In October, the Emmanuel Baptist Church, Hoensbroek, Netherlands, women’s fellowship monthly event was an interesting afternoon of prayer time, Scripture devotional, pyrography art, and fellowship.
Jocelynn Dagosta shared the devotional and did a workshop on pyrography. Pyrography or pyrogravure is the art of decorating wood or other materials with burn marks resulting from the controlled application of a heated object such as a poker. It is also known as pokerwork or wood-burning. This art dates back to 17th century and even more to the pre-historic times. It was fun learning together the skill and patience involved in mastering the techniques!
In Isaiah 49:14-16 we read, “But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’ ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.’”
According to Timothy Keller, these verses illustrate a beautiful picture of a dialogue between the Lord and us! Verse 14 portrays Israel’s frustration of not feeling loved. God promises them a future where He will bring His people back to Him. But they were not feeling loved now. Their city was destroyed, in ruins. We often feel this way, when things are not going right or the way we would like. We can’t feel God’s presence. We believe in a living God, but we don’t let that affect our lives. Our human imperfections, disappointments, or unanswered prayers make it difficult to believe that God still loves us. We keep questioning, “Why has the Lord forsaken and forgotten me?”
Well the answer lies in verse 15: God loves us like a mother loves her infant. One of the most intimate relationships one can imagine is the bonding of a mother and her infant. Our human actions are conditional, but God’s love is unconditional. This is where God is different: He is perfect, but mothers are not!. “Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (49:15). His action speaks louder.
Our main verse says: “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” (49:16). The word engrave means to engrave in with a hammer or a chisel or a spike. In Hebrew the word “Katab” means inscribed or written. It appears more than 200 times in Scripture and represents writing down a message. It could be written down on stone, paper, wood, sand, or skin. In every instance, it means more than just recording something for posterity. Inscribed refers to the unchangeableness and binding nature of the Word of God. God has said it, it is fixed, it is written, and it will be done!
The Lord cries out, “How can I have forgotten you, when I have engraved you on the palms of My hands? “Consider the depth of this! It’s not just our names. “I have engraved your person, your image, your circumstances, your sins, your temptations, your weaknesses, your wants, your works; I have engraved you, everything about you, all that concerns you; I have put all of this together here.”
Can we ever say again that our God has forsaken us, when He has engraved us on His own palms?