Solomon tells us, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” We usually take our hands for granted until we injure one, and then it gets our full attention until the pain subsides.
Where would we be without our hands? We depend on them to do most of the chores we all perform every day. Just trying to tie a shoelace with only one hand makes it clear how much we need both hands and how well they cooperate together.
The words ‘hand’ and ‘hands’ are found almost 2000 times in the Bible. Many times they are used in a literal way, but often the hand is a symbol of power and authority: “Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.”
Hands are a symbol for work, both good and evil. For example, hands are given the credit for doing good when Solomon said, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” But in Micah, hands are described as instruments of evil: “That they may do evil with both hands earnestly.” Jacob prayed, “Deliver me from the hand of my brother.”
We often speak of giving someone a helping hand. Charity is sometimes described as a handout. The virtuous woman of Proverbs uses her hands wisely. “She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.”
Most people are right handed, and we often describe an important assistant as our right-hand man. The Bible gives the phrase “right hand” special emphasis, mentioning it 167 times. Paul tells us in Galatians that “when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship.” We know that Jesus is now sitting on God’s right hand in heaven: “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”
Hands can be used when appealing to God, as we see from Paul’s words, “Therefore, I desire men to pray in every place, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting.” When the children of Israel fought their first battle as a nation, they won when Moses held up his hands, but when he put them down, Amalek would prevail. “But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”
When we face battles in life, we should trust in the help that only God can give, falling on our knees and lifting our hearts and hands in prayer. Isaiah reassures us, “Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees,” because our God hears our prayers.
The last words of our Lord as he died were, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” We need to commend our lives into the loving hands of our Father. We need to use our hands to do the Lord’s work. Whatever we use our hands to do, let us do it with our full energy and might.
The same God “who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance” created us. He made our hands, and He wants us to use them in His service.
If we truly make good use of our hands now, then when the Lord returns, we will be among that “great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”
Robert J. Lloyd