“Which kind would you like?” the woman said, “prostrate or erect?”
That was the first I had ever heard of two types of rosemary. Finally I knew why the rosemary plants in my favorite TV cook’s garden stood so straight, while mine just splayed out like they were tired all the time. I bought an erect rosemary, the first I had ever had, and you can certainly tell the difference as the two plants bed side by side.
After only a little contemplation I realized those are exactly the same two types of people—those who try to stand on their own, unwilling to yield to the will of God, and those who prostrate themselves before him in an attitude of worshipful submission.
We seldom actually fall prostrate before God these days. The closest I remember seeing this was when I was a small child and some of the men knelt or sat back on their haunches in the aisles, one knee up to hold an elbow during public prayers at church, something I even remember my Daddy doing. Most of us are too self-conscious to do that sort of thing now. If someone tried it he might be accused of “praying for show.” I’ve heard similar things in the not too distant past as we so Pharisaically try to rid ourselves of Phariseeism.
Surely, though, we have all reached a point of despair in our lives when we simply throw ourselves on the bed or the floor and lay ourselves and our problems before God. While it certainly isn’t the outward posture that makes the prayer acceptable to God, one can’t help wondering if a refusal to ever “fall prostrate” doesn’t expose a heart that will not fall prostrate either.
One of the definitions of “worship” is exactly that: to fall prostrate before. We are not truly worshiping if our hearts do not recognize the absolute sovereignty of God and our utter dependence upon him for both physical and spiritual survival. That dependence, that prostrate attitude, must be accompanied by instant and total obedience. Too many today think they can “worship” on Sundays with weekday lifestyles that never come close to the one Jesus expected of his followers. When our choices follow the choices of the world, it is the Prince of the World we are falling prostrate before, not God.
This morning I stretched out the limbs of my prostrate rosemary to their full length and they actually reached higher than the erect one. Isn’t that true of a person who prostrates himself before God? Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses that the power of Christ may rest upon me…for when I am weak, then I am strong, 2 Cor 12: 9,10.
So think today about the two types of rosemary. Which one are you? The one who insists on reaching for the stars on his own, or the one who depends upon the Creator of those stars to help him reach his full potential, trusting and obeying implicitly? Even the erect rosemarys will some day fall on their faces before the King of all: As I live, says the Lord, to me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess to God, Rom 14:11. It would be a whole lot better to do it before you are forced to.
And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen." Rev 7:11-12