Ep.287: Psalm 144: Train my Hands for War.

Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.

In Psalm 144, the poet asks God to bless his military adventures. The psalm is framed by three sets of hands: hands that belong to the poet, to God, and to the enemy. 

Let’s look at the poet’s hands. He begins:
  Praise be to God who trains my hands for war,
    my fingers for battle (v. 1). 

I have always liked that picture: I am God’s apprentice; he is my mentor, training my hands for the work I do. God uses whatever I hold in my hands as instruments of his purpose, though I am glad I don’t wield a sword, spear, or gun like the poet and other warriors.

When God called Moses to deliver Israel, he asked, “What’s in your hand?”  “A staff,” Moses replied. “Throw it on the ground,” said God. It became a snake. “ Pick it up by the tail,” and it became a staff again (Exo 4:2-4). The staff in my hand is a keyboard though I try not to throw it on the ground. Perhaps God looks at me as he looked at Moses, interested in what I hold in my hands, wanting to direct and participate in the tasks I undertake. 

The psalm also mentions God’s hand. The poet prays:    
    Reach down your hand from on high,
        Deliver me, rescue me (v. 7a).
The poet asks God to lend a helping hand, a hand of salvation and deliverance.

The poet needs help because his enemies’ hands are against him. He says: 
        Deliver me and rescue me
    from the mighty waters,
        from the hands of aliens
    whose mouths are full of lies
        whose right hands are deceitful (vv. 7b – 8). 

The poet’s prayer is, “Deliver me from the lying, deceitful hands of my enemies. They make war against me, God. Why don’t you help me make war against them?  Strengthen and train my hands, lend your helping hand.”

Let’s pray. 

Our father, we hear the news of our fallen world: politics, wars, and pandemics; sports, entertainment, and fashion. But the psalm brings us news of you:
  Praise be to God who trains my hands for war,
      my fingers for battle (v. 1). 

You are the God who trains our hands, our minds, and spirits in the way of life. Be our mentor. Teach us words of praise to sing above the cacophony of pandemic news. Teach us works of love to counter violence and selfishness. Teach us thoughts of mercy and peace in the midst of confusion and busyness. 

We receive your blessings on the work of our hands. Hands that prepare meals and wash dishes, that plant seeds and harvest vegetables; hands that shovel snow and plug in the car, that help the sick and needy. We raise these hands to you in praise and prayer. 

Our father, we invite you to extend your hand to us. Lend a helping hand in our work, a healing hand in our sickness, a welcoming hand when we raise our hands to you.   


I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”. 

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