“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” (Isaiah 49:16 NIV)
The pages revealed whose it was and under what circumstances.
Mom received a call from her niece. They had cleaned out my aunt’s house and discovered some things that might be of interest to Mom. Though never a lover of old or sentimental things, Mom took them.
The items included four funeral home books for deceased relatives, newspaper clippings, family pictures, and two Bibles — both of which had my aunt’s name handwritten inside, along with who had given them to her and when. One of the two had her name engraved on the outside.
After looking to see who gave her the Bible, I wasn’t surprised by the engraving on the outside. When I was eight years old, Mom and Dad — and I — had given my aunt the Bible for her birthday. For his entire lifetime, Dad had followed this pattern of engraving a name on the outside of a Bible. Every Bible that he had ever owned — and that was a multitude — had his name engraved on it. The inside page with the handwritten name might be lost, scratched out beyond recognition, or torn out, but the name on the outside would remain. It was his Bible.
In Isaiah’s day, the nation of Israel needed reassurance. They had a habit of disobeying God, and God had a habit of punishing them. But better days were in store, because they repented. They would once again return to their homeland.
Life is tough and filled with bitter disappointments. To me — just as He said to Israel — God says that I’m engraved on His hand. No one can steal me from His grip or scratch out the fact that I belong to Him. Unwise decisions and sinful actions will bring His discipline, but the engraving stands. Willful, occasional sin may slightly obscure my name, but I’m still God’s child, and confession will once again bring out the brilliance of the engraving.
When it appears that God has forsaken me, God has His ways of showing me the engraving and reminding me that I still belong to Him. My name is engraved on His hand. And so is yours, if you’ve invited Jesus into your life.
Don’t fear life or the things that it brings. Your name is engraved on the Father’s hand. He is loving, kind, gentle, and more powerful than anything that the world can throw your way.
Prayer: Father, show us the engraving often so that we’ll never forget to Whom we belong. Amen.
Copyright © 2021, by Martin Wiles <firstname.lastname@example.org>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA