Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Man After God's Own Hand?

God’s hands have much to offer.

If God opens his hand to us, we are given all we need – and who doesn’t want his or her needs met, or perhaps a financial boost? If God points with his finger, we are given the direction we desire – and who doesn’t want guidance? Also, if God holds us in his almighty hands, we know we have protection – and who doesn’t want security in a world of uncertainty? Jesus also said, with divine confidence I might add, that he holds his own in his protective hand (see John 10).

No wonder that Christians find it so easy to pray for God’s hand to be with them. We pray for God’s provision, God’s guidance, and God’s protection.

Yet our soul longs for something far more. We need not only God’s hand, but his face – his complete presence. This is why God encouraged the priests of long ago to bless the children of Israel with these words:

“The Lord bless you and keep you,
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
(Numbers 6:24-26)

Moses knew this. He prayed to God, “If your presence does not go with me, do not bring us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). How many of us would pray this way? Don’t our prayers often sound more like this: “As long as you will provide for me, that is sufficient. If your hand is with me, I’m content.”

David knew this as well. He was known as a “man after God’s own heart” rather than a “man after God’s own hand.” He prayed this way:

“One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4)

Likewise, Jesus hands – though they helped, healed, and fed – are not sufficient for those who love him. This is why Paul boasted that God has given “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). And this is why the Christian takes such comfort in Jesus’ words, “Behold, I am with you always – even to the end of the age.” He is with us. Not just his hands.

Let us seek him, then, with our whole heart… because God is likewise not so interested in what our hands bring to him, but how highly our heart prizes him.

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