In your hand

“The Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ He said, ‘A staff’” (Exodus 4:2 ESV).

Anthropologists and other scientists tell us that the two physiological features that most clearly differentiate human beings from the rest of the animal kingdom are the size (and complexity) of their brains and the unique capabilities of their hands, especially because of the opposing thumbs that only humans possess. These hands allow for the efficient use of inanimate objects (i.e., tools) which almost infinitely extend the power and efficiency of human endeavors. Note that the ability of the hand to grip and use tools is paired with the ability of the brain to invent and adapt their use. Continue reading “In your hand”

A sharp sickle in his hand

The main image of the sickle or scythe that people have is the caricature of death coming to reap (take away) life. Death is called the Grim Reaper. It is a popular image today among gamers. The sickle is an implement with a crescent-shaped blade attached to a short handle, used for cutting grain or tall grass.

In the book of Revelation, it is not Death personified, but an angel of God who wields the sickle. It is in his hand. The hand, in the Old Testament, is that part of the body “that carries out a person’s will” (Richards 324). John shares that perspective. Here, the angel is carrying out the will of God. Frank Cox noted that this angel is in the central part of seven in this part of chapter from verses 6-20 (Cox 90). It is a key section, then. This is an important moment and key action in the book. Continue reading “A sharp sickle in his hand”

The shape of the hand

Ah, winter! The perfect time to curl up and watch some gardening shows, and dream of better gardens to come. While watching one of my favorites, I learned something new this week. Oh, I’m not good with horticultural terminology….yet. I may be vaguely familiar with the terms “Ovate,” “Palmate,” or “Lanceolate.” 

In this particular episode of “Gardener’s World,” Carol explained that the “Palmate” type of leaf has lobes similar to the fingers of a hand, or “palm.” It was a light bulb moment. Of course! 

Not all palmate leaves have five lobes, though. But I’ll never look at a lobed leaf without thinking of a hand.  Continue reading “The shape of the hand”

In his hands

“Hear, O my people, and I will speak, . . . For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are mine. . . . For the world is mine, and all its fullness” (Psalm 50:7, 10-12, NJKV).

To those who learned “religion” from the Bible, whether directly or second-hand from parents or culture, the idea that God is the ruler of the whole world is neither unusual nor difficult to understand. That was probably one of the first spiritual concepts to which we were introduced – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Continue reading “In his hands”

Miraculous gifts today? Laying on of hands (3)

Opinions contrast. Some claim God works miracles through his people today. Others say that God no longer gifts his people with miraculous abilities. What should not be overlooked is how definitions of the miraculous differ.  Thus to accurately understand what is being denied or affirmed requires first understanding how someone defines the miraculous.

Once such an understanding exists, the question still remains: why do some reject miraculous gifts today? The first reason revolves around observing how the Spirit chose to distribute these gifts. The baptism with the Spirit appears to have served a special purpose, while a second manner of distribution is no longer possible. Let’s take a look. Continue reading “Miraculous gifts today? Laying on of hands (3)”

Into your hands

Jesus was arrested and stood trial at night in violation of the Sanhedrin’s own rules. He had been beaten and slapped by the Temple’s soldiers. When Pilate received the case, the Jews changed the charge from blasphemy to treason because they knew the Romans would not crucify Jesus except for a violation of Roman law. He was judged innocent, yet he was scourged, mistreated and crucified.

After several hours on the cross, the Son of God neared the end of his life. As death drew near, he said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” (Luke 23:46 NET). Continue reading “Into your hands”