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Divine Tattooing

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Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.
The word tattoo is an obvious import into English. It comes from Tahiti, and describes a practice which, if specially prevalent there, is universally widespread and familiar to us all—that of imprinting images or designs on the skin of the human body by means of a process of pigmentation applied nowadays by an electrically powered instrument.
Tattooing is a very ancient art, older in some parts of the world than history itself. Some scholars believe that our text contains a reference to it. The likeness delineation in color on the human hand was the prehistoric precursor of the photograph. Just as people nowadays carry in pocket or purse a snapshot of a dear one, so then they had a picture of their beloved printed on the palm of their right hand.
That is what God here declares that He has done with His people. “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.”
Think what this means.

1. It means that they are in the place where they can be seen.

When the death of the Danish King Frederick was announced in , it was revealed that on his chest in early life the king had had a large tattoo engraved, and that subsequently he had paid periodic visits to the establishment in Calendoia Road, London, in which the tattoo had been effected, to have it renewed. But our King’s tattoo is not hidden on the clothed chest but exposed in the open hand—and it needs no renewing, for the impression is never impaired by the passing of time!

2. It means that they are in the place where they can be held.

Despite all that is said to the contrary, there would appear to be something in palmistry. Consider this case. Thomas Corbett is president of the Society of Palmists in Great Britain. He tells how he was once in Brussels at a party when a man at the table “pushed forward his hands to be read.” “You have the hands of a murderer,” Corbett told him. The remark was treated as a joke by the other guests—but not by the man himself. “You are right,” he confessed. “I am a murderer. I killed two natives in the Congo and was deported.” He who holds us in His hands is no murderer but the Prince of life.

3. It means that they are in the place where they can be shaped.

After completing a masterpiece in marble, a famous Italian artist flung up his hands, crying: “O God, I thank Thee for my hands!” If man’s hands can shape things so marvelously, what cannot the hands of God do in human character?

4. It means that they are in the place where they can be used.

The Bible is almost blatantly anthropomorphic. That is to say, although insisting that “God is a Spirit” (), it again and again ascribes to Him human parts and passions. Especially it has a great deal to say about His hands. They are active, creative, purposeful hands, and those who are in those hands cooperate with the manual might of God.
Not by the print of the nail,
Not by the mark of the spear;
I shall know my Savior there
Because I have known Him here.
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