…the hand of God … the hand of foreign kings… (Ezra 7-9 and Nehemiah 1-2).
The picturesque language of someone’s hand being on another person signifies who is in control and to whom one is giving their allegiance. Ezra and Nehemiah boil it down to God’s hand or the hand of foreign leaders.
God’s hand brings:
- favor with foreign kings
- protection from bandits
A foreign king’s hand brings:
- a sword
Ezra explains, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to Him, but His great anger is against all who forsake Him” (8:22). So God’s hand prevents the hand of a foreign king from doing anything outside of God’s will.
Here are two irrefutable and unchangeable principles: (1) I can only have one hand on my life at a time, and (2) I get to choose which hand it will be: God’s or a foreign leader.