The Hand of God
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me. -1 Chronicles 4:10
Why would Jabez pray about God’s hand? It’s a biblical symbol filled with significance. References to God’s face remind us that He is personal; references to His hand remind us He is active—and powerful. Jabez prayed that he would experience the awesome power of God.
The idea of God’s hand is that He reaches supernaturally into the natural world. His hand also suggests His favor and approval resting upon the person to whom He extends it.
Have you felt the hand of God in your life?
Jonathan Edwards was one of the greatest preachers and Christian leaders who ever lived. His preaching helped to launch a national spiritual awakening.
Her sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (1741) often caused a widespread sensation. Edwards would detail the terrible power of sin in people’s lives, and their incredible need for God’s righteousness and mercy. Only the hand of God, he stressed, is capable of saving us. As he preached, many people would sit in the pews weeping and crying out to God for mercy. Some fainted on the spot. So intense were the emotions of the listeners that the deep marks of fingernails were said to have been lodged in the wooden pew backs.
Yet Edwards himself observed in his book Religious Affections that the sermon had its off-days. The preacher delivered it precisely the same way, word for word, each time. But some congregations simply smiled, thanked him, and went home. Edwards accounted for the difference in this way: The power was not in the sermon at all, no matter how effectively it was written or delivered. All the power was contained in God’s hand, moving (or not moving) among those particular people on that particular day.
We give ourselves too much credit, he was saying; it’s all about the movement of God.
Have you ever tried your hardest and felt as if something was missing? Where do you find that “slight edge” that makes the difference, the breakthrough to a wonderful new level of achievement?
Too often we think it’s all up to us. With the best of intentions, we try to do our best for God without relying on His strength. We are more like gloves who are empty until His hand fills us out and empowers us.
Reflect upon the presence of His mighty hand in our life. Have you known those times when He was clearly working in you and through you, and the result was wonderful confidence? Jabez had it right: We must have His hand upon us.
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