From the Depths to the Heights

The Lord is my Strength and my [impenetrable] Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise (thank) Him. (Psalm 28:7 AMP)

I Am Helped
by Karen Holland

A heart heavy with sorrow
Bowed before His throne
At His feet
My heart yields.
I trust in Him
There’s an incense so sweet.
My grateful heart sings
I lift up my eyes and see
My Savior! Lord Jesus!
My strength, my song, my shield!

Have you ever experienced a turning point like this; where in a moment your heart seems to be strengthened and lifted from the depths of sorrow to the heights of joy? Psalm 28 and the above verse really encouraged me in the midst of my trials when my heart was overwhelmed and fainting. David knew this feeling; a feeling of being overwhelmed to the point of death. Hear his cry and look what he does.

To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock: do not be silent to me, lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You, when I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
(Psalm 28:1-2)

David cries out to the Lord his Rock. He knows his protection and safety lie in the Lord. He knows that in his own strength his heart will faint. He knows that he needs the Lord’s strength to carry him through this trial. So David cries out to the Lord. He also lifts up his hands towards the Lord’s holy sanctuary. Lifting up hands towards the holy sanctuary, towards the place where God dwells is a gesture of prayer. Here in this verse it seems to go with David’s cry for help and mercy from the Lord. Hands here seem to express David’s desperate need for the Lord to respond. The following verses are very similar.

I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah. Answer me speedily, O LORD; My spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, lest I be like those who go down into the pit. Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.
(Psalm 143:6-8)

Hands lifted up, spread out towards the Lord; seem to be an outward expression of a soul stretched out to touch the Lord or to come into His presence.

Let us test and examine our ways, and let us return to the Lord! Let us lift up our hearts and our hands [and then with them mount up in prayer] to God in heaven.
(Lamentations 3:40-41 AMP)

We need to lift up clean hands and pure hearts before we can come into the Lord’s presence.

Who shall go up into the mountain of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His Holy Place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted himself up to falsehood or to what is false, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
(Psalm 24:3-5)

Let’s look back at Psalm 28. In verse 7 David seems to have been helped. Verses 1-5 seem to be David lifting up his hands, heart and requests imploring the Lord to have mercy and help. Look at verse 6.

Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplications.
(Psalm 28:6)

David praises the Lord because he has faith that the Lord has heard him and will answer. David’s heart trusts in the Lord and he is helped. His heart greatly rejoices and praises the Lord in song. David’s faith seems to be a turning point in this psalm. Blessing the Lord also seems to be a turning point. Here to bless the Lord is the word barak, which means to kneel, praise, adore. It is the same word used in the following verses.

Lift up your hands to the sanctuary and bless the LORD.
(Psalm 134:2)

So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
(Psalm 63:4)

Hands lifted toward the Lord are not only a gesture of prayer; they are also lifted to bless Him.

Look at the turning point in this psalm again. Changing from the lifting of hands in prayer to blessing the Lord in faith seems to have lifted David from the depths (going down to the pit) to the heights (his heart greatly rejoicing). This thought caused me to look back at verse 7. According to the NetBible the Hebrew word for praise is yadah which means to revere or worship with extended hands; the giving of oneself in worship and adoration – absolute surrender.

The word yadah for praise in verse 7 is a picture of absolute surrender, trust and of hands extended in worship to the LORD. It also seems to be linked with confessing, acknowledging and knowing the LORD.

I WILL confess and praise You [O God] with my whole heart; before the gods will I sing praises to You. I will worship toward Your holy temple and praise Your name for Your loving-kindness and for Your truth and faithfulness; for You have exalted above all else Your name and Your word and You have magnified Your word above all Your name{Your promises are backed by all the honor of Your name.}!
(Psalm 138:1-2 AMP)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6)

In Proverbs 3:6 the Hebrew word for acknowledge is yada which means “to know.” The verb (yadah, “to know”) includes mental awareness of who God is and the consequential submission to his lordship. To know him is to obey him. The sage is calling for a life of trust and obedience in which the disciple sees the Lord in every event and relies on him. To acknowledge the Lord in every event means trusting and obeying him for guidance in right conduct.

So today if you find yourself sinking with your strength growing faint, cry out to the Lord, lift up your hands, your heart, and your soul. Bless the LORD; trust Him with your whole heart, acknowledging His name with the sacrifice of praise. You will be helped, and lifted from the depths to the heights.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that confess {acknowledge, give thanks to} His name.
(Hebrews 13:15)