WE ALL FALL DOWN

The traditional greeting to give the Lord is to fall on one's face as if one has died. No hand shake, wave or kiss; just play dead.

Abraham is perhaps the first example (Gen 17:3), but it happens to pretty much everyone. All the people of Israel fall on their faces (Lev 9:24; 1 Kings 18:39). Even Dagon, a Philistine deity breaks at the knee before the Lord (1 Sam 5:3). Prophets are particularly susceptible to God-encounters and no less obliged to dive head first onto ground (Ezek 1:28). There is no change in the New Testament. The disciples hit the dirt (Matt 17:6), a leper  does it (Luke 5:12) and even Jesus spends time on his face (Matt 26:39)!!

All will fall: "Timber!!"

There are many today who say they have had such an encounter with the Lord that they have been forced to the floor. The famous pastor, Jonathan Edwards, records an hour of lying in the presence of Christ. He describes the simultaneous emptying of himself and filling of Christ:

"I felt the ardency of a soul to be I know not how otherwise to express, empty and annihilated, to lie in the dust and be full of Christ alone" (Jonathan Edwards).

One beautiful nose dive is recorded by John when he is confronted by Jesus in a vision (Rev 1:17). It is beautiful because Jesus touches him tells him not to be afraid. There could be no more assuring experience than to have Jesus' hand on your shoulder and to hear him say "do not be afraid."

None of these reactions seem to be forced. They are not like the bow we are supposed to offer the Queen. It is not a duty to be carried out; rather it is the inevitable reaction of being in the close presence of God. It is a consequence of his glory not our obligation. And it says much more about who he is than who we are. God is overwhelmingly glorious. So glorious as to make us feel dead, "annihilated" as Edwards says.

The truth is that one day we will all experience Christ in that way. He will be up close and personal. And we will all feel it. If these guys fell, what chance have we? And what a moment of peace it will be to have the hand of Christ touch us and assure us. Even today, he offers us that same hand by his Spirit - his assurance and voice: "do not be afraid."