Engraved on the Palms of His Hands (Isaiah 49:16) - Radical

Engraved on the Palms of His Hands (Isaiah 49:16)

“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”
– Isaiah 49:16

What a picture. God speaking to His people, in the Old Testament specifically here, and He uses this imagery, He says, “I’ve engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

Those who have trusted in Christ have nothing to fear, for God is our Helper; He promises to uphold us.

What does that mean? When you think about … I mean even today, it’s not altogether different from Old Testament times, I mean to … Think about a tattoo that somebody gets on their skin, and that’s something that they’re saying, “I want that to be fixed on me for as long as I live. Where I constantly remember this one thing, and I constantly look at this one thing, and my attention’s drawn to this one thing, because it’s on me.” And if you think about it, something like that on your hand, I mean, you see it all the time.

Isaiah 49:16 Reminds Us of God’s Love

And so God says about His people, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands,” and He uses those words after that, “Your walls are continually before me,” so that basically, He’s saying to His people, “I don’t forget you. I’m committed to you. Everything that I’m doing, I’m thinking about you. I’m caring for you. I have you at the forefront of my mind, my heart, and all that I’m doing.”

These are glorious words, that when we think about God’s love for us, in Christ, so yes, we’re not the people of God in Isaiah 49:16 specifically, with walls that are continually before God, but the picture is in our lives. We know that God has called us His children. We’re His sons and daughters. We belong to Him. We’ve seen these kind of pictures all over Isaiah, and there is a sense in which we know that God has us always before Him, like He’s thinking about us, you and me.

And we’re constantly before Him. He is consumed, in a sense, with our care, with providing for us, with giving us what we need for life and godliness, for growth in our relationship with Him, for flourishing to His glory. What a thought.

So just let this soak in as we pray. God, we praise you for engraving your people on the palms of your hands. We praise you that we’re a part of that people, like each one of us individually. That I, as I’m praying this right now, and others as they’re praying with me, like that you, you know our names, you’ve called our names, you’ve redeemed our lives, you’ve made us your people, you’ve made us your sons and daughters, you remember us.

This Verse Encourages Us to Turn to God’s Grace

That our interests are continually before you. That you are intimately aware with everything that’s going on in our lives. You know the details of our lives better than even we do, and you care for us. You’ve etched us, in a sense, not just on your hands, but on your heart, for all eternity forever, never ever to removed.

Oh God, thank you for this grace. Thank you for this mercy. Help us to live in this today, as we walk through our day. Help us to realize what a special place, position we have before you. God, help us to live with confidence. Help us not to seek the approval, acclaim of this world. God, we have been accepted and approved by you. You love us. We’re continually before you. Oh God, help us to rest in that, and live out of the overflow of that. God thank you for this beautiful reality that we are ever before you, and you are consumed, in a sense, with our care.

All glory be to your name. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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