Beth Moore — The Mighty Hand of God
A little Bible trivia to get our series started. What do Elijah, Jabez, David, Ezekiel and the New Testament, very, very early churches, as early as Acts chapter 11, have in common? Now we know there will be faith in God but what more specifically would all of those people in the scriptures have in common? The Word of God tells us that the hand of the LORD was with them or the hand of the LORD was upon them. Each one of them, and each one of them were able to do exploits in his name that would have been impossible for human flesh and blood.
You and I are going to be studying through the course of this series what it means to have the hand of God upon us. I want to try to convince you that of all things you want to ask him for, you want to ask him for his hand to be with you, the hand of the Lord to be upon you.
Listen to some of the kinds of things that we're enabled to do through the hand of the Lord being upon us. Elijah for instance, had the hand of the Lord come upon him walking through a valley. The Father fell upon him, set his hand upon him; Elijah tucked his cloak and outran a chariot with King Ahab in it. That's what it can make you do. The hand of the Lord can make you run really fast. Anybody feeling really slow? Well, the hand of the Lord can make you really, really fast.
We're also told -- I love this portion of scripture -- Ezekiel 8:1-3. I'm going to read it to you. It says this: In the sixth year, in the sixth month, and on the fifth day of the month -- do you like that for a specific? Somebody journaled! Amen? Somebody was journaling! -- As I sat in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, the hand of the Lord God fell upon me there.
Listen, I want to just be sitting in my house, sitting in my house. Knowing what we're about to study together I began to ask Him in my hotel room, "Lord, the hand of the LORD come upon me -- come upon me -- come upon me!" It came upon him there, fell upon him and it says in verse two: Then I looked and behold, a form that had the appearance of a man. Below what appeared to be his waist was fire, and above his waste was something like the appearance of brightness, like gleaming metal.
Verse three: He put out the form of a hand and He took me -- are you staying with me? -- took me -- does anybody know what's coming? -- by a lock of my hair and the spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem. That's what the hand of the Lord can do! He can come grab you by the top of your hair and set you anywhere he wants to. Is that magnificent or what?
Jabez -- we for many of us are familiar with the prayer of Jabez because we have repeated it ourselves: Lord, enlarge my borders. Enlarge my territory. We've learned to pray that. But there is something else tucked in his request that I don't want you to miss in our present series because it is of tremendous importance.
Listen to First Chronicles 4: 10. This time listen for something besides just having our borders enlarged. It says: Jabez called upon the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!" And God granted what he asked. God granted what he asked.
He asked that the hand of the Lord would be with him. I want to try to convince you that this ought to become one of the foremost things on your tongue that you request from God. Listen, you will not have a problem with your personal significance if the hand of the Lord is upon you. It's just not going to happen! It's not going to happen!
It will be -- I cannot tell you the empowerment it will be to your life and will be to my life.
Now we know his Holy Spirit lives within us but we're going to see what it means for his hand to be extended, to be with us and to upon us because this has become my recent obsession. Since the LORD has been showing me this, I have been obsessed with praying, that his hand would be forthrightly upon me.
Now it turns out that the Bible is very handy because the word hand is used hundreds of times -- 1800 times in the scriptures, you would find the word hand. Often it is a literal hand, some 500 times and then figuratively, some 1300 times. Now we'd also find from the scriptures that many, many times it is specifically "the hand of the Lord" that is talked about in those contexts. See, "the hand of the Lord" is the most popular hand in the entire scriptures and there is a good reason for that.
Now in the Old Testament God's hand could be for you or it could go against you. That's in the Old Testament, with people who did not believe him or did not praise him or glorify him and chose idols instead. His hand could be against them or his hand could be with another group of people that gave him the praise that his name was due.
I love Habakkuk 3:4. Listen to this verse and listen to it with your imagination as you picture it. It says this: His radiance -- talking about God -- His radiance is like the sunlight. He has rays flashing from his hand and there is the hiding of his power. That's going to become important to us because to have his hand upon us, that right there is the home, the hiding of his power.
All creation, we're told, is his handiwork. Specifically, when he came to create man in his image, he took his hands to the dust of the ground and he formed him out of his own palms. Very, very significant! So I began to look in scripture, hundreds of these occasions where the word hand comes up in reference to God. So these are a few things I want to pitch out to you. Just stay with me here and try to picture all the various ways that God can use his hands in scripture.
The hand of God can do anything! Can do absolutely anything! And we're just going to get a little bit of a feel for that in our present series, what that means. So we start here making a series of a couple of points together. Number one is this: There is NOTHING like the hand of God upon us. NOTHING!
I will prove that to you in the scriptures. There is NOTHING like having the hand of God upon us. There is no rival for it. There's no forgery for it. There is no substitute for it. It has infinite and eternal meaning. But what we're going to try to do is narrow it down to something we can embrace and remember. This is where that teacher side of me that loves the chalkboard and the classroom is going to come out because what I want to try to do is give to you a way you could boil the concept down when you think I want God's hand to be upon me and why. What are a couple of things that would come to your mind that would represent that overarching concept of the hand of God upon us?
So I love an acrostic. You'll never meet anyone who loves an acrostic more than I do. So if you're taking notes I want you to do this. I want you to write God's -- G-o-d-'-s hand but I want you to do the h-a-n-d down: God's h-a-n-d -- God's h-a-n-d, hand. So each one of those letters that make up the word hand can represent something for us that in a moment if you'll memorize them with me, I've memorized them; it was a couple of months ago God began to work this message in my heart and since that time, when I tell him, "Let your hand be upon me" -- "let your hand be upon me," all I have to do now is think of that acrostic and I can come up with four words that help me know what it means to have the hand of God upon me.
So the first one is on that "H" is holiness -- holiness! When God's hand comes upon us, we are set apart. When I read to you out of Ezekiel a little bit earlier, you can see it perfectly. It happens with all of us, not by the hair of our head perhaps but in the spirit when God puts his spirit in us. When weare born again in Christ, literally, he picks us up and sets us apart. We are made holy in him. That which is crude or that which is carnal just in the sense of just flesh and blood of man becomes sacred. The common is now uncommon; the ordinary has become extraordinary.
We are set apart. We are not the same as the rest of the world, we are set apart in him; that is holiness. Holiness is always the concept of otherness -- to be other than. God is holy -- he is completely other than us. But in him we are made holy from the rest of the world. We're other than, we're set apart.
So when God's hand comes upon you there is a holiness coming down on you -- a holiness! And when we begin to get this... See, this is what makes us want to leave our lives that are so drawn to appetites of sin because once we get this straight, once we begin to experience life under the hand of God, with the hand of God on us, this will be what we want. Nothing else will satisfy you then because you'll want whatever it takes. And if it takes the fact that I need to be set apart, if that is something I need to set aside so I can walk over here and it is so important to me that the hand of God be upon me that it is worth it to me to give up that stupid habit so that I can be like set apart in the holiness of God.
H — Holiness!
A — Anointing!
N — Name!
В — Deeds!
A — Anointing!
N — Name!
В — Deeds!