January 7

Looking to His Hand

Psalm 6:8 I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

Psalm 123:2 Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He has mercy on us.

Psalm 104:27-28 These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season. What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good.

We know that we are to look to the Lord for many things. First, we look to Him for salvation, and then we look to Him for everything we need for life and godliness (which, happily, He has promised to provide—see II Peter 1:3). Psalm 123 gives us a lovely picture as to how we are to look to Him.

The picture the psalm paints is of a servant looking to the hand of his master, or a maid to the hand of her servant. Think of how strong that attention had to be! Slaves and maids needed to have their eyes constantly on their master; “noticing” was nowhere near good enough! Occasionally asking what they might need wasn’t either. The servant’s highest purpose was in meeting his master’s needs, and that could only be determined by closely watching for every signal from the master’s hand. The master’s goal was to be able to give the servant the smallest signal that the servant could understand. The servant’s goal was to never miss the signal and to respond immediately.

Think of all that the hand provided. Most obviously, it provided direction for the servant; all he needed to do was keep a close eye on his master’s hand—that was his most important job. But the hand did more than tell what the master wished. The hand represented supply (see Psalm 104, above), as the servant’s wages and any other blessings would come from that hand.

Commentators point to other associations the original readers would have understood. They would also have thought of the hand as protection, making the servant feel secure. It could also have meant correction, and even reward.

For all these reasons, but especially for direction, we need to embrace this metaphor and its implications for us. The Lord is wanting us to pay close attention to Him. He wants us to know Him well enough—and to know His will enough—that the slightest blowing of the wind of the Holy Spirit would be enough for us to respond.

This perspective—literal and figurative—is the opposite of the ways of the carnal Christian. Do we tend to look to God when we need something from Him, and then listen for His will as it relates to our specific request? This isn’t wrong, but it’s spiritually immature. Instead, we should always be looking to Him, seeking His will, seeking His face, and asking in our hearts, “What do you want me to do, Lord?” This is what the servant of the Lord does. Let’s learn to look to His hand.

Prayer: Father, turn me around from “accessing” You when I am looking for something, and help me to be like the servant that constantly has his eye on his master. Switch me from a focus on self to a focus on You. Teach me to abide in You.


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