Not unlike most mornings, Sunday was a bit of a struggle.
As my body insisted upon my hitting snooze multiple times and eventually turning off my alarm, I woke up slightly later than I had intended. I wasn’t necessarily running late, but I wouldn’t have as much time as I would’ve liked to ease into my morning.
As a result, I found myself power-walking to the bus stop. Because I was giving out Christmas goodies at the services yesterday, I was carrying an extra bag. In total, I had my wallet and bus card in one hand, the bag full of stuff in the other, and a loaded bookbag on my back.
Needless to say, my hands were full.
So, when service started with beautifully authentic worship I felt such incredible liberty in being able to lift open hands.
And it was in those moments of praise that I felt the Lord speak to my heart.
At least a year ago He impressed on my spirit the conviction to worship Him with open hands. The tendency is to have my fingers curled toward my palm, but He wanted me to enter into His throneroom with complete openness.
In Deuteronomy 15, the Israelites are being given instruction on the Sabbath Year. Verse 1 explains this particular year as being a time at the end of every seven years in which “you shall grant a remission of debts” and “every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor;he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the Lord’s remission has been proclaimed.” (v.1-2)
This was a special year, an anointed year in which people who were bound had the chance to be freed and experience the beauty of grace and mercy.
The next few verses (4-8) are too powerful not to include. I encourage you to read this verses and truly let their God-inspired wisdom to soak in.
“4 However, there will be no poor among you, since the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess,
5 if only you listen obediently to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today.
6 For the Lord your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.
7 If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother;
8 but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.”
As these verses prove, there is a reason why God calls us to worship with open hands
- To Reach
You see, you can’t reach out to people when your hands are closed. When you fingers are locked in a death grip, your ability to touch or bond with another is extremely limited. Reaching out to others requires a certain vulnerability in ourselves. As verse 7 and 8 remind us, we are called to live in community. We honor and glorify God when we offer of ourselves to help a brother. God has promised us an inheritance, but we will never experience the full, mind-blowing joy of that heritage if we are selfish with it.
2. To Receive
How can we expect to receive anything from God, beit faith or wisdom or whatever, if we don’t position and ready ourselves? Do we come with expectation, with anticipation? Do we enter His presence believing for great things to happen, for a mighty move of God to take place? Verse 6 tells us the Lord will bless us as He has promised. We can daily live and worship in the assurance that our God is for us. He wants to lavish us in His goodness, but we must come into His presence expecting to encounter Him!
3. To Release
We have to release certain things-yes, even good things-in order to refocus our attention and affection on Jesus Christ. That relationship, that career, that opportunity may all be very good things, but often times if we don’t release these things back to God they can become a hindrance to what He is trying to do in our lives. “This is the manner of remission,” God instructs the Israelites in verse 2: “every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor.” Why? “Because the Lord’s remission has been proclaimed.” Remission is defined as being a cancellation of debt. While this definitely can be interpreted as a call to forgiveness, I also think He calls us to release all distractions. Open hands mean we are not holding onto anything, we have given it all back to God.
I pray that not only this Christmas season but in the months and years to come that we praise our Father with open hands, knowing that He is more than worthy of our wholehearted love and adoration.