How’s Your Posture? – A Change of Heart
And at the evening sacrifice, I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God. (Ezra 9:5)
Do you recall the posture of Ezra in yesterday’s reading? I do, because it is a posture in which I can be stuck. Ezra said, “I sat appalled.” Other translations of the word appalled include overcome, devastated, or stunned. Bad news, unmet expectations, or disappointing results can paralyze me and I can sit appalled, devastated, stunned, overcome.
The example of Ezra here in Ezra 9:5 provides a model for emotionally paralyzing situations. We see that Ezra allowed himself to feel all the negative emotions that came with bad news, but he did not stay in that dark place. At a set time, he rose and took his emotions to God in prayer. Ezra knelt, bowed his head, and spread out his hands to plead with God for help. His posture communicated need, humility, and submission to God.22 His position changed from one of sitting on his hands feeling hopeless, to one of falling on his knees feeling hopeful.
Whether it is bad news, or inner struggles, the temptation to sit appalled is real.
What posture do you take when you are discouraged, hear bad news, or are having a bad day? You may sit like Ezra, drape yourself across your bed, or curl up in a fetal position. The posture is only the indicator of the position of your heart. A change in heart normally presents a change in posture.
A change in heart normally presents a change in posture
Look at yourself in the proverbial mirror. When you are in your “appalled” posture, follow the example of Ezra. Allow yourself some time to sit there, take note of the emotions that simmer in this posture, and then make the determination—and it may take all your strength—to stand up. Stand up spiritually in prayer. In making the change to a positive posture, you will begin to see progress.
What is your emotional posture today? Taking note of your emotions, how will you make the determination to stand?
Prayer for the Journey
You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3). Amen.
1 Leslie C. Allen and Timothy S. Laniak, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 75.