Stand up and bless the Lord your God forever and ever! “Blessed be Your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise!” Nehemiah 9:5
If you attended a performance of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah this past Christmas, you—along with everyone else—probably stood when you heard the opening bars of the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Why? It is a tradition that supposedly began by England’s King George II in 1743. But why did King George II stand (which caused everyone else to stand)? No one knows for sure. Answers range from worshipful reverence to his need to stretch his legs to gout in his feet. But stand he did, and audiences have stood for the “Hallelujah Chorus” ever since.
If the King stood out of worshipful reverence, he could have based his decision on a biblical precedent. For example, when the Levites led the newly returned Jews in a prayer of confession, they commanded the people to “Stand up and bless the Lord your God forever and ever!” Numerous examples of standing in the presence of authorities or rulers can be noted throughout history, so standing to worship God certainly qualifies in that regard.
Standing or sitting, worship is an appropriate response to the forgiveness that follows the confession of sin.
The best rubrics of worship are those which are written on broken hearts. Charles H. Spurgeon