Bow Down—Life Application for January 15, 2017

January 8, 2017 No Comments »
Bow Down—Life Application for January 15, 2017

By David Faust

faustIn more ways than one, the earth is off-kilter. Our planet isn’t straight up and down as it zooms through space. With its axis tilted at a 23.4 degree angle, the earth remains a bit askew, which allows us to experience different seasons. For half a year (and half an orbit) one of the earth’s poles tips away from the sun while the other pole tilts toward the sun.

It’s as if the earth leans over and bows in humility toward the Creator. After all, that’s the right posture to adopt before God. The psalmist said, “All the earth bows down to you” (Psalm 66:4).

Kneeling Before Our Maker

Most of us aren’t into bowing. It’s fine for actors and musicians to bow after they perform, but in everyday life we find it awkward and unnatural to lower our heads. We might offer an informal nod along with a handshake or a friendly wave, but most of the time we prefer to stand tall and proud.

Bowing is deeply ingrained in some cultures. According to longstanding social etiquette in Europe, bowing shows respect for nobility; and in Asian tradition bows express greeting, honor, apology, or gratitude. After I taught a series of Bible classes in Japan, an older woman thanked me by lowering her head and bowing. I felt honored but uncomfortable, like the time Cornelius stooped down and Peter made him get up, insisting, “I am only a man myself” (Acts 10:25, 26). Ultimately we bow before God alone.

That’s why we need to rediscover bowing as a posture for prayer, both in the privacy of our personal prayer closets and in public worship gatherings. Psalm 95:6 says, “Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” Paul insisted, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philippians 2:10). When is the last time you were part of a congregation of worshippers who physically knelt down together in the presence of God?

Tilting Toward God

Not everyone can physically kneel, but we all can adopt a spiritual posture that bows in submission to the Lord.

• We bow by relinquishing our pride and recognizing his authority. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).

• We bow when we stop being stiff-necked and stubborn. “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6).

• We bow by yielding our plans to God’s guidance and direction, saying, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15).

• We bow when we quit demanding our own way and pray as Jesus did, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

• We bow by seeing ourselves as stewards who serve God and others. Surrendered hearts result in open hands. We voluntarily sign our time and treasure over to God and learn what it means to “serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).

Nature itself tilts toward God, recognizing the power and wisdom of the Creator and Provider who calms the seas, cares for the land, sends down rain, provides abundant food, and covers the meadows with grass and grain (Psalm 65:6-13). Even the mountains bow down before God. Do we?

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

As you apply today’s Scripture study to everyday life, read Engage Your Faith by David Faust and the correlating Evaluation Questions.

Devotional Reading: 1 Chronicles 16:23-34

Jan. 2


1 Chronicles 16:23-34

O Sing to the Lord

Jan. 3


Psalm 96:7-9

Ascribe to the Lord, O Families

Jan. 4


Isaiah 42:1-4

Justice Will Be Established

Jan. 5


Isaiah 49:1-7

Salvation Is for All Peoples

Jan. 6


Romans 15:7-13

Sing Praises, O Gentiles

Jan. 7


Revelation 5:11-14

Singing Around the Throne

Jan. 8


Psalm 96:1-6, 10-13

The Lord Reigns Supreme

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