“Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.”
The word “sanctuary” means “something that is consecrated, a hallowed place, or a holy place.” The opposite would be something that is considered common or unclean. Holy things were never to be treated as common; they were to be reverenced as being set apart to God. Of course, God mentions His “sabbaths” in our text. These were days that were set apart from servile work to be devoted to God. God did not want those days to be treated as any other day, just as He did not want His “sanctuary” to be treated as any other place. These things were to be reverenced. To reverence is to fear, to hold in high regard, or to respect. When God revealed Himself to Moses through the burning bush, Moses was told to take his shoes off because the ground he was on was holy. What made that ground holy? It was holy because God was there. It was holy because of what God was doing there. When Jesus visited the temple during His earthly ministry, He purged it by driving out the moneychangers.
Although we live in the New Testament era, the sanctuary of God is still to be reverenced. We do not worship in the Jewish temple. However, referring to the church, Paul used these words in Ephesians 2:21-22, “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” The church is a “holy temple”, and the “habitation of God.” The church, of course, is not a physical building, but a spiritual building comprised of its members. God dwells in the midst of His churches. His presence makes the assembly holy and sacred. Worship is not to be ritualistic and formal, but there should be a reverence for God. The Bible says, “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him” (Psalm 89:7).
More and more we see the tendency in our generation to make church services a common thing. Churches design their ministries to please men rather than to please God. In an effort to make sinners not feel uncomfortable, churches are seeking to make the services as casual, convenient, and common as possible. What ever happened to “reverence my sanctuary”?