I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.
Psalm 119:48 ESV
Hands raised in worship.
I have been part of this very common occurrence at our church at the weekend services. When a song strikes a chord in my soul, the action of lifting my hands in worship very often acknowledges a longing for my whole being participate with my heart that is lifted to the throne room of God. You, Lord, have done great things and I reach out to a very faithful God.
There are other images that come to mind when considering raised hands. Hands over our heads can be a sign of surrender, while a hand raised in salute shows respect and allegiance. We raise our right hand and swear we will tell the whole truth, and volunteers show their eagerness to serve with hand stretched high. Then there are the hands thrown upward as a sign we’ve simply had enough.
So many of these images are of us giving something. When we look at the Hebrew word hand—kalf— we see something else. It describes the palm or hollow of the hand. The hollow of the hand is made for scooping, holding, or carrying things. Combined with the word nasa’— I shall lift up—it gives the idea of picking something up and carrying it in your hand. It is the act of receiving.
Now, doesn’t that give us a different picture?
We lift our hands to receive from God who is the Giver of good gifts. I love this picture from the verse of lifting our hands toward God’s Word to accept it. Then on receiving it, we can move to touching it and allowing it to touch us.
But let’s not stop there. How about cradling the word as you would do something precious? Grasping it as in never letting go, and sometimes even hanging on to it for dear life. Or how about this, gliding your hand over something of beauty, feeling its texture. All these actions further expand my view of my hands coming in contact with God’s Word.
I pray that each of us follows the Psalmist’s actions. . .
and reach out towards the very thing that allows us to know God and His ways. When our hands are full of His words, they are always at our fingertips to be used in our actions or offered to others who seek to know God, too. What better way is there to start this new year than having one’s hands full of God’s precious words? I plan to reach out more and more in the coming days so that I have hands full of God’s goodness to spread around.
So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.