1 Samuel 2:30
Why the LORD God of Israel said, I said indeed that your house, and the house of your father, should walk before me for ever…
The desire of honour, credit, reputation, soon arises in us, because the usefulness of it soon appears to us, for, as we live in society and continually converse with others, and stand in need of them, we see how necessary it is that others should think and speak well of us. The desire of honour which is common to us all is very profitable to society, of singular use to keep men in order, to deter them from wickedness, and to excite them to many virtues. The sacred writers have also represented honour as desirable, and in some measure worthy to be sought and loved.
I. LET US EXPLAIN WHAT IT IS TO HONOUR GOD. To honour God is to frame to ourselves just and worthy notions of Him, of His perfections, of His power, wisdom, justice, goodness and mercy, to reflect upon them with pleasure and respect, to love Him, to trust in Him, to desire to resemble Him as nearly as our nature permits, and in all things to consult His will as the rule of our life. To honour God is to declare openly before men by our behaviour that we reverence Him, and would choose above all things to approve ourselves to Him. To honour God is to be constant in the performance of all public acts of religion. To honour God is to improve our abilities, and to discharge the duties of our station in a manner which shall procure respect to the religion which we profess.
II. We have see what it is to honour God, and hence we may know WHAT, ON THE CONTRARY, IS MEANT BY DISHONOURING HIM. God is dishonoured, in general, by all kinds of moral evil, which is a contempt of His authority, an abuse of His gifts, and a disobedience to His will. But more particularly: God is dishonoured by atheism and unbelief. God is dishonoured by that kind of idolatry, in which, instead of him, many false gods are worshipped. God is dishonoured by those who reject the Gospel of Christ. Amongst those who profess the Christian religion, God is dishonoured by such as live not suitably to it.
III. Let us now proceed to consider THE REWARD PROMISED TO THOSE WHO HONOUR GOD. By the honour thus promised to the righteous, the same thing is not altogether meant in the Old Testament, and in the New; for, because under the Law future rewards were not so clearly propounded, the honour there mentioned relates principally to this world, though honour in the world to come is not excluded: on the contrary, in the New Testament, where eternal life is more fully taught, the honour promised relates principally to that honour which the good shall hereafter receive, though honour even for the present is not to be excluded. The promise, therefore, contained in the text may be fairly restrained and reduced to this, that the good shall be rewarded with honour, usually in this world, and certainly in the world to come Honour is not to be obtained by those who do nothing to deserve it. All the gifts which this world can bestow upon us will not secure it. A good person will always be useful to society, as far as his station and abilities permit: he will not despise and wrong others, and he will do them all the services that He in his power so far, therefore, as he is known, he will probably be esteemed. Thus respect and honour is the natural consequence of goodness, and in the common course of things must attend it. But there is, over and above all this, a promise of God that it shall be so, and we must not suppose that He leaves the issues of things altogether to second causes, and never interposeth Himself. In the Scriptures of the Old Testament we find in how extraordinary a manner God honoured those who honoured Him. If we descend to the times when piety most flourished, and yet was attended with the fewest temporal recompenses, to the first age of Christianity, we find that the disciples of Christ, and other eminent persons in the church, though persecuted, scorned, and slandered by the Gentiles, and the unbelieving Jews, received great authority and miraculous powers from God, and the utmost duty, love, and respect from their numerous brethren in the faith.
(J. Jortin, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
WEB: "Therefore Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, 'I said indeed that your house, and the house of your father, should walk before me forever.' But now Yahweh says, 'Be it far from me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.