“Praise the Lord, who is my rock.
He trains my hands for war
and gives my fingers skill for battle.
He is my loving ally and my fortress,
my tower of safety, my rescuer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in Him.
He makes the nations submit to me.”
Psalms 144:1-2 NLT
David, the Psalmist, was a warrior. We read about his exploits and marvel about his combination of skill and faith that was pretty much invincible. There were no other warriors in his day who would take on Goliath, even kitted out with a full suit of armour, let alone with a staff and a sling. And in this Psalm, David declares that because of God’s rock-like permanence in his life, he was able to train his hands and his fingers for the tasks before him. For the physical battles he needed to win. And come what may, he had behind him, watching his back, a “loving ally“, God Himself. His “tower of safety“. His “rescuer“. His “shield“. And if that wasn’t enough, he declared, with some justification, that God “[made] the nations submit to [him]“.
We too, under God’s direction, have the opportunity to train our hands, to give our fingers skills. Through the universities and apprenticeships of life, we acquire the training we need. I think of the dear saints who have spent countless hours using their finger-skills to paint an artistic masterpiece on a cathedral ceiling, or who have stitched together wondrous and beautiful tapestries, depicting God-scenes from their age. But ordinary folk like us also feature in God’s plan. Those mothers, using their finger-powered needlecraft skills, blessing their families with clothes and woollies. The fathers using their hands to till the fields or fix the car. The office worker typing instructions into a computer. The list is endless. Today we use our hands for more peaceful pursuits, but they can really throb with passion when they are joined to God’s thinking, God’s plans.
In Colossians 3:17 we read, “And whatever [we] do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” That’s the secret for effective finger skills. In our battles through life, our fingers will be more effective when we use them for doing God’s work, no matter how mundane it might appear to be. And we give Him thanks for the opportunities afforded to us.