WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 17, 2023
TOPIC: WHEN THE HAND OF THE LORD IS UPON YOU
BY T. O. BANSO
“The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him” (Ezra 7:6b New King James Version).
There are two manifestations of the hand of the Lord. There is the positive manifestation of the hand of the Lord, which is the good hand of the Lord, and there is the negative manifestation. Both of them have implications. Ezra 7:9 says, “On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him” (Ezra 7:9 New King James Version). Note the phrase “according to the good hand of his God upon him”
Compare this scripture to the account in Acts 13:6-11a where the hand of the Lord manifested in divine judgment. “Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time’” (New King James Version). You could see here the hand of the Lord in judgment against Elymas the sorcerer.
The Bible records other negative manifestations of the hand of the Lord in judgment, punishment, evil, and the like. Isaiah 51:17 says, “Awake, awake! Stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of His fury; you have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling, and drained it out” (New King James Version).
Earlier in Psalm 75:8, the Bible says, “For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is fully mixed, and He pours it out; surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drain and drink down” (New King James Version).
But in this devotional, I want to focus on when the hand of the Lord is on someone positively. We shall see what happens when the good or gracious hand of the Lord is upon you. In other words, what do you enjoy when the power of the Lord comes on you or His hand controls or guides you?
Benefits of the good hand of the Lord upon you
1. Divine speed. 1 Kings 18:46 says, “Then the hand of the LORD came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel” (New King James Version). The phrase “ran ahead of Ahab” means outran Ahab. The Prophet Elijah outran Ahab to Jezreel because the hand of the Lord came upon him. When the hand of the Lord comes upon you, you will gain divine speed, not only physically as in the case of Elijah. But you will make speedy progress in life.
2. Divine utterance. Another benefit is divine utterance. The Prophet Elisha prophesied when the hand of the Lord came upon him after he had requested a musician. “Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him. And he said, ‘Thus says the Lord: ‘Make this valley full of [a]’ For thus says the Lord: ‘You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you, your cattle, and your animals may drink.’ And this is a simple matter in the sight of the Lord; He will also deliver the Moabites into your hand. Also you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall cut down every good tree, and stop up every spring of water, and ruin every good piece of land with stones” (2 Kings 3:15-19 New King James Version).
3. Divine mercy and favour. When the hand of the Lord is upon you, you will enjoy divine mercy and favour. Ezra was a skilled scribe or teacher well-versed in the Law of Moses. He came from Babylon to Jerusalem about 80 years after the first return of the exiles led by Zerubbabel. Ezra 8:1-19 gives a list of those who returned with him. Ezra enjoyed divine mercy and favour from King Artaxerxes. Ezra 7:6b says, “The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him” (New King James Version). King Artaxerxes gave him gifts for the house of God; he also received all the help he needed because the hand of the Lord was upon him.
As seen earlier, the Bible says, “On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him” (Ezra 7:9 New King James Version).
In verses 27-28a, Ezra writes, “Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes” (New King James Version). Note the phrase “has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors and before all the king’s mighty princes.” Without the hand of the Lord upon Ezra, he wouldn’t have enjoyed divine mercy and favour as he did. The same thing happened to Nehemiah. The king granted his request according to the good hand of his God upon him (Nehemiah 2:8).
When the hand of the Lord is upon you, too, you will enjoy divine mercy and favour. People will show you mercy and favour you.
4. Divine success. Ezra enjoyed a successful trip from Babylon to Jerusalem which lasted four months. The journey was successful because the good hand of his God was upon him (Ezra 7:8-9). The hand of the Lord upon you will grant you success in your endeavours, including safe and successful trips.
5. Divine encouragement or strengthening. Everybody needs encouragement in life. You will enjoy divine encouragement when the hand of the Lord is upon you. Ezra did. He says, “So I was encouraged, as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me” (Ezra 7:28b New King James Version). Some translations use the word strengthened in this scripture instead of encouraged. When the hand of God is upon you, you will be encouraged or strengthened.
6. Divine revelation. Ezekiel 1:3 says, “The word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was upon him there” (New King James Version). Ezekiel had a divine revelation after this.
The vision Ezekiel had continued in the remaining part of the chapter as the hand of the Lord was upon him. Ezekiel 3:14-15 says, “So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me. Then I came to the captives at Tel Abib, who dwelt by the River Chebar; and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days” (New King James Version).
In verse 22, the Bible says, “Then the hand of the Lord was upon me there, and He said to me, ‘Arise, go out into the plain, and there I shall talk with you’” (New King James Version).
Also, in Ezekiel 33:22-24, the Bible shows how divine revelation followed the hand of the Lord upon Ezekiel – the word of the Lord came to him after the Lord had opened his mouth. Subsequent verses record the remaining part of the word of the Lord to him.
Again, in Ezekiel 37, the hand of the Lord came upon Ezekiel and he received a vision of the dry bones which eventually became a mighty army. “The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones” (verse 1 New King James Version).
Ezekiel 40 also records another vision that Ezekiel had after the hand of the Lord came upon him. Verses 1-2 say, “In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was captured, on the very same day the hand of the Lord was upon me; and He took me there. In the visions of God He took me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain; on it toward the south was something like the structure of a city” (New King James Version).
7. Divine obedience. When God’s hand is upon you, you are eager to obey God. God’s hand upon you will increase your willingness to obey Him. 2 Chronicles 30:12 says, “Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD” (New King James Version). The Contemporary English Version puts it this way: “God also made everyone in Judah eager to do what Hezekiah and his officials had commanded.” When the hand of the Lord comes upon a people, they are united in their determination to obey Him; they are eager to obey the Lord. I pray that the hand of the Lord will uniquely be upon you and that you will obey Him.
Conclusion: In this devotional, you have seen the benefits of the hand of the Lord upon someone. At the naming of John the Baptist, the Bible says the hand of the Lord was with him (Luke 1:66b). In the early church, the Bible says some believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene, preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus; the hand of the Lord was with them and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord (Acts 11:20-21). I pray that the hand of the Lord will come upon you and you will enjoy all the benefits you have read.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot 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 attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you 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 God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. 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 and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, let your hand come upon me so that I can enjoy divine speed, utterance, mercy and favour, success, encouragement and strengthening, revelation, and obedience.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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