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Monday, October 31 2016

Why do we do the things that we do in church?  

Is it necessary to be loud when we worship?  

That stuff is not necessary!  

That was for them back in the Bible times.  

These are all things that I have heard or have been asked concerning worship.  When people ask me about our church, I will tell them that we have demonstrative worship according to the Bible.  We can see in Acts 2 that the church was accused of being drunk.  Psalms 150 tells us that we should use musical instruments to worship, as well as, worship with our voices.  It is in Psalms 47, the the Psalmist wrote, "O clap your hands, all he people."  So why in the world, do we lift our hands?

One reason, we lift up our hands is out of obedience and because it blesses the Lord.  It has always amazed me that we can bless the Lord.  We think of blessings as a check in the mail, but this is speaking of kneeling and praising God.  

Psalm 134:2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord .
 
Lifting our hands in the church is a form of sacrifice.  We often hear of the sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15) or even thanksgiving (Psalm 116:17).  Lifting our hands in worship is also a sacrifice.
 
Psalm 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
 
The church does not sacrifice to God to somehow gain His attention, but we sacrifice to draw us closer to Him.  It changes us not God.  
 
The lifting of hands in prayer was spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah in the days of the destruction of Jerusalem.  In Lamentations, the city was destroyed.  It was a time of desperation and need.  Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, instructed the inhabitants to...
 
Lamentations 2:19 Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.
 
Judah was destroyed and their hope was in God Almighty.  They had been warned that their disobedience and sin would cause destruction (Lamentations 2:17) and repentance that would bring restoration.  Lifting of the hands was part of their repentance prayer.
 
Lamentations 3
[40] Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord .
[41] Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.
[42] We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned.
 
The Psalmist spoke of raising his hands to God in prayer in Psalm 143:6:
 
Psalm 143:6 I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
 
In commenting on this scripture, CH Spurgeon wrote, "He was eager for his God. His thoughts of God kindled in him burning desires, and these led to energetic expressions of his inward longings. As a prisoner whose feet are bound extends his hands in supplication when there is hope of liberty, so does David."

In writing to Timothy, the Apostle Paul writes:

1 Timothy 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
 
The Apostle was instructing men telling them to lift holy hands.  The holy is referring to the ritual cleansing described in Exodus:
 
Exodus 30:19-21 KJV
[19] For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:
[20] When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord :
[21] So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.
 
The raising of hands was a normal part of worship in the New Testmanent church.  It is difficult to worship when we are not right with God.  Our desire should be right with God (and others) when we worship.  Our prayers can be hindered when things are not good in our marriage so the Apostle was instructing Timothy to approach God without any baggage.
 
The lifting of hands is a Biblical truth that cannot be ignored or discarded by the traditions of men.  When we lift our hands, we are drawn closer to God through out obedience while blessing God Almighty.  It is also part of repenting and worship.  You may not be comfortable with it, but the blessings of God await us as we step out of our comfort zone.  I encourage you to make lifting of your hands part of your personal prayer time, as well as, in the sanctuary.
 
 
Posted by: Pastor Robert P. Eaby, Jr. AT 07:14 am   |  Permalink   |  Email