“I will bow down towards your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame.” (Psalm 138:2)
Isn’t it only normal to acknowledge the Boss? There’s actually the acronym FROG for this, which stands for “For recognition of greatness”. We acknowledge the boss by saluting, standing to attention, rising when he/she enters the room. I used to do that when the teacher came into the classroom when I was a boy.
A grade up from that level of acknowledgement is to bow down. People do that before kings and queens and maybe one or two other cases of dignitaries.
But the Psalm takes us into a different league altogether. “I will bow down towards your holy temple. “He acknowledges the presence of God on earth, symbolised by the temple.
“I will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness.” The character of the living God –patient, kind, loving, consistent- evokes joyous celebration. In fact, as Steve Brown put it, ““If there is no laughter, Jesus has gone somewhere else. If there is no joy and freedom, it is not a church: it is simply a crowd of melancholy people basking in a religious neurosis. If there is no celebration, there is no real worship.”
The Psalmist takes it further still: “For you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame.” What does this mean? Here’s a modern paraphrase “You were true to your word and made yourself more famous than ever before.” I like that. God keeps His promises, and the very keeping of them spreads the news.
So how do we respond? “Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29)
A memorable line from Francis Chan:
“Many Spirit-filled authors have exhausted the thesaurus in order to describe God with the glory He deserves. His perfect holiness, by definition, assures us that our words can’t contain Him.
Isn’t it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?”