The Hand of the Father

A few weeks ago at church, a dad sat down in the pew in front of us along with his three children. His daughter sat directly to his left and was about twelve years old. Beside her sat her brother-around ten; and then the youngest boy, seven or so. Well. . . sometimes it’s hard for little ones to pay attention. The fidgeting began and then the mischief followed. The older boy was pestering his sister. Dad didn’t seem to notice and the behavior became more distracting. I saw my husband’s arm begin to rise and he gently and discretely reached out and put his hand on the boy’s shoulder. He softly, but firmly stated “Stop.” I think it must have felt like the hand of God because the boy froze like a statue and stayed that way for the rest of the service!
It’s hard to always behave the way we’re supposed to – no matter what our age. Like the young man’s actions above, what follows our poor choice is often much indicative of where we’re headed. Consider Rahab, whom we are told was a harlot. Not the kind of woman we might think God would use. Yet, she heard about the God of the Israelites and feared Him. When Joshua sent out his men to spy on the land, they took refuge at her home. When the king called upon her to give the up, she denied they were there. She hid them on the roof top and later helped them escape. Because of her willingness to do what God had called her to do, Rahab and her family was sparred when the Israelites returned and the city and all that dwelt therein were destroyed. Rahab changed her course and is later mentioned among the saints in the Book of Hebrews, 11. 31: “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”
Just as God directed Rahab’s steps, he also reaches out to get our attention when we are going down the wrong path—whether through the caring words of a friend or loved one, a prompting of our conscience by the Holy Spirit, the reading Scripture, a quiet moment while in fellowship with him, or even by a consequence that may be painful. Because He loves us so much, he then provides a window of opportunity for us to escape, to take the corrective action necessary to make our path straight and perhaps more significant suffering. When God taps us on the shoulder and tells us to “Stop,” may we heed the warning.

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