I. What is meant by "the Hand of God"?
A. "The Hand of God" or "The Hand of the Lord" is an anthropomorphic expression.
1. That is when we attribute to God certain human or physical characteristics.
2. We do this so we can be able to better understand the idea being presented.
3. We know that God is a Spirit, not a human being, but we can understand His working when we use such phrases.
B. So what does it mean?
1. The Bible uses the term to refer to God's power, strength, and ability to act in His creation.
2. The "Hand of God" refers to the full spectrum of God's activity in relation to His Creation.
3. Other terms are also used.
a. We are told of the arm of the Lord.
b. The finger of the Lord
c. And the eyes of the Lord.
d. These are similar in meaning, but the primary term is "the hand of the Lord."
II. The Providence of God.
A. God's General Providence
1. This is God's actions within creation as He upholds everything.
a. He makes the sun to rise, rain to fall on the just and unjust.
b. God feeds the animals and the birds.
Ps. 104:10-28 (Psa 145:15-16) "The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. <16> Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing."
c. He holds everything together.
(Col 1:17) "And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."
B. God's Special Providence.
1. This is God's actions specifically for the benefit of His chosen people.
(Psa 119:73) "Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments."
2. This is usually what is being referred to when people speak of God's providence.
3. We are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God
(1 Pet 5:5-6) "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. <6> Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:"
4. God's hand is still active, it is still mighty.
a. God is still able to strengthen.
b. He is still able to deliver.
c. He is still able to help His people.
(Isa 41:10) "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
C. In the O.T. "Power" and "Hand" are used interchangeably.
Deu 4:34) "Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?"
(Deu 9:29) "Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm."
1. We must properly understand the mighty hand of God, in order to properly humble ourselves under it.
2. A proper understanding of the hand of the Lord is essential to being a child of God.
a. It will give us comfort and assurance during difficult times.
b. It gives us a proper understanding of life and gives us a proper perspective during good times.
c. It will enable us to pray properly.
d. It will enable us to have the faith we should and help us be pleasing to God.
III. The First Use of the Phrase "The Hand of the Lord" is in the Context of The Deliverance of Israel from Egypt.
Note: Ex. 3:19-20; 7:3-5; 9:1-4, 15-16; 15:6
A. God Began To Show The Might Of His Hand During the Deliverance Of Israel.
(Deu 3:24) "O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?"
B. The Hand of the Lord turned against Israel after they sinned.
(Deu 2:15) "For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed."
1. Only Joshua and Caleb were preserved by the hand of the Lord.
2. Because they were the two who believed and trusted in His hand!
C. The hand of the Lord continued to work with Israel when they entered the Promised Land.
a. Numbers records the conquest of the land east of Jordan.
b. Before Israel crossed Jordan they defeated Sihon and Og, king of Bashan.
c. After they crossed Jordan, they took Jericho.
d. In that battle there was the miracle of the walls falling.
e. Then they took Ai, then the rest of the land.
f. Just because miracles were not being performed every battle does not mean that God was not active at those times. Cf. Ps. 44:1-3
g. The Israelites had to fight, but God gave the land to them.
(Josh 21:43) "And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein."
2. Israel Was To Obey The Law Because of The Hand of the Lord.
a. They were to keep the Passover, remember the Sabbath, and give the first fruits to God because of the hand of the Lord.
b. Note: De. 6:20-25
3. Israel Was Not To Fear Man Because Of The Hand Of The Lord. Cf. De. 7:17-19
4. Israel Was To Fear The Lord Because Of His Hand. Cf. Joshua 4:23-24
a. Israel was warned to not to begin thinking that they are the ones who provided what they had.
b. The manna would cease.
c. They would not be getting water from a rock.
d. They would be growing the crops and be involved in business.
e. Yet, they were to remember that God is providing what they have at all times. Cf. De. 8:11-20
D. Israel never stopped believing in the existence of God.
1. They just stopped depending on Him and trusting Him.
2. They forgot that He was still active in their lives even during the times they did not see active miraculous works.
3. By rejecting their belief and trust in the Hand of the Lord, they ended up rejecting God.
4. We can make the same mistakes as Israel did, that is why Paul warns us:
(1 Cor 10:11) "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
The things that have happened to Israel in the past are examples for you and I tonight. We must learn the blessing of being in the hand of God and the importance of humbling ourselves under His mighty hand.
Where are we tonight? Are we resting safely in the hand of God? Have moved away from God, trusting in our own abilities and wisdom? What is your need tonight? You will find it from the hand of God.