Thursday, August 3, 2017
“God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him” (Psalm 89:7 NKJV).
Culture, tradition, comfort zone, like or dislike, judgment, habit, and opinions are our world! We may not recognize it, but those things are often part of our standard in reading the Bible. One of my Facebook friends had a link to an article, “The Truth About Dressing.” The production was A+. The preacher’s message was filled with scripture. Passages from the first covenant were nicely woven in with some from the second one. Yet, his interpretation was based more upon the culture of the nineteenth through the twentieth century than it was with the Bible! It sounded biblical because passages were displayed and quoted. But his application wasn’t. The context of the passage employed was missing! The passage above was one of them.
His lesson was concerning “how” one “must” dress in “the assembly” to show “reverence” to God. The passage in Psalms was followed with, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5 NKJV). He also used, “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes’” (Exodus 19:10 NKJV). Honesty in interpretation demands consistency in application. One of the first questions to be asked is, “Are these passages referring to a person wearing a two or three-piece suit in the church building for the purpose of showing reverence to God?”
If the expression, “the assembly of the saints” is referring to the Sunday morning assembly in 2017, then the rest of the context does too! The preacher has inserted his assumptions on what is bound as “reverence”! He discards the rest! He must, because that information doesn’t fit his interpretation. He believes reverence is based upon suits and ties. If his assumptions are God’s command, then “clothing police” should be stationed at the building entrances to turn away all not fitting his interpretation. If such disciplinary actions are not taken, why wouldn’t the elders and congregation be guilty of allowing folks to enter who do not fear the Lord! Isn’t what they wear the standard for showing reverence according to that interpretation? If not, then what is his point?
Notice Exodus 3:5. God told Moses to take his shoes off because he is standing on holy ground. If this passage applies to today’s assemblies, then all suited men must take off their shoes! The preacher adds suits and ties to the passage which isn’t there, but deletes from it what is! Is deleting showing reverence to the God? Since the preacher believes this passage applies to actions in the church building, one must ask if he believes the building where saints assemble, is “holy ground”? That which is holy are saints cleansed in the blood of Jesus, not the building? In Exodus 19 he uses “wash their clothes” to mean suits and ties must be worn to show reverence. Perhaps it means one is not consecrated to God if he has his suit dry cleaned!? Shouldn’t it be washed, rather than dry cleansed, if that is what God demands to show reverence?
Moses was told to take off his shoes to show reverence. I’m sure when we stand before Jesus in judgment, we will be fearful and/or reverent. Wouldn’t that mean we must be wearing our “Sunday best” there, with our shoes removed? What if we aren’t? What if we are in bed asleep when judgment comes? Will Jesus judge us for being irreverent? I don’t sleep in a two or three-piece suit, do you?
Christians are God’s house (Hebrews 3:6). We are God’s temple and the Holy Spirit dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). We don’t have to go to Jerusalem or Samaria to be in God’s presence (John 4:19-24). We don’t have to wait until Sunday at 11 am to worship. We can talk with God (worship) every second of the day (Romans 12:1). Whether we are in work clothes, pajamas, or in a two or three-piece suit, reverence is based upon the heart, not upon culture, opinion, assumptions, human judgment, comfort zone, like or not like, habit, or opinion. If a Christian isn’t reverent before God 24/7, wouldn’t his faith be questionable? Why limit “being reverent” to the “assembly of the saints,” to a few hours each week, or even whether one is dressed in his “Sunday’s best”?
Culture, tradition, comfort zone, like or dislike, judgment, habit, and opinions are our world! We may not recognize it, but those things are often part of our standard in reading the Bible.