Palm Reading

Published on Apr 8th, 2015 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Palm Reading

Palm Reading

Anytime my two granddaughters come within 20 feet of my wife, mother in law, or aunt in law, they break out into song.  They have a repertoire of about 10-12 songs that they sing and they sing them over and over again.  Each time my granddaughters hear, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine” or “I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck”…they break into a big smile and often start dancing (of course, everyone then breaks out into… “dance with a dolly with a hole in her stockin’”).  I was thinking the other day of how sorry I feel for their future husbands.  Here in their formative years they are developing their love language (Thanks, Gary Chapman).  Their husbands will have to serenade them with songs that speak of their love being bigger than bushels of corn and dancing with holes in their socks.  To be honest, my granddaughters have no idea what is being sung, they just know everyone is smiling, clapping, and they can dance to the melody. Whatever is happening, it brings a smile to their face and movement to their feet.

God does us one better.  He speaks to us in languages that we understand so that we cannot miss his great love for us.  One of the places we see this is in Isaiah 49.  This passage is part of those great passages that speak of how God is going to bring spiritual deliverance to Israel through the Suffering Servant.  Of course, that Suffering Servant was going to be Jesus and Israel was going to have to wait hundreds of years for that deliverance to come.  Even then Israel would miss God’s deliverance because of hearts that only could see what they desired to happen.  Meanwhile, while they waited, their people were driven away to captivity, their land was pillaged, and their hearts were heavy.  But God would continue to give hope in the midst of their pain.  Listen to how he speaks of his love for them, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?  Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.  Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” Isaiah 49:15,16a.  In describing his faithful love to Israel, even as he punishes them for their disobedience, he uses language they would understand.  A mom nursing her child has compassion on that child.  I have great compassion for you.  Even when that child grows up, mom still has compassion for them…usually.  But even though human compassion may fail, my compassion will never fail.  God then speaks of engraving them on the palm of his hands. This probably speaks to how people would often puncture their hands in a way that would show their zeal for their city or temple.  People, of that day, would also carve images on their hands, arms, or chests of that which was special to them.  It was a symbol of always carrying with them that which was special to them.  We do the same thing today with tattoos.  We are trying to symbolize how much that person or thing is a part of our life by changing our bodies and permanently making them a part of us.  God, who has no palms, uses that language so that we could begin to learn of his great love for us.

Think about that for a moment.  God is demonstrating his great love for Israel by holding them accountable for their lack of love toward him.  One of his “love languages” is to send calamity and other nations to overtake them so that their hearts would waken and they would turn back to him. True peace, joy, love, safety, etc. is when we worship and follow him.  If he were not to do that, then we, who are so prone to wander from him, would always wander right into destruction.  But we are too proud and thick headed to hear this language.  Israel could only see their pain and would only come to the conclusion that God did not care.  So what does God do?  He speaks in a language they would hear.  The Creator of the Universe, God most High, speaks of marking up his palms so that Israel would know of his compassion.  But he didn’t stop there.  He then came to earth and literally allowed his palms to be scarred so that he could rescue man in the greatest demonstration of his love.  And yet, when he shows his love for us today by not giving us everything we demand, by sending some calamity to strengthen us, or by giving us the fellowship of his sufferings, we cry out like Israel that somehow he has forgotten about us or does not have compassion on us.  Then, in his patience, he shows us the scars on the palms of his hands and reminds us of his great love.  Those scars are us.  They are what allowed us to be in him.  He carries us with him at all times.  We are in those hands and no man can pluck us out of them.  And then, Lord willing, we hear his great compassion in a language we can understand.

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