Monday, November 14, 2022

Gratitude Follows Grace

 By: Joanne Viola


My thoughts recently turned to a familiar psalm and read the words:

Behold, bless the Lord, all servants of the Lord, Who serve by night in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your hands to the sanctuary and bless the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion,
He who made heaven and earth.”

(Psalm 134, NASB)

This psalm is the last of the psalms known as “The Psalms of Ascent” or the pilgrims’ songs. The people traveling to Jerusalem used these psalms as a call to praise the Lord in the Temple. This particular psalm was the benediction used as they prepared to leave the temple in Jerusalem, and return to their homes in various regions.

Reading the psalm again, my thoughts begin to focus on one line: “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.”

My commentary informs me it was common for worshippers in that day to lift up their hands.

“It represented the upward focus of their praise and prayer, a symbolic gesture of a teachable spirit and submissive will.”

(Holman Old Testament Commentary, Vol. 12, page 313)

As we lift our hands to the Lord in worship, and in praise, we come to recognize the many blessings He has bestowed on our lives. With that recognition, we bless God with our worship – pure and heartfelt.

This psalm brings both an invitation, but also a command in these words – “Bless the Lord”.

Charis always demands the answer eucharistia (that is, grace always demands the answer of gratitude). Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth. Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo. Gratitude follows grace as thunder follows lightening.”

(quoted by Eugene Peterson in “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, page 198)

It boils down so simply …
God has blessed you.
Now bless God.



Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

1 comment:

  1. The lifting of the hands representing a submissive will and a teachable spirit - and for me, surrender, trust and reaching for Him! Praising Him this Monday morning that I submit to His will and remain teachable! Shalom, Joanne!


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