Yesterday we talked about being strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Years ago I remember the handshake of a couple of people that stood out to me. The first was that of a limp fish but it was the second handshake that amazed me. It was powerful and all consuming, that is my hand was engulfed by his. I felt weak because I could not even squeeze with the appropriate response. He probably said as I did; wow that guy’s handshake was like a limp fish. There really was no way to compare our hands but even this man’s hands are no match for our sovereign king. Deuteronomy 3:24 “Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?” Deuteronomy 4:34 “Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?” So we are no match for the power of God’s hands. Psalm 118:15 “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” Psalm 118:16 “The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” Psalm 136:12 “with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.”
On Sunday we sang a song by the Newsboys called “Live with Abandon”. The lyrics said, “I want to live with abandon. Give You all that I am, Every part of my heart, Jesus I place in Your hands I want to live with abandon.” Our life as a servant of the king means everything is placed in the hands of God. Even the insurance company Allstate Insurance cannot compare to the good hands of God. With an insurance company you have placed your hope in man, so much so that some insurance companies now call themselves assurance companies. That is great but their assurance only goes so far. Man cannot compare to what Jeremiah says in Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. 18 You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, 19 great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve. 20 You performed signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours. 21 You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror. 22 You gave them this land you had sworn to give their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey. 23 They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey you or follow your law; they did not do what you commanded them to do. So you brought all this disaster on them.”
So why do we d the same and continue to disobey by trying to accomplish things with our own hands. Why do we continue to fashion golden calves and bow down to them. Acts 7:41 “That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and reveled in what their own hands had made.” Too many people are making and worshipping golden calves, expecting them to lead the way. Exodus 32:1 “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”1 Kings 12:28 “After seeking advice, the king (Jeroboam) made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” What happens is most Christians do not want to wait on the Lord and then proceed to go ahead and use their own hands. In North America our hands have made much but sadly many Deuteronomy 8:17 “say to themselves, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. 19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God. This leads to the hands of the enemies taking over just as it happened so many times through scripture. Judges 2:14 “In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist.” It is foolish to think God will not do the same in our day.
We know that our hands cannot save ourselves. A great example of this is to look at Gideon. God chooses him and even calls him a mighty warrior. Gideon’s response to that was. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” 13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” 15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” The answer was correct, as we cannot do this in our own strength. The best thing we can do is to admit we are weak and helpless without the Lord our God. God shows this when he Judges 7:2 “said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.”7 The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” We know the rest of the story and victory was theirs.
Lets return to Isaiah. Isaiah 40:29 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Jesus called his disciples who were but fisherman. Later it was said of them Acts 4:13 “that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. As we worship and serve the Sovereign Lord let us say Hosea 14:3 “Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount warhorses. We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion.” Isaiah 41:10 “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.” 1 Thessalonians 3:13 “May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” Remember the Kingdom comes with repentance.