Summary: What things open the hand of God in our lives? How can we position ourselves to receive what He promised to give us?
The Open Hand of God
INTRODUCTION: Many people today are living as if God is not interested in their life or in how they are living it. As a result, their life has become one struggle after another with seemingly no one to turn to. Not only are financial struggles a major problem for people but also health concerns, and family pressures overwhelm them. Many Christians as well as unbelievers are living in a mere survival mode wondering what will happen next and feeling that they are just about ready to go under. They do not expect anything to get better.
Is there a different way to live our lives; and if so, how do we get there? The scriptures I read today speak of the provision of God for His creation--both people and the animals of the field. Scripture speaks of God’s unfailing love for his people and His wonderful deeds that He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalm 104:28 says, “When you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.” This verse says when, not if. Psalm 68:9 says, “You gave abundant showers, O God, You refreshed your weary inheritance.
These are just three of many scriptures that speak of God’s open hand. The adjectives used to describe His provision are not skimpy, barely enough, just scraping the bottom of the barrel. They indicate that He satisfies; He fills. Other scriptures use terms of agriculture--a well-watered garden--a flourishing plant or bubbly springs. In Isaiah 58:11 the Message Bible puts it this way, “I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places…”
We need to know and be convinced that God wants to open His hand toward us. Many people will say, “Oh, I’m not worthy. Oh, I’ll never have a good job, or I never will be well…” On and on people speak as if they are not convinced of God’s love for them. In spite of the economy or anything going on around us, we can have a sense of wholeness and wellbeing in our souls. Apply this to yourself. You are not parched in your soul--you are flourishing. If the Lord is satisfying you, you are not just barely getting by. We have to be convinced that God wants our life to be good. Often we think that God is just wanting to disqualify us over our past or that He never quite forgives us.
STORY: A preacher had an affair over 20 years ago. He got things straightened out and went on to preach faithfully for many years. His deacon board found out about his past and barred him from preaching at his church and also had his credentials taken away so he couldn’t preach again.
We have to be convinced of God’s forgiveness so that His hand can be open toward us. Psalm 84:11 says, “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
Being convinced that God is not out to get us, just what opens His hand and what closes it? Just how do we move into a place where we can see the open hand of God in our daily life? There are several things that cause this to happen, and I would like to talk about four things:
A rabbi was walking in the country when he came across an old farmer working in the fields.
“How’s it going?” he asked.
“Terrible!” The farmer began to recite his litany of troubles
“The tomato crop failed this year.
The apples had worms in them.
The corn crop was a disaster
Things couldn’t get any worse.
My kids were sick
My wife broke her arm
Nothing has gone well
No signs of anything getting any better.
Trouble on every side
Can’t pay the bills. If I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all. Things couldn’t get any worse. It’s been a terrible year.
God looked down and spoke to the rabbi and said, “If he thinks THIS is bad, wait until he sees next year!”
The rabbi continued down the road and came across the farmer in an adjoining field.
“How’s it going?” he asked.
The farmer replied, “Doing pretty good.”
The corn crop is not the best in the world, but it will give us a little money.
The apples weren’t as good as last year, but they sure made some good applesauce.
My kids were sick but they’re doing better now.
We paid off half the bills this year so I’m thankful for that.
We’re a happy family and we’ve got food on the table.
God said to the rabbi, “Well, if he thinks THAT’S good, just wait until he sees what I will do for him next year.”