Andy Hollifield 6-20-17
Exodus 17:11-13 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. (12) But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. (13) And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
Joshua 8:18 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thine hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city.
Joshua 8:26 For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed the inhabitants of Ai.
It is kind of interesting when reading the bible to take note of the things that God did twice by two different people in the same position subsequent to each other. The scripture above is a good example. The first one with Moses I knew about but hadn’t really noticed the one with Joshua. It is also interesting that with both of them, the people rebelled. With Moses, it was Korah and his discontented crowd in Numbers 16, and with Joshua it was the Israelites refusal to enter the promised land because of the reports of 8 of the 10 spies in Joshua 6. Also, both of them parted bodies of water, Moses in Exodus 14 parted the Red Sea, again by holding his hand up, and Joshua was obedient and God parted the Jordan in Joshua chapter 3. Elijah and Elisha are also examples of this. For one example, when they were crossing the river in 2 Kings 2:8. Elijah smote the waters with his mantle for them to cross on dry ground and in verse 14, Elisha done the same thing with Elijah’s mantle after Elijah had been taken by the chariot, as he returned back across the same river.
Many times in scripture, it talks about lifting your hands in praise to God. The bible speaks several times in Psalms about lifting up hands toward God and in Lamentations 2:19, Jeremiah tells Israel to lift up their hands toward God “for the life of thy young children”. Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:8 “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” In Luke 24:50 immediately prior to the ascension of Jesus it says “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them”.
As I began to read some scripture, I realized that the most important lifted hand was that of Christ. I found numerous times in the four gospels where he “put forth his hand and touched him”. In Matthew 8:3 he touched a leper and cleansed him of that loathsome disease. In Matthew 20:34 It says that “Jesus had compassion on them , and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.” In Luke 8:54 after being laughed at and scorned because he said the maid was “not dead but sleepeth”, Jesus put them all out except Peter, James, John, and her parents and took her by the hand and said “maid arise”. The bible says that “she arose straightway”.
Matthew 17:7 is a scripture that we all can relate to. The event was on the mount of transfiguration when Peter, James, and John saw Jesus talking with Moses and Elias. It says that when they saw it, they were sore afraid. Verse 7 says “And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid”. How many times has Jesus came to where you were, when you were alone and scared and touched you and said, “be not afraid”? If you read the accounts of where Jesus healed people, he often touched them. When he did, not only were they healed but all the fear and dread and uncertainty seemed to also disappear and was often replaced with worship and praise. Even immediately after being betrayed by Judas in the garden, when Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’ servant, Jesus touched and healed the servant’s ear. Can you believe that? A man who was there to take him by force if necessary and Jesus healed him! I wonder what Malchus, the servant, thought when this took place. The bible doesn’t say but I kind of think he lost all appetite for seeing harm come to Jesus.
We should all lift up our hands and give him praise and honor because he is definitely worthy. As a matter of fact, the word “praise” is used 248 times in 216 verse in the bible. I am thankful that Christ touched and healed all that he did in the bible. Those stories were inspired by the Holy Ghost and written by men of old for our learning and encouragement. But more than their stories, I am thankful for my stories. For the many times he has lifted his hand and touched me. Those times when he has spoken to my heart and said “peace be still”. In Psalms 42 and 43, three different times the Psalmist says ” Why art thou cast down O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God”. He went on to say that God is the help and the health of my countenance. In Psalms 3:3 it says that he is the “lifter up of mine head”. I am thankful for all the times he has lifted his hand and touched me and lifted up my head. For all the times when my soul has been overwhelmed and he has led “me to the rock that is higher than I” as the psalmist wrote in Psalm 61:2. There is nothing can calm the soul quite like the touch of the loving father. Even when he doesn’t immediately fix everything, there is still nothing like when he lifts his hand and touches me. I am thankful most of all for the time when he touched my heart and cleansed me and healed me of the loathsome disease of sin. It was the cancer that would have soon spread and enveloped my soul and my life had it not been the Lord who was on my side (Psalms 124). I hope and pray that you can look back in your life and see the times when Jesus has lifted his hand and touched you and said “be not afraid”. I hope you can recognize all the times he has come to where you were and lifted your head. If you have any of those times; lift your “hands up” in praise to him. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 6-20-17