We have all been through the mountain top experiences to the low valleys and everywhere in between. It’s safe to say, that we are not going to get through this world without the ups and the downs, but today, I want to address the downs. I have felt a heaviness in my heart for people that are walking through a valley season in this time. I cannot offer an easy button that will give you all the keys to get out of the valley in no time, but I can remind you that God is close to the brokenhearted, and the posture we take when the storm comes always leads to another mountain top in His time.
This last week, I read the familiar story of Moses in Exodus 17. Moses told Joshua to go and fight the enemy, the Amalekites, and that he would stand on the hill with the staff in his hands. As the battle began, Moses raised His hands to the sky, and as long as he held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but as soon as he lowered his hands, the Amalekites would take the winning hand. As Moses grew tired, his friends, Aaron and Hur put a stone under him so he could sit, and they each took his hands and held them up to the sky, “So that his hands remained steady till sunset.” (Exodus 17:12) Joshua and the Israelites overcame the Amalekites and Victory was theirs! The Lord told Moses to remember this day and to write it down.
“Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. He said, “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord. The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:15)
In the middle of even the fiercest battle, God reminds us in this story, not by our own strength, but by the Mighty hand of the Lord will the battle be won. The great weapons, vigorous training, and precise strategy was not the key to victory for the Israelites that day. What was the key? A simple, yet imperative action of surrender by lifting of hands and acknowledging God’s higher power and authority, all while trusting He will bring them through. God could have led Moses to do several different things as He stood in the gap for victory, but how beautiful that the only thing required of Him was to lift his hands. Does this not inspire the importance of our most holy surrender? Responding to the trials in stubbornness, in “we know best,” in fear, and pride, lifting hands seems unnecessary. But when we respond in humility, in trust to God and His plan, offering our deepest surrender and our deepest desire, our only response is to throw up our hands and fully trust Him.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
Are you in the battle that seems hopeless? My prayer for you is that you lift your hands to the God of promises and posture yourself in surrender to His plan, His will, and His way with the belief that He loves you and will fight for you. For those not going through the battle, find a friend or loved one that is, and help hold their hands up. As a body of believers, it is a blessing to be a hand raiser for those that need a little extra support when they grow weary. Turn your gaze towards Heaven and lift your hands to the Holy One. He loves you; He WILL see you through and as your hands are lifted, let your faith arise.
I believe there is an importance not just to our surrender, but to the genuine, physical action of raising hands. There are over 14 verses on lifting our hands in scripture. If this wasn’t an important act of our worship, prayer, adoration, and surrender, then I do not believe would we see it repeated in scripture.
Psalm 134:2- Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord.
1 Timothy 2:8- I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
Psalm 63:4- Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
Psalm 141:2- Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Lamentations 3:41- Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.
Exodus 17:11-13- As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
1 Kings 8:22- And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven
2 Chronicles 6:13- For Solomon had made a brazen scaffold of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven.
Nehemiah 8:6- Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
Deuteronomy 32:40- Indeed, I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, as I live forever.
Psalm 119:48- And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, Which I love; And I will meditate on Your statutes.
Psalm 28:2- Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
Ezra 9:5- But at the evening offering I arose from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the Lord my God.
Revelation 10:5- Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven.