Today we reach the final one of the songs of ascents, and it is short and to the point!
At the temple in Jerusalem, the priests would be on duty 24 hours a day. They offered sacrifices and carried out other priestly duties during daylight hours, but even at night they would serve as watchmen and guards.
If you’ve ever stayed up all night, you may have felt that there is something quite different about those early hours of the morning, before dawn, when almost everybody else is sleeping. This can be a time where strange thoughts can creep in, where flights of fancy can take hold, but the Psalmist calls on the servants of God to praise him even at night – to have their focus on the Lord at all hours, even when most other people are sleeping.
If you work night shifts, or are kept awake by caring duties or simply have difficulty sleeping, the advice to lift up your hands and praise God is well worth taking note of. There is the possibility of intimacy with the Lord while all the world around you is hushed.
Lifting up hands in prayer or praise is commonly spoken of in scripture as a posture that demonstrates that we are both offering something up to God, and preparing to receive something from him. If you are self-conscious about raising your hands when other people can see you, then this is another advantage of praising God in the middle of the night – nobody is looking!
So, next time you find yourself awake in the middle of the night, why not prioritise praise and prayer, raising your hands to the Lord and enjoying sweet intimacy with him.
Meditation verse: May the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion.