In Genesis, Jacob married Leah and Rachel. Through them and their handmaidens, he had 12 sons who became the tribes of Israel. His oldest was named Judah, and was the tribe Jesus was born into. The name Judah means “praise”. However, if you break it down in Hebrew, the first portion of his name is “Yad” which is to lift your hands. There’s a connotation here that Judah means “to praise with your hands” which so many Christians do during worship. When our hands are raised, it’s also a sign of surrender. Were unable to do anything in our strength, so we must rely on His. Also, when our hands are raised, we’re taking our hands off the work that God is trying to do. There are plenty of stories in the Bible where people put their hands on what God was wanting to do and it didn’t turn out great in the short term. There are also stories where people raised their hands and God showed up.
In Exodus 17 we find such a story. The Israelites were in the desert on their way to meet God at Mount Sinai after being freed from slavery. Descendants of Jacob’s twin brother Esau showed up to attack the Israelites. Moses sent Joshua and some men to fight them. Moses went up on the mountain side to hold up the staff God had used to free them. Verse 11 says, “As long as Moses held up his arms, the Israelites won, but when he put his arms down, the Amalekites started winning” (GNT). When he was too tired to keep his hands raised, Aaron and Hur sat Moses on a stone and they held his hands up until they defeated their attacker. It was God who gave the victory, but Moses had to keep his hands up in order for them to win. Thankfully he had people around him who recognized the need for uplifted hands and helped.
Psalm 28:1-2 says, “O Lord, my defender, I call to you. Listen to my cry! If you do not answer me, I will be among those who go down to the world of the dead. Hear me when I cry to you for help, when I lift my hands toward your holy Temple.” God is our defender when we’re under attack. Like David in this psalm, we must cry out to God, lift our hands and praise in the battle. Just like the Israelites faced hardships, we will too. God uses those times and situations to help us trust Him and to prepare us to receive the promise. Whether you’re in the wilderness or in a fruitful time, make sure you’re praising God and recognizing His authority over your life. His way is better than ours. Take time each day to hold up your hands in praise and surrender to let Him know you trust in Him and in His plan.
Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash
2 responses to “Lifting Your Hands”
It amazed me when I thought of this lovely devotional; I can’t remember seeing any others writing on this subject. It is spoken of and recommended often in scripture, but many are self conscious or even deterred from doing it.
I was self conscious for years, and gave some of it even now. I just remind myself that I’m offering it to God and my worship is between He and I. Surrender is a huge part of worship.