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Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Hand of God

Recently NASA scientists took an amazing photo of a pulsar.  Using their Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) NASA astronomers captured this incredible image of an exploding star nearly 17,000 light-years away.  This amazing pulsar wind nebula has been nicknamed "The Hand of God" as it appears to be a ghostly hand reaching outward.  The high energy x-rays captured for the first time by NuSTAR have been colored blue and are combined with earlier photos of the same pulsar taken by the Chandra Observatory which show the lower energy emissions in green and red.
The Hand Of God (courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/McGill)

While astronomers often use fanciful names to describe items seen in space to capture our imagination, it seemed interesting that they would dub this one as such.  In the Bible there are many references to "The Hand of God" with three that I think are very encouraging and relate to this amazing photo.  First, please note the image seems to show the right hand - this is the hand of power.  Psalm 110:1 tells us "The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” " (ESV)  What an encouraging promise from an all-powerful God to know that we have access to His power that can secure us from "enemies" such as anger, or fear, or doubt, and other things that come against us.  Secondly, when we are under the influence of the Hand of God, submitting and listening to Him, we find His word full of comfort and encouragement coming to us.  "The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar canal, and the hand of the Lord was upon him there." - Ezekiel 1:3 (ESV).  Finally, when we humble ourselves under His Hand, He exalts at the proper time.  "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you" - 1 Peter 5:6 (ESV).  While the photo may be descriptive in its naming this "The Hand of God" because of what it looks like, it is so great to know that God is way closer that 17,000 light years away from us, in fact, we read in Isaiah 49:16 that God does not forget us but has "engraved you on the palms of my hands" (ESV).  

Wholly Holey

A hole in the pocket is like a bank vault without a lock, or an investment in a Ponzi scheme.  Everything entrusted there is at risk.

All the dreaming, motivation, faithfulness & sweaty work is dribbled away, diminished and lost because of the breach in the britches.  Put hard earned cash in a pocket with holes and there’ll be little to nothing to show for it when you get home.  The problem is not in the effort to earn, but in the failure to secure the weak areas.

An Old Testament prophet of Israel named Haggai fingered this for the nation. “He who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes,” he wrote (Haggai 1:6).  

What put holes in Israel’s bag? 

Neglecting their relationship with God. 

Leaving God out of their lives was like leaving open seams in bags of gold.  Neglecting the spiritual devotion poked holes in the best intentions and efforts.
What good is a money bag if it’s wholly holey?

If it seems the valuables of life (like one’s mental health, marriage, family etc.) are slipping away, refocus on the relationship with God.   Haggai penned, “Consider your ways” and then repeated himself.  It is critical to consider the emphasis one gives their relationship with Jesus.

Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God (His lordship) and His righteousness (His moral standard), and all these things (food, clothing, etc) shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). 

When the Lord has first place in one’s life, holes are closed up.  He is our Keeper (Psalm 121:3).  The Holy takes care of the holey.  May we let Him.