THE PALMS OF GOD
Over time, certain translations and interpretations of God's Word have become unclear as a result of the passage of time. We are going to study a subject which is misunderstood when the Word is not rightly divided. You will see that in order to understand this wonderful subject, we need to have some knowledge of figures of speech and Oriental customs. Always remember, that in order to stand approved before God, we must STUDY HIS WORD and it must be RIGHTLY DIVIDED.
II Timothy 2: 15 -- Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [See: STUDY - BE DILIGENT]
The Holy Spirit's markings as to what is important in the Bible is illustrated by the use of figures of speech. A simple example of a figure of speech is to say "The ground is thirsty." This is in comparison to "The ground is dry." The first sentence is much more descriptive and is called a figure of speech. We know and understand that the ground cannot literally be thirsty. If you would like to do an in-depth study of figures of speech, there is an elaborate work done on this subject called "Figures of Speech Used In The Bible" by E.W. Bullinger. But for now, we are going to discuss a basic figure of speech often used in the Bible.
The title of this teaching is "The Palms of God". Now we, as students of the Bible, should know by now, that God Almighty is SPIRIT and Spirit does not have 'palms'.
John 4: 24 -- God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Every time God attributes human characteristics to himself, it is the figure of speech called condescensio. This figure of speech is beautifully illustrated in Isaiah, as an Orientalism in all of its significance.
Isaiah 49: 15 -- Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
Isaiah 49: 16 -- Behold, I have graven [tattooed] thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls [hands] are continually before me.
Motherhood is an unforgettable human experience. A mother nursing her newborn child has indescribable feelings of attachment and tender affection for that child. However, God says that a woman can actually forget her baby -- which is most difficult and unlikely -- but God says that He will never forget one of His own. God states that His remembrance is beyond that of a mother for her child. God's memory is deeper than the memory of the most intimate human relationship. His memory of us is beyond human understanding.
After this powerful statement in verse 15 of God's remembrance of us, in verse 16 of Isaiah 49, He uses a graphic figure of speech attributing to God the human characteristic of palms:
"... I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands."
In Eastern culture, the way of expressing great love and continual remembrance is by engraving, which we would call tattooing. This Oriental tradition involved tattooing the names of those you dearly love on your body -- while simply giving gifts to those you love slightly.
Most of us are probably aware that the process of tattooing is very unpleasant. Most of the time, a person is tattooed on the arm but sometimes on the back or chest. NEVER do you see a person being tattooed on the palms of their hands. Why? Because the palms of the hands are much too sensitive and delicate. The pain of having tattoos engraved on the palms of the hands would be too much to bear. Yet God says, "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands . . .". God is also saying that it takes too long to look on the arm or the shoulders or across the chest, because that part of the body is almost always clothed with some type of garment. Therefore, God has tattooed us upon the PALMS OF HIS HANDS. Isn't that a beautiful illustration of God's love for His children? He can see us constantly. He loves us so much that, figuratively, He is willing to bear the excruciating pain of having us tattooed on the palms of His hands because we are dearly beloved of Him.
John 3: 16 -- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God is trying to show us how much He cares for us by saying that He has taken a most delicate and sensitive part of His being, and there He has tattooed our names. He doesn't want His love to be hidden underneath any garments or to be covered in any way. At first glance, He wants to be able to see us. That is the love of God. When we understand and see the beauty of these scriptures, we are then able to appreciate the compassion and love of God for us, His children.
Isaiah 49: 16b -- . . . thy walls [hands] are continually before me.
The word "walls" is a very inaccurate presentation. The palms of the hands are the walls. If you lift up the palms of your hands, they can become walls before your face. What does God see as a reflection of the palms of our hands? God, in His wonderful infinite love for us, irrespective of who we were, chooses to look only at our strong points. One of our five Sonship Rights is Justification [see JUSTIFICATION] where we learn that God looks upon us as if we have never sinned or as if we never will. That is why we never need to stand before God with any sense of sin, guilt, or condemnation. That is a great truth from God's Word that we need to remember.
However, if God wanted to, He could look at our lack of renewed mind or our old man, and what would He see? He would then see nothing but fear, lies, bitterness, quarrels, hatred, doubt and everything else that stains a sinner. He would see the fear of death, sickness, and disease and the insecurity and uncertainty of the future. Regardless of all this, we were tattooed on the palms of God's hands where we can be continually remembered by God as His children. It is such a beautiful illustration, we really need to think about it for a while. We need to always remember that God has a continuous remembrance of us. This is a very comforting thought and should bring joy and constant reassurance to any believer. Most people do not know or even realize how we appear to God Almighty. He is not up there with a hammer ready and willing to punish us. He always looks at the very best in all of us.
I John 1: 5 -- This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
The following Scriptures will help us to understand the significance of how God continually remembers us.
Isaiah 1: 18 -- Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Isaiah 43: 25 -- I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Psalm 103: 12 -- As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Most Christians do not realize that when God forgives, He forgets. Every time you confess any sin to God, He remembers them no more. So if they keep coming back to your memory, those thoughts are not coming from God. It is important to understand these details if you are going to manifest the more than abundant life. The true God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ forgives and forgets our shortcomings while He remembers and cares for us constantly.
In the Book of Revelation is yet another most beautiful Orientalism illustrating Jesus Christ's love for us. Remember, the book of Revelation is still in the future but even then Jesus Christ will still be doing the Will of the Father. Jesus Christ ALWAYS did the Father's Will. Jesus Christ's actions are always a reflection or mirror image of God Almighty.
Revelation 3: 20 -- Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup [eat] with him, and he with me.
Again, it is most important to understand Eastern customs in order to understand the magnificence of those words. In the Orient, the host does not eat with the guest unless he is a most intimate friend. In this scripture, Jesus Christ is saying "I am your most intimate friend". Jesus Christ enters into our heart upon our invitation. Remember, the true God never oversteps a person's free will. God never forces Himself upon us. Since Jesus Christ always did the Father's will, he also never forces himself upon anyone. We accept him as our Lord and Savior or we reject him by our own free will. Notice in the verse that Jesus Christ is not just entering in, but he is supping with us. Christ wants to be very intimate with his people and he will sup [eat] with them if only they would ask him.
We should remember that we should always turn to God for He will never leave us.
Hebrews 13: 5b -- . . . for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Matthew 28: 20b -- . . . and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Matthew 11: 28 -- Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Jesus Christ died for all of us and has offered us the invitation to sup with him. It is a matter of our accepting the invitation. We do not need to die in our sins, because Christ died for sin and carried our sicknesses and our pains. We do not need to carry them. Because of what Christ accomplished, God was able to engrave our names on the palms of His hands. Christ died for everyone in the whole world. But only those who accept him as their Lord and Saviour receive the benefits of his death. Everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord in their life has been engraved upon the palms of God's hands. God continuously remembers and watches over us.
Ephesians 2: 22 -- In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through [in] the Spirit.
Philippians 2: 13 -- For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Once we are born again of God's Spirit, He has come to abide within us forever, that we may have eternal life now and forevermore. This is God's continuous remembrance of us. There is not a day, hour, minute or second when we as sons and daughters of God are not remembered before the throne of God. We, who are born again of God's Spirit, have truly been engraved on the palms of God's hands.