‘Moving the hand of God’: what does it mean?

A friend and I have been dialoging for a while on a subject I raised about religion, structure, faith, and a return to the original faith. In the midst of those dialogues I heard a line I haven’t heard for some time, ‘moving the hand of God’. I have some simple questions about this line of thinking, mainly for my enlightenment.

What does ‘moving the hand of God’ mean exactly? That I have the ability to make God conform to ‘my will’? I am not sure if it means that but it would follow similar jargon I have heard in churches for years. The other jargon refers to us speaking on behalf of God, that as instruments of faith in Christ, we actually speak for God. These ideas trouble me. They give me a sense of alarm to be honest.

I love this title by Chuck Colson, ‘Who speaks for God’? I read it years ago and one thing always stuck with me, that we do not. We may have the words of Christ in our hands but that does in no way pre-suppose we actually can say ‘God said…’, a very flippant term that is tossed around like we just got off the phone with God. What is wrong with that you might ask? Easy. Is it true?

Now I am aware I can say I am gaining a better understanding of God, but do I know God? Not really. I have never seen Him and His will for my life I cannot be absolute on. What I am aware of is that Jesus came as a sacrifice for ‘that will’, living with us, conversing with us, and understanding our very being. His words were recorded by early disciples and they portray a person that can relate to the human condition, ‘the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’ (doubt) or ‘forgive them for they know not what they do’ (ignorance). Jesus relates to humanity in the utmost with His teachings. That still doesn’t give us the right to act like we authored the book.

We have a book, the bible, and namely the Gospels which refer to the very words of Jesus. That’s it. As far as further authority that other people try to conjure up, well it falls short of my litmus test. We are all interpreting and living the same words in a world far removed from the times of the OT & NT; we have some writings to base a faith on and I recognize that. Do I believe Jesus is really alive? Yes. Do I believe God can intervene? Yes. Faith is still faith to me. What I am doing however is removing the formula for personal spirituality, and if there is a formula it is this: we are human beings in a world of troubles, we have to be 100% responsible for what we do to others and live on this planet while we are here; all that in accordance with our personal understanding of God (now thats spirituality).

Why is ‘speaking for God’ a dangerous thing? It’s supposing we know what God is saying altogether, giving us a false authority (almost as if we were gods). This has proven to be disasterous in all situations I can recall. One can refer to Jim Jones (god complex), Koresh (messiah complex), Jerusalem syndrome (prophet complex) as worst scenarios. Then you get a structure where people see certain figures as ‘people who speak for God’ and to oppose them is almost an apostasy: Pastors, Evangelists, Apostles (do they exist?), Teachers, Prophets, etc. Lastly this leaves the common church-goer at the whims of their leaders. They are duped into thinking certain things about God which may be altogether false: he doesn’t like you anymore, you’re not sure if you’re going to heaven or hell (true insecurity), God is a judge first, then loves you second, You can become an apostate & not know, Don’t dis-obey the church authority or any authority for that matter, Not coming to church means you backslid, your prayers don’t get answered because you’re a sinner, etc. People are fed these messages because someone supposes ‘they speak for God’.

All this leads back to ‘moving the hand of God’. Well how do we ‘move that hand’, OUR prayer. By something I CAN DO. So if I pray hard enough, or for long enough, then the ‘hand of God’ will move. Truth is, I have nothing to do with that ‘hand’ moving. Just like how if you ask me everyday for a loaf of bread and I CHOOSE to say ‘no’, you won’t get that loaf of bread. For all your ‘asking’, it’s still up to the person who ‘will’s’ to give or not give that bread (I speak as a human). Even in saying that I suppose God is like a human, which is most likely false, but that’s my brain for you. The point is I can’t move a hand that isn’t mine. I may ask, seek, knock but it’s still up to God (I can believe that). In the end it is God’s ‘will’ that counts, we see as a human with our own prerogative and biases. That’s what I do know.

So, the question is this – can you ‘move the hand of God’ or ‘speak on God’s behalf’? I am not saying I have the answers, I know I don’t have it all figured out, but I like to hear people’s voices on the issue.


7 thoughts on “‘Moving the hand of God’: what does it mean?

  1. What about putting your Faith in God and His promises (His Word) out there for a physical healing…there are many promises that God makes in His Word about “Healing”…we don’t control God…but He made promises and believing to receive a healing (ie. cancer), where does that put someone, if we are not able to believe God at His Word?…Remembering always…we don’t control people and we ultimately don’t tell God what He can or cannot do…yet, He also made promises (vows) in His Word for certain areas like healing…it is not a magic potion, but there are several promises…I don’t believe that God would make His promises or (vows) optional – because it does say that “God is not a man that He should lie”…I am not for thinking that we can go and tell God how to do it…but I still have a grounding in Faith…again, not for a big debate…just food for thought

  2. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should repent. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”…The scripture really reveals the character of God and Who He is…so whether or look at this specifically or not, it does give us a window into the character of God…simply I believe Him…

  3. I agree that we have to have ‘faith’ in God but then we hit a very weird spot with this thinking, one of antagonism.
    Okay, about healing, a lot of people do ask and some do not get healed? Still the same promise for the healed or non-healed (who die), but what makes the difference? On that one, I have personal experience and I am not even sure. Still I would say ‘ask for healing’ on a personal level is what Jesus outlines. But to promise healing is ludacris.
    I guess I am being narrow-minded but I am currently only reading the words of Christ (the red print in the bibles). From what I am reading right now I can barely find a specific promise relating to a lot of things. There is a focus on asking God for ‘His will on earth as it is in heaven’ and ‘sincere faith’ asking God for what He knows we need. I have to read and study more but I am struggling finding ‘promises’ of specificness.

  4. I can’t have Faith for my mother to believe…and ultimately…it is up to her to “believe, and have Faith” in the fact that God Does heal…and there are many people who believe God heals…so where does that go?…God’s Word does work (Healing is for ALL – so saved or not, it can happen for anyone)…I guess I have learned not to hang my hopes on personal experiences, because our own humanity comes into play too much…Yet, God is greater than us all…just because I have an experience contrary to someone’s ideal formula doesn’t mean that God is any different than how He is described in His word…Referring again to Numbers 23:19…His character is flawless, it is our humanity that gets in the way…that is where factions for ideas get started, and that is where things get going on rabbit trails…its better to just believe God…my opinion doesn’t change God’s ability or the fact that He really does Love and want The Best for His children…How do people get into the ditch? They usually walk there themselves…and that is not to say that anyone deserves a lesser outcome or that they sinned enough to invite cancer into their life and affect their body (except if you are abusing your own body by chemical means on purpose), because disease by itself is no respector of persons…(especially when we are talking about saving a life, or a person’s quality of life) it just means for the small stuff we in general dig our own hole…God is still God and He does “Heal”, and perhaps we even get too narrow minded in what that means…because I know plenty of people whose lives were saved through using the doctor and medication…God gave us doctors for a reason, and He created medication for a reason…
    Eph. 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and HAVING DONE ALL, TO STAND.”…You may not see a connection with this scripture the same way I do, but my boss at work is a cancer survivor and this is what she took to heart…She used everything at her disposal and then when everything was said and done she had no choice but to trust God at His Word…that He does “Heal.” She is alive today, and I think we put God in a box with everything in our lives and make statements like the only way is the way we think that God should solve something…guess what…our vision is so much smaller than God’s vision…we overthink things too…if we are really trying to keep it simple, then sometimes we just have to take Him at His Word…ultimately I don’t know the heart or mind of the next person, unless they tell it to me…my friend’s mom had cancer and sought healing for years, but in the end she said “I am tired and I want to go home to Jesus, and that she was tired of the terrible things of this world.” She was here as long as it was her desire to live.

    Another person I knew in a Care Home gave up his will to live, and the owner of that home said to me that he could have lived another 15 years if he would have had the “will” to live. We have a part to play…I can’t do it for someone else…I can’t change someone else…but I can Love regardless…I can be obedient to God when He asks me to do something…I am an extension of God, when I am doing the good I know to do that is written clearly in His Word…we are the vessel that God can use, if we are willing…if God pours Himself out through us as a vessel (actions that we do when we obey Him) then at the end of the day we are really bringing the goodness of God to people…more food for thought for me…hummmmm…got me thinking some more…hmmmmm…I know that your concern is that people perceive and interpret moving the hand of God in the wrong way “control”, but no matter what we do any word or phrase can be taken out of context or perceived the wrong way…How do we combat that? Live well, according to His Word…we reproduce spiritually after our own kind just like we do physically, and others will see the truth – be convinced…doesn’t mean we don’t share the truth either but I have found that the deepest affect is when God’s Love starts to get through to a person’s heart…there are times when people hear, but there are times that words spoken really do fall to the ground…God’s love seems to surpass that though…hmmmmm…more food for my thoughts…

  5. Sorry, I promise this is my last inquiry for this blog…as you stated, “asking God for ‘His will on earth as it is in heaven’ and ‘sincere faith’ asking God for what He knows we need.”

    So, then what is? “His will on earth as it is in heaven”…What is the Heartbeat of God for His children? If we are His children…Psalm 103:13 says that, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” Again the character of God and showing His heartbeat towads us…actually if you read the whole Psalm – 103, it speaks to this whole conversation directly…God does make promises, just like we make promises to friends and family…we are His family…do we always get what “we” think we want…no…but it doesn’t lessen God’s Word…

  6. I have nothing to say against the words of God, to me that is a mute issue, since I follow it also. I respect the words of God as much as the next person, if not more.
    I do agree and this dialogue seems to have shifted into faith and our responsibility. I have an interesting theory on that.
    When I read Christ I see Him laying out a path for our lives, the same path he traversed (take up your cross and follow me). I think I see a spirituality asking us to literally ‘lay our lives down’ for the cause.
    How do we lay that life down? We have to literally ‘follow Christ’. Follow meaning he made a path (ethics and morals of the kingdom) that will pave a way to knowing about this kingdom (which he sacrificed Himself for). We are to do likewise, not that we are the ‘sacrificial lamb’ but in His sacrifice we pick up the gauntlet and bring the kingdom of God to earth (again in ethics).
    I think to be like Christ takes on many things contrary to what is being taught in churches thus I rail on the institution cause I want change in spiritual focus. Right now I see the ‘mystic’ in church as a form of spirituality, what is lacking is the humanity of Christ. Faith in Christ means respecting both a ‘mystic’ perspective but also a human-based ideology (a combination of the two)…which I see in your medicine analogy.
    My focus is more human based, why? I am a human with very little knowledge of God, but what I do know about Christ is he took a HUMAN form and dwelled amongst us. ‘The word became flesh’ speaks volumnes about Him and our mission.

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