Convention 2014……Day 2
Speaker: Pastor Don Woke
“When you see this, your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like green and tender grass. And the [powerful] hand of the Lord shall be revealed and known to be with His servants, but His indignation [shown] to be against His enemies.” AMP
God’s ‘hand’ is a metaphor for His power. His “mighty hand” refers to the supreme and almighty power and authority of God. The hand is a symbol of action, activity or work. Therefore, God’s mighty hand being revealed is God’s power at work in a person’s life and circumstances. It can also be for a nation as it did for Israel.
The mighty hand of God can be demonstrated in either blessing or judgment. For God’s covenant people it is often for blessing, while to His enemies it is always for judgment.
GOD’S MIGHTY HAND DEPLOYED IN EGYPT
The experience of the children of Israel in Egypt demonstrates how the mighty hand of God works. Israel had been under captivity in Egypt for over 400 years. Their condition was terrible:
“So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage — in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor. Ex 1:13-14.
It was a case of an oppressed people at the mercy of their oppressor. Pharaoh was the most powerful man on earth at this time. When Moses and Aaron, as instructed by God, announced to him to let Israel go, Pharaoh responded by worsening their bondage. He even asked: “…Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.” Ex 5:2. The stage was now set for a showdown!
God had already declared what Pharaoh’s response would be: “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.” Ex 3:19-20 NIV
God would now deploy His mighty hand against Egypt and it will compel Pharaoh to release the Israelites.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.” 2 And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them. 4 I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers. 5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. 6 Therefore say to the children of Israel:’I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians”
God was assuring Moses that He was about to deploy His mighty hand in order to redeem Israel from oppression. Pharaoh had boasted: “Who is the Lord … I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.” God’s response was: “And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.” Ex 7:5. We see from chapter seven to fourteen the display or revealing of God’s mighty hand through the ten plagues that were as much a judgment on the people as they were on the gods of Egypt. At the end, Israel released. Moses would sum up this experience thus:
“If you should say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?’ — 18 you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: 19 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which the Lord your God brought you out. So shall the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid”
In the revelation of God’s mighty hand in Egypt we see a pattern of display of God’s supreme power over all the gods, principalities, powers and authorities, visible and invisible, that oppress and enslave God’s people (Eph 3:10; 6:12; Col 1:16; 2:15). So, know that whatever oppresses or enslaves you today, God’s mighty hand can be deployed to conquer it and set you free. (see Isa 49:25).
Note that God reveals His mighty hand mostly:
- To strengthen the faith of His people Ex 14:31
- And to make all people acknowledge and fear Him Jos 4:24
ACTIVATING GOD’S MIGHTY HAND
- Covenant – God’s mighty hand works for His people, those who serve Him. Ex 6:2-8; Isa 66:14
- Prayer – God’s mighty hand was displayed in response to the cry of the people. Ex. 2:23-25; 1 Chr 4:9-10
- Worship – 2 Kg 3:14-15; 2 Chr 20:21-22
- Faith – Isa 53:1 (also see Mk 6:5-6)
EFFECTS OF GOD’S HAND
- Pharaoh’s magicians saw the ‘finger of God’ and gave up the contest. Ex 8:19
- Moses described Israel’s deliverance as being by the strength of His hand. Ex 13:13
- David said that God’s hand can make a person great. 1 Chr 29:12; that when He opens His hand He brings satisfaction. Ps 145:16
- The hand came upon Elijah and he outran Ahab who was driving a chariot (equivalent of a jeep!) 1 Kg 18:40.
- Both Ezra and Nehemiah obtained favour as a result God’s mighty hand upon them. Ezra 7:6; Neh 2:8, 18
- God’s hand upon John made him a marvel. Lk 1:66.
- The church at Antioch was distinguished by God’s hand. Acts 11:
No wonder the early church prayed: “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:30 NIV
People have seen your efforts; they have seen your struggles; they have seen how far your own ‘hand’ can go; they have seen what you can do; but now, they will see what God’s mighty hand upon your life will accomplish. The Psalmist prayed: “Help me, O Lord my God! Oh, save me according to Your mercy, 27 that they may know that this is Your hand – that You, Lord, have done it!” Ps 109:26-27