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One simple Psalm has been stuck in my thoughts for days. It is but three verses and it has drawn me back to read its words over and over.

“Behold, bless the Lord,
All you servants of the Lord,
Who by night stand in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,
And bless the Lord.
The Lord who made heaven and earth,
Bless you from Zion!”

(Psalm 134, NKJV)

This psalm is the last of the psalms known as “The Psalms of Ascent” or the pilgrims’ songs. The people traveling to Jerusalem used these psalms as a call to praise the Lord in the Temple. This particular psalm was the benediction used as they prepared to leave the temple in Jerusalem and return to their homes in various regions.

Upon returning to read the psalm again, my thoughts begin to focus on one line: “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the Lord.”

My commentary informs me that it was common for worshippers in that day to lift up their hands.

“It represented the upward focus of their praise and prayer, a symbolic gesture of a teachable spirit and submissive will.”

(Holman Old Testament Commentary, Vol. 12, page 313)

As we lift our hands to the Lord in worship, and in praise, we come to recognize the many blessings He has bestowed on our lives. With that recognition, we bless God with our worship – pure and heartfelt.

This psalm brings both an invitation and a command in these words – “Bless the Lord”.

Charis always demands the answer eucharistia (that is, grace always demands the answer of gratitude). Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth. Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo. Gratitude follows grace as thunder follows lightening.”

(quoted by Eugene Peterson in “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, page 198)

It boils down so simply …

God has blessed you.
Now bless God.