Another Look by David Faust
When my children were young I got down on all fours and gave them “horseback rides.” These days I do the same for my grandchildren, but having lost some of its ability to giddy-up, the horse now moves slowly, turns cautiously, and takes Advil when the rides are over and the kids go home.
Go online and you can order a “kneeling chair,” an alternative seating arrangement manufacturers tout as an ergonomically healthy way to avoid back problems if you must sit at a desk for long periods of time.
But kneeling is an uncomfortable posture for most of us. When do you kneel? When scrubbing floors, pulling weeds, cleaning up messes, or looking for something you dropped.
Kneeling is an immobilizing posture. You can’t run when you’re on your knees. It’s hard to turn, impossible to dart in a different direction. You can’t put up much of a fight when your knees are anchored to the ground.
Kneeling is a submissive posture, a sign of honor and respect. It’s the position of a servant deferring to his master, a citizen bowing to her king. It’s an indicator of humility, the demeanor of one who is poor in spirit. The poet John Webster (1580-1625) wrote:
Heaven-gates are not so highly arch’d
As princes’ palaces; they that enter there
Must go upon their knees.
That’s why the Hebrew songbook instructs us in Psalm 95, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (v. 6). Kneeling is more than a physical posture. It’s an attitude of the heart. Even a worshiper who’s physically unable to get down on her knees can inwardly kneel before the Lord in reverent praise.
We bow before the Lord because he alone is “the Rock of our salvation” (v. 1)—the foundation of our faith and the Savior of our souls.
He alone deserves to be extolled with “thanksgiving” and with “music and song” (v. 2). It’s natural to “sing to him a new song” (Psalm 33:3) and to use familiar “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” to praise his name (Ephesians 5:19).
We bow because the Lord alone “is the great God, the great King above all gods” (v. 3). He deserves our highest and unrivaled affection.
We kneel because of God’s creative power. “In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him” (v. 4). Imagine driving through the Rocky Mountains and remarking to a fellow traveler, “See that mountain range over there? My Father owns every peak!” Or imagine driving along the California seacoast with the assurance that the Pacific’s blue waters belong to your Father. It’s true. “The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land” (v. 5).
Humble worship is the only logical response when a created being encounters the Creator of all—especially when the Creator himself is willing to bend down and care for our needs. We kneel before him in grateful wonder, “for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care” (v. 7). He stoops down to care for us. At the Last Supper we see in Jesus the all-powerful God who kneels down to wash the feet of those he loves.
“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philippians 2:10). Let’s start now.