Anyone who reads the whole Bible notices attributes of God and his culture that, by their repetition, stand out in the mind and get stuck in the heart. One of the most noticeable attributes is HONOR. God loves honor. He models honor, he teaches his children to honor, and he asks for honor. He promises to honor those who honor him (1 Samuel 2:30).
The one remaining culture of honor in the U.S. today is the military. Watching our son serve in the U.S. Army over 20+ years, we learned alot about how honoring behavior is demanded of those who serve and built into their culture, with the hope that the command will lead to character. In some, honor becomes the fabric of the soul, willingly embraced, and given freely; in others, honor is only extended only as an outward show. What some may not understand is that honor is not only right, it is rewarding. It gives us something back, it continues to build strength in us as we give it.
In David’s great song of repentance and returning to God, he wrote these words:
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalms 51:10-12, NIV.
I mention this here because the phrase “willing” in the original Hebrew marries the idea of honor to freedom. It speaks of a spirit that is not merely willing to serve, but honored to do so. David is asking God to restore in him a honoring spirit that freely serves God. David had come to his moral failure through ceasing to honor God, or the laws of the kingdom, or the men who soldiered under him.
And why does he say, “to sustain me?” Before his season of failure, David had walked in honor for years, experiencing firsthand the rewards of having a heart that honored God and others. In some mysterious way, honor sustained David — in life, in strength, in relationships, in joy. Frankly, this is something better experienced than explained.
Honor freely given is the very fabric of God’s heart, and the person who would understand his God could make no better beginning than embracing this truth.
How has honor impacted your life and character?