That’s Handy

HandThat’s handy… Can I give you hand with something?… That’s a job for the handyman… They were welcomed into membership with the right hand of fellowship… She has the upper hand in this challenge… I could use an extra pair of hands to get this setup… There are a handful of expressions I could write to complete this paragraph, yet, I will leave it in your capable hands to come up with some of your own.

The book of Isaiah has a wealth of imagery that reveals who God is through the descriptive words and references to His hand. Here is a great example, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?” (40:12). The deep hollow and incredible breadth of his hand reveal to us the immensity of God and his sovereign power over all creation. Chapter 5:25 reads, “His hand is raised and He strikes them down”. These words reveal his mighty power, his anger towards sin and mankind’s disobedience which ultimately leads to the actions of his divine justice. Chapter 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” These words so beautifully reveal the reassurances of the compassion and love that God has for his people. With his righteous right hand, with power and authority he will not let us fall.

There are many other examples I discovered in reading through these incredible words written by Isaiah. One of the most powerful and meaningful verses that made an impact on my understanding of who our God is can be found in chapter 8:11, here it talks about “his strong hand upon me”. Both Isaiah and Ezekiel make reference to these words which reveal to me that our God is a personal God, one who is present among us through the work of the Holy Spirit.  The hand of God leads and guides every life that he creates, helping us to navigate life in a world of sin and temptation. Whose hand are you holding on to in life? Grab a hold of God’s hand, it is reaching out for you today.

Grinding Away in Humility

DSC_0912My journey into understanding the nature of biblical humility through the writings in Philippians, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes has been eye opening and challenging. Each book has given me a new perspective and knowledge of how we as servants of Christ should be living a humble life. The process of learning has been relatively easy but the process of application on the other hand has been more difficult. One of my mentors offered this thought, “Just be aware that the greatest way we learn humility is through suffering of some form.”

After reading through the sixty-six chapters of Isaiah searching through a mixed variety of topics I was re-introduced to the word contrite. Isaiah 66:2 records these words: “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Translated from its roots in Greek and Hebrew the word contrite means, crushed, crippled or broken. Exodus 32:20 uses the phrase “ground into powder” a powerful illustration or action of how we are to humbly repent of all our sin and pride before God, giving over absolutely everything to Him. Learning and living in true humility calls us to do hard things, I do believe we will suffer and change in many ways as we grind away the things of this world that we are hanging on to in our lives.

I find two great promises in the words of Isaiah 57:15 for those who live humbly and with a contrite spirit. First we have the promise of living forever with God “in a high and holy place” one day when He returns. Secondly as we continue to live in this upside down world we can be assured that God will give us everything we need to live a good life, in our times of suffering and perseverance He will be with us. A contrite heart will receive the blessings and comfort of our great God; we will one day be with Him in that “high and holy place”. I am thankful that I have this hope and promise of eternal life, I pray that God will use me as his humble servant to call others to His name so they can come to know the same loving, merciful, and forgiving God.