Today I want to discuss the posture of being low before Him. It is the posture we are most familiar with in worship. It is often described as bowing down, falling down, or laying prostrate before Him. It is portrayed in Revelation 4:8-11.
And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
This position is one which shows veneration, which is the deep respect we speak of when we are told to fear the LORD. It also expresses humility, and submission. Joseph’s brothers when asking his forgiveness for selling him into slavery fell down before him to submit to him and show their reverence for his position in Egypt. His answer to them was “Do not fear.” (Genesis 5:15-20).
Whenever the Angel of the Lord, the Christophany or reincarnate Christ, who is God appeared men fell down and worshipped Him. They could not help this, their fear or veneration was so great that it was almost like fainting into this prostrate position, they fell down on their face or bowed down and fell on their face. When men did this for an angel, the angel’s response was something like, “Do not fear, get up, you must not do that.” They explained that they were not God and so should not be worshipped. Do not fear meant do not worship.
Technically, believers are always in the presence of God, since He is in us and we are in Him, but there is being in His presence and there is reveling or experiencing being in His presence. When we worship, we pursue the enjoyment of His presence, His glory, His Shekinah. While the position of bowing down may not be physical, it can be the posture of your heart, it is always one of humbling ourselves to exalt God, adore Him, and respect Him. It is the position of supplication, which means to ask, beg, or appeal.
My beautiful friend Anna is always doggedly pursuing the presence of the LORD. She persistently seeks the face of God, which is Christianese for seeking fellowship with God. She has the rare talent of being able to enter into His presence anytime and to bring others with her in her worship. Now while so many people think that worshipping God is synonymous with singing, Anna knows that singing is only one tool we use to worship Him. She does more than sing or even listen to music. She prays very simply, sometimes only repeating a phrase, she listens to Him, she enjoys Him, luxuriates in Him, and she basks in Him. I have had the privilege of worshipping with Anna. She gets down on the floor and as worship continues she gets lower still, she lays face down before Him or sometimes face up to look upon His face. It is truly beautiful and sharing this experience is beyond beautiful. This kind of worship, this seeking God’s face is described in Psalm 27:4-9
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me
Irrespective of the circumstances or chaos around us, we can obey God and seek His face, enter into His presence and inquire of Him (seek His will), sing out to Him, and cry out to Him. It amazes me that though worship is about blessing God and lifting Him up and is not supposed to be about us feeling good or having an experience that blesses us, God often does bless us with an amazing feeling, an experience beyond description to the non-believer. We worship Him to exalt Him not us.
Yet, He does lift us up when we take the posture of bowing down. In the devotional yesterday, I described our struggle with the enemy is to stand firm (Ephesians 6:10-18) and God gave me the understanding that the best posture for standing firm is to bow down to submit ourselves to God. This submission or bowing down to God while looking weak is actually our strongest posture. In this posture, the devil flees from us. James 4:6-10 reads,
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Look what God does for us when we lower ourselves in His presence. He gives us grace. He draws near to us, which is to say He allows us to experience His presence with us. And He exalts us! Now some people go into “worship” with the intention of experiencing that high. You hear them say things like “that was good worship” almost as if they were saying, “that was good sex.” They worshipped, not to venerate God but to feel that high. And still our wonderful God will often let them have that experience. The new Christian will almost always have that pleasure in worship. But sometimes, He withholds that phenomenon the thrill and delight. He wants us to worship Him, not ourselves, the song, or the ecstasy. Are you willing to bow down, throw your crowns at His feet even if there is nothing in it for you? That is worship, which is often described as a sacrifice, we give ourselves and our pride to God with the expectation of nothing in return. And our God is so good and rich in grace; He gives us what we do not deserve and cannot earn.
Here are some more benefits of being prostrate before God.
Numbers 20:6-7 reads,
Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them, 7 and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
Moses and Aaron purposely entered God’s presence and fell on their faces. God showed them His glory, that is allowed them to experience His presence and He spoke to them.
Numbers 24:1-4 says,
When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. 2 And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, 3 and he took up his discourse and said,
“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,
4 the oracle of him who hears the words of God,
who sees the vision of the Almighty,
falling down with his eyes uncovered:
God gives you visions and prophesies; He reveals Himself to you.
Matthew 2:11-12 talks about the Wise Men who visited Jesus after His birth.
And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
God gives you prophesies, reveals His plan and protects you.
Luke 5:12-13 says
While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.
He answers your prayers, gives you your requests, heals and restores.
There is more, these are only a few of the incidents of people bowing all the way to the ground before God. What this position does is it expresses to God how very repentant you are, that you are acquiescing to Him, surrendering your will to His, and offering your pride and reputation for His glory. Remember that obedience is the way you communicate and articulate your love for God (1 John 5:3). This is obedience in its purest form, completely giving up yourself, the inner you, or your spirit to venerate Him and give way to His Spirit.
Believer, I encourage you to bow down to be prostrate before the Lord in your worship. Do not merely do it in your heart but with your body. This is one way to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. God will be blessed by it and you will see the results of it in your life. Exult, luxuriate, bask and enjoy His presence.