Fall on Your Face

We were outside again and standing on a table tennis table made me feel much taller. “Little me” was only around 8 years old and loved to play games like cops and robber outdoors with other kids from church. I do not remember why exactly I stood on a table tennis table but I do remember the great view I had from there. Then I saw my RE teacher from afar. He was trying to tell me something but I could not hear him since he was too distant (~50m). Intuitively I walked towards him, saw the horrified expression on his face, wondered why he was so upset and — BOOM! Something hit my face really hard, and all I saw was black.

It took me a few seconds to realize that I had fallen down from the table tennis table (which was obviously what my RE teacher wanted me to avoid). Thank God, none of my bones were broken nor did I experience a concussion or anything else. All I had were some non-serious scrapes on my hands and my face. I had fallen on my face.

“I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” (Gen 17:1-2)

Jump cut: God wants to make a covenant between Himself and Abram. Condition: “walk before me and be blameless”. God expects Abram to be blameless (KJV translation: “and be thou perfect“)! Is that even possible? Can man, coming from the unclean (Job 14:4), having unclean lips (Is 6:5) and being corrupt altogether (Ps 14:3) ever become blameless?

“Then Abram fell on his face […]” (Gen 17:3)

Hope he did not hurt himself there…

“[…] and God talked with him, saying:“As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.” (Gen 17:3-4)

Big surprise! God makes a covenant with Abram. Obviously Abram had fulfilled the conditions necessary for the covenant: “walk before me and be blameless”. But what had he actually done? He had fallen on his face – nothing more. According to Oxford Dictionaries, the verb “to fall” means “move from a higher to a lower level, typically rapidly and without control”. Falling from a table tennis table can be referred to the typical case: falling involuntarily, without any control and thereby getting hurt. But Abram fell on his face before God deliberately. And by lowering himself “from a higher to a lower level” he was transformed from unclean to blameless in just a few seconds.

Recently I tested how it would feel to really “fall on one’s face”. I did this by simply bowing down until I could not go any lower. I had one thought: this is what complete subjection and obedience means. With every breath I took trillions of dirty dust particles from the floor entered my lungs (cf. Ps 72:9). I felt helpless and had no control over anything around me. There was no lower point. Abram must have felt similarly.

What can we can learn from Abram? By lowering ourselves, by putting down our ego and simply bowing down, God will accept us. Our pride is a major barrier between us and God. Let us lay down this pride, move to the lowest level possible, and fall on our faces before the Almighty One. He will make the impossible possible. He shall make us blameless.

“[…] that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth” (Phil 2:10)

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