When I was a kid, I knelt by the bed to say my prayers. I seldom do that anymore. Kneeling hurts my knees. But I can see why it’s an important physical expression. It takes away my self-confidence. I can’t do much from a kneeling position. I’m dependent and awkward. When I kneel, I lower myself before Him.
But these verses, like so many others, are plural. It calls for us to worship and bow down. It’s not individual; I’m one of many. So worship is corporate.
I occasionally attend a service at a Catholic church – usually a wedding or funeral. The churches are usually quite pretty, but the kneelers in the pews are a bit of a nuisance. When they’re up, I’m not sure if it’s okay to put my feet on them, but they don’t leave room to stretch out. Putting them up and down is a little awkward too, especially since they affect everyone in the pew. But I really like kneeling with everyone else. It’s a physical expression of worship that’s much more comfortable to me than raising my hands. It somehow helps me enter into God’s presence without concern for the reactions of those around me. We do it together.
When we worship, we lower ourselves and exalt God. His exalted nature reveals our humble position. He is our creator and He has a purpose for us. So one aspect of worship is acknowledging His control over our lives.
The image here is of the shepherd who watches over His flock. He cares for us. There’s a security in following the Shepherd that frees us to kneel. We can be in that helpless position because He’s guarding us and we don’t have to think of anything but Him.
When I truly worship, I lose my self-focus before His reality and do it with the rest of His flock.