Strengthen Your Hands
IN THE Bible, the hand is mentioned more than 1,800 times. Idioms involving the hand are used in a variety of ways. For example, a clean hand denotes innocence. (2 Samuel 22:21; Psalm 24:3, 4) Opening the hand means to show generosity toward others. (Deuteronomy 15:11; Psalm 145:16) One who risks his life is said to put his soul in his hand. (1 Samuel 19:5) To let one’s hands drop down means to be discouraged. (2 Chronicles 15:7) And to strengthen one’s hand is to be fortified and empowered for action.—1 Samuel 23:16.
Today there is a pressing need to strengthen our hands. We are living in “critical times hard to deal with.” (2 Timothy 3:1) When we become discouraged, the human tendency is to give up, to let our hands drop down. It is common to see teenagers quit school, husbands leave their family, and mothers abandon their children. As Christians, we need to strengthen our hands in order to endure the trials that we face in our service to God. (Matthew 24:13) Doing so, we make Jehovah’s heart glad.—Proverbs 27:11.
How Hands Are Strengthened
The Jews in Ezra’s day needed to strengthen their hands in order to complete the reconstruction of Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem. How were their hands strengthened? The account says: “They went on to hold the festival of unfermented cakes seven days with rejoicing; for Jehovah caused them to rejoice, and he had turned the heart of the king of Assyria around toward them to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of the true God, the God of Israel.” (Ezra 6:22) Clearly, it was by his active force that Jehovah roused “the king of Assyria” to allow God’s people to return, and He moved the spirit of the people, so that they finished the work they had begun.
Later, when Jerusalem’s walls required repair, Nehemiah strengthened the hands of his brothers for the task. We read: “I went on to tell them of the hand of my God, how it was good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had said to me. At this they said: ‘Let us get up, and we must build.’ So they strengthened their hands for the good work.” With strengthened hands, Nehemiah and his fellow Jews were able to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in a remarkable 52 days!—Nehemiah 2:18; 6:9, 15.
Similarly, Jehovah strengthens our hands to preach the good news of the Kingdom. (Matthew 24:14) He does so by ‘equipping us with every good thing to do his will.’ (Hebrews 13:21) He has put in our hands tools of the highest quality. We have the Bible and Bible-based books, magazines, brochures, tracts, and audio and video recordings for our use in reaching people around the world. In fact, our publications are available in some 380 languages. In addition, through congregation meetings, assemblies, and conventions, Jehovah provides theocratic education and training on how to use this fine equipment in accomplishing our ministry.
Though Jehovah strengthens our hands in so many ways, he also expects us to exert ourselves. Recall what the prophet Elisha told King Jehoash, who had come to Elisha for help to fight against Syrian invaders. Elisha told the king to take some arrows and strike the earth with them. The Bible account says: “He struck three times and stopped. And the man of the true God grew indignant at him; hence he said: ‘It was meant to strike five or six times! In that case you would certainly be striking down Syria to the finishing point, but now it is three times that you will strike down Syria.’” (2 Kings 13:18, 19) Failing to exert himself zealously, Jehoash had only limited success in fighting the Syrians.
The same principle applies to us if we want to accomplish what Jehovah has given us to do. Rather than worry about the obstacles that are in our way or about how difficult the assignment may be, we should work at it zealously and wholeheartedly. We need to strengthen our hands and look to Jehovah for help.—Isaiah 35:3, 4.
Jehovah Will Strengthen Our Hands
Jehovah will not fail to help us and strengthen our hands to do his will. Of course, God will not perform a miracle and do everything for us. He expects us to do our part—reading the Bible daily, preparing for and attending the meetings regularly, participating in the ministry as often as possible, and praying to him constantly. If we faithfully and diligently do our part while we have the opportunity, Jehovah will give us the strength to do what he expects of us.—Philippians 4:13.
Consider the case of one Christian who lost both his wife and his mother in death within one year. His pain was still fresh when his daughter-in-law left his son and abandoned the Christian way of life. “I learned that we cannot choose our tests, neither their time nor their frequency,” said this brother. How does he find the strength to carry on? “Prayer and personal study have been a life jacket that has kept my head above water. And the support of my spiritual brothers and sisters has brought me much comfort. More than anything, I have come to realize the importance of developing a good personal relationship with Jehovah before difficult situations arise.”
Whatever your experience in life, be determined to put full trust in Jehovah and to make good use of all the provisions that he makes for strengthening your hands. Then you will be able to offer service of the highest quality to Jehovah and thereby bring praise and honor to his precious name.—Hebrews 13:15.
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Failing to exert himself zealously, Jehoash had only limited success in fighting against the Syrians