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Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Hand Of God

“My times are in your hands;” Psalm 31:15a NIV
Many mornings I enter the garden from a chair in my great room. More often then not my hubby is in his recliner, across the room, entering his own garden. I like it quiet and he likes to share. He often gives me wonderful food for thought. This particular morning was one of those days. He mentioned how significant the hand of God is in our lives. Of course, that became the spring board for my thoughts for the next few days.
That same day I headed deeper into the garden with God’s Word in my hands. As I walked among the lilies, smelled the sweet sent of the roses, and found delight in the trumpet shaped petunias I saw anew the amazing hand of God, the creator. With each stroke of his creative fingers God adds magnificent color to his garden using hundreds of shades of heavenly paint. The hand of our creator is like no other hand.
Exodus 33:18-19, 21-23 Moses asked the Lord to show him his glory. God’s response to Moses was “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence.” (vs. 19) In (vs. 20) God said, “But, you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” (vs. 21-23) This is a beautiful example of God’s protection. As believers we so want to see his face, yet this life is not the time or the place. Yet, during difficult times we stand on Jesus our Rock and firm foundation. During trouble God places us in the cleft of a rock. This hard place in life is very real and we long again to see the face of God. In his grace, God covers us with his hand of protection. When all is safe, he removes his hand and we are blessed as we see his back as he passes by. We do not see his face but we see his glory in all its splendor.
I Chronicles 6:4 “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his hands has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to my father David.” Solomon, David’s son had ordered that the Ark of the Covenant be brought to the temple in Jerusalem. David had wanted to build the temple but his son Solomon was the one God appointed to do so. Now as a final act of completion the Ark was to be brought into the temple and placed in the Holy Place. How wonderful it is to know that it is the hand of God that accomplishes his perfect will through imperfect people.
“My times are in your hands;” Psalm 31:15a NIV This scripture reminds me that God holds my time in his hand. He knows the number of my days and he has a plan for my life. God has a plan to give us all a hope and a future. There is no safer place to be.
Jesus told the disciples that if they had seen him they had seen the Father. For three short years the twelve were privileged to see the very hand of God at work. They were hands that healed. They were hands that fed the hungry multitudes. It was the hand of God that reached out to Peter when he was sinking into the sea. Jesus lifted his hands toward heaven and prayed. His hands touched children and gathered them into his arms. He used the fingers of his hand to write words of rebuke in the dust. His hands turned over the money changer’s tables in the temple as he drove out the merchants who were making the house of God a den of thieves. Jesus, the Son of God used his hands to wash feet, break bread, and pour wine.
It was the arms of Jesus Christ that was stretched out so that his hands could be nailed to the cross. It was his nail scared hands that purchased our freedom from the curse of sin. The Word of God tells us that those who belong to him have their names engraved upon his hands. “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;” Isaiah 49:16 NIV
It was into the capable hands of the Father that Jesus committed his spirit in the final moment of his life. “Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46 It was after the resurrection; Jesus appeared to the disciples and used his hands to cook breakfast for them on the seashore. He later appeared to Thomas, who doubted that he had risen, still he allowed Thomas to see his nail scared hands. Jesus also offers us his hands to lift us up, pull us close to his heart, and help us in our times of fear, doubt, and even in our times of unbelief.

Because Jesus was obedient even to death on the cross, God the Father has given him a place of honor. Jesus now sits in heaven at the right hand of God and He is still using his hands on our behalf as he prepares a special place for us in heaven.

The hand of God is still outstretched to all humanity. It is not his will that any should perish but we must, like Peter, reach up and take hold of his saving hand of grace. It is not enough to believe that Jesus exists. We must go one step further and make it personal by grasping his hand. It is the hand of Jesus that offers us freedom from our sin. This is a free gift for all those who will believe that he lived, died, was resurrected, and is in heaven preparing an eternal home for those who love him.

It is important to understand that accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior is not where it should end.  The sobering truth is that we are an extension of the hands of God. We not only reach out and take his hand we praise the works of his hand. We lift our hands in holy praise and we lay hands on those in the body that we love as we encourage them and pray for their needs and God’s blessing. We use our simple human hands to minister, to give, and to serve.
We have been led in the past, we are being led this very moment, and we will continue to be led by the hand of God all our days. When this life is over and it is all said and done, when we breathe our last breath, we too, like Jesus, will submit our spirit into the hands of God for all eternity. It seems that this morning in the garden I am overcome with the many facets of the hand of God. How precious is the hand of God? It is more precious than silver or gold, success and fame, or power and position. Precious, precious, simply precious!

  1. How is God’s hand leading you today?
  2. Do you remember a specific time in your life when you experienced being under the hand of God’s protection?
  3. Is God reaching his hand out to you asking you to follow him, obey him, or to trust him?
  4. Are you allowing God to use your hands as an extension of his hands in this world today?
Dear God,
I stand amazed at all the works of your hand! Today I humbly reach up my hand to yours. Forgive me when I doubt that you are aware of my comings and goings. Forgive me when I doubt your love. Forgive me when I refuse to trust your loving capable hands. Forgive me when I forget to thank you for your hands that provide for me. How I praise you Father, that my name is engraved on your hands. I am so grateful that I am not just a simple string you have tied around your finger so that you can remember to take care of me.  It is comforting to realize that you know that a simple string could slip off a finger and be lost in the shuffle of life. No, your love and care is complete. Father I am in awe because you willingly outstretched hands on the cross for me. I am also blessed because you have branded my name upon your hands for all eternity. Lord, I am so grateful to experience this kind of boundless love. Without a doubt, I am in good hands!
It is in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.