“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16
No doubt a part of the wonder which is concentrated in the word “Behold,” is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence. Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God’s favored people? The Lord’s loving word of rebuke should make us blush; he cries, “How can I have forgotten you, when I have graven you upon the palms of my hands? How dare you doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?”
O unbelief, how strange a marvel you are! We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of his people. He keeps his promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt him. He never fails; he is never a dry well; he is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapor; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert. “Behold,” is a word intended to excite admiration.
Here, indeed, we have a theme for marveling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain so great a nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of his hands. “I have graven you. “It does not say, “your name.” The name is there, but that is not all: “I have graven you.” See the fullness of this! I have graven your person, your image, your case, your circumstances, your sins, your temptations, your weaknesses, your wants, your works; I have graven you, everything about you, all that concerns you; I have put you altogether there. Will you ever say again that your God has forsaken you when he has graven you upon his own palms?
Adapted from Morning and Evening.