Higher Ground

“Higher Ground”
Psalms 24:1-10


  • History of the song…Higher Ground
  • This hymn was first published in 1898.
  • It expresses a universal desire for a deeper spiritual life, continuing on a higher plane of fellowship with God than we have ever before experienced..
  • The author was Johnson Oatman, Jr., a businessman who wrote 3,000 gospel songs in his leisure time. Oatman was ordained by the Methodist Episcopal denomination but never pastored a church. He was paid no more than $1.00 for each of his texts.
  • Take the Higher Ground because the view is always better.

I.  I’m Pressing on the Upward Way

  A) Pressing on

  • In our text of Psalms 24, let us look at verse 1…The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.2) For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
  • David is giving honor to “The Creator.”
  • God could have quit making any more beings.
  • God “pressed on.”
  • Philippians 3:14… I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

  B) New Heights I’m Gaining Every Day

  • Psalms 24:3) Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? 4) He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
  • The “new heights” we should be gaining every day.
  • Clean Hands
  • Pure Heart
  • None of us have clean hands
  • Romans 3:10..There is none righteous, no, not one:
  • I Timothy 5:22…Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

  C) Still praying as I’m onward bound

  • What was Bro. Oatman praying? “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground”
  • Praying as you are “onward bound.” I believe that Oatman may have wrote this part to mean that the whole time you are moving forward in God’s work or His ministry, you should be praying and leaning upon God’s wisdom, guidance and conviction.  

 II.  Lord Lift Me Up and Let Me Stand

  A) By Faith on Heaven’s Table-Land

  • The CHORUS of the song Higher Ground goes like this…Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith on heaven’s table-land, A higher plane than I have found: Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
  • “TABLE – LAND” – A table land is a flat ground that is stable enough to build on.
  • Let us turn to Hebrews 12:11-14…
  • Note verse 11…Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
  • verse 12…Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
  • Hands are representatives of work.
  • Sometimes our desire for work of any kind, anywhere is evaporated.

B) A Higher plain that I have found

  • In Hebrews 12, let us read about this “higher plain…”
  • Look at verse 13) And make straight paths for your feet, Straight paths, not crooked ones. Crooked roads are hard to see what is around the next bend.
  • lest that which is lame be turned out of the way;” Broken – not very usable, Crippled- hard to manage
  • When you become “lame” (sinful) you will veer off of the road of righteousness.
  • … but let it rather be healed.” God is in the healing business.
  • How can we be healed?
  • Hebrews 12:14) Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
  • James 4:10…Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

III. I Have No Desire to Stay

  A) Where doubts arise and fears dismay (cause to lose spirit)

  • The song verse goes on to say… “Though some may dwell where these abound, My prayer, my aim is higher ground.”
  • Doubts and fears are like prisons.
  • The song Higher ground continues… “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.
  • Verse 5 of the song continues … “I want to scale the utmost height, And catch a gleam of glory bright; But still I’ll pray, ’til heaven I’ve found,
    “Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”
  • I believe what the song writer is saying is …
  1. I want to take on the biggest task, to see that task give him the glory
  2. I’ll keep on praying until I go to heaven
  3. Lord help me keep my desire for bigger and better spirituality.