THE UNSEEN HAND OF GOD

PASTOR T. O. BANSO

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. ‘Rabbi,’ his disciples asked him, ‘why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?’ ‘It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered. ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him’” (John 9:1-3 NLT).

Many times, the hand of God is at work in our lives, but it is not evident to us. There are things that happen to us in life that we take credit for when they’re good, and others we blame ourselves, others or the devil for if they’re not good.

In the passage above, Jesus didn’t blame the child born blind or his parents for his negative condition, as his disciples had already concluded. Jesus said God had a hand in it – that the works of God may be glorified.

The hand of God is working in our lives even when it’s not too manifest to us. The unseen hand of God works through some of our decisions; through some events that happen in our lives; through some directions we choose to follow, etc. We may not factor God into these things, but underneath, God is at work. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut 33:27a NKJV).

Moses and the unseen hand of God

Look at this passage of the scripture: “One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God.  There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. ‘This is amazing,’ Moses said to himself. ‘Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.’ When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ ‘Here I am!’ Moses replied. ‘Do not come any closer,’ the Lord warned. ‘Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.  I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God” (Exo 3:1-6 NLT).

From this scripture, you can see that Moses had no intention of meeting with God; he was only leading the flock of Jethro and came to Horeb or Sinai. But there was God’s unseen hand in his leading the flock to the backside of the desert until he came to the Mountain of God where he entered into a new phase of his life. There, God sent him back to Egypt to deliver the children of Israel from over 400 years of slavery.

Moses thought he was leading the sheep, but he didn’t know that God was actually leading him! Moses wasn’t prepared at all for that encounter that changed the direction of his life and assignment. You may just be about to start a journey that would change your life for the better. There may not be any grand preparation, but God can encounter you, like He encountered Moses. It will happen for you by the unseen hand of God in Jesus’ name.

Saul and the unseen hand of God

In 1 Sam 9, Saul thought he was looking for his father’s lost ass. He didn’t know the Lord was leading him into a life-changing appointment with Samuel. He returned from that trip as an anointed king, the first king of Israel. Before he ever came to see Samuel to enquire of the lost ass, the Lord had told Samuel about him and what to do when he came. The unseen hand of God was at work. “Now the Lord had told Samuel the previous day, ‘About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him to be the leader of my people, Israel. He will rescue them from the Philistines, for I have looked down on my people in mercy and have heard their cry’” (1 Sam 9:15-16 NLT).

It is very clear from the Bible account that Saul had no intention of meeting Samuel to ask about the lost ass; it was the idea of his servant. He didn’t even have money to give the prophet of God; it was his servant that volunteered some money. “ But the servant said, ‘I’ve just thought of something! There is a man of God who lives here in this town. He is held in high honor by all the people because everything he says comes true. Let’s go find him. Perhaps he can tell us which way to go.’ ‘But we don’t have anything to offer him,’ Saul replied. ‘Even our food is gone, and we don’t have a thing to give him.’ ‘Well,’ the servant said, “I have one small silver piece. We can at least offer it to the man of God and see what happens!’  (In those days if people wanted a message from God, they would say, ‘Let’s go and ask the seer,’ for prophets used to be called seers.) ‘All right,’ Saul agreed, ‘let’s try it!’ So they started into the town where the man of God lived” (Verses 6-10). Did you see that? One day Saul met Samuel and his life changed. Your one day will come in Jesus’ name. You will meet your ‘Samuel’ and your life will change.

Saul wasn’t looking forward to what he got on that journey. If you asked him, he would tell you he was looking for his father’s missing ass. In fact, when he met Samuel, he didn’t recognize him. It is possible that he had never met Samuel before then, and Saul never knew him until God told him. “When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said, ‘That’s the man I told you about! He will rule my people.’ Just then Saul approached Samuel at the gateway and asked, ‘Can you please tell me where the seer’s house is?’ ‘I am the seer!’ Samuel replied. ‘Go up to the place of worship ahead of me. We will eat there together, and in the morning I’ll tell you what you want to know and send you on your way. And don’t worry about those donkeys that were lost three days ago, for they have been found. And I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes’” (1 Sam 9:17-20 NLT). God’s unseen hand will change your story this season in Jesus’ name.

David and the unseen hand of God

In 1 Sam 17, David thought he was running errands for his father to give food to his brothers at the army camp. He never knew God was leading him to face a destiny assignment that would promote him from obscurity to national and, indeed, global prominence. “One day Jesse said to David, ‘Take this basket of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread, and carry them quickly to your brothers. And give these ten cuts of cheese to their captain. See how your brothers are getting along, and bring back a report on how they are doing.’ David’s brothers were with Saul and the Israelite army at the valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines. So David left the sheep with another shepherd and set out early the next morning with the gifts, as Jesse had directed him. He arrived at the camp just as the Israelite army was leaving for the battlefield with shouts and battle cries” (1 Samuel 17:17-20 NLT).

Did you see that? One day Jesse sent David on a destiny errand. You may never know when your own one day would come – one day that would change the story of your life forever, one day that the much awaited promotion, employment, marriage partner, etc. would become a reality. This shall be that season in Jesus’ name.

For David, the outcome of that one-day errand was that he killed Goliath and his fame spread abroad. The women even produced an album to sing his praises!  “When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song: ‘Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!’” (1 Sam 18:6-9 NLT) I pray that because of the unseen hand of God working in your life, men and women will soon celebrate you in Jesus’ name.

Esther and the unseen hand of God        

In the book of Esther, the name of God is not mentioned even once, but we see His unseen hand in the events in that book. How else could a poor orphan have become a queen in a strange land through a competitive process? Not only did Esther’s turn come to go to the king like other prospective queens, but her turn ended the competition! The king and everyone were pleased with her. “Esther was the daughter of Abihail, who was Mordecai’s uncle. (Mordecai had adopted his younger cousin Esther.) When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her. Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter of the seventh year of his reign. And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti” (Esther 2:15-17 NLT).

Why did Hegai give Esther the advice he gave her on how to appear before the king? Why did he give her preferential treatment? See what favour did for Esther by the unseen hand of God: “Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem” (Verse 9). Why didn’t he extend the same favour to the other ladies? On top of that, when it was Esther’s turn, the Bible says Esther didn’t ask for anything except what Hegai had advised her. Why did Hegai not advise the other contestants? Esther became a queen in place of Vashti through the unseen hand of God working through the most unexpected person, Hegai, who apparently knew what the king liked and what everyone would admire and advised Esther in that regard. Everything was orchestrated by God.

I pray that the unseen hand of God will link you with the man or woman who will show you uncommon favour in Jesus’ name. He or she is not supposed to do it, but will do it all the same. It is the unseen hand of God at work. This hand will work in your case in Jesus’ name.

Haman’s plot and the unseen hand of God

How else except by the unseen hand of God could the plot of that wicked man, Haman, against Mordecai and the Jews have been quashed?  Both his planned hanging of Mordecai and the genocide against the Jews failed by reason of God’s intervention and Haman was hanged in the tower he had prepared to hang Mordecai. “Then Harbona, one of the king’s eunuchs, said, ‘Haman has set up a sharpened pole that stands seventy-five feet tall in his own courtyard. He intended to use it to impale Mordecai, the man who saved the king from assassination.’ ‘Then impale Haman on it!’ the king ordered. So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai, and the king’s anger subsided” (Esther 7:9-10 NLT). And Esther 9:25 says, “But when Esther came before the king, he issued a decree causing Haman’s evil plot to backfire, and Haman and his sons were impaled on a sharpened pole” (NLT).

 By the unseen hand of God, every evil plot against you will backfire in Jesus’ name. Every ‘Haman’ will fall into the traps he has prepared for you. “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him” (Prov 26:27 NKJV). According to Eccl 10:8, “He who digs a pit will fall into it, and whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent” (NKJV).

King Xerxes, remotely controlled by the unseen hand of God, signed a counter decree that empowered the Jews to attack their enemies who had wanted to carry out the first decree the king signed under the sinister influence of Haman. The Jews therefore defended themselves. The Bible says, “So on March 7 the two decrees of the king were put into effect. On that day, the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but quite the opposite happened. It was the Jews who overpowered their enemies. The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the king’s provinces to attack anyone who tried to harm them. But no one could make a stand against them, for everyone was afraid of them” (Esther 9:1-2 NLT). Verse 16 says, “Meanwhile, the other Jews throughout the king’s provinces had gathered together to defend their lives. They gained relief from all their enemies, killing 75,000 of those who hated them. But they did not take any plunder” (NLT).  What a slaughter of the enemy! What an anti-climax! In Jesus’ name, you will not die for your enemies to live; you won’t fall for them to rise; you will not fail for them to succeed; you won’t lose for them to win.

Naomi and the unseen hand of God

In the book of Ruth, it looked as if the future was gloomy for Naomi and Ruth, but God’s hand was at work to turn their hopelessness to a happy ending. In the midst of the seeming hopelessness, the Bible says of Ruth that she happened to be gleaning in the field belonging to Boaz which set her up for a chance meeting with Boaz. Boaz happened to be a kinsman redeemer, who happened to be a wealthy man, who happened to marry her and through whom Ruth happened to be pregnant and gave birth to a child called Obed who happened to be the father of Jesse who is the father of David from whose line the Messiah was born. I have used the word “happened” deliberately after the first one actually used by the Bible but none of the chain of events happened by chance. It might have appeared like that on the surface, but everything was planned and orchestrated by God.

Ruth 2:3 says Ruth “happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech” (NKJV). But the truth is that it was God that led Ruth; she only didn’t know. God brought her there and also brought Boaz there at the time she was there so that both of them would meet. There is a ‘Boaz’ that you must meet for your story to change. You will meet him or her in Jesus’ name. The Lord will bring you and your Boaz to the place you’ll meet in Jesus’ name.

The same God that brought Moses to the Mount of Horeb, brought Saul to Samuel while searching the lost ass. The same God brought David to the army camp to see and kill Goliath while he brought food to his brothers; He also brought Ruth to Boaz’s field to glean but really to get a husband! This season, the unseen hand of God will bring you to the place you’ll meet your wife or husband in Jesus’ name. His unseen hand will bring you to where the miracle you’re not expecting will be delivered to you. It will happen in your life in Jesus’ name.

Samson and the unseen hand of God

In Judges 14, Samson’s parents did not know it was the Lord moving him to desire marrying a Philistine – there was a divine purpose for that. “One day when Samson was in Timnah, he noticed a certain Philistine woman. When he returned home, he told his father and mother, ‘I want to marry a young Philistine woman I saw in Timnah.’ His father and mother objected strenuously, ‘Isn’t there one woman in our tribe or among all the Israelites you could marry? Why must you go to the pagan Philistines to find a wife?’ But Samson told his father, ‘Get her for me. She is the one I want.’ His father and mother didn’t realize the LORD was at work in this, creating an opportunity to disrupt the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time” (Judges 14:1-4 NLT). But Samson’s desire at this time was different from his lust later for a prostitute at the Philistine town of Gaza whom she spent the night with (Judges 16:1 NLT).  God’s hand was not in that.

Neither was God’s hand in Samson’s lust for the woman in the valley of Sorek, Delilah, which eventually led to his capture by the Philistines and his eventual death (Judges 16:4-30). God didn’t lead Samson to Delilah. You won’t fall into the trap of the devil in Jesus’ name. Your enemies will not capture you. Your legs won’t take you to where the hand of God is not leading you.

Paul and the unseen hand of God

The unseen hand of God delivered the early church from that dreaded persecutor, Saul of Tarsus. God knew about that trip by Saul to Damascus; He allowed it. Saul thought he was going to Damascus to persecute the saints, but God had a different purpose for that trip – his conversion (Acts 9:1-9). He sent a certain disciple, Ananias, to him later to minister to him. The unseen hand of God!

Many times, the unseen hand of God preserved the lives of Paul and the other disciples. For instance, in Acts 23:12-24, why was it that the son of Paul’s Sister was around to hear of the conspiracy to kill Paul and was able to inform Paul? Do you call that coincidence? No, it was the unseen hand of God. “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous” (Anonymous).

The young man didn’t go there purposely to find out their plot; it was the unseen hand of God that brought him there for the reason he didn’t know. Those who made the plot thought it was a done deal. They never knew the plot had leaked. Their plot was therefore foiled, and the life of Paul was saved.

See also how God preserved him in Acts 18, through the judgment of Gallio, the deputy of Achaia. “But when Gallio became governor of Achaia, some Jews rose up together against Paul and brought him before the governor for judgment. They accused Paul of ‘persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our law.’ But just as Paul started to make his defense, Gallio turned to Paul’s accusers and said, ‘Listen, you Jews, if this were a case involving some wrongdoing or a serious crime, I would have a reason to accept your case. But since it is merely a question of words and names and your Jewish law, take care of it yourselves. I refuse to judge such matters.’ And he threw them out of the courtroom. The crowd then grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him right there in the courtroom. But Gallio paid no attention” (Acts 18:12-17 NLT).

The angry mob beat Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue in the courtroom, sequel to the refusal of the governor of Achaia to consider their accusation against Paul. They visited their anger and frustration on Sosthenes and, interestingly, Gallio paid no attention.  Sosthenes was part of the plot against Paul.  But the name Sosthenes appeared later in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. It is not clear if Paul was referring to the same person. “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother” (1 Cor 1:1 NKJV). If this verse refers to the same person, it would then mean that he became a Christian sometimes later.

The Jews never expected the deputy would be against them. The unseen hand of God put him there as the governor of Achaia at this time (verse12). Why was Gallio the governor at that time? Why not another person who would be bias against Paul? God knew ahead what these people would do and put Gallio there. That confirmed what God had told Paul earlier in Acts 18:9-10:  “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, ‘Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me” (NLT). Gallio belonged to God! Hallelujah!

In Acts 19, we see how God preserved Paul’s life in Ephesus during the riot through the intervention of the chiefs of Asia (public officials and dignitaries of the province), who were Paul’s friends, and the town’s clerk. Hear verses 30-31: “Paul wanted to go in, too, but the believers wouldn’t let him. Some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, also sent a message to him, begging him not to risk his life by entering the amphitheater” (NLT). May be Paul would have risked his life to enter the amphitheater if the officials who were his friends had not cautioned him against that. And who knows what would have happened. God’s hand planted them there.

And in verses 35- 41, the clerk of the town or mayor nailed them with his address. The mayor warned the protesters against doing anything rash. He counseled them that if Demetrius and the craftsmen had a case against Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, who had been dragged into the amphitheatre, the courts were in session. He told them that if formal charges were brought against them, the officials could hear the case at once. Therefore, he dismissed them, and they dispersed.

There is no information that Paul’s friends and the mayor were either Jews or Christians, yet they acted in favour of Paul and the cause of the gospel. God can use anyone to achieve His ultimate purpose in your life. That’s why He could use Cyrus and even called him his anointed or shepherd. “When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple’” (Isaiah 44:28 NLT).

King Amaziah and the unseen hand of God

The unseen hand of God was at work to destroy King Amaziah of Judah for giving the honour due to God to the god of the Edomites whom God had helped him to defeat. He would not even listen to the prophet’s counsel like he did in the past. “When King Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought with him idols taken from the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down in front of them, and offered sacrifices to them! This made the Lord very angry, and he sent a prophet to ask, ‘Why do you turn to gods who could not even save their own people from you?’ But the king interrupted him and said, ‘Since when have I made you the king’s counselor? Be quiet now before I have you killed!’ So the prophet stopped with this warning: ‘I know that God has determined to destroy you because you have done this and have refused to accept my counsel’”(2 Chro 25:14-16 NLT). Please take note of what that prophet said.

If Amaziah could threaten to kill a prophet who was trying to save him from being destroyed, then it was certain God’s hands must be in it! The next step he took was a false step. He consulted with his advisers on going to war with Israel rather than consulting with God’s prophet. He went to that battle because God wanted to bring him down for promoting idolatry. All attempts by the king of Israel to discourage him failed. “But Amaziah refused to listen, for God was determined to destroy him for turning to the gods of Edom” (2 Chro 25:20 NLT). Amaziah was roundly defeated and humiliated by the king of Israel. The unseen hand of God will cause all your unrepentant enemies to remain adamant like Amaziah or stubborn like Pharaoh so that they may suffer a colossal loss or defeat they won’t recover from.

Could this be God?

Do you know the unseen hand of God may even be in some problems you are battling with in your life? You think it is the devil but no, it is the LORD. It is not that God caused the problem, but He may have allowed it for a reason, though you’re not enjoying it. You’re concerned about your comfort, but God is concerned about His ultimate purpose in your life. Therefore, He can allow some pain in your life not to destroy you, but to achieve His ultimate purpose.

Let me show you how this worked in the life of the Israelites. “These are the nations that the Lord left in the land to test those Israelites who had not experienced the wars of Canaan.  He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle. These are the nations: the Philistines (those living under the five Philistine rulers), all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the mountains of Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to Lebo-hamath. These people were left to test the Israelites—to see whether they would obey the commands the Lord had given to their ancestors through Moses. He has a purpose to achieve through them” (Judge 3:1-4 NLT).  God allowed these enemies to remain in order to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands to their ancestors through Moses.

On the surface, it could appear as if it was the devil that did this, but it was the LORD – His unseen hand was at work. Take note of the last sentence of that scripture: “He has a purpose to achieve through them.”

Conclusion: Beloved, the unseen hand of God is at work in your life shaping events, directing you without your knowledge and also working through negative and positive situations as well as friends and enemies. Even what the devil intends to use to destroy you, God’s hand is supervising it to see that it works ultimately for your good.

Just have faith in God if you don’t seem to understand what is happening. Believe that God has the best plan for your life, and He will cause His ultimate purpose to be fulfilled. The unseen hand of God that worked for Moses, Mordecai, Esther, Ruth, Naomi, Saul, David, and others will work in your favour. With God, you’re in a safe hand. If you have faith in Him and obey Him, God’s unseen hand won’t work against you like it worked against Pharaoh, Amaziah and some other people in the Bible.  God’s unseen hand will not strike you in Jesus’ name (Job 19:21). You’ll know the gracious hand of God.

TAKE ACTION!

If you’re not born again, you need to make yourself ready for eternity. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.

Tdsc_0581. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org