I really believe that God wants us to go higher. I really believe that God does not want us to stay where we are. I really believe that God has so much more for each and every one of us. And so this series that we started last week with Brad doing such a magnificent job, he really did, praise God, and I want to continue in that series and today is “Lift Your Hands and Worship” that’s the title of it. But I’m not going to spend a whole lot, I’m going to let the word of God speak to you and challenge you because we want to do more worship; we want to do more worship. And after you I give you these verses I hope it just stirs your whole being, because that’s my goal, that’s my heart’s desire, because I believe he’s worthy. He’s worthy of all of our worship, not just on Sunday morning, but God wants us to be worshipers every day of our lives, not just once in a while, because he is worthy.
What does worship mean? Well, worship means reverence, adoration. Reverence, yes, respect, honor, devotion. There were a few people that were mentioned last week, a passage of scripture that was referred to, and I’m referring to it again. In Matthew’s Gospel chapter two verses one and two, there were people that came to visit Jesus, the wise men, they got it, they really understood what worship was all about. And it says in Matthew 2:1, 2, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold wise men from the east came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?” For we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
When you look at that passage of Scripture, they didn’t come to get something, they didn’t come to get anything from God. They came to worship him, to acknowledge the Christ child. They understood that he was king, the king of the Jews, they studied and they realized this is truth, and so they came searching for him because they wanted to worship him. Are you in that place today, to worship him and look for nothing else? See, that’s why God created us. He created us in the very beginning for his pleasure to worship him. The Bible says in Psalm 100:3, “Know that the Lord he is God, it is he that has made us, and not we ourselves.” God made us; you can’t take any credit for that whatsoever, truly. God made you, and he made you to worship him, hallelujah.
But this thing about hands, lifting up of hands, what does it mean? What does it mean to lift up your hands? Now, we have all kind of ideas, and hopefully just 10, 15 minutes, because for a long time there were people who said to us Pentecostals and charismatics that we’re too emotional when we raise our hands, we’re too emotional. In fact, in some places you’re not allowed to lift your hands when you worship God. But you know what? People like Solomon, David, Jeremiah and all these Old Testament prophets would not even fit our churches today, because that’s what they believed in, it was practiced. In the Old Testament lifting up of their hands was a regular practice, and so it was with the early Christians as well, to lift up their hands.
But what does it mean? Number one, it means that you’re reaching out to God, you’re reaching out to him. Psalm 63:1 – 4 says this, this is talking about David who was in the wilderness of Judah, he was in a very tough predicament, he was in the wilderness running from his son Absalom. It was not a very good place to be at – the king of Israel running for his life. Listen what he says, he cries out to God, he says, “Oh God you are my God. Early will I seek you. My soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.” He says, “My soul is like that desert that is dry and is thirsting for water.” That’s how my soul is right now; I need God. I need God, and he’s reaching out to him. He’s reaching out to God, he’s crying out to him.
And then in verse number two he says, “So I’ve looked for you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory.” He’s recalling the time when he did have an experience with the power of God. He remembers the time when he was in a place in the glory of God, and that’s what he craves for. And he’s not going to quit, he’s going to press in. Then it says in verse number three, “Because your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you.” He realizes that it was because of God’s love that’s why he experienced all those things in the past, why he experienced the power of God. He saw the glory of God, his love. Love pursues, and he understood it, and that’s why he said, “Your loving-kindness is better than life”, because life itself, what does it deliver? Problems, all kind of situations in life that are difficult. Life fades away, but glory to God, the love of God never quits. Nothing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
That’s what the Word of God says, his love is everlasting, it never stops, it pursues you. Luke, God loves you, I mean that. He loves you with an everlasting life. And it doesn’t matter what situations you face in life, he loves you and his love pursues you. He never quits on you Luke, and that applies to all of us; he never quits, his love pursues us. And then he says in verse number four, “Thus I will bless you while I live.” And he’s not talking about the good times, he’s talking while I live. With every situation in life I’m going to bless the Lord. I will lift up my hands in your name, I’m reaching out to you. And when we reach out to him we honor him.
That’s number one; number two quickly – we are commanded to lift our hands. In first Timothy 2:8 it says, “I desired therefore that men pray everywhere.” And I want you to understand something there – ‘men’, do you know who are the men in that particular verse? Yes, male gender, it is specifically for male gender, that’s what it’s talking about. Men, be an example, lift up your hands and worship God, that’s what it means. Come on women, ladies in this place, yes, because it seems like the ladies, there’s some men, but that’s what it’s saying to us as man, lift up your hands and worship God, we’re commanded to do so.
Number three – God loves it. God loves when we worship him with our lifted up hands. Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service.” That includes your hands, it includes your fingers, your hands, and your arms, not just the rest of the body, your hands too. I lift them up and sacrifice to worship God, to worship him, to glorify the King of kings and the Lord of lords; he deserves that, and he loves it. Look at this, James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” Do you know what happens when you have a little child and your child is at a point where they begin to raise their hands, what do you do as a parent? You pick him up, you reach down and you pick up the child. Guess what God does? When you raise up your hands to him and reaching out to him, God reaches down to you.
You know something else? In Psalms 22:3, listen to this verse, “But you are holy and throned in the praises of Israel.” That means when you begin to worship God, when you begin to praise him, he loves us so much that he comes down, his throne moves and dwells amongst the praises of his people; that’s what that means, that’s what it says. Could you just imagine if you really got lost in worship, and you just simply just got in love with Jesus and you spend time in worship with your raised-up hands? The throne room of God comes down to dwell amongst you, and the power of God is released into the midst. That’s God, that’s what he loves, he loves when you do it. The devil doesn’t, that’s the truth.
Number four – it’s an offering of praise, it’s like what Brad was talking about last week about money being an offering, an offering off worship unto God. Lifting up your hands is the same thing, it’s an offering of worship unto God, offering of praise. Listen to what the Psalms 141:2 says, “Let my prayer be set before you as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” It’s an offering of praise unto God .
And number five, my hands are shaking, that’s how excited I am, releasing the power of God in battle; releasing the power of God in battle. Look at this passage of scripture in Exodus chapter 17, this is just one example of many, because worship was used in battle over and over again, lifted up hands. Listen to what it says here, “Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses said to him and fought with Amalek, and Moses Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was when Moses held up his hand that Israel prevailed, and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands one on one side and the other on the other side, and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”
I want you to know there is power in praise, there’s power when the child of God lifts their hands up and worship to God. There’s power, there’s power in praise. I got to give you another passage of scriptures, is that OK? I got to give you another passage of scripture it’s not anywhere, but it’s in the Bible. Psalms 149 beginning in verse number 4, this is what it says, “For the Lord takes pleasure in his people. He will beautify the humble with salvation. Let the Saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth and the two-edged sword in their hand to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind up their kings with chains that demonic forces and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the written judgment. This honor have all the saints of God.”
There is power when you begin to worship God and you are in a battle when things are happening you begin to worship God, and you submit yourself to him; do you know what that means? That means when you lift up your hands you’re surrendering to God’s power, you’re beginning to honor him. And there is victory – it means surrender and it means victory as well. Victory is yours. I remember in our home when we lived in Calgary we used to do that a lot. We were going through difficult times, we would have what they call praise walks in our house, we’d have praise walks, we’d lift our hands and go from room to room. We’d spend time in one room and we’d go to the other room and we would just praise the Lord. We were fighting a battle through praise. You can do the same, that honor is yours, you can take that and use it.
We minimize praise and worship. We need to understand praise and worship is a powerful force that the enemy does not like and wants to stop it. But, praise God, we are children of God, we belong to the Most High. We’re going to praise God, we’re going to praise God, we’re going to walk in thanksgiving, we’re going to walk in praise, we’re going to walk as giving honor and glory to the King of kings and the Lord of lords. It doesn’t matter what your situation is, like David of old, he said, “I’m going to praise God as long as I live, it doesn’t matter what I face.” And I want you to understand God is for you, and not against you.
The Bible says in Psalms 100 it says this, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness, come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God, his people the sheep of his pasture.” Then it says, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Be thankful unto him and bless his name for the Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations.” Hallelujah, glory to God. That’s what the Word of God says. I can go on and on with passages of scripture. There’s another verse that says, “Thine oh Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is thine. Thine is the kingdom oh Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reigneth over all. In thy hand there’s power and might, and the hand is to make great and to give strength unto all.”
Now therefore God, we’re thankful unto you, and we’re going to praise and glorify your name. And I want us to glorify his name, I want us to lift up his name in Jesus name, I want us to sing a song. And then I’m going to come back, and we want to pray for people today. But we want to lift up the name of Jesus, he is the one to be lifted up. And when he indwells the praises of his people, the power of God will be released in Jesus’ name.