As With Gladness Men of Old, verse 2
As with joyful steps they sped
To that lowly manger bed,
There to bend the knee before
Him whom heaven and earth adore,
So, may we with willing feet
Ever seek the mercy seat.
The goal of the wise men was to worship the new King (Matt 2:2). This verse of the carol contains several beautiful pictures of worship. The first is a picture of joy. Worship should be an expression of the joy in our hearts. Remember that we are commanded to rejoice and praising God for all His goodness to us is always an occasion for joyous worship. The next picture here is of “bending the knee.” This one of the traditional postures of worship and reverence. The most common word in the Greek New Testament for worship is “proskunew,” which refers to bowing down and bending knees. A third mental image of worship is described as “willing feet.” This reminds us that true worship can never be coerced. Worship acts can be demanded and payments may be extracted but true worship goes beyond an act and requires the heart of the worshipper. The worshipper must submit his will for true worship to take place. Our feet must be willing to make the worship journey. The fourth and final word picture in this verse takes us all the way back to the Old Testament, to the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle. On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrificial lamb onto the lid of the Ark. The lid, or cover, was called the Mercy Seat. When the blood was applied, the sins of the people were “covered.” The exhortation which ends the second verse challenges us to seek that Mercy Seat, so that through the shed blood of Christ our sins may be covered.
True worship will be a joyous expression of our submission to Christ because of His sacrifice which covers our sins