The Hands of the Lord

ImageWhen God made cowboys, with a dash ADD,

He knew their kind were just like Him, and needed kept busy.

So He gave a mind to contemplate, the troubles of the time,

And gave’em hands to operate, on the problems that they find.

So cowboys hands over years, have done a lot of chores,

When the sun arrives each morning, there are many works in store.

A cowboys hands tell a story, of all the labors that he’s done,

In every weather pattern, in snow and burning sun.

They’ve laid rope to tree, pulled calves in twelve below,

Stretched barbs on wire, stacked hay a-many load.

They’ve thrown a thousand loops, a great loop perhaps one,

They’ve worked from dawn to dusk, they’d hate to slow down some.

Braided strips of leather, carved designs in hide,

Planted posts to keep his stock from rangin’ the country-side.

A fine touch with the reins, a hard touch with a quirt,

Steady work with a rifle, unfaltered by his work.

They’ve forged a hardened shoe, set it solid on the hoof,

Keep their family fed, in clothes and under roof.

The cowboy’s hands are often hidden, beneath the dirt and grime,

Remains in them power to act, to work and pen a rhyme.

My grandfather ran about 15 head of cattle when I was growing up.  I realize that’s not much to many, but it was the closest think I knew to a ranch.  Around most of his acreage ran a single strand of electrified barbed wire.  This hot-wire ran through some pretty nasty terrain in some places, so every night it was necessary to do a once around to check the fence.  Some nights, if I arrived at just the right time, I would get to go up and water the cows and check the fence with him.  Grandpa for years made tires at Goodyear and ran some cows.  Both jobs were very hard on hands.  I was always amazed at the way he could manhandle barbed wire, stick a post in the ground, out muscle the water trough, and twist balin’ wire.  His hands were the roughest I had ever seen.  I still remember him, wrenching loose staples, wielding a hay hook, and twisting wrenches.  Grandma kept a dried out bar of lava soap next to the sink that Grandpa used to wash his hands…it hurt my soft hands to use that rough soap.  In his hands was the capability to tackle any job.

The last post discussed the differences n the names of God (‘elohim v. Yahweh).  ‘Elohim testified to Creator and Power, whereas Yahweh spoke to the personal, relational God who was in regular contact with his people.  It is the personal relationship Yahweh had with his people that caused the authors of scripture to speak in poetics and ascribe to Him human attributes.  To be fair, ‘elohim is occasionally linked to physical characteristics, but not nearly with the regularity of Yahweh.  One of the major attributes to Yahweh are His hands.

  The hand [hb. yad] of Yahweh showed the Lord’s power in action.

Without equal, the biggest event in Hebrew history was the Exodus.  The night that a nation of slaves walked out of the greatest nation one earth, carrying their wealth, and taking from them their honor (Exodus 12.31-42).  That night was special.  That day of victory would be remembered for generations.  Every year the Israelites would celebrate the night that they routed Egypt, became their own people, with their own identity, because of the work of their God, the work that He accomplished with His own hands.

When Israel was to celebrate this day, it was for one reason: to remind them that the Lord brought them out of Egypt with His mighty hand. (Ex. 13.3, 9, 16)  When their kids ask what the celebration is for, the Israelites can tell them about the mighty hand of God that brought them out of Egypt (Ex. 13.14).  The hand of God is God’s power in action in the lives of His people.  Four times in 13 verses, God’s hand is at work, actively involved in bringing the people out of Egypt.  There is no way they could have done it on their own, but the hand of Yahweh is more than capable.

The Hands of Yahweh are never idle.  It was His hand that brought the plagues upon Egypt (Ex. 6.1).  His hand would be so heavy, so mighty in dealing with the Egyptians, that Pharaoh would drive them out of the country.  In the same way that God will force out the Canaanites before Israel, Egypt will so badly want to be done with them, that they will drive [hb. Garas] them out of Egypt.  It is God’s activity that will bring about the event that would forever be remembered as the greatest act in the history of the people.

The hands of Yahweh, are not just God’s power in action, but his mighty ability on display.  The word for mighty [hb. hazaq] is a word reserved for only the strongest, hardest, and resilient powers.  The verb form of hazaq is the word used for the ’hardening’ of Pharaoh’s heart.  The power and supremacy found in the Lord’s hand is unequaled in the universe.  In the battle between Pharaoh’s hardened heart and the Lord’s mighty hand.  God had already warned Moses that only the most powerful action would free his people, the Lord’s hand. (Ex. 3.19)

Yahweh’s hands, His power in activity, brought the Israelites redemption from the land of Egypt (Deut. 7.8).  But 1500 years later it would be Jesus hands, pierced by nails, that would provide for our redemption.  Jesus hands held him on the cross to pay for our sins.  It was the Lord’s power in action by sending Jesus that would provide salvation for us today.  The hands of the Lord, a picture of His ability and activity, would save his people from slavery in Egypt and our slavery to sin. (Rom. 6.6-7)  God has the power to work in situations we deem hopeless, the ability to accomplish things we never can imagine, and the strength to act where we can’t.

Is there a time when you have seen the Lord’s hands and his power in action?  What thoughts come to mind when you think of God’s power?

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About Travis Long

I am a cowboy saved by the grace of God.

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