Thoughts for the Day

Thursday, 16th May 2024: O Lord, your hand shall lead me

God the Father Protection Psalm 139 Hand Guidance

Reading : Verses from Psalm 139


O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night’,
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end—I am still with you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Why do we hold hands? Have you ever wondered about this? Well I guess, with children it's to help little ones walk, and to keep them safe. In our teenage or early adult years it's because we want to be close to a loved one, or to be helped in some way, or just to feel the touch of the other person, and when we're old it's a little like being a small child again. If we throw in the word 'comfort' that seems to cover most of the possibilities. Human hands are amazing things, and often we can recognise a loved one's hand through touch alone. Without touch we are all bereft, and perhaps we only discover this when we find ourselves alone.

As well as teaching us that God searches us out, and that He examines us, Psalm 139 creates an imaginary picture of a God who uses His 'hands' to hem us in, 'behind and before', and who lays His hands upon us. We are precious to Him, so it is His hands that keep us safe, that protect us, comfort us, and stops us from stepping into further danger. But there is a caveat, we have to respond to His call and turn to Him. Then, as the last line above says, God will lead us in the 'everlasting way'.

We can only think of God in human terms. But if we remember how we cup our hands together to hold something precious so that it doesn't fall between our fingers - as we do with the bread at our Communion Service, or a tiny chick, or a precious jewel - then we can imagine how God's hands are ready to stop us from falling when we trust Him, and how they are equally ready to lead us forward into the future.


may we turn to You this day,
responding to Your call.
May we learn to trust You
with all our problems,
remembering that You already
know what troubles us.
We ask for guidance and support,
and for the comfort of Your hand.
as You lead us forward
to new challenges.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to read this Christian poem by Louis Gander:

Or play this:

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