I Will Lift Up My Hands | Psalm 119:48

In order to attempt to do justice to chapter 2 of Calvin’s Little Book on the Christian Life, that post will come on Friday this week rather than today. In exchange, I leave you with what was intended to be Friday’s post.


I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statues.

Psalm 119:48 ESV

Stanza waw, which began with the psalmist pleading for God’s steadfast fast to come to him, giving him an answer for the enemies that taunt him, now concludes with his two final resolutions that he has been declaring since verse 44.

I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love. Lifting up one’s hands was most often a position of prayer, as we see in Psalms 28:2, 63:4, and 141:2. Indeed, praying with eyes toward heaven was also common. Both uplifted hands and eyes likely resulted from the hope that the mind and heart would be also lifted up to focus our prayer upon our Father in heaven. Yet notice the psalmist’s particular variation here: he is intent on lifting his hands toward God’s commandments rather than heaven. He, therefore, seems to be saying that he longs to pray in obedience to God’s commandments rather than simply as an exercise of the mind.

Again, we should also note the psalmist’s love for God’s law. This is no legalism that is unfolding before us. Instead, he loves God’s commandments because they reflect the nature and character of the Holy One, of the God that he loves. He longs to be obedient to God’s rules because he knows that they are the path of life. Obedience is mingled with prayer here because our worship of God is meant to be wholistic, with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Indeed, 1 Peter 3:7 is an explicit declaration that disobedience to what God has commanded can result in hindered prayers.

And I will meditate on your statutes. The psalmist is consciously making God’s Word the center of his daily thoughts, running each word and line through his thoughts throughout the day. And he does so with the intention of directing his entire life toward God’s commandments. As his mind grasps the beauties of God’s law, he is intent on his hands following in obedience.

Do you love the commandments of God?

Are your hands likewise lifted toward the commandments of Christ?

Do you meditate on God’s Word, longing to be obedient to our God of overflowing mercy?

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