

God transcends religions and earthly governments, which heretical representations of false authority resisting God’s leadership and truth. Genuine faith enables His people to enter God’s sphere through the blood of Christ (Rom 3:25, 5:9).

Moderns’ faith in God is either absent or so dwarfed in size that they think they can, without consequence, live their everyday lives in God’s presence. But if anyone could perceive God, one’s response would be more like Daniel, Ezekiel, or Moses’ experience, who fell on the ground when they saw God.

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut 10:12).

The lack of fear of God is due to not every meeting God. Because of the lack of fear of God, a familiarity arises. We don’t understand Him nor His ways. Nor do we respect His authority, rules, commands, words, and wishes.

We avoid viewing the bright sun! And so, we should humble our hearts and not have a low value of God.

The Perfect Illustration

The sun serves as a perfect teaching illustration for respect. God embedded this illustration in our world for us. The Lord often uses what we can see to help us understand spiritual realities.

How many times have you enjoyed the sunrise and sunset? Each captures a spectacular living painting. We enjoy God’s designs built into this world, but this is not my point.

Let’s look beyond the beauty of the sun to its design. When the sun begins to be unveiled and arises above the lower extended atmosphere, we increasingly avoid looking at the sun’s glory. It’s just too bright and often too hot. When the sun shines in its full brilliance, we can’t look at it. We don’t dare! It hurts.

We avoid viewing the bright sun!

You and I keep our eyes down, respecting the sun’s greater power. We wisely bow our heads or perhaps shield our eyes with a hat brim or sunglasses, always taking action to divert our vision from looking at the sun. The sun is not our equal. It possesses greater power over us. How many times have we whipped the visor down in our cars to shield our eyes from that glaring sun?

If we bow our heads before the bright sun which the Lord created with His Word, how much greater is He? How dare we treat God with such familiarity, assuming that we need no priest or atonement to come into His presence? It’s equal folly to consider our viewpoint as superior to His!

General Application

If there are things on earth that we cannot stare at and turn our heads down in submission before it, how much greater is God’s glory? People have so much to learn from God’s powerful and holy ways. I hope we soon gain more reverence for God.

At the minimum, we can increase exercise caution on our choice of words and thoughts, humbling our attitudes before the mighty God. It’s time that we again humble ourselves and begin to honor God, the King of kings, over all of our opinions, decisions, and actions.

Family Application

Why are children so snobbish and ungrateful?

I find the disdain for authority in the family somewhat parallels that found in our society. Did you ever wonder how children, whether toddler or teen, can disdain their parents? The parents have allowed and taught that the best family has no real leader. It’s democratic—everyone has a vote. This sounds nice, but God has put the father in charge. There is, perhaps, nothing quite as distasteful as a child who dishonors his parents. We have created snobbish, bored, undisciplined, and proud children. They aren’t just that way; parents have created them. The above article provides the societal background that generates parents devoted to this unwise approach to life and authority.

Study Questions on Familiarity with God

  1. What does familiarity with God mean? Provide an example.
  2. Do you think our modern culture is too familiar with God? Explain.
  3. How does one know if someone is too familiar with God?
  4. What are the first few Ten Commandments (Exodus 20)? How do they relate to this topic of reverence for God?
  5. How does the brilliant sun help us understand God’s holiness?
  6. Have you ever had anyone change their words or behavior because of your presence? Please share.
  7. Should Christians have a “fear of God?” Explain.
  8. What is the danger of people not fearing God and being too familiar with the Lord?
  9. 9. How does the author connect ungrateful, snobbish kids with this topic of familiarity with God? What is your reflection on this?

Other BFF resources on the reverence and fear of God

The Fear of God in the New Testament: Part of the Godly Man series

If many Christians are saying that they no longer should or need to fear God, then we had better look at what the actual New Testament (NT) scriptures say.

The Love and Fear of God 1 John 4:17 : Part of the Godly Man series

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Developing a Fear of God Joshua 1: Part of the Godly Man series

The fear of man leads to poor leadership. No matter what our good intention, we are Fear of God brings a snare, Proverbs 29:25 in the end intimidated and give ...

Fear of God and Our Relationship with our Fathers Deuteronomy 6:1 ...

THE FEAR OF GOD AND FATHERS. Deuteronomy 6:1-7. The Christian family has been greatly influenced by popular secular philosophies which hold to definite ...

Misunderstandings of the Fear of God

One might say the lack of this fear of God lies at the base of our secular society. People live as if God is not present to reward, discipline, punish or worship. The ...

Evaluating our Fear of God : Part of the Godly Man series

Evaluating Our Fear of God helps us analyze how much we ourselves fear God. The scriptures teach how important this concept is to our lives: The fear of God is ...

Fear of God and its Impact on Children : Part of the Godly Man series

The fear of God is the conscious presence of God and His ways. The love of self attempts to shut God out of his life and conscience. #1 Love for self produces a ...

Fear of the Lord Benefits our Lives - A study in Proverbs: Part of the ...

When people fear God, they listen to what He says. When they listen to what God says, their minds and decisions are influenced by God’s own judgment. Maybe ...

Fear of God and the Fear of Man : Part of the Godly Man series

Fear of God and the Fear of Man describe and define the Fear of God. Man is to live in awe of God’s holiness to be fulfilled.

Haggai 1:12-2:9 Bible Study Questions: Basic and Advanced ...

And the people showed reverence for the LORD. 13 Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke by the commission of the LORD to the people saying, ...

Ephesians 5:21 A Biblical Study on Mutual Submission - The Bible ...

Phil And “fit in with” each other, because of your common reverence for Christ. RWB Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wes Submitting ...

The Godly Man: When God touches a man’s life - Another book by ...

The fear of God is that awesome reverence of the LORD deriving from being sensitive to His glorious, holy and majestic Person resulting in respect and ...

Determined to Share His Holiness

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and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (1 Cor. 7:1). It brings increasing benefit: a result of healthy godly discipline. Holiness evokes a desire to …

Revival: God’s Action Plan (Part II) 2 Chronicles 7:14.

God is immutable in His holiness and not one little sin is blinked at. God never changes His standard to accommodate our society’s special hold on wickedness.

The Meaning of ‘Exalted’ | Part of Knowing God: Experience and ...

Holiness, like the Lord’s glory, demands a distance between God and man. In this case, the separation is gained through God’s dissimilarity to us. God operates ...


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