094 In the Hands of God
“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me” Isaiah 49:16
I’ve told the story before, but it bears repetition, that during my earliest School-days, I fell in love with Shelagh, the Head-masters youngest daughter. Of course it was just “puppy-love” but real enough at the time. I remember on one occasion writing her name in ink in the palm of my right hand, so that when she might walk by me, I would wave it in her direction and say “hello” always hoping she would see her name written there. I got the idea from a verse of scripture found in Isaiah’s prophesy in the 49th Chapter and the 16th verse, which reads… “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me” I have a vague recollection that my Father, or another of my Sunday School teachers explained that this was the Lords way of speaking about his love for wayward Israel! Of course for me, it was all of no consequence, as Shelagh had her eye on another ten year old at the time, and went on eventually to marry someone else? The Bible has a lot to say about the hand or hands of God, and in the moments left to me today I want to encourage you to see yourself and your destiny in the Hands of God.
Notice with me in the first place that your Life is not
In Your Own Hands
Most, if not all of us feel in some way, that we are the Master of our own Destiny. We make decisions every single day that can have far reaching effects both on us and on our families and friends. We make plans, we form liaisons and friendships, we enter into partnerships, we take note of changing circumstances,
and may even move from one location to another, even one country to another, in order to make the best use of our time, talents, energies and resources. We plan for the future and invest for our retirement, we dream of better things and hope at any rate for a good result. Yet our lives are not entirely in our own Hands. God has given us all freedom of choice and it is possible for any of us, to make the wrong choices as well as the right ones. There are none of us Robots, and God has not programmed us to follow certain tracks like a railroad that leads us eventually to our destination. We need to understand that we are not here by accident, even though some may have made such an observation of us in the past. We are here by Gods design, and also here for Gods purposes. Sadly many live their entire lives without ever understanding the destiny or plan that God has made concerning their well-being and their happiness and fulfilment in life.
David the Psalmist could say:
“Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them”.
Before you were born God wrote in a “book” about you. “What Book was that?” I hear you ask. We all know it wasn’t the Bible, and it wasn’t the Lambs Book of Life, so then, what was that book in which God wrote about you? You see long before ITV or Eamon Andrews, God had a “This is Your Life” book! In that book, so this Psalm tells us, He wrote about all your days, and all my days, then he “knit us together in our Mothers womb” v13, and brought us out on the day we were born, to live out those written about days!
This amazing act of a loving God and Father, shows us clearly that our coming into the world was not by accident!
Of course many folk don’t believe in God, nor in His loving plans and purposes, and these often find life for them to be a mere existence, a hotchpotch of fair and foul experiences which have no real end or goal, no purpose or intention towards any conclusion? These folk live and die without ever have found meaning or point to their existence on this planet, and more tragically – without ever have found God! It may be today as you listen, you’ve not yet found God, simply because you have not been looking for him. You don’t want God, you don’t want religion, you don’t want faith, you don’t need love, you don’t need forgiveness, and the last thing you want in your life is to belong to a Church family of any sort? Yet your attitude of contempt towards God and the things of God – has not turned God away from loving you, and from wanting you to experience life as he intended that you should.
An atheist once said, “If there is a God, may he prove himself by striking me dead right now.” Nothing happened. “You see, there is no God.” He said triumphantly: but another responded,
“You may only have proved that He is a gracious and patient God.”
So although you haven’t realized it or understood it, even you are not in your own hands, God has plans for you that you could never imagine.
Then let us consider that your life is not
In the Hands of any Government
In our modern world, Governments seem to be taking an ever increasing role in the affairs and business of the citizens. The fact that “Big Brother” is watching us seems all too realistic today. Surveillance Cameras are fixed to almost every street
corner, and Governments monitor your bank account, your spending patterns, your credit liabilities, your neighbourhood is monitored from space, and your vehicle is not only taxed, but tagged and traced wherever you park it. Plans are afoot to monitor the inside of your home as well as the outside. The insertion of listening devices and cameras in Hi-Tec electrical equipment, the logging of computer data, the history of telephone calls, texts and messages, the sharing of medical records and pharmaceutical data and the cross continental exchange of such information, … leaves the ordinary man-in-the-street pondering where it will all end? Yet I say again, that your life is not in the hands of the Government. Governments rise and fall at the behest of the Almighty. In some parts of the world, Christians suffer greatly from persecution orchestrated by their own Governments. Indeed, if we allow it, Christians here could suffer similarly.
We are told by the “Politically Correct brigade” that many of our Christian and Church symbols and customs are offensive to the ordinary man in the street and to other faith cultures. That may be so, but has anyone stopped to think that the Christian finds many of the worlds symbols and cultures deeply offensive? I don’t like it when a Television Programmes belittle Jesus Christ and makes fun out of his Church which is his treasure on earth. Christians are often asked to make change, but those who deny and abuse Jesus Christ make no change. Many true Christians will I believe suffer persecution in the days to come and this will be from the new atheistic groups that are becoming more violent in their hatred of anything Christian. Yet again, we are not in the hands of our Enemies either! God has already issued a stern warning to the enemies of his children and his chosen ones.
We locate this warning in Psalm 27 where we read:
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear:”
The History of those who are the enemies of Gods people, has already been written. Their story has had its end completed. Did you catch it? It was right there in that Psalm! Those who stand against the Child of God, even if they should be a whole host of enemies, they have but two steps left. The first is that they will “stumble” the second is that they will “fall”
Fear not:- your life is not in the hand of the Government nor in the hand of your foes, your enemies ….
nor is your life (strange as this may seem)
In the Hands of the Church
God has so ordained it that the Church has oversight of its members, and must bring its members under subjection to the word and will of God both in its preaching and practice. The apostle Peter could assert in 1 Peter 5; 1-5
“1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5 Likewise, ye
younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility:
for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble“.
The Church is not and never was meant to lord it over Gods people, and where this has and does happen, God has not been in it, and judgement will come because of it. While the younger must submit to the elder, and that is not relating to age, but to faith, we must nonetheless submit to each other as Christian to Christian. The Church is meant to nurture and feed the flock of God, to care for and Shepherd Gods children (in Latin) “En Loco Dei” in the place of God, until the great Shepherd appears.
Yet we are not to put our faith and confidence in the Church, but in the Lord. Many in this country have in more recent times, had their faith deeply shaken and some have had their faith shattered, simply because their faith was in the Church and not in the Lord Jesus. Our confidence should never be put in Men, but in God. The Bible reminds us …
“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8 and …
“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to put confidence in princes”. Psalm 118:9
Solomon’s wisdom advises us that
“the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3:26
and Paul writing to the Philippian Church warns
“For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh”. Phil 3;3 The Hymn writer says:
The arm of flesh will fail you, you dare not trust your own!
The Church of Jesus Christ is presently an imperfect Church,
simply because it is full of “imperfect” people. But our faith must be founded on Jesus Christ, not on any Church, nor any
denomination. If you find the perfect Church, don’t join it,
for you are likely to ruin it!
So then we have discovered that our lives are not in our Own hands, not in the hands of Government, not in our Enemies hand, not even in the hands of the Church, but let us rejoice in the fact that our lives are
In the Hands of God.
Returning to our text in Isaiah 49:16 we read
“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands;
thy walls are continually before me”
As I mentioned earlier, this is the picture of LOVE. Gods Hands are Loving Hands, and in them He holds my life. If you are his child, he holds you there also. If you are not yet born into Gods family, then you can become a child of God today. You have nothing to do, but to repent and believe. What had to be done, has been finished at the Cross …
“It is not try but trust, it is not do but done, our God has wrought for us, great victory through His Son”
My dear friend it is vital that you are held in the hand of God, vital in these dark and difficult days. We live in a fearful world, as the Bible says regarding these end times and latter days, “men’s hearts are failing them for fear” (Luke 21:26) and we see this every day as business men lose their funds, as investors lose their risk, as workers lose their jobs, as politicians lose their nerve, as shops lose their customers, and as people lose their confidence.
The health and well-being of the nation is at an all time low. In what have you placed your confidence for the future, where have
you rested your all if not on Jesus Christ and in the loving
hands of God? You know that it is folly to put confidence in Riches or Wealth, confidence in your Health and Strength,
confidence in your Possessions or Properties. Have you not seen all these materialistic securities tumble and fall
in recent times?
Only those who know that their lives are in the Hands of God can have hope for the future. I thank God today that MY life is not in my own hands, not in the hands of the folks at Stormont Westminster or Dail Eireann, not in the hands of my friends or foes, not in the hands of my Church family, not in the hands of Alkieda, not in the hands of the European Union, or the American President, BUT in the hands of Almighty God!
Right now it looks like the world is out of kilter, nothing seems to be functioning properly. Those of you listening locally will be familiar with the saying “The world is Cowped” as my old Granny used to say. Many are asking what is going on, but few seem to understand that in all of this God has His Agenda. Behind the scenes, God is at work, God is in control, God is moving and manipulating the events of this present world to fit a greater plan, and a greater purpose. Satan of course knows that something is up, that something is happening in the Spirit realm, and while he knows the purpose of God is to ultimately destroy His power on earth and give that power to an enthroned Jesus Christ in the new millennium, He does not know the exact time and ways that God will bring it to pass. He therefore has always had to have his “counterfeits” ready. The Devils ploy is to mimic the plans of God, and to mirror those plans to distract the worlds populations away from Gods mercy and love, to his destruction. The One World Order, one world bank, one world government, one world economy, one world
rule, is simply a copy of what Satan knows will be the One Lordship of Jesus Christ as he comes back to reign and rule as
King of this World, for 1000 years. (Rev 20:4&6) Yet what Satan means for evil, God will turn around and transform for Good. Gods agenda will succeed, while Satan’s agenda, will fail! Governments, Nations, Politicians, Presidents, Kings or Queens will not be able to thwart the plans and purposes of Almighty God written down and settled in the prophetic writings of the Old and New Testament and written there, also, for our enlightenment and encouragement.
Gods word is settled in Heaven for ever (Psalm 119:89)
In that word He has shown us that in spite of our waywardness, in spite of our complaining, in spite of our contempt, and in spite of our sin, He Still Loves Us and has written our names on the palms of his hand.
Now this final Word.
A telemarketer called a home one day, and a small voice whispered, “Hello?”
“Hello! What’s your name?”
Still whispering, the voice said, “Jimmy.”
“How old are you, Jimmy?”
“Good, Is your mother home?”
“Yes, but she’s busy.”
“Okay, is your father home?”
“He’s busy too.”
“I see, who else is there?”
“The police? May I speak with one of them?”
“Are any other grown-ups there?”
“May I speak with a fireman, please?”
“They’re all busy.”
“Jimmy, all those people in your house, and I can’t talk with any of them? What are they all doing?”
“Looking for me,” whispered Jimmy.
Jimmy had clearly been misbehaving, and all were looking for him. My dear Friend, God is looking for you too, the reason being that you are not yet safe in his hands. Don’t run away like Jimmy, run to Jesus today. Even if you too have been misbehaving, Jesus wants to have and hold you for time and for eternity. His precious hands bear the marks of nails, because one day he was nailed to a cross and died there to prove his love for you and for me:- but also in those nail scared hands he had written your name.
May Almighty God Bless this great truth to all our hearts, for his dear names sake: Amen.