The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; because the Lord is the One who holds his hand; Psalm 37:23-24 NASB
Holds - The primary meaning of the root word samak is to lean upon or to sustain. But we might be more interested in the word picture. The Hebrew letters paint a picture of supporting water with an open palm. Have you ever tried that? Were you successful? Human beings that I know can’t lift up water with open palms (unless it’s frozen, of course). But the picture reminds me of an event where water was lifted up by an invisible hand – the crossing of the Sea of Reeds. In contrast to the meaning of grasp, this word recalls the laying on of hands that was associated with the sacrificial offerings of the Old Testament. It expresses the identification of self with the offering surrendered to God as an act of consecration. From this background, the Bible teaches that our support must come from God, not from men, for it is by God’s power that we will dwell in a place of safety and righteousness despite those times when we fall.
One of the constant characteristics of children is that they never refuse to hold your hand (except when they are being headstrong!). It is a bond of safety and protection for them, and an assurance of love for us. Lovers hold hands for the same reasons, and the added one of deep intimacy and personal vulnerability. Did you notice that God initiates the palm holding? Did you know that God loves to hold you in His hands? That’s not quite the same as grasping the hand of a child or a lover. It’s much more like carrying a baby. God is your perfect Father and your greatest admirer. His palm-holding is the deepest expression of care and concern.
If we are going to know the true delight of the Lord, we need to offer our hand to His. We can walk through life just like our own children, safe and secure. He is willing and able to carrying us.
Today take a moment to carry some water in your open palms. Let it remind you that God is able to carry all of His creation with open palms. Certainly He can carry you too.
Topical Index: hold, carry, samak, Psalm 37:23-24