Ever had someone from the congregation ask this:
Why do we stand so much!?
Ever heard that one, or some variation of it in your church? If we’d dig into scripture, we’d probably start asking the question,
“Why don’t we stand MORE?”
I perused through the Old Testament and looked for times when God’s people were standing in some act of worship or other encounter that they had with God. This wasn’t an in-depth study by any stretch. It was more of a “fly-over” observation. But it still gave me plenty of evidence that standing is a Biblical posture for worship.
Here are 10 reasons why:
1. We Stand In Reverence In Response To God’s Presence.
In Exodus 3, Moses stood before the burning bush through which God spoke to him. God only commanded him to take off his sandals. God’s presence had made that particular piece of rock holy.
Later in Exodus (chapter 33), we see God’s people stand whenever the pillar of cloud (God’s presence) was at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.
2. We Stand In Awe In Response To God’s Presence And Deeds.
Solomon gives us instruction on approaching God in worship: keep your mouth shut (OK, “words few”) and stand in awe.
We are to marvel at His awesomeness—something that doesn’t seem right to do while casually sitting. (Ecclesiastes 5)
Habbakkuk’s prayer also gives us reason to stand in awe:
Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord.
Renew them in our day, in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.
3. We Stand To Show Respect For God’s Word
Nehemiah 8 paints a vivid picture of this when Ezra the priest reads the Law of Moses to the people:
Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up.
And by the way, from an earlier verse, it seems like they stood from daybreak till midday. So point that out to your folks when they complain about standing too long.
4. We Stand As A Symbol Of God’s Salvation, Deliverance And Provision
“Who can stand in God’s holy place?” the psalmist asks. The answer is the one who has clean hands, pure heart, etc. (Psalm 24) We only have this purity through the saving work of Jesus Christ in our lives.
Psalm 40 is another indication of standing as symbol of God’s salvation:
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.
5. We Stand As We Seek, Search And Prepare To Move
This is what the Lord says in Jeremiah 6:16:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
There’s a sense of standing to seek and search for God’s will. And then as we find it, standing allows us to be ready to “walk in it.”
In the same way, Jehoshaphat stood and called upon God when the Ammonites, Moabites and Meunites surrounded Judah. Jehoshaphat said these amazing words:
“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
And immediately following those words, the writer of 2 Chronicles tells us this,
All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.
Read Part 2.
Question: What ways have you been intentional in your worship services with standing as an expression of worship?
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