“When Solomon finished making these prayers and petitions to the Lord, he stood up in front of the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands raised toward heaven” (I Kings 8:54, NLT).
“Kneeling with his hands raised toward heaven.” The God-appointed leader of Israel was on his knees “with his hands raised toward heaven” as he voiced the prayer of dedication for the Temple. Today, however, few leaders or other believers are spending much time on their knees, individually or corporately. And yet the Bible repeatedly says: “Humble yourself” – Proverbs 6:3, Daniel 10:12, Second Chronicles 34:27 and First Kings 12:7 are only a few examples.
What does the Bible say specifically about kneeling? Psalm 95:6: “Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker…” Ephesians 3:14b: “I fall to my knees and pray to the Father…” Matthew 17:14b: “A man came and knelt before Jesus…” Acts 20:36b: “he (Paul) knelt and prayed with them.”
Quoting Isaiah 45:23, we read in Romans 14:11: “For the Scriptures say, ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, every knee will bend to Me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.’” And Philippians 2:10 tells us “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…”
While some people are physically unable to kneel and others refuse to kneel, the Bible plainly teaches us that, one day, believers and unbelievers alike will bow before the Lord Jesus. So willing and able believers, why not kneel before Him now?
Kneeling was (and is) a sign of complete humility and surrender. A person who knelt before a king was at that king’s mercy. He could be rewarded or beheaded – the king had absolute power and authority.
As far as earthly power went, Solomon was that power and authority. But he knelt to honor the One far more important than any earthly figure, the True Power and Authority over Israel, the Lord God Almighty. Humility may be out of fashion with the world today, but it’s still a critical factor when it comes to honoring our Father.
Not only was Solomon kneeling before the Lord, he was also down on his knees in front of the people. His willingness to humble himself in honor of the Lord showed the other worshipers that no one, including their own earthly king, was more important than God. If the king knelt in worship, who were they not to do likewise?
And another thing: what else was Solomon doing as he knelt? He had “his hands raised toward heaven.” What was the significance of this? Let’s say a security guard notices an unlocked door in an office building and sees an unauthorized person riffling through the papers on one of the desks. The officer will likely draw his weapon. And the person’s response will be what? To put his hands up. Why? As a sign of surrender. Which is exactly what we’re doing when we raise our hands in worship – we’re surrendering our all to the One who saved us.
The enemy has done a fine job of convincing us: “You’re just drawing attention to yourself” when a person kneels or raises his hands during worship. News flash: he lied to Eve and he hasn’t changed one bit since then.
If you’re worrying about what people think of your worship, you’re not worshiping. When you worship, you focus on Jesus, and then no one or nothing else matters.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates