Good Posture

Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
“When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.
For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.” (Psalm 95:6–11 NASB)

Today is my birthday. I have had so many of them, it could feel like another day. But today is the day I become the age my dad was at when he passed away, so this one feels a bit unique.

My dad gave me a love of sports. Posture is important in sports. Your posture can help you make or miss a play. My oldest son wrestled, and they always started the match crouched down, with their body weight square to the ground. Wrestlers win through leverage, not just strength, and leverage comes from the positioning of your feet.

Posture is important in the Christian life, too.

God provides us the stories in the Old Testament to teach us about the posture he is calling us to display. As it is written in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” God is instructing us on our posture before him. What should that be?

The posture of a worshipper is to kneel before God. In Psalm 95:6, both the word for “worship” and the word for “bow down” mean “to bow down.” God is emphasizing something here. The position of bowing emphasizes God’s greatness and our humility, our submission to him, his purposes, and his will. Kneeling captures this, too.

If we are his people, akin to the sheep of a shepherd, we desperately need his guidance, his care, his protection. We must trust in him with all our hearts, leaning not on our own understanding, acknowledging the Lord in all our ways. The path to this way of living is through submission, letting God lead. When we let him lead and cease our human striving, we experience his peace.

As Psalm 95 continues, we can see the importance of submission. Bowing and kneeling are external bodily positions that reflect internal submission to God, the opposite of a hard heart. When Moses was with the Israelites in the wilderness, their postures were not ones of submission and surrender. Their hearts hardened before God. We, too, even in the church, can run the risk of heart-hardening. God warns against this. May our hearts be tender before God, may we organize our lives in such a way that we continue to mature in this attitude of submission to him.

Growing up, I watched my father worship God in our home and at church. I watched him serve God’s people. I saw joy in his life coming from the things and purposes of God. And I learned a lot from this. He displayed a life posture of submission to God. And in so doing, he displayed a peace that passed understanding. May we learn from the past, from the godly elders in our lives, from the stories of God’s people, and take postures, both physically and internally, that help our hearts soften before the Lord.
Wayne Stapleton is the VP of Cross-Cultural Engagement and Emerging Leader Engagement.