Hand: yad (Strong’s 3027)
Sounds like: yawd
We use our hands for everything. They are the most useful tools on our body. We can touch, hold, write, open jars, prepare food, and create art.
The hands of YHWH play a significant role in the Tenakh (Old Testament). God shows Jeremiah that we are in His hands and are at His mercy.
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from YHWH: “Go down at once to the potter’s house, and there I will reveal My message to you.”
So I went down to the potter’s house and saw him working at the wheel. But the vessel that he was shaping from the clay became flawed in his hand; so he formed it into another vessel, as it seemed best for him to do.
Then the word of YHWH came to me, saying, “O house of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?” declares YHWH. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand (b’yad), so are you in My hand (b’yadi), O house of Israel.”
YHWH forms and shapes us, and at a moments notice, He can wipe us out. But He does not wipe us out because He made a promise, a covenant, to save us and that is exactly what He does. Over and over YHWH saves His people from their enemies:
In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you are to tell him, ‘With a mighty hand (yad) YHWH brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. And when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, YHWH killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both of man and beast. This is why I sacrifice to YHWH the firstborn male of every womb, but I redeem all the firstborn of my sons.’ So it shall serve as a sign on your hand (yad’eka) and a symbol on your forehead, for with a mighty hand (yad) YHWH brought us out of Egypt.”
YHWH also uses people like Moses to show the power of God’s hands in defeating the enemies of God. The Amalekites were powerful enemies of the Hebrew people. Moses, in a complete leap of faith sent an army, led by Joshua, to face them. Moses promises Joshua that he will stand on the hilltop over the battlefield with the staff of God in his hand:
Joshua did as Moses had instructed him and fought against the Amalekites, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
As long as Moses held up his hand (yad-ow), Israel prevailed; but when he lowered his hand (yad-ow), Amalek prevailed. When Moses’ hands (wi’yad-eh) grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Then Aaron and Hur held up his hands (yad-aw), one on each side, so that his hands (yad-aw) remained steady until the going down of the sun.
So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his army with the sword.
Then YHWH said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as a reminder and recite it to Joshua, because I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”
And Moses built an altar and named it YHWH Nissi [YHWH is my Banner/Sign/Signal]. “Indeed,” he said, “a hand (yad) was lifted up toward the throne of YHWH. YHWH will war against Amalek from generation to generation.”
Notice that YHWH did not ask Moses to do this. Moses had faith, lifting his hand towards God, and God rewarded him!
In fact over and over (Deut. 5:15, Deut. 26:7-11, Psalm 136:12, Ezekiel 20:33-35, Jeremiah 21:5) the Tenakh tells stories of YHWH standing against His enemies with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
It is mentioned in the 12 Commandments when Moses speaks of keeping the Sabbath:
Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and that YHWH your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand (b’yad) and outstretched arm. That is why YHWH your God has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
Later in Deuteronomy the Hebrew people remember God’s miraculous rescue from the land of Egypt:
So we called out to YHWH, the God of our fathers; and YHWH heard our voice and saw our misery, toil, and oppression. Then YHWH brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand (b’yad) and an outstretched arm, with great terror, signs, and wonders.
Regardless of this miraculous rescue from slavery, it doesn’t take long for the people to forget and turn their back on YHWH. Sometimes the people of God become their own enemies. In the following passage it is the Hebrew people who are behaving like the enemies of God… and YHWH does not turn a blind eye to it:
And I (YHWH) Myself will fight against you (Israel) with an outstretched hand (b’yad) and a mighty arm, with anger, fury, and great wrath.
In Deuteronomy it is a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, but in Jeremiah it is the opposite (outstretched hand & mighty arm). Either way, they were saved by the powerful arm of God, but they can also be destroyed by that same hand! But all was not lost. God remembers His promised Covenant to His people and He places his hand on the people to give them one heart of obedience:
2 Chronicles 30:12
Also, the hand (yad) [many translations incorrectly say “power”] of God was on the people in Judah to give them one heart to obey the command of the king and his officials according to the word of YHWH.
YHWH speaks through Jeremiah of this one heart:
YHWH: They will be My people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, so that they will always fear Me for their own good and for the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never turn away from doing good to them, and I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will never turn away from Me. Yes, I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and soul.
YHWH also speaks through Ezekiel regarding this one heart:
YHWH: And I will give them one heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow My statutes, keep My ordinances, and practice them. Then they will be My people, and I will be their God.
Here YHWH’s hand is shaping His people and with His hand He is giving them a unified heart. Yet even with a unified heart, God’s people still need help and they call out for God’s protecting hand.
Arise, O YHWH! Lift up Your hand (yad-eka), O God. Do not forget the helpless.
And how does God plan to help the helpless? He needs to dwell among us. He sends a Messiah, a Saviour, His right hand man, so to speak:
Return, O God of Hosts, we pray! Look down from heaven and see!
Attend to this vine, the root Your right hand has planted,
the branch You have raised up for Yourself.
Your vine has been cut down and burned;
they perish at the rebuke of Your countenance.
Let Your hand (yad’eka)be upon the man at Your right hand,
on the Son of Man You have raised up for Yourself.
Then we will not turn away from You; revive us, and we will call on Your name.
Restore us, O YHWH God of Hosts;
cause Your face to shine upon us, that we may be saved.
Yeshua (Jesus), whose name in Hebrew means Salvation, fulfills the promise of Messiah, the right hand of God. The Tenakh speaks of this Branch, this Son of Man who is at the right hand of God, who will save us.
Mighty is Your arm, strong is Your hand (yad-eka); Your right hand is exalted. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; loving devotion and truth go before You.
But just as the hand of God saves, the hand of man destroys. Before anything happens to him Yeshua (Jesus) is completely aware of what he will face. He speaks of his own death to his disciples:
When they gathered together in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill Him, and on the third day He will be raised to life.” And the disciples were deeply grieved.
Yeshua humbles himself and gives his life over to the hands of men. Those men take the hands of Jesus and nail them to the cross.
With His own hands God protects and saves the people. And it is these hands, nailed to the cross, that saves the people who nailed Him there.
After Yeshua dies and comes back to visit His disciples, His hands keep the scars as a visual statement of His divinity:
Now Thomas called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands, and put my finger where the nails have been, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe.”
Eight days later, His disciples were once again inside with the doors locked, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas replied, “My Lord and my God!”
God’s Salvation is for ALL who seek Him
As the priest, Ezra, said, “The hand (yad) of our God is gracious to all who seek Him, but His great anger is against all who forsake Him.” (Ezra 8:22b)
And that “ALL” includes everyone… Jew and Gentile, women and men, slave and free.
So I took all this to heart and concluded that the righteous and the wise, as well as their deeds, are in the hand of God (b’yad ha’Elohim). Man does not know what lies ahead, whether love or hate.
We are in the hand of God. We don’t know what is ahead for us (there will be some good things and some bad things), but we can rest easy knowing that we are protected in God’s hands. YHWH is for us, not against us, and His love for us is eternal!
With a mighty hand (b’yad) and outstretched arm, His loving devotion is forever!
Next week: Forever/Everlasting/Eternity