“Lord, lift me up and let me stand by faith on Heaven’s tableland. A higher plane than I have found, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground” (Hymn: J Oatman, Jr. 1898 (1856-1922).
It is always so edifying when the Spirit imparts an inspired thought; or gives a song in the heart to speak a word of faith into the spirit. Such impartations come to us suddenly in our times of meditation, prayer, or simply waiting in the Presence of the Lord.
These inspirations are given, not just for the moment, but for encouragement for a new vision or passion for our future. This hymn was given to my spirit for just such purpose. It serves as a cry of the heart to go higher in the pursuit of God and not to settle for the current status quo.
The high ground is always the place of advantage in war for clear observation, and for safety from the attacks of the enemy. It gives a tactical advantage over the adversary and provides a natural defense for the occupiers thereof.
Moses describes the call of Jacob in Deuteronomy 32:9-14 stating, “He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and He made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock” (Deut.32:13). The Higher Ground is the place of increase, blessing and prosperity for those who pursue the Lord with all the heart.
The Lord is calling us to “a higher plane then we have found”, a higher realm then we have heretofore obtained, a higher place than we have previously known. The song writer begins the hymn with the fervent declaration:
I’m pressing on the upward way, new heights I’m gaining every day; Still praying as I’m upward bound, ‘Lord, plant my feet on higher ground’.
In order to move forward and upward there must be a willingness to abandon our present position and leave our current place. The writer captures this thought in verse two:
My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay; Though some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
Moving higher means living in a place in the Spirit that is above the worldly, fleshly, and even natural setting.
I want to live above the world, though Satan’s darts at me are hurled; for faith has caught the joyful sound, the song of saints on higher ground.
The pursuit of higher ground is a pursuit not just to escape the worldly, but to obtain the heavenly.
I want to scale the utmost height and catch a gleam of glory bright; but still I’ll pray till heaven I’ve found, ‘Lord, lead me on to higher ground’.
It is the Lord, Himself, Who first ascended and bids us all “Come up hither” (Revelation 11:12). It is now for us to heed the call to follow and ascend.
My Lord I’ll follow, till I stand erect upon that lofty land; and blest forever, sing His grace, Who led and set me in this place.
Higher ground is the invitation of the Spirit. Do you hear it? Does it stir you? Does it challenge you to leave your current level of living and to go higher?
There was a Christian movement in the late 1800’s known as the Higher Life Movement. It was popularized through the Keswick Conventions, the first of which was a tent revival in 1875 at St John’s Church, Keswick in Cumbria, UK. From it sprang many streams of living water that are still flowing today. The Spirit is moving in our time and calling in our day for the saints to move to the Higher Life, to Higher Ground.
Christ is seated at the right hand of the Most High, and He is calling us to take the path of life to where He is. David saw this and wrote: “You have shown me the path of Life; in Your Presence is fulness of joy; at Your Right Hand there are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). It is time for us to capture the heart of David and to move to Higher Ground.