• What’s the shortest chapter in the Bible? Psalm 117 (2 verses)
• What’s the longest chapter in the Bible? Psalm 119 (176 verses)
• Which is the central chapter of the Bible? Psalm 118! There’s 594 chapters before Psalm 118 and there’s 594 chapters after Psalm 118. So the middle chapter of the Bible comes between the shortest, and the longest chapters.
Next question: what’s the middle verse of the middle chapter of the Bible? 29 verses in Psalm 118, so the middle verse is v15, and it says this: “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” So the central verse of all scripture speaks of the power of God’s hand. That is what we are going to speak about today… God’s Hands
But before we look at God’s hands, let us look at ours..… What are some of the things that we do with our hands?
Now think of some of the things that we do with our hands that reveal who we are. Signature, Handshake etc…
Just the expressions we use about hands reveal how through the use of our hands we reveal our character – because someone may be even-handed, meaning trustable as being fair and impartial: they may be open-handed, meaning that they’re generous, they may have clean hands or dirty hands regarding a matter of integrity, they may have clenched hands speaking of an aggressive spirit, or they may have praying hands, speaking of devotion to God.
Those of us who have studied the Adult Learning styles know that adults learn through all the methods available and using all senses available. Visual being a key sense that is used often. Of course God knows this too.God takes pleasure in giving a number of visual clues about His plans for us. His Creation is beautiful, The sun and the moon and the stars and the wind and the rain …. Everything gives us a clue about what He is or what he wants us to be, or what He wants us to do.. Have you noticed the blossoming of new leaves during the spring time , from apparently lifeless twigs and branches. This is what prompted Luther to write “Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime”.
And similarly, to help us understand what scripture means by the expression “the hands of God” He’s given every one of us a couple of them, not only to help us get done the things of life that we need to do, but as visual aids to help us understand how He accomplishes His purposes, not just functionally, but as an expression of His identity.
Hands are such a gift from God, because though God’s thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts, and God’s ways are so much higher than our ways, through our own experience of having hands, using hands, and being on the receiving end of other people’s hands, we can then understand that to place ourselves into the hands of God is to put ourselves into the centre of how God not only does things, but how He expresses His character, His attributes and His identity, of which there are so many facets.
• … such as in the expression of His power, like in these words in the song of Moses: “Your right hand, O Lord was majestic in power. Your right hand shattered the enemy” (Exodus 15:6) before that in Exodus 6:6 God told Moses… “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.
• … or His creativity, like in these words of praise: “The heaven’s declare the glory of the Lord; the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1)
I am reminded of a story of a little boy ..
Little Philip was spending the weekend with his grandmother after a particularly trying week in infant school. His grandmother decided to take him to the park on Saturday morning. It had been snowing all night and everything was beautiful. His grandmother commented,
‘Doesn’t it look like an artist painted this scenery? Did you know God painted this just for you?’
‘Yes, ‘replied Philip, ‘God did it and he did it left handed.’
This confused his grandmother so she asked him, ‘What makes you say God did this with his left hand?’ ‘Well, ‘said Philip, ‘we learned at Sunday School last week that Jesus sits on God’s right hand.’
• … or His sovereignty, like in these words: “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, or with the breadth of His hand marked off the heavens …?” (Isaiah 40:12) If you need further proof of God’s Sovereignty let us go to the Chapters 38 to 41 in the book of Job.. this is a powerful demonstration of God’s Sovereignty. He begins by asking Job… where were you when I created the ends of the earth?
• … or His compassion, as in these words of re-assurance: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10) We are familiar with the song, the battle belongs to the Lord.. 2 Chronicles 20:15,17,22 and 29 make a beautiful demonstration of God’s promise to us.. This is what the Lord says to you
• … or His righteousness, as in these words of warning: “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31)
• .. or his perseverance with our obstinacy… Isaiah 65:2 “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations.”
Having seen what God’s hands mean and what they can do.. let us take a look at whose hands are we in?
Having attended many Good Friday sermons, we must all be familiar with the last words of Jesus on the cross. What is the seventh verse?
Luke 23:46 “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”
“Into Thy Hands.” The Hands of God suggest the idea of Perfect Safety. Jesus knew the Hands of Men to be Cruel and Wicked. Said Jesus: “The Son of Man shall be betrayed into the Hands of Men and they shall kill Him.” Said Jesus: “Behold, the Hand of Him that betrayeth Me is with Me on the table.” Said Jesus: “Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is betrayed into the Hands of Sinners.” This was fulfilled when they came “and laid Hands on Jesus, and took Him.”
There is a well-worn story about a man who was walking along a narrow path, not paying much attention to where he was going and slipped over the edge of a cliff. As he fell, he grabbed a branch growing from the side of the cliff. Realizing that he couldn’t hang on for long, he called out for help. He yelled, “Is there anybody up there?” When a voice answered, the man said, “Who’s that?” The voice replied, “It’s God, do you trust me?” The man said, “I trust you completely, Lord.” God replied, “Good. Let go of the branch.” After a long pause the man cried out, “Is there anybody else up there?”
When Jesus cried out “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” in that moment He made the final commitment to co-operate with what it would take for the plan of salvation to be fulfilled, that the fullness of re-creation might take place, that light would shine through the darkness, and that ultimately all things would be made new. And if our desire is to fully co-operate with the outworking of God’s purposes in and through our lives, then these words can be powerful, if not pivotal words for us to say, even in the face of our greatest darkness.
How about us.. whose hands do we commit ourselves into? Are we inclined to trust the human hands more? Whom do we turn to in times of trouble? Do we turn to human wisdom ? Or do we really understand the might of the arms of God and surrender ourselves to Him?
Scripture in its full sweep also speaks of what flows from the hands of men as they seek to express their own character and nature, and indeed through the deeds of their hands, to impose their character and nature on others. And this reaches its crescendo in the events which happened leading up to the crucifixion as Satan worked to finally get his hands on Jesus, which Jesus knew would happen. He’d already said “the Son of Man would be handed over to be crucified” (Matthew 26:2)
We need to remember that being Christians or trusting in our Lord do not insulate us from troubles or trials or problems or issues. There may be times when we are overlooked, forgotten, ignored, insulted…But there is promise behind all that trouble and tribulations. There is a higher purpose behind all that.. we need to believe in what Romans 8:28 tells us “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[a] who[b] have been called according to his purpose” .
So the question is, are we ready to surrender ourselves into His hands? Into the everlasting arms that he continues to stretch out and wait..?
Let me speak about just two of the many things that prevent us from surrendering ourselves like Jesus did.
1. The “I” factor: Most of you know this. Adam and Eve started this in the garden of Eden in the beginning , continued by Cain, and we see numerous examples in the scripture, where this has overtaken the will of God and destroyed lives and nations.
2. The feeling of unworthiness: This is a common feeling especially among the youngsters, teenagers.. The feeling that we are unworthy of being cared for by our Lord. The feeling that we might already be so deep in sin that God might not want us, or forgive us. There can be no feeling farther from the truth. God does not look at our past. God does not remember our mistakes. God says “I will cast your sins in the depth of the ocean, and I will remember no more.”
This is a common scene in the homes where we have school going children. Mothers make sure that they prepare lunch for their children before they go out of the house. 200 years ago there was a child who was going fishing.. and his mother asked him if he has packed his lunch. He said “No, and the mother said.. you better wait .. and the boy grudgingly complied. The mother packed five loaves of barley bread and two sardines into an old paper bag and pushed it into the boy’s hands. The boy went on his way and before he reached his destination he saw a crowd , and curiosity got the better of him. He decided to inquire and was told that there was a preacher from Nazareth who was teaching new things. He decided to follow the crowd and listen in to the teachings for a little time. Soon it was late in the day and the crowd was getting hungry. The boy saw one person approaching him (he was later to know that this person was Andrew, one of the disciples of Jesus), and asking him what he had in his hand, and he was only too glad to share that he had five loaves of bread and two pieces of fish. Andrew then took the boy to the teacher. Initially the boy was very reluctant to part with what he had, not because he loved what was in the package but he thought what was there was not worthy of being shared with the teacher. Little did he know the plans the teacher had for the package, and the boy watched in amazement as Jesus opened the crumpled up package and gave thanks to the Lord and broke the bread and distributed to all those who were present, more than 5000 men and accompanying women and children he came to learn later… He was thrilled beyond his wildest imagination at the sight of what the ordinary pieces of bread, and fish became in the Lord’s hands….
I am sure all of us have at certain points like the small boy, reluctant to part with what we have to the Lord, because we fell it is too insignificant, it is unworthy to be shared with the Lord. This could be our talents, our time, our troubles, our wealth…
You see .. a cricket ball is a just a hard ball in my hands, but in the hands of a person like Sreesanth it can turn into a tool which takes the crowd to it’s frenzy. A cricket bat is a piece of wood in my hands but in the hands of Yuvaraj Singh, it can turn into some thing which wins matches. A paint brush is a item I use to touch up patches at my home, but in the hands of an artist, it can be used to create the most exquisite piece of work. It is not what you have in your hands that maters but in whose hands the stuff is , that matters. And who else knows our worth than our creator.. So may be our parents do not know our worth, our friends do not know our worth, our teachers do not know our worth, but our creator, knows our worth, and we are best used in His hands.. His hands know how to use us completely. If you have ever felt that you are not equipped to do God’s work, remember this, God does not call the equipped, God equips the called.
So shall we commit ourselves into the hands of God, which is so central to the scripture? Remember the Central verse of the Bible? Psalm 118:15? You know that it talks about the hand of God. Not surprisingly, the very next verses talk about what happens whan God’s right hand does things “The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! I will not die but live, and proclaim what the Lord has done” (v16,17).
Let us pray….
When the Lord Jesus ascended he promised to be with us always,
in the power of your Word and Holy Spirit.
On the night in which he gave himself up for us,
Our Lord Jesus took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread
gave it to his disciples, and said:
“Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
Likewise, when the supper was over, he took the cup,
gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said:
“Drink from this, all of you,
this is my blood of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
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