God’s outstretched hand

Ezekiel 6:14: So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, in all their habitations: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

“God’s outstretched hand” describes a time of sustained activity of God in His war posture. It was with the outstretched arm of God that he delivered the children of Israel from the hold of Pharaoh in Egypt (Exodus 3:20). Over a period of some weeks, Egyptians faced the wrath of God with incessant attacks in various plagues, 10 of them with the last being the death of the firstborns.

“God’s outstretched hand” means God-in-action in his intensity. Though God is active all the time, it is not every time that it this is obvious. “God’s outstretched hand” marks periods of rapid changes that come upon the earth upon a people or upon a person, defeating the enemies of God and enhancing his glory on his people.

The season of God’s outstretched hand, usually follows an extended time of lull is any special activity of God.

In the time before God started moving strongly in the life of Samuel, and Eli was judge in Israel, there seems to be nothing much taking place in divine activities. The bible says that the word of God was scarce and there was no open vision (1 Samuel 3:1, 19-21). It was as if God was on a break.

But from the time God started speaking to Samuel as a young boy, there begun a season of intense prophetic activity in Israel. That work as so strong that there were companies and sons of the prophets (who live together), which existed till the time of Elijah and Elisha, many years later (2Kings 6:1).

Before the rescue of the children of Israel from the bondage to Egypt, it doesn’t seem it would ever happen. It was like their servitude will continue forever; years upon years experiencing hardship, till they had it up to here and cried out in their bondage. God heard their cry and revealed his outstretched hand of deliverance to them.

It is like labour pain for a pregnant woman. Over a period nine months the baby was nicely and innocuously contained in the womb of the woman, but in a few hours of labour everything changes (Isaiah 66:7-9). Labour pains comes suddenly gripping the woman, because now things have come to a head, because the child must come. A new thing MUST happen. That is called the fullness of time, where there has to be a birthing of a new thing on earth by all means.

Daniel recognised from the word of God through Prophet Jeremiah that the fullness of time had come for Israel to be restored back to their land (Daniel 9:1-19), but it was as if nothing of that sort will ever happen.

That prophetic word activated Daniel to intercede, asking that God will fulfill his word, forgiving Israel their sins, which led to their dispersal into foreign land. The fullness of time comes in conjunction with prayers of intercession and fasting.

The bible says that in the fullness of time, God sent his Son into the world in the incarnation. But there was a woman, a widow called Anna, who before the birth of Jesus had been staying in the temple, serving God without ceasing with prayer and fasting for at least 50 years before then.

(Hannah prayed for Samuel, the symbol of God’s fullness of time for the outstretched hand of God in the prophetic sense).

Anna possibly partnered with God in the place of prayer and fasting to bring about the fullness of time for the birth of Jesus. No wonder she was enabled to recognise Him when He was born, and speak about him for those waiting for the salvation of the Lord (Luke 2:36-38).

With prayer Elijah released the outstretched hand of God in Israel. Through Elijah’s prayer there was no rain for three years plus, to bring the nation back to the recognition of the truth of God (1Kings 17-18, James 5:15-18). In prayer he invoked the outstretched hand of God to change the weather and eventually called for a confrontation between the system of the worship of Baal (represented by hundreds of false prophets) and the worship of God (represented by Elijah). Eventually when the presence of God was manifest in fire coming from heaven, to consume the sacrifice set by Elijah, everyone said: the Lord he is God.

The ark of God was captured by the Philistines, when Hophni and Phinehas, sons of Eli died in a battle, and taken to the house of Dagon, their god. Then the hand of God was outstretched against Dagon (1Samuel:5-6).

The enemy put the ark of the awesome God of Israel in the temple of Dagon and overnight the image of Dagon had fallen from its place, face down. When they put him back together again, the next day he was dismembered and parts of his stature was left on the doorpost of the temple.

Then the towns of the Philistines were struck by a plague, and they had to return the ark in a dignified way. The hand of God was stretched against the Philistines in judgment, with many denying as a result of the plague.

When we come to the New Testament, we see the hand of God outstretched in judgment against a few people resulting in either death or blindness.

First, there was judgment in the house of God with the duo of Ananias and Sapphira judged for lying. They lied that the money they brought to the church was the total amount that they sold the land. They breathed their last after that lie (Acts 5:1-11).

So that it won’t seem that it was a fluke, the husband died first, so did the wife after three hours. The husband brought the money, while it was three hours later that the wife showed up, repeating the same lie of the husband, because both had planned the deception in unison.

Herod killed James and imprisoned Peter, after which the church rose up in intercession. God’s hand was outstretched against Herod, who was seeking to harm the church in other to please the Jews. He died suddenly, struck by an angel, and maggots ate him up till he died (Acts 12:1-24).

In the ministry of Paul and Barnabas, when a certain Jew, a sorcerer, wanted to oppose the word of the God in the life of a certain ruler, Paul declared that the hand of God will come upon him and he will be blind for a season. It happened immediately (Acts 13:11).

 

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