Stand! Why? What does it mean to stand? Scripture tells us to put on the armor of God “that you may be able to stand” (Ephesians 6:11). We are told to “stand fast in the Lord” (Philippians 4:1). These verses and others like them describe a position of strength, to stand against opposition, or a refusal to yield. This meaning of the command to stand is in tune with the Lyrics: I’ll rise up, rise like the day, I’ll rise up, In spite of the ache, I will rise a thousand times again.” God strengthens us for this, to stand up and continue to stand.
Another understanding of stand is about showing honor. In times of worship, the people of God were called upon to “stand up and bless the Lord your God Forever and ever!” (Nehemiah 9:5) The psalmist issues a similar call. “Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him” (Psalm 33:8). Why do you stand up in worship to sing? Is it because you were directed to stand and you are just being compliant? Or, are you standing in honor of our Lord who deserves our honor and praise?
Standing can also be an expression of unity. Moses stood before God’s people and presented God’s covenant. He called for unity when he said, “All of you stand today before the Lord your God; . . . that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 29: 10-12). The Book of the Revelation presents a beautiful picture of unity in chapter seven. “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9).
Many of us have been appalled at those who dishonor our nation’s flag by refusing to stand during the singing of our national anthem. There is a much more appalling and disgusting display happening in our nation. It is when Christians refuse to stand. When we refuse to be courageous soldiers of the Lord, refuse to openly and publicly honor our King, and when we allow menial, worldly things to divide us instead of being most concerned about eternal things. We must stand up. We must refuse to yield. We must stand together.
I remember whenever the minister of music called the congregation to sing Hymn #415, “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus,” he would comment, “we can’t stay seated for this one.” He was right. But, we also can not stay seated for the hymns “Holy, Holy, Holy” or “Rock of Ages” or “Amazing Grace” or any song of praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God.
The words of Jesus to Saul on the road to Damascus, are words for us as well. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness” (Acts 26:15-18). Rise up and stand sister! Rise up and stand brother! Stand up for Jesus you soldiers of the cross!