I have written your name on the palms of my hands. – Isaiah 49:16
13 The LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their suffering.
14 Yet Jerusalem says, “The LORD has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.”
15 “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!
16 See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind . . .
In an age characterized by isolation and despair, we often feel abandoned and forgotten. In our dejection and sadness, we ask, “does anyone really care?”
During dark times of the nation of Israel’s history, the people felt forgotten and forsaken. They grumbled and whined, “The LORD has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me” (Isaiah 49:14).
But nothing could be further from the truth. The Father’s response to their complaint was to assure them of His unfailing commitment. He would never, ever forget or abandon them. He answers them with two beautiful and poignant word pictures.
Rather than speak of His own love as a father, He compares Himself to a mother. The Father reminded them that He could no more forget them, than a woman can forget her nursing child.
The Father asks, “How can a mother forget her nursing child?” Day and night a nursing child demands its mother’s affection and attention. It is unthinkable that a mother could forget her child. A nursing child is wholly dependent upon its mother for nourishment and life. The Hebrew word translated nursing child is ulah. This word is more specific than child or even baby. It refers to a very young child that is still nursing.
But there’s more. The Father being all-knowing, omniscient, never forgets anything and He never learns anything.
Writing things down helps you remember and remain committed. It provides a record of your thoughts, feelings, and a path to the future.
In our society, it has become common for people to tattoo symbols or names of those they love on their skin. In Isaiah’s day, some servants would inscribe the names of their masters on their hands. But masters did not write the names of their servants on their hands.
Yet the Father, to highlight His focus and love, has inscribed the names of those He loves on the palms of His hands. The Hebrew word translated carved is chaqaq. Chaqaq means to cut, inscribe, engrave, chisel as a lasting record.
The Father is all in.
REFLECT & PRAY
So many times we experience dreadful isolation and a sense of abandonment.
Dear Father, thank You for being totally committed to me and keeping me ever before Your mind and heart.
Strictly speaking, the Father being omniscient cannot really forget anything. But from our perspective, sadly too often that does not matter. We are the ones who forget about Him. So, His Word is full of reminders of His love and commitment for us.
A mother and nursing infant are bound by ties of dependence and life, yet even this relationship can falter. But the Father will never waver. The Father’s everlasting love outlasts even the best love on earth.
Isaiah 49:15 Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
The word pictures presented here are among the strongest illustrations of the Father’s love found in the Old Testament.
The Father loves each of us individually more than any mother has ever loved her own son or daughter. Everything He does in our life, He does out of love and for love’s sake (Stanley).
Close your eyes and imagine for a moment that you see your name written on the palm of His hand. Then imagine your name smeared a bit by your sin. Your name is still visible but a bit smudged. The Father not only wrote the names of those He loved on His hands; He sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die for them.
Does the Lord Jesus Christ carry our names on His hands as well?
Now visualize the resurrected Christ.
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving but believing.”
28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Because of the crucifixion and death of Christ, He now has nail scarred hands forever. With a little bit of imagination we can connect the dots together.
I can see that the nail went right through the middle of my blurred name, covering it with blood. My name is forever on His hand. My name is covered with His blood. I am remembered, I am loved, I am forgiven.
Henceforth, whenever I see a tattoo, I will remember His nailed scarred hands.