Robert McCheyne - "Get your texts from God—your thoughts, your words, from God. In great measure, according to the purity and perfection's of the instrument, will be success. It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God. A word spoken by you when your conscience is clear, and your heart full of God's Spirit, is worth ten thousands words spoken in unbelief and sin."
When we are engaged in God’s work and we encounter setbacks, we can calmly carry on because, like the Israelites, “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth” (Ezra 5:11). Obstacles and delays may discourage us, but we can rest in Jesus’ promise: “I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Mt. 16:18NLT). It is God’s power that enables His work, not our own.
Ps 37:23-24 The steps of a man are established by the LORD; And He delights in his way. 24 When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand. Psalm 63:8 tells us: “My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” ( My soul clings to Thee; Thy right hand upholds me.) In tough times, we can become so preoccupied with our role in “clinging to God” that we forget about His promised protection. It’s not our fingernails that sustain us—it’s His loving, upholding hand.
God’s hand that holds the ocean’s depths
Can hold my small affairs;
His hand that guides the universe,
Can carry all my cares. —Anon.
No one is more secure than the one who is held in God’s hand.
In creation we see God's hand; in redemption we see His heart.
Sometimes we see a miracle,
And faith in God revives;
Yet eyes of faith can see God's hand
At work throughout our lives. —Hess
To see God’s hand in everything makes life a great adventure.
God’s hand of discipline is a hand of love.
In [God’s] hand is the life of every living thing. —Job 12:10
9 "Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this,
10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind? Job 12:9-10
As we sense the strength of God’s everlasting arms beneath us (Dt. 33:27), we can stroll through life with confidence, holding the hand of our unseen Companion.
You can be confident about tomorrow if you cling to God's hand God today.
Do you see delays, changes of plans, redirections as intrusions or do you see God's hand in the delays, etc. God can use inconveniences in our lives if we look at them as divine appointments. When we can’t see God’s hand, we can trust His heart.
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God’s better choice for me. —Young
God omnipotent hand can turn obstacles into opportunities.
I reached for God's hand full of blessings,
Because I was needy and sad;
And, oh, what a shower He gave me
From all the rich treasure He had! —Simon
"All His saints are in Your hand". --Deuteronomy 33:3
On his deathbed, British preacher Charles Simeon smiled brightly and asked the people gathered in his room, "What do you think especially gives me comfort at this time?"
When they all remained silent, he exclaimed, "The creation! I ask myself, 'Did Jehovah create the world or did I?' He did! Now if He made the world and all the rolling spheres of the universe, He certainly can take care of me. Into Jesus' hands I can safely commit my spirit!"
Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission, in the closing months of his life said to a friend, "I am so weak. I can't read my Bible. I can't even pray. I can only lie still in God's arms like a little child and trust."
Both Simeon and Taylor knew that the almighty God who created the universe was holding them in His hands. Moses had the same assurance when he blessed the children of Israel before he died (Deut. 33). They could face the future with confidence because the God who had delivered them would also preserve them.
We certainly need not be fearful, then, as we enter a new year. God will never forsake His redeemed children. We can rejoice that our great Creator holds us in His hands. And that's true for every child of God. --H G Bosch (Our Daily Bread)
The God who made the firmament,
Who made the deepest sea,
The God who put the stars in place
Is the God who cares for me. --Berg (Is the God Who "holdeth" me")
The God who holds the universe is the God who is holding you.
Beneath His watchful eye
His saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears all nature up
Shall guard His children well. —Doddridge
With God's arms (hands) beneath us,
we need not fear what lies before us.
Sure it takes a lot of courage to put things in God’s hands,
To give ourselves completely, our lives, our hopes, our plans;
To follow where He leads us and make His will our own;
But all it takes is foolishness to go the way alone! —Kline
When the future is dark and we can't see what's next,
Of the Lord we make childish demands;
We cannot know all, our minds are too small,
We must leave all our "whys" in His hands. —Carbaugh
Often we forget as we eat our daily bread,
From whom it all has come, to us who are well-fed;
But may we all remember, as we walk upon this sod,
That everything we have is from the hand of God.
If when we worship, we do, in special sense, come into the presence of God, then let us remember that in His presence is fulness of joy, and at His right hand are pleasures for ever-more. There is a place for sadness,. for contrition, for penitence before God; but that is the place of preparation for wors
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
Deuteronomy 33:3 - H A Ironside
Here God’s saints are seen in three places. They are in His heart: “He loves the people!” How precious to dwell in the bosom of infinite love! What rest in the hour of strife and in the day of distress! They are also in His hand—the place of security as our Lord tells us in John 10:27–30, whence none can pluck them. Last of all, they are at His feet—the place of discipleship, learning His mind and will that they may walk in His ways. How abundant the provision which He has made for the comfort, security and instruction of all His redeemed ones!
Yes, the believer can rest in the unfailing strength and support of the omnipotent Father. God bolsters this assurance with a progression of truth in Isaiah 41:10 when He says through the prophet, “I am with thee.” “I will strengthen thee.” “I will help thee.” “I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.”
Ruth 1:13 would you therefore wait until they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; for it is harder for me than for you, for the hand of the LORD has gone forth against me." Ruth 2:20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed of the LORD who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and to the dead.” Again Naomi said to her, “The man is our relative, he is one of our closest relatives.” = discouraged Naomi saw God’s hand in Ruth’s life. What we see of God’s provisions teaches us to trust Him for what we cannot see of His purposes.
PURPOSE - Joshua 4:23 “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”
As followers of Christ, it’s good for us to have tangible evidence of God’s help in the past. Those mementos remind us that His faithfulness continues today, and we can follow Him confidently into the future. Our “stones” may also help others know that God’s hand is mighty, as they encourage us to fear the Lord our God forever (Joshua 4:24). The memories of what God has done for us can become building blocks for today and tomorrow.
Thinking It Over
How has God shown Himself to be faithful to
you and your family? What would help you to remember?
Is there someone you can talk to about it today?
Precious memories of yesterday can strengthen our faith today and tomorrow.
Ps 139:9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 Even there Thy hand will lead me, And Thy right hand will lay hold of me.
In His Hands - How big is the cosmos? Galaxies upon galaxies stretch into space farther than we can comprehend.
Two Harvard astronomers have discovered a “great wall” of galaxies that they estimate to be 500 million light-years long, 200 million light-years wide, and 15 million light-years thick. (One light-year is 5.88 trillion miles.) Those numbers are mind-boggling.
Here’s something even more amazing. God created all of those galaxies and sustains everything that exists by His powerful hands. Yet that same mighty God, the one and only God, uses those hands to gently touch the lives of suffering men and women.
In Psalm 147:3-4 we read that the Lord not only knows all the stars by name, but He also “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” That truth is echoed in Isaiah 40:26-31, which states that the all-powerful Creator is the One who renews the strength of those who rely on Him. The God of the galaxies is the Great Physician who lovingly ministers to our needs. What a contrast—and what a comfort!
Regardless of how heavy your burdens, how tangled your problems, or how serious your diseases, the God of the galaxies has power enough to meet all your needs—and measureless power to spare. Put your problems in His hands. We are not expected to enjoy trials or to celebrate suffering. But when these unwelcome visitors arrive, we can look for God’s hand in them and trust that He can use them to make us more like His Son.
The hand that holds the ocean's depths
Can hold my small affairs;
The hand that guides the universe
Can carry all my cares. —Anon.
We are spiritually blind if we cannot see God's hand in nature.
Those who see God's hand in everything can leave everything in God's hand.
Are you in deep water? Reach up and grab God’s hand of mercy.
When you're passing through the waters
Of deep sorrow and despair
And you get no help from others,
Just remember, Christ is there. —Elliott
When trouble overtakes you, let God take over.
Put Your Hand In The Hand - Donny Hathaway
Put your hand in the hand of the Man who stilled the water
Put your hand in the hand of the Man who calmed the sea
Take a look at yourself, & you can look at others diff'rently
Put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee
He leadeth me! O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
Still ’tis God's hand that leadeth me. —Gilmore
You don't need to know where you're going if you know God is leading.
Write your plans in pencil but give God the eraser.
I’ve found that when life’s brush obscures my view
With gloomy strokes that seem to mar the scene,
God’s hand appears and gives to sunless hue
And dreary skies a more majestic sheen. —Gustafson
When it is dark enough, men see the stars. —Emerson
The circumstances in our lives
Seem random and unplanned;
But someday we will surely see
The order of God's hand. —Sper
We must be careful to avoid
If sinful pride gets in the way,
God’s hand we will not see. —Sper
Psalm 31:14 But as for me, I trust in Thee, O LORD, I say, “Thou art my God.” 15My times are in Thy hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.
During times of hardship, I often feel like whining, “Who needs this pain? I certainly don’t!” But Isaiah 28 and my own experience tell me this is a shortsighted reaction. Not that we need hardship just for its own sake, but we do need to be changed and to mature. In God’s hand, hardship can be an effective tool to bring about our much-needed growth.
Dear Lord, I marvel at the wonders of Your creation. You are such a great and awesome God who does not change. As I place my life in Your hands, I will trust You to be faithful. Amen.
The wonders of creation reveal God at work.
SLIPPERY PLACES - My steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. —Psalm 73:2-3
The 19th-century hymnwriter Ira D. Sankey was walking with his young son on a cold winter day. As they came to an icy spot, Mr. Sankey said, “My boy, you’d better let me take your hand.”
The youngster didn’t want to take his hand from his warm pocket, so he disregarded his father’s suggestion. Just then he lost his footing and took a nasty fall. “All right, Daddy,” he said, “let me hold on to your coat.”
But the boy’s weak grip was not enough to hold him up when his feet went out from under him again. Getting up, he said, “Daddy, you’d better hold my hand!” He didn’t fall again.
The psalmist Asaph nearly took a spiritual fall (Ps. 73:2). He saw wicked people enjoying prosperity, getting their desires, and dying without pain (vv.3-12), yet he was “chastened every morning” despite his upright life (vv.13-14). Envious, he almost concluded that it was futile to live a godly life.
But when he focused on God, he realized that the wicked are in slippery places, headed for judgment (vv.17-20). Confessing his foolishness, he recognized that God upholds and will reward those who trust in Him (vv.21-24).
Put your hand in God’s hand. It’s your best guarantee against falling in life’s slippery places.
When you are in a slippery place,
Stay close to Jesus’ side;
Make sure your hand is held in His,
He’ll be your faithful guide. —Hess
Everlasting Arms - After a pre-concert rehearsal in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Randall Atcheson sat on stage alone. He had successfully navigated the intricate piano compositions of Beethoven, Chopin, and Liszt for the evening program, and with only minutes remaining before the doors opened, he wanted to play one more piece for himself. What came from his heart and his hands was an old hymn by Elisha Hoffman:
What have I to dread,
what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace
with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Those words echo the truth in the final blessing of Moses: “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides the heavens to help you, and in His excellency on the clouds. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:26-27).
What a gift we have in our own arms and hands—they can swing a hammer, hold a child, or help a friend. But while our strength is limited, God’s boundless power on our behalf is expressed in might and gentle care. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save” (Isaiah 59:1). “He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom” (Isaiah 40:11).
Whatever challenge or opportunity we face, there is security and peace in His everlasting arms.
The heavenly Father’s arms never tire of holding His children.
MY FINGERNAILS OR HIS HAND?-Psalm 37:23-26 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 59-61; 2 Thessalonians 3
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, The Lord upholds (SUSTAINS - used of laying on of hands on offering to show identification with it) him with His hand. —Psalm 37:24 The Israelites were to learn not to trust in man or nation (II Kgs 18:21; Ezk 30:6), but in God who by his power (Ps 37:24) and word (Ps 119:116) upholds the righteous (Ps 37:17). So will the believer dwell in safety and surety (Ps 3:5 [H 6]) all his life (Ps 71:6) despite those times when he may fall (Ps 145:14).
Tough times can cause us to get our perspective turned around. I was reminded of this recently as I talked to a fellow-griever—another parent who, like Sue and me, lost a teenage daughter to death suddenly and without warning.
She told me she had been missing her daughter terribly, and she told God she felt as if she were hanging on by her fingernails. Then she felt as if God reminded her that His hand of protection was there to hold her up—that she could let go, and He would catch her.
That’s a better perspective, isn’t it? This picture reminds us that when troubles come and we feel least able to hold on to our faith, it’s not up to us. It’s up to God to support us with His mighty hand.
Psalm 37:23-24 says: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord … Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” And Psalm 63:8 tells us: “My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.”
In tough times, we can become so preoccupied with our role in “clinging to God” that we forget about His promised protection. It’s not our fingernails that sustain us—it’s His loving, upholding hand.
God’s hand that holds the ocean’s depths
Can hold my small affairs;
His hand that guides the universe,
Can carry all my cares. —Anon.
No one is more secure than the one who is held in God’s hand.
By Dave Branon
The Hand of God - My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me. —Psalm 63:8
When NASA began using a new kind of space telescope to capture different spectrums of light, researchers were surprised at one of the photos. It shows what looks like fingers, a thumb, and an open palm showered with spectacular colors of blue, purple, green, and gold. Some have called it “The Hand of God.”
The idea of God reaching out His hand to help us in our time of need is a central theme of Scripture. In Psalm 63 we read: “Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me” (vv.7-8). The psalmist felt God’s divine help like a hand of support. Some Bible teachers believe that King David wrote this psalm in the wilderness of Judah during the terrible time of his son Absalom’s rebellion. Absalom had conspired to dethrone his father, and David fled to the wilderness (2 Sam. 15–16). Even during this difficult time, God was present and David trusted in Him. He said, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You” (Ps. 63:3).
Life can be painful at times, yet God offers His comforting hand in the midst of it. We are not beyond His reach. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save” (Isaiah 59:1)
Beneath His watchful eye
His saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears all nature up
Shall guard His children well.
God bears the world’s weight on His shoulder, yet holds His children in the palm of His hand.
September 6, 2010
He came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. —Ezra 7:9
On Jack Borden’s 101st birthday, he awoke at 5 a.m., ate a hearty breakfast, and was at his law office by 6:30 ready to begin his day. When asked the secret of his long life, the practicing attorney smiled and quipped, “Not dying.”
But there’s more to it than that. Mr. Borden, who was baptized at age 11 in the Clear Fork of the Trinity River, told Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reporter David Casstevens, “I’m a firm believer that God has His hand in everything that happens. He is letting me live for some reason. I try to do the things that I believe He wants me to.”
Ezra the priest experienced the “good hand of his God upon him” when he led a delegation to Jerusalem to provide spiritual leadership for the former captives who were rebuilding the temple and the city (Ezra 7:9-10). Ezra found strength and courage in knowing that the Lord was with them each step of the way. “So I was encouraged, as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me” (Ezra 7:28).
When we see the Lord’s hand in our lives, it brings forth a deep “Thank You” and a growing desire to do what He wants us to do.
If we would view through eyes of faith
If you know that God’s hand is in everything,
God's hand is in everything,
Why do we need to remember the nine things God's hand accomplishes? Because many times we have been in a terrible predicament we forget that only his hand can deliver us. We also often forget that - because of our lack of trust in Christ - his hands were pierced and nailed to a Cross so that we could be saved.
POWER - Ex 32:11 Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, "O LORD, why doth Thine anger burn against Thy people whom Thou hast brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? (cp Dt 5:15, mighty hand Dt 7:19, mighty hand Dt 11:2) (cp He "had brought them up from the land of Egypt and they had feared other gods." - 2Ki 17:7 - why they were sent into exile to Assyria)
Isaiah 43:13 “Even from eternity I am He,
And there is none who can deliver out of My hand;
I act and who can reverse it?”
Creation - Isaiah 45:12 “It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it.
I stretched out the heavens with My hands
And I ordained all their host.
Isaiah 48:13 Surely My hand founded the earth,
And My right hand spread out the heavens;
When I call to them, they stand together.
Joshua 4:23 "For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever."
Dt 3:24 'O Lord GOD, Thou hast begun to show Thy servant Thy greatness and Thy strong hand; for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as Thine?
1 Sa 5:11 They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines and said, "Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people." For there was a deadly confusion throughout the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. (1Sa 6:3, 5)
3) We are strengthened by the hand of the Lord
"[A]nd who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king's powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me." Ezra 7:28
"You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great." Psalm 18:35
"The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand." Psalm 37:23-24
4) We are delivered by the hand of the Lord
"In days to come, when your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' say to him, 'With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery." Exodus 13:14
5) We are redeemed by the hand of the Lord
"They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand." Nehemiah 1:10
Isaiah 50:2 … Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom?…
6) We are lead by the hand of the Lord
"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." Psalm 139:7-10
God knows each winding way I take,
And every sorrow, pain, and ache;
And me He never will forsake—
He knows and loves His own. —Bosch
Isaiah 49:16 Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.
7) We are blessed by the hand of Lord
"A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil.
This too, I see, is from the hand of God." Ecclesiastes 2:24
TO GRANT UNITY - The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD. 2Chr 30:12
8) We are satisfied by the hand of the Lord
"You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." Psalm 145:16
1Chr 29:16 "O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build Thee a house for Thy holy name, it is from Thy hand, and all is Thine.
Isaiah 41:10 (Speaking of Israel but applicable to all who are in Christ) Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
9) We are motivated by the hand of the Lord
"Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the Lord." 2 Chronicles 30:12
Isaiah 14:26 “This is the plan devised against the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations. 27 “For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?”
PRAYER OF JABEZ - Prayer re hand of God - 1Chr 4:10 Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that Thou wouldst bless me indeed, and enlarge my border, and that Thy hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldst keep me from harm, that it may not pain me!" And God granted him what he requested.
PRAYER OF JEHOSHAPHAT - "O LORD, the God of our fathers, art Thou not God in the heavens? And art Thou not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Thy hand so that no one can stand against Thee. (2Chr 20:6)
Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road. EZRA 8:31
If we obey the Lord, his hand will pour out blessing; but if we rebel, his hand will be heavy upon us (Ps 32:3). May the good hand of the Lord always be upon us as we seek to serve him!
The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. Psalm 118:16
God can use the storms of life to fulfill His will. Is the wind blowing? He is flying on the wings of the wind. Are the clouds thick? He will bring showers of blessing out of them. Don't be afraid of the storm. Storms can come from the hand of God and be the means of blessing
Psalm 78:40-53 The older we get, the more we forget. This is especially true when it comes to our relationship with God. The people of Israel often remembered what they should have forgotten and forgot what they should have remembered! "They did not remember His power: the day when He redeemed them from the enemy, when He worked His signs in Egypt, and His wonders in the field of Zoan" (Psalm 78:42,43). How amazing. The Jews had seen God perform ten miracles on their behalf in Egypt. Moses even pointed out that this was the hand of the Lord, yet they forgot all about it (Ps 78:54 "So He brought them to His holy land, To this hill country which His right hand had gained.")
Well, first off, God doesn’t have a body. He is a spirit, and one of the Ten Commandments strictly prohibited making any kind of picture or statue that represented him. (See Exodus 20:4.) While other nations represented their gods in the forms of humans or animals (or sometimes a combination of the two), the Israelites did not, for the true God was invisible—and also too impressive to be represented by any kind of idol. Still, the Bible does refer many, many times to God’s “body”—figuratively, that is. So certain events are attributed to the “hand of God,” “eyes of God,” and so forth. They aren’t intended literally, of course, but they are human languages’ way of stating that God acts and knows. See what you know about God’s “body,” beginning in this section with his “hands.”
The key, of course, is the hand of God moving among the personalities and particulars of the story. Simply put, the Lord was with Joseph (Genesis 39:21).
Why did Potiphar spare Joseph’s life and the warden show favor to Joseph? The answer is that “the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1). There is nothing to suggest that Joseph tried to manipulate the circumstances to his own ends. He was the object of God’s sovereign care—and so are you.
God’s Care for Joseph -As I thought about this, my mind went immediately to Psalm 139, that great psalm which tells of God’s attending care over the minutest details of our lives.
I want to paraphrase this psalm by putting it in the Lord’s voice rather than the psalmist’s, and by addressing it to Joseph, in order to answer the question, What would God say to Joseph in that dungeon? In that setting, Psalm 139 reads like this:
“Joseph, I have searched you and I know you. I know when you sit down and when you stand up. I know your thoughts from afar. I discern your going out and your lying down. I’m familiar with all your ways. Before you say anything, Joseph, I know it completely.
“Joseph, I have hemmed you in, behind and before. I have laid my hand upon you. Where can you go from My spirit? Where can you flee from My presence? If you go up to the heavens, Joseph, I am there. If you make your bed in the depths, I am there. If you rise up on the wings of the dawn, if you settle on the far side of the sea, even there My hand will guide you. My right hand will hold you fast.
“Joseph, if you say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light will become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to Me. The night will shine like the day.
Gifts are given by the hands. An open hand means favor and blessing. God uses people He has joined to Himself as the channel through whom He pours Himself. This is prepared for in the Old Testament where the presence of the Spirit came upon men sporadically as a foretaste of the permanent indwelling gift under the New Covenant. When He came upon men to give special power and ability, this was called “the hand of God.” Why? God was giving Himself. He was extending His personal presence and power in a form usable by man. The Old Testament gives several examples of the Spirit acting through men as “the hand of God”:
(1) Ezekiel - And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me (Ezek. 8:1). (See also Ezekiel 33:22; 37:1; 40:1.)
(2) Elijah - And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel (1 Kings 18:46).
(3) Elisha - But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him [Elisha] (2 Kings 3:15).
The hand is the acting power of God. The Holy Spirit is God’s cutting edge of redemption, working deep within us where it counts. It is no accident that the Holy Spirit is very often imparted through the laying on of hands. (Laying The Foundation- James Beall)
Jon Courson - Ezra 7:10… and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
Six times we’ll hear Ezra say that the good hand of God was upon him. He was definitely one who was in constant touch with the Lord. Ezra prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord. Because it is the Spirit who searches the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10), it is the Spirit who will teach us how to understand His Word. Ezra pictures this. Not only does the Spirit tell us what to do, but He empowers us to do it (Ephesians 3:16). Lots of people want to learn the Word and teach the Word. Fewer long to follow the Word. But without this, teaching lacks anointing and authority.
The natural question is "What is this?" or "What does for explain?" and to answer we need to observe the previous passages where we find the powerful truth that the good hand of the LORD was upon Ezra..
The metaphor of being in someone's hand (or having their hand on someone) was common in the OT and spoke of being in the power of that person or entity. In the present context, the picture is one of God's power (His "good hand") being upon Ezra the scribe, not to defeat him but to give him the victory. This same phrase (hand of his God) is repeated several times in Ezra and gives us a clue to the "secret" behind his strong leadership, his influence with kings and his soul stirring preaching. Notice the same phrase earlier in this chapter…
Here are the other occurrences of the phrase the good hand of the LORD in the book of Ezra…
Fear of the LORD and
Here is another passage that teaches a similar truth using a different anthropomorphism (eye instead of hand)…
Here are the other 2 uses of the phrase "hand of Jehovah" or variation thereof in the life of Nehemiah, another OT saint whom God used mightily to accomplish His work on earth…
MISSING THE BLESSING
This principle regarding the good hand of the LORD is seen in the prophets words to King Asa (who sadly ignored them to his detriment)…
Lot, a righteous man (clearly a true believer - see 2Pe 2:6-note; 2Pe 2:7-note; 2Pe 2:8-note; 2Pe 2:9-note) is another sad example of a man who missed the blessing of the good hand of the LORD. In Genesis 13 the growth of the flocks of Abram and Lot led to strife and the need for them to separate. Abram gave Lot "first choice", a choice which resulted in Lot's missing the "good hand of the LORD". Note the progression in the following passages…
Lot looked, chose, and settled ("became comfortable" rather than living as an alien and stranger - see 1Pe 1:1-note; 1 Peter 2:11-note) and missed the good hand of the LORD. In Genesis 19:16 we see that Lot was so settled in Sodom that the hand of God's angels had to yank he and his whole family out of that moral cesspool! Let us remember Lot's example, lest our looking and choosing in this fleeting life cause us to miss the good hand of the Lord on our life, our family, our ministry! Or as Jesus commanded his listeners in (Luke 17:32) "Remember (present imperative = keep on remembering. Why? Because our tendency is to drift, to forget!) Lot's wife" because she lingered and looked back (Ge 19:26) and paid for her disobedience with her life.
God's good hand was clearly associated with the provision, power and protection in Ezra's ministry. And as we see seen the root of divine blessing was that Ezra was a "man of the book" (scratch him anywhere and he "bled Bible"), a man like Apollos who was mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24). Ezra is a worthy model for any preacher who desires to be used mightily by the Lord.
The Pulpit Commentary comments on the good hand of the LORD upon Ezra writing that…
One could also read the text of Ezra 7:10 as stating that Ezra had ”Set his heart firmly" which gives the idea that Ezra was inwardly determined or resolutely steadfast. He was determined and this determination was directed toward studying, obeying, and teaching God’s Law to others—Mark it down! This pattern while not a "formula", is to be sure an inviolable order for a Spirit empowered ministry! You cannot teach with power until you yourself have practiced (obeyed) what you have studied. Do be otherwise deluded (cp James 1:22-note).
We as NT believers, like the OT believer Ezra, must continually set (because the flesh, the world and the devil continually tempt us to "veer off course") our hearts to seek, do, and teach the Word of God, for no one accidentally becomes a faithful student of God's Word. We must each make a daily deliberate decision of our will (continual choosing) to lay aside lesser things and/or things that hinder us (see Hebrews 12:1-note) in order to seek the best.
J I Packer emphasizes the critical need for each of us to prepare our hearts before we seek God in His Word noting that…
One of the many divine qualities of the Bible is this: that it does not yield its secrets to the irreverent and censorious.
Spurgeon issues a similar caveat declaring that…
God sends every bird its food, but He does not throw it into the nest.
One is reminded of Solomon's wise advice concerning godly wisdom, noting that…
If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures then you will discern the fear of the LORD, and discover the knowledge of God.
Spurgeon - True religion is supernatural at its beginning, supernatural in its continuance, and supernatural in its close. It is the work of God from first to last. There is great need that the hand of the Lord should be stretched out still: that need my reader is feeling now, and I am glad that he should feel it; for now he will look for his own preservation to the Lord who alone is able to keep us from failing, and glorify us with His Son. All of Grace: An Earnest Word with Those Who Are Seeking Salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ.
That regularity of divine bounty which ought to sustain and increase faith is often the means of weakening it. He whose bread comes to him by a government annuity or a quarterly rent is tempted to forget that God has any hand in it. It ought not to be so. Through the hardness of our hearts, such an ill result does frequently follow from the constancy of a gracious providence. I should not wonder if those Israelites who were born in the wilderness and had gathered manna every morning for years, had also ceased to wonder at it or to see the hand of the Lord in it. Shameful stupidity! But, ah, how common! Many a person has lived from hand to mouth and seen the hand of the Lord in the gift of every morsel of bread. At last by God’s goodness he has prospered in this world and obtained a regular income. This income he has received without care and trouble, and shortly he has come to look at it as the natural result of his own industry. No longer does he praise the loving kindness of the Lord. To be living without the conscious presence of the Lord is a horrible state of affairs. Supplied, but not by God! Sustained without the hand of God! It were better to be poor or sick or exiled and thus to be driven to approach our heavenly Father.
Spurgeon - We believe in a God of purposes and plans, who has not left a blind fate to tyrannize over the world, much less an aimless chance to rock it to and fro. We are not fatalists, neither are we doubters of providence and predestination. We are believers in a God "who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will." We do not conceive of the Lord as having gone away from the world, and left it and the inhabitants thereof to themselves; we believe in Him as continually presiding in all the affairs of life. We, by faith, perceive the hand of the Lord giving to every blade of grass its own drop of dew, and to every young raven its meat. We see the present power of God in the flight of every sparrow, and hear His goodness in the song of every lark.
An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students.
At Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts, Governor William Bradford's grave is inscribed: Under this stone rests the ashes of William Bradford, a zealous Puritan, and sincere Christian Governor of Plymouth Colony from 1621 to 1657, aged 69, except 5 years, which he declined. "Let the right hand of the Lord awake." [Hebrew] "What our fathers with so much difficulty attained do not basely relinquish."[Latin] America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations.
On December 3, 1901, in his First Annual Message to Congress, President Theodore Roosevelt stated:
On October 29, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt issued a Proclamation of a National Day of Thanksgiving:
We prepare our heart. God extends His hand!
Exodus 9:3 behold, the hand of the LORD will come with a very severe pestilence on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks.
All the events since the plagues in Egypt had been intended to glorify the Lord to all the peoples of the earth.
Joshua 22:31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the sons of Reuben and to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Manasseh, "Today we know that the LORD is in our midst, because you have not committed this unfaithful act against the LORD; now you have delivered the sons of Israel from the hand of the LORD."
Judges 2:15 Wherever they went, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had spoken and as the LORD had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed.
Ruth 1:13 would you therefore wait until they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; for it is harder for me than for you, for the hand of the LORD has gone forth against me."
1 Samuel 5:6 Now the hand of the LORD was heavy on the Ashdodites, and He ravaged them and smote them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territories.
9 After they had brought it around, the hand of the LORD was against the city with very great confusion; and He smote the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them.
1 Samuel 7:13 So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore within the border of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
1 Samuel 12:15 "If you will not listen to the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the command of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers.
1Sa 30 The chastening hand of the Lord now rests heavily upon wayward, backsliding David.
Annotated Bible, The - The Annotated Bible - Volume 2: Joshua to Chronicles.
2 Samuel 24:14 Then David said to Gad, "I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the LORD for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man."
Homilist - FAITH IN THE UNSEEN WORLD. David felt that if desolation and death overtook him he would be safe if, when leaving this life, he fell "into the hand of the Lord." With home in view, pilgrimage will be cheered, the heart will be calmed and comforted. With the eternal God for our refuge and the eternal arms underneath us, "forward" may be our fearless watchword. Into the infinite, unfailing "hand of the Lord" let us commit ourselves. (Homilist.)
Paisley - How vast and immeasurable are the mercies of God! They reach beyond our vision and soar beyond our calculations. To throw ourselves on God's mercies is always the softest of beds. Always make this right choice.
1 Kings 18:46 Then the hand of the LORD was on Elijah, and he girded up his loins and outran Ahab to Jezreel.
2 Kings 3:15 "But now bring me a minstrel." And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him (Elisha).
1 Chronicles 21:13 David said to Gad, "I am in great distress; please let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are very great. But do not let me fall into the hand of man."
Ezra 7:6 This Ezra went up from Babylon, and he was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all he requested because the hand of the LORD his God was upon him.
It was no small work that the good Ezra had undertaken. To lead a great expedition across the inhospitable desert; to convoy the sacred vessels and a large treasure of gold and silver; to set-magistrates and judges over all that great district beyond the river- this was no slight task, and he needed strength. But in the simple language of his heart the good hand of his God was upon him, and that was sufficient to nerve and strengthen him.
Ralph Davies - Note that according to this verse the Llaw of Moses is a divine gift ("had given") and apparently complete. Here also we meet the first "hand of Yahweh" clause. So in this verse we have an assembly of realities: a completed revelation (torah of Moses) and an ongoing providence (hand of Yahweh), this latter operating in conjunction with human ingenuity/initiative ("all his request").
Ezra 7:9 For on the first of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of his God was upon him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Cole - To have God's hand of blessing on us, we must study and obey His Word, with a view to teaching others and glorifying God for everything. That theme is stated in Ezra 7:10, which explains why "the good hand of his God was upon him" (Ezra 7:9): "For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel." The connection between Ezra and God's Word is repeated no less than eight times (Ezra 7:6, 10, 11, 12, 14, 21, 25, 26)! There is a definite correlation between our commitment to know and obey God's Word and His hand of blessing being upon us.
God's protection upon the group is acknowledged here. We need Divine protection for every trip, not just the long ones. "The hand of the Lord his God upon him" (Ezra 7:6). This explains the success of Ezra. God enabled him and caused the king and others to favor him.
Analytical Bible Expositor - Analytical Bible Expositor - Ezra-Job.
Henry Morris - Ezra (Ezra 7:6, 9, 28; 8:18, 22, 31) and twice in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:8, 18). Both writers emphasize that their own remarkable accomplishments were by the protecting and enabling grace of God.
Seemingly, the power and the blessing which served Ezra so signally was all from "the king," but really it was all from Ezra's "God," whose will disposed the king's heart, whose providence guided every step, and whose power and Spirit gave efficiency and success to every plan and effort. And so it is in all human planning and effort. The success is just in the measure of "God's hand upon us." If we rise up to build, and do not first enlist His gracious approval, providential interposition, and Spirit's agency, our best efforts will miscarry or prove disastrous. If we plan a revival, and put in requisition the agencies, and will the conversion of sinners, we shall be sadly disappointed, if we do not first, by prayer and preparation, array God the Lord on our side, and get hold of His "outstretched arm of salvation." It is easy to work, and glorious are the results -- all human agencies so readily fall into line and aid us -- when the hand of the Lord our God is upon us. The application, the lesson, is therefore obvious --
1. Prayer lies at the foundation of all wise planning and all successful effort to advance Christ's kingdom in the world.
2. God's hand must be upon us -- His providence must be enlisted in our behalf -- there must be co-operation between the Divine and the human.
3. The secret of declension, of abounding evil, of the lack of converting power in the Church, of the dearth of revivals, is to be found in the fact that God's hand is not upon us, because of the lack of faith and prayer. (J. M. Sherwood, D. D.)
Phillip Ryken - 2. The Secret of Ezras Success - Ezra was a great man—one of the all-time heroes of the faith. He had the will to lead; he had a heart for holiness; he had a mind for biblical truth. If we want to follow his example, we should ask what made him so great and so good. What was the secret of Ezra’s spiritual success?
In one sense, it was the grace of God, of course, and the Bible is careful to point this out. Why did Ezra found favor in the eyes of the king? “The hand of the Lord his God was on him” (7:6). How was he able to make his journey back to Jerusalem? “The good hand of his God was on him” (7:9). Where did he find the courage to lead the people of Israel? Ezra speaks of God’s “steadfast love” and testifies, “the hand of the Lord my God was on me” (7:28). Ezra was a man under the hand of God.
It is only the gracious hand of God that enables a man or a woman to fulfill his or her calling in ministry. It is the hand of God that gives courage for spiritual leadership, humility for corporate repentance, and wisdom for teaching God’s Word. Praise God for the hand of guidance that has brought you to your present place of service, for the hand of providence that will supply all your needs, for the hand of discipline that will train you in righteousness, and for the hand of comfort that will sustain you through trials. The hand of God is on you for blessing.
But there is another side to all this. Ezra had the hand of God on him, but at the same time he had to be faithful to his calling. He was not a marionette, dangling uselessly until God pulled his strings. He was a human being, with a mind, a heart, and a will that was made to glorify God. Therefore, he needed to be faithful to the sacred trust that God had given him. He needed to train his gifts for ministry and then put them to good use.
Ezra did that. This is obvious from all the good that he accomplished. But the Bible also shows us what was inside the man, giving us an intimate glimpse into Ezra’s approach to life and ministry. Do you want to know what enabled him to exercise such an influential ministry? Look again at Ezra 7:10: “Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.”This verse is one of the Bible’s best summaries of what it means to be a faithful servant of God’s Word. It is a wonderful verse for pastors, for seminary students, for theology professors—really, it is a wonderful verse for everyone. I know this from experience because I embraced this verse early in my time at seminary. I wrote it out on a note card and tucked it into the little Bible I carried in my briefcase. From time to time I would pull it out and meditate on it or pray over it. Over time, God used it to shape my understanding of what it meant to be a student and a teacher, a husband and a pastor. By the power of the Holy Spirit, he can use it to shape your life and ministry, too. The logic of this verse is impeccable. There were three things that Ezra was committed to doing, and he had them in the proper order, like “A-B-C” or “1-2-3.” In fact, Ezra had them in the only order that makes any sense: he had his heart set on studying, doing, and teaching the Word of God. This was his heart commitment, the direction of his life, the settled intention of his soul.
Ezra 7:28 and has extended lovingkindness to me before the king and his counselors and before all the king's mighty princes. Thus I was strengthened according to the hand of the LORD my God upon me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.
Context - Ezra 7:27 Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to adorn the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem,
Would that we might also be quick to discern the movement of the Most High. Would that we might see the good hand of God as He works for us. Ezra acknowledged that God strengthened him. He said, "I was strengthened as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me." Did not the Lord Jesus say, "All power is given unto Me, * * Go"? Is not the hand of God upon us? Are we not able to do all things through Him who strengtheneth us? Power belongeth unto God, and when we are panoplied with God, we have all power, according to the working of His mighty power. Think you that the apostle Paul wrought in his own strength. Far be it. He said concerning himself: "I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling * * but in demonstration of the Spirit and power." "Power belongeth unto God." (Ps 62:11) Let us then go forward strengthened in the strength of His might.
I was strengthened as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me" (Ezra 7:28). Ezra praises God for the Divine dynamic he received for his work. He could not have performed all his work without this enabling power. Analytical Bible Expositor - Analytical Bible Expositor - Ezra-Job.
Kieran Beville - But what does it mean to have the gracious hand of God upon an individual or a people? It is a truly awesome thought to contemplate that the hand of the Almighty might be involved in our affairs on earth. It is not, in fact, that his hand is involved in our affairs; rather, he is operative in his concerns and we may be instrumental in those purposes. This phrase ‘for the hand of the LORD his God was on him’ speaks of the reality that God protects his people and provides for them. It also speaks of the certainty that he promotes his purposes through his people.
The hand of God speaks of his almighty power. He is omnipotent. Isaiah reminds us of the awesome majesty of God, ‘Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?’ (Is. 40:12). This is a vivid picture of the consummate ease with which the almighty God created the universe. When we consider this it is astounding that such a God takes a personal interest in his people. He is the same God who says to his people, ‘See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands’ (Is. 49:16).
His power has not diminished. There is reproof in the Lord’s rhetorical question to Moses, ‘Is the LORD’s arm too short?’ (Num. 11:23). God directs that question to all his people as he did in the time of Jeremiah: ‘I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?’ (Jer. 32:27). Given the way the question is put it would be impossible to answer anything other than ‘certainly not!’ That is the answer that faith demands. He is the creator and the one who sustains all life as Job tells us: ‘In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind’ (Job 12:10).
The hand of God is an anthropomorphic term for the creative power and providential care of God. His people are the beneficiaries of his particular bountiful benefaction. It is also a term that relates to the power of God to punish. God is merciful and mighty but he is also perfectly holy and just. A day of judgement is coming when he shall judge the living and the dead. That will be a glorious day for those whose sins are covered by the precious blood of the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. But for those outside the covenant of that blood it will be a terrible day because it will be the beginning of conscious torment and eternal separation from God. Thus the writer to the Hebrews reminds us, ‘It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ (Heb. 10:31).
In an earlier chapter, ‘Union, Uniformity, Unity’, we considered how effective true unity may be in progressing the aims of the Almighty. We remarked then that such unity is to be highly prized indeed. As we consider the hand of God on these people we must be aware that it was his hand that caused unity to prevail. Before ever the remnant embarked on the project of returning and rebuilding, God took the initiative, stirred their hearts and gave them that heavenly concord of purpose. So we read, ‘Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the LORD’ (2Chr. 30:12).
Above all, the phrase ‘the hand of God’ speaks of his unquestionable authority and unlimited ability. We are reminded in the book of Daniel, ‘He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” ’ (Da 4:35).
Knowing that our God is such a God ought to instill security and confidence in our hearts. Remember the words of Jesus, ‘I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand’ (John 10:28). Let us never forget that it is this God who holds and beholds his beloved. (Kieran Beville - Exploring Ezra)
Ezekiel 8:1 (AMP)
1 AND IN the sixth year [of the capitivity of King Jehoiachin], in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house [a captive of the Babylonians] with the elders of Judah sitting before me, the hand of the Lord God fell there upon me.
"The hand of the Lord God fell there upon me" (Ezekiel 8:1, 2). God made it plain to Ezekiel that he had a mission for him. Analytical Bible Expositor - Analytical Bible Expositor - Isaiah to Ezekiel.
Ps 62:11 Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God; (Ps 68:34 Ascribe strength to God) (Ps 29:1 (A Psalm of David.) Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.) (Ps 96:6 Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.) (1Chr 16:28 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.29 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the LORD in holy array.
Ezra 8:18 And according to the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of insight of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, and his sons and brothers, 18 men;
Steven Cole - We see Ezra's humble trust in God in his thankful acknowledgement that these men joined the group because of "the good hand of our God upon us." He recognized that God had to put it on the hearts of His people to be willing to serve, even in the tasks that were not so flashy.
Ezra 8:22 For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, "The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him."
Ezra 8:31 Then we journeyed from the river Ahava on the twelfth of the first month to go to Jerusalem; and the hand of our God was over us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and the ambushes by the way.
The sovereignty of the Lord also is manifest in the leading of His people in various ways. The return under Cyrus was prompted by the moving of their spirit to do so (Ezra 1:5). Ezra and Nehemiah both refer to the lordship of Yahweh over them by the interesting expression "the hand of the Lord his God was upon him/me" (7:6, 9; 8:18, 22, 31; Neh. 2:8). The hand of God, as is particularly clear in Ezekiel, 6 is a metonymy for His power. Translated into ultimate terms it is a way of referring to divine sovereignty, the control by Yahweh over all facets of life. A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament.
Neh 2:8 and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of the city, and for the house to which I will go." And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me. (cp Pr 21:1)
Steven Cole - "So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king… " It had to be a silent, instantaneous cry of "Help, Lord!" Or, "Lord, give me wisdom now!" This quick sentence prayer rested on four months of extended praying. It shows that Nehemiah depended on the Lord in every situation. As Neh 2:8 shows, Nehemiah didn't attribute the king's favorable response to good luck. Rather, "the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me." As Proverbs 21:1 states, "The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord. He turns it wherever He wishes." Or, as Hudson Taylor said, "It is possible to move men through God by prayer alone" (cited by Charles Swindoll, Hand Me Another Brick [Thomas Nelson Publishers], p. 43). One reason God makes us wait on Him is to teach us to depend on Him in prayer. If He immediately granted everything we ask for, we'd grab the goodies and forget God. But when we wait on God in prayer, we learn to seek God Himself and to depend upon Him in ways that we never would learn any other way. And, when the answer finally comes, we realize that it is because of one reason: "the good hand of our God was upon us." Thus we give Him all the glory He deserves.
Jon Courson - Nehemiah’s quick prayer was indeed a powerful prayer, for the king granted all three of his requests. I find it interesting that in Ezra 8, we read that when Ezra prepared to go to Jerusalem, he determined not to ask the king for anything because the hand of God was upon him. Here, years later, Nehemiah comes on the scene and asks the king for supplies, also because the hand of God was upon him. Who was right? Ezra or Nehemiah? They both were because God uses different personalities to accomplish His perfect purposes.
Neh 2:18 And I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me, and also about the king's words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us arise and build." So they put their hands to the good work.
Job 12:9 "Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this
Psalm 75:8 For a cup is in the hand of the LORD, and the wine foams; It is well mixed, and He pours out of this; Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs.
Psalm 118:15 The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
16 The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
John Phillips - The theme of the rejoicing is given: "The right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORDdoeth valiantly." Look at that right hand of His. It is a pierced hand, engaged now in a priestly work, raised at God's right hand in answer to all the accusations of the evil one against the people of God. Satan cannot get anywhere near the throne with his venomous charges because that hand is upraised to silence every word he utters.
Biblical Illustrator - The right hand of the Lord" represents His power in its loftiest manifestation, its sovereignty, its resistlessness, its omnipotence.
The Strength for Protection (Psalm 118:13-16)
"Thou hast thrust sore at me… but the Lord helped me… The Lord is my strength and song… the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly… the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly" (Psalm 118:13-16). Strength/power was evident in the protection of the psalmist.
o The strength of the attack. "Thou hast thrust sore at me" (Psalm 118:13). The strength of the protection is seen in the strength of the attack. The attack was a severe one, but the protector was able to protect in spite of the powerful attack.
o The strength of the assistance. "The Lord is my strength and song… salvation… the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly" (Psalm 118:14-16). The word translated "valiantly" means strength. Divine help is powerful help.
Analytical Bible Expositor - Analytical Bible Expositor - Psalms.
Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Eccl 2:24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen, that it is from the hand of God.
Solomon made it clear that not only were the blessings from God, but even the enjoyment of the blessings was God's gift to us (Ecc. 2:24).
Isaiah 19:16 In that day the Egyptians will become like women, and they will tremble and be in dread because of the waving of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which He is going to wave over them.
Isaiah 25:10 For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain, And Moab will be trodden down in his place As straw is trodden down in the water of a manure pile.
Isaiah 41:20 That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the LORD has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.
Isaiah 62:3 You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
Isaiah 66:14 Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad, And your bones will flourish like the new grass; And the hand of the LORD will be made known to His servants, But He will be indignant toward His enemies.
Jeremiah 51:7 Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the LORD, Intoxicating all the earth. The nations have drunk of her wine; Therefore the nations are going mad.
Ezekiel 1:3 the word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and there the hand of the LORD came upon him.)
Ezekiel 3:14 So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away; and I went embittered in the rage of my spirit, and the hand of the LORD was strong on me.
22 The hand of the LORD was on me there, and He said to me, "Get up, go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you."
Ezekiel 8:1 It came about in the sixth year, on the fifth day of the sixth month, as I was sitting in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell on me there.
Elmer Towns refers to "the Hand of the Lord (God)" as one of the magnificent names of the Holy Spirit. (Ezek 8:1, Job 12:9, Isa 41:20 referring to creation - That the hand of the LORD has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it. ) This is "anthropomorphic" language-describing the divine in terms of the human. Scripture uses several such word pictures, speaking of the Holy Spirit creating life (see Job 12:9), bringing matter into existence (see Ps. 102:25), shaping the stellar heavens (see Ps. 8:3) gathering the physical land mass (see Ps. 95:5), creating man (see Ps. 119:73) and arranging the physical geography of the world (see Isa. 41:18-20). An understanding of the Holy Spirit's work in creation in this context should encourage a sense of celebration (see Ps. 92:4) and a humbling of one's self before the hand of God (see 1 Pet. 5:6).
Matthew Henry - He felt the power of God opening his eyes to see the visions, opening his ear to hear the voice, and opening his heart to receive both: The hand of the Lord was there upon him. Note, The hand of the Lord goes along with the word f the Lord, and so it becomes effectual; those only understand and believe the report to whom the arm of the Lord is revealed. The hand of God was upon him, as upon Moses, to cover him, that he should not be overcome by the dazzling light and lustre of the visions he saw, Ex. 33:22.
Ezekiel's ability to do this was far exceeded by the intransigence and hostility of his hearers, so the Lord brought to pass the third element of the call and commission-He placed His hand on him (3:14; cf. 1:3; 8:1; 33:22; 37:1). The "hand of the Lord" is always a metaphor for His power. In this case the hand lifted the prophet up (3:12; cf. 8:3; 11:24; 40:1; 43:5) to transport him to the place where the captives lived (3:15) and to provide him encouragement despite the bitterness of his assignment (v. 14). When he was overcome by the anticipation of the task and the burden of being the watchman of the Lord (vv. 15-21), Ezekiel again was revived by the hand of God who raised him up (v. 22), revealed to him his glory (v. 23), and promised to fill his mouth with words when the time of proclamation came (v. 27).
A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament.
Ezekiel 33:22 Now the hand of the LORD had been upon me in the evening, before the refugees came. And He opened my mouth at the time they came to me in the morning; so my mouth was opened and I was no longer speechless.
Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones.
Ezekiel 40:1 In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was taken, on that same day the hand of the LORD was upon me and He brought me there.
The phrase, "The hand of the Lord was upon him," or came upon me, is found seven times in Ezekiel, in Ezek 1:3, 3:14, 22, 8:1, 23:22, 37:1, 40:1.
These three elements-vision, word, and power (or hand)-appear pervasively in Ezekiel's descriptions of his call and of Yahweh's self-revelation. The vision is the abstract message itself, the word is its interpretation, and the power is the means by which the message is effectually communicated. For the hand of the Lord to come on the prophet is to assure him of the Lord's affirmation and enablement. A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament.
In Ezekiel the Spirit interacts with the living beings (cherubim), the prophet, and the people of God, leaving Jerusalem but promising to return. The spirits of the four living beings, located within the wheels, depart Jerusalem with the Spirit and glory of God (Ezek. 1:20-21; 10:17-20). The Spirit moves the prophet and inspires him with the Word of the Lord. The Spirit, also identified as "the hand of the Lord," profoundly affects the spirit of the prophet, giving him visions and revealing God's glory (Ezek. 2:2-4, 12-16; 3:24-27; 8:3-4; 11:1-5, 24; 40:1-3). The false prophets could also claim to be inspired but by their own spirits (Ezek. 13:2-3). Although the people of God treated the name of the Lord profanely, God promises to regenerate them in order to vindicate the holiness of his name. They would receive "a new heart and a new spirit," being enabled to obey the Lord because his Spirit would dwell within them (Ezek. 36:22-32).
In the vision of the valley of dry bones, Ezekiel sees the Spirit of the Lord put "the breath" back into the dead people of Israel. The recreation account of Ezekiel 37:1-14 thus recalls the creation account of Genesis 2:7. Although the Spirit of the Lord had departed from the temple, he will return with the divine glory, restoring the people of God (Ezek. 39:29; 43:4-5).
The correlation between the divine Spirit and the prophetic Word is also affirmed by other prophets (Mic. 3:8; Zech. 7:12; cf. Isa. 40:7-8). Those prophets who claim the Spirit but lack the Word are false (Jer. 5:13). Recalling the prayer of Moses in Numbers 11:29 for a universal prophetic ministry, Joel foresees a day when the Spirit would come upon all people, regardless of gender, age, or social status (Joel 2:28-29). Finally, among the Minor Prophets, the Spirit is identified with divine judgment on the one hand (Mic. 2:7) and covenant restoration and rebuilding of the temple on the other (Hag. 2:3-5; Zech. 4:6; Mal. 2:15). A Theology for the Church.
Luke 1:66 All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, "What then will this child turn out to be?" For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.
The aid in the development. "The hand of the Lord was with him" (Luke 1:66). One will not do much for God if the hand of the Lord is not upon one. The work which John the Baptist had to do required great help from God. But when God calls, God enables. Many do not perceive the need of the hand of the Lord upon them for service. They think by manipulation and clever schemes they can accomplish much for God. Scripture, however, says, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). To serve God adequately we must have Divine help. Analytical Bible Expositor - Analytical Bible Expositor - Luke.
Acts 11:21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.
Ivor Powell - Every person became aware that supernatural power worked through the visitors, but Luke expressed his convictions with the words, "The hand of the Lord was with them" (v. 21). Daily, large audiences listened to the gospel, and additional converts embraced the faith. They "turned unto the Lord;" that is, they renounced their former deeds and, forsaking idolatry, followed Christ. That was Christianity at its best. People whose profession of faith is not followed by a transformation of life style are shallow, unconvincing, and dangerous.
The power for the saving. "The hand of the Lord was with them" (Acts 11:21). Unless the Lord is helping, all the preaching in the world will not do much good. Churches have resorted to all manner of promotional schemes to attract a crowd and get decisions. They ought instead to seek the "hand of the Lord" to be upon them. Analytical Bible Expositor - Analytical Bible Expositor - Acts.
If chapter 11 gives a history which might clothe Paul with honours, and give grounds for him to boast: chapter 12 gives us a dealing of the Lord which reduced him to "nothing." No doubt it was necessary that the leading man in the Christian course should be introduced into things which it was not lawful to reveal. It was needful, too, to strengthen him in a special way-giving him to realise, above others, what was the portion of all: the possible state for every saint to enjoy, though, in the state of things, unspeakable also. But to follow this, and consequent upon it, the discipline came which had the effect of emptying Paul of every vestige of human strength, reducing him to the condition of a will-less, powerless vessel, so that he might be fitted thus to be wielded and used by the hand of the Lord who did so. A Chosen Vessel.
This made the prophet Isaiah, after long preaching, cry out, that he had laboured for nought, and in vain; and this made him cry to God, 'to rend the heavens and come down,' that the mountains, or rocky hills, or hearts, might be broken, and melt at his presence (Isa 44:4, 64:1, 2). For he found by experience, that as to this no effectual work could be done, unless the Lord put to his hand. This also is often intimated in the Scriptures, where it saith, when the preachers preached effectually to the breaking of men's hearts, 'the Lord wrought with them; the hand of the Lord was with them,' and the like (Mk 16:20; Ac 11:21). Now when the hand of the Lord is with the Word, then it is mighty: it is 'mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds' (2 Cor 10:4). The Acceptable Sacrifice.
The great number of believers at Antioch was due to the ministry of the Spirit. It is said, "The Acts 11:21.
Luke 1:66. hand of the Lord was with them;" and this marked expression may be the equivalent here of the Spirit's power, as it appears to be, when used of the forerunner of Christ, who from birth was peculiarly filled with the Holy Ghost. Grand metaphor indeed to express the active operation of the Spirit!-THE HAND OF THE Lord. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, and a sword needs a hand to grasp, hold, and wield it; the truth of God is a hammer, and needs a hand to give effectiveness to its blows. If vessels are to be molded and fitted for service, a hand must do the shaping and filling and carrying. Surely wherever the gospel is triumphant it is the Holy Spirit who is the hand of the Lord, breaking hard hearts with his hammer, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit with his sword, molding vessels unto honor for the Master's use upon his potter's wheel.
A T Pierson - The Acts of The Holy Spirit.
Acts 13:11 "Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time." And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand.
(Job 12:9) "Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this, (Job 12:10) In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?
New Testament makes frequent mention of the hand of God, which tells us of the works of God in our world. He is the Creator of the world (Heb. 1:10). (Heb 1:10) And, "THOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING DIDST LAY THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF THY HANDS;
In His strong right hand He holds believers (John 10:29; Acts 11:21). Into God's hands Christ committed His spirit as He died on the cross (Luke 23:46). Jesus Christ has been exalted to the right hand of God (5:31; 7:56; Heb. 8:1). The entire destinies of people and the world are in the hand of God (Acts 4:28). For this reason God's hands will execute judgment on the world (10:31).
The hands of Christ, which were pierced, could heal any ill and give sight to any blind eye. How good it is to know that we may find shelter in the safe hand of God. "He's got the whole world in His hands."
Everything was laid in the hand of God. When all is in His hands, than all is well! May we never forget that our God is a sovereign Lord. He is in absolute control of every situation of life - Eph. 3:20; Ex. 3:14. Therefore, we can have confidence placing our all in His hands! Are you bound in the spirit to do something? If so, commit it to the hand of the Lord and get to it! He will see to whatever needs you may have along the way, Gen. 24:44. He will see you through until the race is run and your course is finished!
We plow the fields, and scatter
The good seed on the land,
But it is fed and watered
By God's Almighty Hand.
The Book of Common Prayer contains many beautiful paraphrases of Scripture, among which is this comforting line taken from Psalm 95:7: "For He is the Lord our God: and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand."
One of the greatest of these was penned by Augustus Toplady (1740-78):
My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains
In marks of indelible grace.
1Pe 5:6 - Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,The word "therefore" points back to the fact that God gives grace to the humble. Here in verse 6, Peter was assuring his readers that they could always be assured that God is good. He is great. He is strong. He has a mighty hand. He chooses the time and place for everything. All that takes place in our lives takes place under the mighty hand of God. This gives us the assurance that God is always in control. The idea of control is seen in the hand of God. The person whose hand we are in controls our destiny. The word "mighty" (krataios) speaks of the powerful hand of God.
Trusting God implies humility. The word "humble" (tapeinoo) means to make low, to reduce to lower circumstances, or to assign a lower rank or place. It means to behave in an unassuming manner. Humility before God causes us to have a proper estimate of ourselves. We come to realize that we are powerless without God.
Humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God is the cure for self-sufficiency. It is the cure for self-righteousness. It is also the cure for self-will.
If we are to best discover God's will for our own lives, we must stop struggling spiritually and emotionally to please God. We only make it hard on ourselves and we will probably move further away from God's perfect will. The best way to serve God is to submit our lives to his control. The more we yield ourselves to his power, the more power God makes available for service. It is a case of "If you lose, you win, if you give in to God, you will not give out."
We can feel safe and secure under the mighty hand of God. We know that God is concerned about us because of his continued manifestation of his presence and power in our lives. The readers of this letter could trust the power of God because God is the only one who can take nothing and create a world. He is the only one who can give life and order to his world.
There was once a little girl who listened attentively as her father read the family devotions. She seemed awed by her parents' talk of God's limitless power and mercy. "Daddy," she asked, "how big is God?" Her father thought for a moment and answered, "Honey, I do not know how big God is, but I do know he is always bigger than your needs."
I want us to know that we can always trust God's power. We have evidence that God is concerned about us because of his presence. We have evidence that God is concerned about us because of his power. God knows all about us and is in position to help us as no one else can. He knows just how much we can stand. Jesus reminds us that his grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9). God gives us adequate strength for every test. This should encourage us to put our trust in God. It should cause us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.
Hand in Scripture - In secular Greek the hand was frequently mentioned. Aristotle called the hand "the tool of tools." Besides using it for working, the Greeks also were given to shaking hands. Since a ruler proved his power in hand-to-hand combat, a hand also symbolized power. As Greek mythology developed, the hands of the gods assumed importance. It was the hands of the gods which allegedly protected people. When a person was unusually blessed, it was assumed that the gods had laid their hands on him. In the Septuagint the hand often referred to God's activities in the world. More than 200 times the hand of God is mentioned in the Old Testament. It is God's hand which created the world. When blessing came on the Jewish nation, it was God's hand at work. Even in punishment, godly Jews saw the hand of God. When Jesus met a man with a withered hand, He restored that hand immediately (Matt. 12:10-13; Mark 3:1-5; Luke 6:6-10). Indeed the hands of Jesus were often busy doing miracles of healing (Mark 6:2).
Pritchard - Providence is the "invisible hand" of God
The Protecting Hand of God
Put Your Hand into the Hand of God
The hand of the Lord - Nothing can be disposed of without the good pleasure and providence of God, who hath the life and breath of all creatures, men as well as others, in His hand.
A significant number of texts refer to the "hand of God" in various contexts. Basically, this concept refers to divine power and authority. For example, in regard to his people, Yahweh is said to "lift up his hand" against them as punishment for their rebellion against him (cf. Eze. 44:12). Sometimes "the hand of the Lord" was against them (e.g., Ex 16:3; Lev. 26:25; Jdg 2:15; Ru 1:13; Isa. 5:25; Eze. 20:15). The covenant curse is in view in Ex 16:3; Lev. 26:25. In a related sense, Yahweh is said to deliver his people "into the hands of … (their enemies)" as a punishment for their sin. This is particularly true at the time of the judges (cf. Jdg 2:14; 3:8 ff.); and the exile of both Israel and Judah (cf. Hos. 2:10; Ps 106:41; Jer. 20: 4 ff.; 32:25 ff.; Eze. 11: 9; 39:23; Ezra 9: 7). The "hand of Yahweh" is also stretched out against the enemies of his people in judgment - for example, the Canaanites (cf. Dt 2:15; Jos. 7: 7; Jdg 1: 4); the Philistines (cf. 1Sa. 5: 6 ff.; Eze. 25:16); Egypt (cf. Ex 3:20; 7:4 ff.; Isa. 11:15); and enemies in general (cf. Isa. 9:12, 17; Mic. 5: 9). "The hand of the Lord" is also referred to in regard to the prophetic endowment of the Spirit of God in preparation for the prophet to receive the divine word. This specific usage, however, is restricted to the prophet Ezekiel (cf. Eze. 1: 3; 3:14; 8:14; 37:1; 40:1). Other general references to the "hand of God/Yahweh" include his bringing Israel out of captivity "with a mighty hand" (Eze. 20:34); David pleading with God to "stay his hand of judgment" (2Sa. 24:16); and God's "good hand of mercy" (Ezra 8:18ff.; Neh. 2:18). See also Ex 15:17; Ec 2:24. God's "hands" are also indicated in contexts referring to divine creativity (e.g., Job 10: 8; Ps 119:73; Pr 31:31; Ec 2:11; Isa. 19:25; 64:8); as well as divine protection (e.g., Job 12:10; Ps 10:14; 73:23; Ec 9: 1;Jer. 31:32). Note especially the cry of the psalmist in Ps 31:5 Into Thy hand I commit my spirit;, anticipating the climax of Jesus' death on the cross: "Into your hands, I commit my spirit." Still in the context of divine initiative, there are a number of references to Yahweh delivering his people "out of the hands of (their enemies)" - for example, Egypt (cf. Ex 13: 3; Dt 1:27; Jdg 6: 9); Philistia (cf. 1Sa. 7:13, 14); and enemies in general (cf. 1Sa. 12:11; Eze. 13:23). See also Ps 18: 1; 31:15; 71:4.
Ken Hemphill - God is the owner, man is the manager, and therefore man's labor is from the hand of God.
Touched by the Master's Hand
Falling Into the Hand of the Lord
416. Hand of God
Numbers 11:23 (ESV)
Joshua 22:30-31 (ESV)
Judges 2:12-16 (AMP)