Psalm 30:11-12-You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. NKJV
When you come into the church for the first time, you can feel ignorant regarding everything you see and hear. At least, I remember feeling that way as I was introduced to the pentecostal believers. Their time of worship excluded the hymns I had grown to love, their instruments were more than the organ, and the songs were sung with a loud sound and a jubilant dance! I didn’t know what to make of it all!
As you grow old in the things of the church, you can sound pretty ignorant when you can’t explain what is happening around you; you just participate. While you may not always be able to place a name on everything happening, you should at least know what is scriptural and what isn’t. Why are all these hands lifted up? That’s our topic for today!
Another word used to praise the Father is the Hebrew word yâdâh! The first time the word yâdâh appears in the scriptures is in Genesis:
And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing.Genesis 29:35 NKJV
In the natural, it appeared that Leah found her worth in childbearing. When she had her fourth son, she was so delighted that it caused her to “yâdâh” the Lord for his birth. To yâdâh, the Lord is to express thanks or praise to Him. It literally means to extend or throw out your hand, or even to throw or cast a stone away or at something. So when we yâdâh the Lord, we throw our hands in the air and wave them in praise or thanks!
David sang these words to the Lord at the dedication of his house:
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.Psalm 30:11-12 NKJV
He was so thankful to God for building him a house. If you recall, David wanted to build God a house, but God told him his hands were too bloody. In return, God built David a house! He had so much family drama after his affair with Bathsheba that he was all over the place. But then God promised to establish his kingdom forever, taking his sorrow and replacing it with such thankfulness that he began to dance, sing, and yâdâh the Lord! I know how he felt!
I remember the day the Lord stepped into my mourning and turned it into dancing! I was in my apartment when I remembered it was my mother’s birthday. In every prior year, I would grieve on that day because I couldn’t spend it with her anymore. As I made the connection and was beginning to return to that place of mourning, God stopped me in my thoughts! He basically told me that I could continue down this path or release the sorrow to Him and move on with living. As I gave over to His peace, I became highly thankful that I didn’t have to sorrow anymore! Wonderful Savior!
Yâdâh is an expression of thanks! David used this word multiple times in the scriptures, particularly in psalms!
On that day David first delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the Lord: Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!1 Chronicles 16:7-8 NKJV
The ark of the covenant had been restored to its rightful place. David gave a psalm to Asaph and his brethren to yâdâh the Lord. The first line in the psalm encouraged the people to provide yâdâh the Lord and to call upon His name! Have you ever been so thankful to God for His blessings in your life that your hand just went up in the air? Almost of its own accord and a testament of how filled your heart was with thankfulness and praise? It’s a beautiful expression to the Lord!
While the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, the Levites were responsible for transporting the tabernacle and all its articles used during worship. But after the tabernacle was built, they had a new assignment that included:
To stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening; and at every presentation of a burnt offering to the Lord on the Sabbaths and on the New Moons and on the set feasts, by number according to the ordinance governing them, regularly before the Lord;1 Chronicles 23:30-31 NKJV
David wanted to know that yâdâh would be given to the Lord, His God, in the new tabernacle, so he assigned this responsibility to the Levites! Now, instead of carrying the physical tabernacle, they were responsible for lifting their hands in yâdâh and praising the Lord in the morning, at night, and on every occasion!
I learned today that yâdâh also means to confess. So in the area of praise, we confess how great our God is when we yâdâh! But not only that, as we confess our sins, we cast them upon the Lord! Let’s validate this in scripture:
“When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this temple..1 Kings 8:33 NKJV
As Solomon prayed to God during the temple’s dedication, Solomon asked the Lord to remember His people when they confess, or yâdâh, His name! As we lift our hands to God, in a sign of surrender to His will and dominion, we confess that He is more extensive than us and more significant than our problems. That truth alone is worth throwing your hands in the air and giving Him praise!
Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God.Nehemiah 9:1-2 NKJV
The word for confessed is actually the word yâdâh! So as they confessed their sins to Lord, casting them away, worship filled their hearts for the Lord! Have you ever thought about whether your confession of sin was genuine? Well, here in scripture, we notice that they confessed and worshipped. There is something profoundly moving about turning the worst of who you are over to the best of who He is that will cause thanksgiving and praise to fill you!
David used the word yâdâh in many of his psalms for different reasons. He raised his hands to yâdâh the Lord, for His righteousness:
I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.Psalm 7:17 NKJV
David lifted his hands to the Lord for all of His marvelous works:
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.Psalm 9:1-2 NKJV
And David lifted up his hands and cast words of adoration to his God for being his strength, his shield, and his help:
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.Psalm 28:7 NKJV
I’m sure that you have been lifting up your hands in praise to our God for years. Maybe you could put a name on it, or perhaps you couldn’t! But you understood that there are some times in life when there is a lifting of the hands because nothing else will do! Wonderful Jesus!