“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands” [Isaiah 49:16]
Recently in our town, some people found a newborn baby stuffed into a bag and left in a doorway to die. Though maternal instinct is proverbially strong, mothers can and do forget their suckling children. And if mother-love can break down, any human bond can snap, given enough pressure. The conditions – really the sins – of modern society are applying that pressure to more and more people. Homes and marriages are breaking up at an alarming rate. Where once people professed love and devotion, they now express loathing and rejection.
Sometimes when we suffer such human rejection – and even when we do not – we are tempted to feel that the Lord also has rejected us. That is a horrible feeling. The Lord calls us to rejoice in His mercy [v13], but we are so depressed that we lament, “The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me” [v14]. Nothing could be further than the truth. Indeed, the Lord cannot forget us. He has graven us upon the palms of His hands.
That is a description of perpetual remembrance. It is the action of One whose love cannot bear that we should be out of His mind for a second. “The Lord thinketh on me” [Psalm 40:17], and His thoughts are of peace [Jeremiah 29:11]. Keep that in mind today.
The Lord has not forgotten you. He cannot. He has graven you on the palms of His hands. That action denotes our indissoluble union with Him. Soldiers, slaves, and lovers etched the name of their commander, master, of loved one into their hands. The Lord does the same. He is not our slave, but He is the lover of our souls. Nothing can separate us from His powerful love.
So believer, let this text cheer your heart today. Whatever burden you may have to carry, however forsaken by man you may feel – remember, you are etched into the hands and heart of God. [Dr. Alan Cairns].
WHY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH?
From all corners of the world comes a challenge to God’s Word. The enemy encourages doubt and denial. What is the duty of Christians at such a time?
First, they should encourage those who are engaging in the intellectual and spiritual struggle. They should not say, in the sense in which some say it, that more time should be devoted to the propagation of the Gospel and less to its defense. Certainly there must be the propagation of the Gospel. Believers should not content themselves with warding off attacks, but should also unfold in a positive way the full riches of the Gospel.
But far more is usually meant by those who call for less defense and more propagation. What they really intend is the discouragement of the whole intellectual defense of the faith…..
Indeed, truth cannot be stated clearly at all without being set over against error. Thus a large part of the New Testament is polemic; the enunciation of evangelical truth was occasioned by the errors which had arisen in the churches.
There may have been a day when there could be the propagation of Christianity without defense. But such a day at any rate is past. At the present time, when the opponents of the Gospel are almost in control of the churches, we must speak out.
The church has always faced crises. In such times of crisis, God has always saved the church –not by theological pacifists, but by sturdy contenders for the truth. [J. Gresham Machen].
CONTROVERSY IN RELIGION
“Controversy in religion is a hateful thing. It is hard enough to fight the devil, the world, and the flesh, without private differences in our own camp, but there is one thing which is even worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine tolerated, allowed, and permitted without protest …….There are three things which men never ought to trifle with – a little poison, a little false doctrine and a little sin.” [J.C. Ryle]
FAITH IS RESTING UPON GOD
When Dr. John G.Paton was a missionary in the New Hebrides, he spent much time translating John’s Gospel into the island language. But he was hindered because he could not find a word for “faith” or “believe.”
One day a native man came into his study. He was tired and weary and sat down and put his feet on another chair. He used a word that meant literally, “I am resting my whole weight on these two chairs.” It was just the word that Dr. Paton needed. Thus the islanders learned that faith is to rest their all on Christ Jesus.