Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God
(1 Peter 5:6)
“God is spirit” (John 4:24). He has no hands.
“Hand” is anthropomorphic language, used to describe something not human as having human form or attributes. God’s “hand” is the power He possesses and uses to accomplish His sovereign will.
Peter wanted his readers, who were withering under intense persecution, to be humbled by the knowledge that God was in total control, refining them under His mighty hand (see 1 Peter 5:6 above). Most Christians today are not under such intense persecution, but we are no less under the mighty hand of God.
Are we humbled by that knowledge?
The hand of God is mighty in creation.
If you are a Christian, God’s mighty hand has created you twice. He created you first in your mother’s womb. However, because you were born spiritually dead in sin (Psalm 51:5; Eph. 2:1), God created you again. The Bible calls this “regeneration” (Titus 3:5) or the new birth (John 3:3, 5; also see Eph. 2:4-5, James 1:18 and 1 Peter 1:3). You were not born again because of your own decision. Your faith did not prompt God to make you alive. You were dead, and dead people don’t ask to be resurrected. Your new birth was all of God and none of you. You were born, “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). God’s mighty hand did it.
The hand of God is mighty in judgment.
The same hand that mercifully rescues one, justly destroys another. As Paul said, “it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. . . . So then He has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever He wills (Rom. 9:16, 18). Who makes you differ from the rest who are left in their sinful deadness to suffer God’s wrath? It is the mighty, sovereign hand of God.
The hand of God is mighty in preservation.
If you are a Christian today, the only reason you will still be a Christian tomorrow is the power of God’s mighty hand. True believers are those who “by God’s power are being guarded through faith” for heaven (1 Pet. 1:5). You must continue to believe, but it is God’s sustaining power that ensures that you will. No one can snatch a true believer out of God’s mighty hand (John 10:28-29). On your own you would wander into sin and error, and you would perish. It is only God Who “is able to keep you from stumbling” and “present you blameless before the presence of His glory” (Jude 24). This is the mighty hand of God at work.
The hand of God is mighty in correction.
If you are a true Christian, the mighty hand of God will discipline you when you fall into sin. God’s children stumble, to be sure. But God corrects them when they do. “The Lord disciplines the one He loves” (Heb. 12: 6). Those who have experienced His fatherly correction can attest to His power. And even though “all discipline seems painful” at the moment, “later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb 12:11). The happiest children are those who know they will not be permitted to destroy themselves. It is reassuring to be under God’s mighty hand.
The hand of God is mighty in giving comfort.
Charles Spurgeon said, “You might as well rake hell over to find heaven in it, as look to your own carnal nature to find consolation.” As Christians, our consolation is found in the recognition of our helplessness, with the knowledge that God has a determined and unalterable purpose for our good which His mighty hand is sure to accomplish. After all, as Paul reasoned, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).
The hand of God is mighty in leading unbelievers to repentance.
King Nebuchadnezzar was a proud pagan king who viewed himself as the one and only sovereign. What finally made him humble was his recognition of the mighty hand of God. After living for seven years under God’s angry omnipotence, being made to graze on grass like a cow, he finally realized that God “does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and no one can restrain his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35).
Have you come to that realization yet?
If the mighty hand of God does not hold you securely through faith in Jesus Christ, it will destroy you without mercy when He comes in judgment. His hand is either for you, or it is against you.
“and there is none that can deliver out of My hand.”