48 My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments,
Which I love,
And I will meditate on Your statutes.
I remember the first time I saw someone lift their hands in a church.
“What on earth are they doing?!”
I grew up in a church that had a very solemn atmosphere. We sang songs, even some upbeat songs, but I was in my mid-20s before I saw someone act like they were actually celebrating anything about God (and it was in a different church).
Lifting hands is actually a very natural expression. Consider, for example:
- Your favorite sports team scores a goal. What do you do? You shoot your hands up in the air! (And that’s in ANY sport!)
- A toddler wants to be held by mommy or daddy. What do they do? They reach their hands up. “Pick me up! Pick me up!”
- Ever been to a pop/rock/rap concert? Throw your hands in the air.
Think of how unnatural it would be to see a last-second winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, and everyone just politely claps their hands while sitting.
In the same way, when we experience the delight of the Word of God - it would be very unnatural to restrain ourselves and just sit politely.
In Acts, a man encountered the Word of God, and:
So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. Acts 3:8
In Nehemiah, the people had been many years without the Word of the Lord. When it was read to them,
Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands... And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them. Nehemiah 8:6,12
Look at the response to the word of God!
So in expecting to be delighted by the Word of God, let’s not restrain ourselves unnaturally when it comes, but instead let a heart-felt, genuine praise erupt.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.