Our fallen human nature wires us to hide things: when we love darkness we hate light because it will expose us. We actually put our good works on display and we hide our darkness. This is a reverence problem. Our problem lies in that which we fear…
6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.
7 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods 8 and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. 9 The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right.
“The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right.” Not just them. All of us. Our fallen human nature wires us to hide things, and especially things which we know go against God or which we believe will embarrass us.
In John 3 we see that when we love evil we hate light because it will expose us. That doesn’t mean we are 100% evil – all evil all the time… It’s a guarantee, however, that when we have a piece of evil that we love, we will keep it in the dark. We don’t want it exposed.
We actually put our good works on display and we hide our darkness. This is the opposite of what God would have us do. Our good deeds are to be done in secret (Matthew 6:1) and will be rewarded by our Father in heaven. By contrast, we are to walk in the light as God is in the light. To walk in darkness while telling others that we follow Jesus is a lie (1John 1:5-7).
Why are we stuck here?
We have a reverence problem. The Bible often translates reverence as ‘fear’ while we might prefer to clarify it as an ‘awesome respect.’ Our problem lies in that which we fear. Let me explain.
Sometimes we do things because we want to please the people around us. We might even feel pressure to do things which make us fit in with whatever crowd we’re in. The power to influence our behavior is often stronger from the crowd than it is from God. We turn our ears and eyes toward the voice of the world.
And when we have gone down a dark path, perhaps into an area the crowd doesn’t know about, we have a tremendous stake in keeping our secrets. We have to cover it up because to own up to it has social risk, employment risk, familial risk, and church risk.
What will they say and what will happen to me if they knew?
And so our fear of man takes a front seat to our fear of God. We revere the world more than we revere God. In reality, God sees it all (Hebrews 4:13), and God is the one who can send us into exile or protect us from what we deserve. God is the one who holds our eternity in his hands. God is the one who gave his son willingly for us, so that in spite of our sin, we can experience grace and relationship with him.
Whom will you revere today?