“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”
This scripture has been on my mind for several weeks. I have read the scripture in several Bible translations, read commentaries about the scripture, and meditated on it. From the beginning I have accepted that those of us who have faith in God and have accepted His Son are special to Him. When anyone carves our name into the palm of their hand—it’s a given that we are of utmost importance to that person. There is a constant reminder every time the engraved name is seen. What a statement that is about God’s love for those of us who are His!
However the second part of the scripture intrigues me, and I have tried to come to an understanding of what “Your walls are ever before me” means. At first I thought perhaps “walls” was a reference to the walls we try to climb over in our lives, the challenges we face, the problems we have.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible asserts the scripture is not referencing the walls around Jerusalem, although it could be an allusion to them. One of the suggestions is the walls continually before God are the walls of the houses where we dwell because God delights in being where we, His saints, are. Another idea is the walls could be a reference to the walls of the church, for God is concerned for the establishment and building up of His church.
Walls around people and around cities have been built since ancient days, to keep inhabitants sheltered from the elements and safe from wild animals or enemies. Walls in this case represent protection.
One commentary suggests the metaphor represents an architect with the plans for a building or a city before him or her. (Gill) When anyone gets ready to build a home or building of any kind, first it is necessary to get the blueprints or plans drawn. Every detail about the structure is detailed on the plans, and it is critical for the owner to review every minute thing. Perhaps the walls being erected are the walls that will define our lives, every detail that will go into building us into the people God plans for us to be, people who bring Him glory and honor through becoming more and more like Jesus.
Whatever “our walls,” our challenges in life, our dwelling places, our place in the church, God’s protection in our lives, or the detailed plans God has for us — the fact our walls are constantly before God Himself is a promise to remember when days are hard, and we wonder what God is doing in our lives. God is never unaware. His love never stops. We are constantly in His sight, on His mind, with His plan for us in His view. Hallelujah! Amen!
Parallel Commentaries on Isaiah 49:16:
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary. Accessed April 20, 2016. http://biblehub.com/isaiah/49-16.htm
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. NIV®. COPYRIGHT © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© 2016 Jeanne Dial