Our church is going through its annual season of Prayer and Fasting. Here’s a link explaining what all that is. Short version: giving up food and other things for a limited season of time in order to prioritize God and hear from Him better.
As we fast we’re studying on the concept of Honoring God. What does it mean to Honor God, really? It seems like an ideal that is difficult to practically apply.
The original word for “Honor” in the Bible is the Hebrew word “kabad.”
While it means many things including “honor,” it literally means “to make heavy.” This helps us understand what “Honor God” means and how we can do it.
- Heaviness speaks of Price. In those days (and until now), the value of items was determined by their weight. Scales and weights were used to determine how much something was worth. So by “honoring” something you mean this is of high value. Not to be traded away easily.
- Heaviness speaks of Priority. The word kabad also means “be weighty.” Something weighty is something serious and important. Some things are a joking matter and we can take them lightly. But everyone of us has a category of things in our lives that are weighty to us. We prioritize them.
- Heaviness speaks of Permanence. Something that is heavy is set in its place. It cannot will not be moved. Imagine having an open air picnic and everyone’s using paper plates and plastic cups. A sudden gust of wind would send all the utensils and food flying. On the other hand, if everyone had ceramic dishes and stainless steel utensils, the breeze would only cool you off.
Now let’s apply it. What are you honoring in your life? Are you Honoring God?
- Price: What do you value the most? What things are you willing to trade easily? What things will you never trade for? When we stay up late on the internet and missed the chance to read the Bible and pray, we basically honor those websites more than honoring God.
- Priority: What things do you take seriously? What things are you okay with losing? For example, I don’t like missing a single minute of a movie I’m watching, so I refuse to be late to the movies. But I have been late to church. Does the movie deserve more honor than God?
- Permanence: What things are a permanent fixture in your life? What things are changeable, movable, or removable? Some people never miss a workout. Some people never fail to check Facebook. Some people never miss a post on social media. Is God the most permanent thing in your life?
We all have different things we honor. But if we use this definition of honor – Price, Priority, and Permanence – then I’m sure there’s one thing we all honor regularly. Can you guess what it is?
We value food. If we examined our budgets, I’m sure food would be one of the biggest slices. With good reason! It’s essential to life. But then we also go beyond that. We use food for enjoyment and celebration (or for comfort when we mourn), and we’re willing to pay a fine price for it.
We prioritize food. We might miss a class, we might miss reading the Bible, we might miss a church service, a small group meeting, but very few of us will deliberately miss a meal. And even if you miss one accidentally, you will more than make up for it at the next meal.
Food is a permanent fixture of our lives. It’s so permanent that when our food intake is disrupted we notice immediately. In short, we Honor Food.
That’s why fasting is so helpful. It reminds us – our bodies, our spirits – who is really worthy of honor. It recalibrates our appetites to desire God as most essential over other things.
I pray that during this fast, and even beyond, we all will consciously Honor God with our hearts and lives, not just our lips.