In The Hands of God
Romans 9: 20-21
We learn from God's Word that He molds us and makes us and holds us in His hands.
We must learn the importance of the hands of God
God's hands represent His compassion as well as of His power.
God's hands also represents His involvement in human affairs.
God's hands represent His strength.
God's hands represent His presence as well as of His protection.
God's hands represent His action as well as of His authority and His autonomy.
God holds us in His hands.
God shelters us and protects us as He holds us in His hands.
God holds the universe in His hands, and keeps the entire universe in harmony
with His holy will.
David wrote that even if you take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts
of the sea, even there His right hand will hold you.
Ezekiel learned that when the hand of the Lord was upon him he had a unique,
preaching power that enabled dry bones to hear the word of the Lord.
Jesus, as he hung dying on the cross of Calvary, said:
" Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."
God's hands must have a prominent place in our minds and in our hearts.
Whether we aware of it or not, God molds us and makes us and holds us in His hands.
This passage the ninth of chapter of Romans is one that every Christian
needs to know and understand.
Paul said: " Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump
to make one vessel unto honour and another unto dishonor?"
Paul is having a conversation.
Paul is speaking to one who has probably said that God is not fair.
Some in our day would ask what kind of God is He that prefers some and ignores others?
Some would ash what kind of God is He when He exalts some and brings others low?
There are thos who would complain that God allows some to have plenty and others have little or nothing?
So, some might come to the conclusion that God is not fair.
Some will argue that God is not fair because God has not kept His promise.
They will complain that God chose Israel as the chosen race,
and that God showed Israel His Glory in the cleft of a rock.
They will remind us that God protected Israel with a cloud by day and a fire by night,
and manna on the ground.
They will say God gave Israel His covenant and his law.
They will remind us that God could be found in temple worship and in Israel's patriarchs.
Then, they will say that God promised that of all nations Israel would be blessed.
But now it looks like God does not keep His promise.
Remember, Paul is preaching to Gentiles who are not Jews by birth.
There are those now who are claiming the promise, and they are not the natural
offspring of Abraham.
They are no longer talking about the children of Abraham.
They are talking about children of the promise, and they say it's somebody is giving
something that we're not getting, and if somebody is getting something that
only we are supposed to get -- that means that God has not kept His promise.
And they will conclude that God is not fair.
They will say that God is not fair because he obviously is biased and discriminates
against His children.
They will argue that God fails to give to the one that should have and gives abundantly
to the one who should not have.
Remember Jacob and Esau.
They had the same father.
They were twins, but Esau was born first and, as a consequence, Esau should have
received the blessing and the inheritance of the father.
How unfair can that be?
Before they were born God said, " The older shall serve the younger."
Also it is recorded in God's word that God said: " Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."
Was that fair?
Then, the children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt.
They were oppressed by hard and cruel task masters.
A new Pharoah had arisen in Egypt that did not know Joseph.
As a result, they worked from sunup to sundown making brick without straw
and mortar without clay.
Then we read that the Bible says that God raised up Pharaoh and then hardened his heart.
It looked as if Pharaoh had a hard enough heart on his own, but then God hardened
Pharaoh's heart even more.
Somebody might ask, "Why did God do that?"
What was God's purpose?
God simply said: " I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion
on whom I have compassion."
And that is why this individual arguing with Paul may say, " Paul, God is not fair!"
There are many today who would also say that God is not fair.
When life turns us upside down, some may think that God has not kept His promise.
When burdens press us down and become too heavy to bear, somebody may ask:
God, where were you when I need you?"
When sickness comes and you know that God gives healing and healing doesn't come,
you want to ask: "God where are you when I need you."
Now this message is to those who love the Lord.
And we need to remember that just because you love the Lord does not mean
that you won't have difficult days.
Just because you are a member of the church does not mean that you're going to
have a life of ease.
Just because you've been born again and you have given your life to the Lord
does not mean that you won't have enemies, and it does not mean that the hounds
of hell won't hound you.
And when you go to church and you give your tithes and offerings and you serve
and give your time and your talent and yet, you don't seem to be any better
in the church than you were in the world.
That is when many would say that it looks like God is unfair.
And it seems as though God is unfair when the crooks and cheaters of the world
have everything, and you have little or nothing.
Jacob's name means " supplanter" or " one who follows after."
Jacob was selfish, crafty, deceitful, liar, thief, cheat, and a fraud.
Yet Jacob got the blessing over Esau.
There are a lot of people who never do any good, and yet, they get the blessing.
Of course that's not fair.
There are people who have pushed ahead of you when you are in line for the blessing,
and yet, they get it and you don't.
Of course, that's not fair.
You are living a Christian life and loving everybody and you are trying to say the right things
and you bring your tithes and offerings to the church, yet there are those who are mistreating
people and they make the big salaries, live in expensive houses, and drive the big cars,
And wear the brand named clothes, always have money to live the good life,
and you can barely pay your bills.
Of course it's not fair.
Now we all have been taught in Bible studies that God knows all, God sees all,
and that God hears all.
And we are taught that there is nothing that has happened or that is happening
or that will happen which is not already in the will and in the mind and in the heart of God.
We are taught that there is nothing beyond the gaze of God and that all of the
circumstances of life are a part of the perfect plan for His people.
When these questions come into our minds and into the arguments of those who would
like to discredit God, we need to hear what God has to say.
Let's look at what Paul has to say in response to this nameless individual arguing
with him about God.
Paul calmly replies: "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?
Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Hath not the potter power over the clay"?
Look at what Paul is saying.
First, he is saying I am led of the Holy Spirit to tell you that I believe there is
more than an implication in Paul's thinking that it is serious to want God to be fair!
If God is fair, how soon must we face the consequences of our sins?
If God is fair, how soon shall we see our secret sins for all the world to see?
If God is fair, how soon shall we hear what goes on in the dark shouted from the rooftops?
If God is fair, how soon He should remind us of promises we have made and have not kept?
If God is fair, how soon shall He remind us of those times He preferred us over others
and we have not been grateful enough to say " thank you"?
It's a serious matter when we want God to be fair.
People used to say, " If justice plumbed the line, we would have been gone long ago."
It may not be wise to look for the fairness of God, after all.
We would be better off looking for the mercy of God.
It is also serious to try to argue with God.
There is probably some sarcasm in Paul's voice when he asks,
"Who are you that you want to argue with God?"
Who are you? Made out of dust and spit.
Who are you? Made lower than the angels.
Who are you? Conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity.
Who are you? Your ways are not His ways and your thoughts are not His thoughts.
Who are you? You live in a land for which you did not labor; you live in cities
which you did not build; and you drink from vineyards that you did not plant.
Who are you?
It's serious to want to argue with God.
The Biblical record reveals that Job tried to argue with God one day.
When Job looked at his dwindling assets and his mounting liabilities,
Job wanted to argue with God.
When Job discovered that because of God he had lost his children and his servants,
his wife and his home, Job wanted to argue with God.
When it finally dawned on Job that his castle had become an ash pile
and his regal garments had become sackcloth, and when he looked with horror
into his mirror and saw the grotesque and deformed body that he could not recognize
as his and could hardly imagine a body so covered with boils from the top of his head
to the sole of his feet, Job wanted to argue with God.
When Job heard that his wife, the mother of his children told him to curse God and die,
Job wanted to argue with God.
Job said: " Oh that I knew where I might find him! That I might come even to his seat!
I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments."
But God's response was, " Job, I want to ask you:
" Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?"
" If you know so much " Where were you when I laid the measure or stretched
the line upon it?
" Where were you fastened the foundations and when I laid the cornerstone?
" You think I am so unfair.
" Where were you when I shut up the sea with doors, made a garment out of the clouds,
and made a swaddling band with thick darkness?
" You are so inquisitive about what I'm doing.
" Where were you when the morning stars sang together and when the sons
of God shouted for joy?"
Something we must remember that God is able to use those events we do not understand
and to use those persons who do not know Him.
For instance, there are some events in my life that I would rather not have.
There are some events in my life that are uncomfortable and which appear to be unprofitable
and, if I had my way, I would avoid those events and circumstances altogether.
But somehow God is able to take those events I do not understand and put a lesson
in my life that otherwise would not be there.
God taught Moses how to use what was already in his hand.
War and the jealousy of Saul taught David how to walk through the valley
and the shadow of death.
Starvation and impending death taught Elijah that God had other faithful people beside him.
Sickness and a fifteen-year diagnosis taught Hezekiah the value of a day.
Darius and his lions' den taught Daniel how to pray.
Nebuchadnezzar and his fiery furnace taught three Hebrew boys that no matter how terrible
the opposition may be, God is always able.
But God does not just teach His lessons with events.
God teaches lessons by people.
For it is our enemies who drive us to pray.
It is our adversaries that remind us how we need to trust.
It is our foes that give us faith.
Now look closely!
Paul said that the potter has power over the clay.
God molds us and holds us in his hand.
The potter has the job of molding and making and holding.
God is involved in making pottery.
Any potter can make an object to sit on a shelf.
Any potter can make an object that is beautiful.
Any potter can make an item to sale and people who can purchase it.
God needs instruments.
Far too many who are engaged in Christian service are objects -- not instruments.
An instrument says, "I'm good for something."
An instrument says, " I have a purpose in life."
An instrument says, " I am of value."
An instrument says, " I can be used."
The purpose of our Christian life is for God to use us.
I want God to use me.
I may not always understand how or why, but God, please use me.
Others may have what I'd like to have, but I want to be used of God.
I may have trials and tribulations, but I want to be used of God.
Friends may not understand why I serve Him, but I want to be used by God.
Some may not understand my struggles and strain, but I want to be used of God.
" Use me, Lord, use me for thy service.
Use me, Lord, enable me to tell thy story.
Use me, Lord, use me I pray!
We must always remember that the potter has power over the clay.
The potter has creative power.
He brings into being that which was not.
He can take nothing and make something out of it.
He can take the dust of the earth and breathe the breath of life into it until it walks and talks
and becomes a person.
Even more than that, the potter has re-creative power.
Jeremiah says that sometimes the vessel is spoiled in the potter's hand.
Sometimes the vessel does not do what it was designed to do.
So, the potter takes it and breaks it and molds it and makes it what He would have it to be.
I am so grateful that when I'm spoiled and broken, that God is not through with me yet.
I know the potter has power, and I have committed my life, my all to Him and want Him
to have power over me.
I want Him to have power over my life.
I want Him to have power over my eyes.
I want Him to have power over my ears.
I want Him to have power over my heart.
I want Him to have power over my head.
I want Him to have power over my hands.
I want Him to have power over my feet.
I want Him to have power over my family.
I want Him to have power over my job.
I want Him to have power over my church.
I need his wonder-working power every minute of every day.
God molds us and makes us and holds us in His hand.
It doesn't matter what happens in this life, I am in His hand -- He holds me!
Oh, what a mighty God we serve!
Right or wrong, up or down, poverty or wealth, sickness or health -- come what may,
I am in His hand.
Praise His holy name, I am safe in His hand.
"It's all in His hands. It's all in His hands,
Whatever the problem may be.
It's all in His hands. It's all in His hands.
If you let Him, He'll fix it for you."
"Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.
"Much of this sermon was inspired by Dr. Beecher Hicks.
-- Dr. Harold L. White