When life gets stressful, what do you reach for? Do you turn to food, or shopping, or a good book, or television, or time with friends, or the internet, or sleeping, or….what? Now, all of the things I listed are good things, in moderation, but if we turn to them too often they could become an idol in our life. Have you ever thought of it that way? Most people picture a little carved statue when they think of an idol, and so they don’t think they have a problem with idolatry. The truth is, anything that we put higher than God is an idol in our lives.
Isaiah talks about that. In chapter 44 he talks about people who use part of a piece of wood for a fire and use the other part to make an idol and bow down to it. “He prays to it and says, ‘Save me; you are my god.’” The chapter talks about how foolish that is, and points out: “…a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, ‘Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?’”
As usual, God brings the same ideas to me from many different sources when he wants to teach me something. We studied this “right hand lie” idea in my “Isaiah” Bible Study one Wednesday night, and then I heard it again when I listened to a tape by Beth Moore. Every time I think about it, it seems to hit me a little harder each time. What is in my right hand? Beth Moore points out that the only thing we should have in our hand is the hand of God…anything else is a lie!
I have had many different idols in my right hand over the years. At times it has been anger, sometimes it has been pride, on other days it has been depression or despair. Lately I have been more aware of taking hold of the Lord’s powerful hand and walking with Him. Oh, the difference it makes! Sometimes, when I get a little nervous, I yank my hand away and grab onto something that seems a bit more familiar, a habit that is more comfortable. It’s becoming more clear that those things I grab onto are all lies! The only times I feel a real sense of peace and security are when I keep my hand in God’s. Even though I might still feel nervous about things that are going on, I can choose to believe that He is in control and will help me through whatever situation I’m in.
Here’s something else to think about. Psalm 63 is a beautiful psalm which talks about seeking God:
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you,” (v. 1)
“your love is better than life,” (v. 3)
“My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;” (v. 5)
“On my bed I remember you;” (v. 6)
“My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” (v. 8)
Did you catch that? God’s right hand upholds us. Before, I had a picture of myself and God walking along side by side, my right hand in His left hand. Now, I have a much different picture in my mind…if God’s right hand is upholding me, and my right hand is in His right hand, I can just see Him right behind me. It’s a much more intimate picture, isn’t it? Instead of just holding onto His hand, I can sense that His arm is supporting mine, too. When I can’t walk another step, I can sink back into His arms and rest a while. (I’m sure He would love for me to do that much more often than I do.) When I pull my hand from His and insist on walking alone, He doesn’t go anywhere. I can see Him shaking His head in disappointment as I drag along my worthless idol for a while…and His hand is always right beside mine, just waiting for me to reach out and grab hold of Him again.
I think it’s about time for all of us to examine what’s in our right hand. If it’s anything but God, then it is just a useless lie. It can’t support us, guide us, comfort us, or love us – it’s just an idol we’ve made with our own hands. It’s time to throw it down and take hold of the Lord’s perfect right hand!
© Robyn Mulder 2000, therobynsnest.org