My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and He feared Me. He stood in awe of My name. Malachi 2:5 ESV
At sporting events we jump to our feet when an athlete completes and amazing play. At weddings, we stand to glimpse the bride. We stand in respect as a flag draped coffin goes by. Hearing the roar of fighter jets causes us to stand and crane our necks for a glimpse of the Blue Angels or the F-35 or whatever we think it may be. Deeply rooted in our humanity God has hard-wired a standing response when we are overcome with awe and emotion. Why is it then, that when we attend religious services, when we pray, when we read Scripture, when we interact with God almighty we find ourselves only standing when told?
Rather than being guilted into standing, consider the first part of the verse above. God made a covenant of life and peace…with a people who deserved judgment and death. God in His mercy and grace offered life and peace instead of condemnation and separation. This amazing truth begins to explain the natural standing response. Our righteous, holy God offers this amazing covenant to those who deserve it least. First, this should strike fear in our hearts. Why would God do such a thing? Is there a catch? What does He expect? These thoughts cause us to live in fear of Him, and while many theologians argue we shouldn’t be afraid of God, I think there is a certain level of fear that should exist when we come before our creator. As we live in fear before Him, standing becomes a natural response. We stand in awe of who God is and all He has done.
Are you standing in awe of God today? Have you meditated on the true meaning of the gospel? Jesus Christ, who never sinned, became sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness that He is. He determines to reverse our lot, bring life and peace to us who deserved the opposite. Dwelling on this thought will raise us to our feet in honor of our God. Next time you worship, do so standing…not out of guilt but out of fear and gratitude before the God who saved you.