The final song of ascents calls on the priests serving God at the Temple to praise Him. It also calls on the Lord to bless them. The priests served on duty 24 hours a day at the Temple. In addition to carrying out their clergical duties by day, the priests guarded the Temple at night. The psalmist urges them to praise God even during the execution of their duties at nighttime.
As we’ve discussed in previous posts, the Songs of Ascents were sung by Israelites making their journey to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the annual religious festivals prescribed by their faith. Today, these songs still offer much in the way of teaching and encouraging us.
In my work as a marketplace chaplain, I make part of my rounds at night, between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. I find the words of the psalmist encouraging and uplifting. Fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of ministry, regardless of position or office, has always had its share of challenges. That was true in the days when the Israelites journeyed from their hometowns to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. It remains true today in the challenging times we live in. I am glad to be able to minister to those working the graveyard shift. It’s an honor to serve them. Because of the hours that they work, many of them don’t have a church home or a traditional place of worship. For those of faith, it can prove difficult to maintain a healthy spiritual life. For those battling unbelief, it is hard to see God and come to know Him in the way that you and I, as believers, know Him. The essence of my job is to show these precious souls the love of Jesus and share with them the hope and joy that I have found in Christ.
A song of ascents.
1 Now praise the Lord,
all you servants of the Lord
who stand in the Lord’s house at night!
2 Lift up your hands in the holy place
and praise the Lord!
3 May the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Zion.
Lifting up the hands in prayer was a common posture that symbolized the petitioners offering praise up to God and receiving blessings from Him. When you worship or pray, do you lift up your hands offering God praise, ready to receive His blessings? I admit, initially, this was something I myself had difficulty doing. It wasn’t something I witnessed being modeled in my own faith tradition. But, part of following God is about being willing to step out of our comfort zones and demonstrating our trust in our Lord and Savior, like Peter did when he climbed out of the boat in the midst of a storm to walk across the water towards Jesus. This type of faith is bold and takes courage. Lifting our hands in praise, ready to receive God’s blessings may not be something we are used to doing, but hopefully something we, as a church, continue to pursue as an expression of our faith and reliance on the Lord, our Redeemer and Provider.
What expressions of faith do your traditions encourage?
When you pray, do you lift up your hands to the Lord?
What challenges do you experience in carrying out your ministry?
Lord, help us worship You more fully and completely as we share the love of Jesus with those around us, whether in our workplace or wherever we find ourselves. May our walk be honoring and glorifying of You and the work You have done in our lives. Thank You for the many blessings You have graciously bestowed on us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
To experience life the way God intended, you and I must receive God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. This gift from God is available to all who ask. Will you personally receive the gift of eternal life so that you can experience the total forgiveness from your sins that come through believing in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
God is good all the time and all the time God is good! No matter what.
As always, thanks for reading. For nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37)
The Devotional Guy™
ABOUT: The Devotional Guy™ is a writing ministry of Chaplain Rainer Bantau, a Swiss-born, German kid who grew up in East Texas and today ministers throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
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