The statement “I lift up my soul” is repeated several times in the Psalms (25:1; 86:4; 143:8). The Hebrew verb nasa means “to bear up, to carry away.” It is related to the noun nasi meaning “prince, chief, leader.” The idea is that we deliberately choose to turn away from our immediately visible circumstance, however demanding that is, and we give our attention to Almighty God exclusively. We raise our faces and by faith we know that He is elevated high above everyone and everything else.
I have been in several crowds where England’s Prince Charles – the Duke of Cornwall, where I live – was due to arrive. As he appeared, people individually turned to catch a glimpse of this prince who is most likely destined to become king of England. Likewise, in worship we turn and focus our whole being upon our Lord Jesus, the center of our gathering.
To lift means “to cause to rise upwards, to take hold of in order to move to another place.” In my own daily quiet time I like to close the files on my desktop, turn off the computer, open the Bible, and give those special moments and all my attention to the One who gave His all for me.
I worked as a Royal Mail letter carrier for a short time to pay my family’s bills while home from the mission field recovering from an illness. All postmen and women are taught how to lift mailbags in the right way. We were to bend low, squatting down completely, not just bending the back, which would put too much strain on it. In worship, we need to come humbly before God, bending low as well.
We carriers were to firmly grasp the bag to be lifted, so it could not slip accidentally. In worship, we need to ensure it is God Himself we love and praise – not a style of music, a certain preacher or a form of service. Our hands must be clean and ready to take firm hold of God.
We were to use our whole body, all our muscles – legs, thighs, back, arms, shoulders – to share the weight of the mailbag and lift it to where we could stand and walk uprightly. Every part of our lives must give God daily the same honor our words express to Him each Sunday.
We were always told that it was very important to handle the mail with care. Customers paid for it to be delivered to others in prime condition. Therefore, because others need to know and receive my God for their salvation, to You, O Lord, I carefully lift up my soul.
“Rejoice the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” Psalm 86:4-5
By Colin Salter
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org