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Open handed

I’ve heard the phrase among several of our Christian friends, “I’m just holding it with an open hand.” This is usually in the context of a decision that is being prayed over, perhaps an opportunity that is in front of them. It’s true that we don’t want to hold too tightly to the things God gives us – we need to be able to let things go if we need to and not hold on so tightly that we turn them into an idol.

But I have felt like there is more to the “open hand” thing than just being able to be obedient to let things go. So, I started talking to the LORD about it. I think that very often we, as the Church in the West, tend to hold this view of obedience to God above all else. Much of our “discipleship” discussions revolve around obeying vs. disobeying and, obviously, the Bible speaks a great deal about both so I’m not minimizing obedience in any way. The prophet Samuel even makes the point when speaking about sacrifices required by the Law that “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). So, if God says we need to let something go or lay something down, let’s be quick to do that. But the LORD brought to me the point that if we don’t let go of something He’s asking us to, He can’t put in our hands something new. We are robbing ourselves of the blessing that new thing brings and we’re robbing the LORD of the joy of giving it.

I have especially felt during this season of COVID-19 that the LORD is calling us to lay down many things as His Church. God has allowed the whole world to be put on pause so that we might wake up to what He is doing, lay down the way we’ve always done things and engage with Him in the strategy He has for this season. I think the stupor of “normal life” was so great in the Church (especially in America and the West) that drastic action was required to wake us up. That drastic action has taken place, but much of the Church is still sitting – fist clenched – trying to get back to “normal.” If we could just open our hand and lay down our fierce agenda to go back to our pews and soak in the latest sermon, I believe God would put something new and magnificent in our hand. Can we open our hands to receive it?

The letters of the Hebrew alphabet are more than just letters – they are little pictures as well and hold special meaning. In my discussion with God about open handedness, I looked up what the significance of 20 was in Hebrew (given the year is 2020). Imagine my surprise when I found out that the number twenty is represented by the letter kaph, which is a picture of an open hand with palm upheld!

So, my mind was a little blown by the fact that this year of 2020 is symbolized by an open hand in Hebrew! Now, if 20 is an open hand, what does 2020 look like – two open hands. Picture where you frequently see two open hands: worship & prayer. The LORD is showing us a prophetic picture of His strategy for 2020 – worship & prayer is key.

Worship & prayer are key to opening our hand and letting go of the things He is asking of us. They are also key to receiving what He wants to give us. It is in this context of intimacy that the LORD asks us to lay things down and puts new things in our hands. Even beyond that, I believe He is declaring worship & prayer are a foundational part of His strategy to reach the lost and broken of this world and bring the fullness of His kingdom on this earth. This is a paradigm shift for much of the Church, but it is one that we must embrace if we are to move forward in power and bring wholeness to the broken and the Gospel of Jesus to the lost. But we cannot embrace this paradigm if we don’t open our hands and let go of the way things have always been done. That is the challenge for the Church: embrace the strategy of the LORD in this season or strive to go back to business as usual.

Comments (2)

  1. Kurt Brockman says:

    Good word Steve: God showed me in Ezekiel about speaking to the dry bones (the church today) and then calling on the 4 winds to breathe breath into the bodies ( the church once again) to raise up a mighty army to put the armor of God On.

    1. Steve Hart says:

      Such a good word, Kurt. I was just reading that story to my son in his kids’ Bible the other night and just thought about what a powerful experience that must have been for Ezekiel to see. We’re due to see that in the spirit across the world in our day. Let’s pray it in!!

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