Have you ever written an important name, number, or note on your hand so you would not forget? You thought the information so important; you printed it on your very skin. You temporarily “made it a part of yourself.”
Today I am reflecting on our October 8th reading from the book of Isaiah. “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.” (Isaiah 49:15-16 NASB)
It is believed that an ancient custom of the Jews was to trace upon the palm of their hand the outline of any object of affection. Specifically in these verses, God is doing the tracing and the object of affection is Zion, the Holy City; obviously an indication of Israel, His beloved children of the promise. Zion is a symbol of the people God loves. Beyond the immediate intention of the verses, the promise extends to all His children, whether Jew or Gentile, children of His faith.
Notice in verse sixteen that the inscription is not only on one hand, but on both. It is the plural in each case, “on the palms of My hands.”
The most significant insight behind these words is the reality that these marks are not simply written or tattooed, marks which potentially might be washed away or obscured; but etched. The engraving tools were a hammer and nails. The canvas was our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; the backdrop an old rugged cross.
Another interesting picture painted into these verses is the allusion to the walls of the Holy City. Throughout history, the city of Jerusalem has been destroyed and rebuilt. Her walls have laid in ruin. The reference in our text is that God sees her walls upright and strong; what they are meant to be. During the time of Nehemiah, Sanballat mocked Jerusalem with regard to the heaps of rubbish that once stood as her walls. But God did not keep those ruins in mind, as they were associated with Israel’s recklessness and sin. Zion’s walls were ever before Him.
The portrait regarding His children becomes clear. What we are meant to be; what we are in Jesus; what we long to be in our best moments; what we will be when grace has perfected its work and we are completed in Heaven; this is how God sees His children!
Do not lose heart child of God! When it seems all have forgotten you, our Lord and Master sees you in the nail prints of His Hands! In Him, He sees you as you are meant to be!
YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN!