In conveying His qualities to humanity, God often uses human attributes to describe them so that they could be understood, such as; God’s face, the eyes of the Lord, etc. One of the more common analogies in scripture is the “right hand of God.” This generally alludes to God’s power and authority; Isaiah 62:8 says; “The LORD hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength….” Jesus also gives further insight in Matthew 26:64 “….nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”
All throughout scripture, one can find references to the “right hand of God,” referring to his might, power and authority but very little is recorded about God’s left hand. We have only an inkling of understanding from Job 23:9 who says; “On the left hand, where he doth work, but I can not behold him…..” Although this is in reference to our left hand, I’d like to employ the idea of God’s left hand in terms of God’s restraining influence or grace that works behind the scenes, in our hearts and lives. While His right hand represents the great and wondrous works of God in His people, and in the world. These are often quite evident, such as; miracles, signs, healings, provisions, great services – anything that can be measured and perceived externally, to which we give God praise for. The work of God’s left hand, however, is the not-so obvious divine intervention or influence, that His Spirit exerts in our lives.
Songs of Solomon 2:6 describes the relationship between God and His Church; “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.” Though the Right hand seems to be the more prominent part in this illustration, without the left; there would be no support. These both work in tandem, in just the same way that we coordinate our right and left hands to accomplish most physical tasks. God’s left hand works covertly in our spirits and hearts to change us.
Why is this important? I think as believers, we need to learn to live in tension between God’s right hand and left hand. I believe in the miraculous power of God to bring great deliverance, healings and provisions, but sometimes when God does not intervene in our circumstances supernaturally, he works in our hearts and minds internally. In other words, what He does not deliver us from in our times of difficulties, He strengthens us within to go through them.
It is also interesting to note that throughout the Epistles of Paul, the Greek words for ‘comfort’ and ‘exhort’ come from the same root word; parakaleo which literally means ‘to call to oneself’. So when God exhorts us, He calls us to rise above our circumstances but when He comforts us, He calls us to Himself as we go through our circumstances. See the distinction? This is the left hand of God.
The left hand is where God works. This may also apply to what God keeps us from that we may never be aware of on this side of heaven. We can certainly account for the evident healing in our bodies, material provision and instant miracles since they can be measured physically. What about the things that God restrains that we can not see? The accident that we eluded by mere seconds, the diseases that providentially missed us. That’s why we ought to learn to thank God, not only for the good things that we received, but for the bad things that we didn’t receive. Thank God for the job that He provides and thank God for the job that He kept us from. It’s been said before that powerful testimonies are those from people who have been delivered from extreme lifestyles such as drugs and crime, etc. And they are certainly reasons for rejoicing but it is just as powerful a testimony from those who have been brought up in Church, not having been involved in ‘gross’ sin, yet are still living for God. They can testify of the left hand of God, in that He has kept them from all these things, and yet still serve the Lord with great passion.
Earlier I stated that, the left hand is where God works. Where is this exactly? Paul writes in Phil 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
It is in us! What’s He working in us? The will and ability to fulfill God’s purpose and pleasure. God works internally in our hearts changing our desires and intentions; our pleasures and motivations! The desire that we may have to go to Church, to pray, to read his Word, to live holy; these things did not begin with us wanting a change, it began with Him. If there be any desire to do right, it was worked in us by Jesus Christ himself. And whatever He has called us to; He will give us the wherewithal to accomplish it. Thank God for His Left Hand.
This is a blog post from Stanley Harvey, the Senior Pastor of the Pentecostals of Sydney.