Engraved on the Palms of His Hands*
. .I will not forget
you. See I have engraved you on
the palms of my hands:
your walls are ever before me.
When I was in the third
grade, our teacher, Miss Richards, gave each of her students a package of five
pencils for Christmas. Engraved on
each pencil in shiny gold letters were our first and last names. I remember
sliding my thumb across the surface of a pencil and relishing the unique
texture of my name.
Maybe Miss Richards simply
wanted to keep a more accurate record of whose pencils were rolling around on
the floor or which absent-minded student left his pencil in the sharpener. No
matter what her motives were, for us the gift represented something every human
being values—the pride of ownership.
During the weeks that
followed, we were reminded that ownership also involves both responsibility and
accountability. No longer could any of us use the excuse, “It’s not my pencil.”
I am reminded of those
pencils when I read Isaiah 49. Isaiah ministered to God’s people during a
devastating historical period. The Assyrians had conquered the northern tribes;
Sennacherib was terrorizing those who lived in Judah. The people lamented, “The
LORD has forsaken me, the LORD has forgotten me” (v.14).
When life’s circumstances
pummel us, we also may feel that God has forgotten us, but He has not. He has
engraved our names on the palms of His hands, and our brokenness is ever before
Perhaps God rubs His thumb along
the unique texture of our names and says, “This one is mine. I know him. I know
her. I take full responsibility for my beloved child’s well-being.”
Maybe Norman Clayton was
thinking of Isaiah 49:16 when he wrote, “Now I Belong to Jesus.” The simplicity
of the melody and the confidence of the lyrics both underscore the song’s
bedrock truth: God’s love for His children is eternal and his ownership is
- Read more about Israel’s circumstances during Isaiah’s
lifetime in 2 Kings 19-21. How did God demonstrate that He had not forgotten
- The phrase “your walls are ever before me” refers to
the city walls of Jerusalem that had been destroyed. God is promising to
rebuild those walls after the exile is over (see Nehemiah 6).
- Use a concordance to discover what God does not
forget. Start with Deuteronomy 4:31.
- To find
the lyrics for this much-loved gospel song, go to http://www.my.homewithgod.com/heavenlymidis2/belong.html
Denise K. Loock
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*Note: This devotion appears in a slightly different form in Open Your Hymnal: Devotions That Harmonize Scripture With Song
. To find out more about the book and how you can order a copy, click here