Life Reflections – 12.06.11

Dr. John Phillips, and His Thoughts on Being Handcrafted By God…

“Your hands made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.” – Psalm 119:73

On Wednesday nights at Grace, we are walking through the longest chapter in God’s Word, Psalm 119.  I have found it to be one of the most nourishing passages of scripture to my soul.  Tomorrow night, we will unpack verses 73-80.  The following article was written by the great British preacher Dr. John Phillips. I had the opportunity to hear him in person in the early 1990’s when he spoke at my home church, Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis Tennessee. He is the author of “Exploring the Psalms.”  His thoughts on being handcrafted by God spoke to me in a very real and deep way, and I wanted to share them with the grace family.  In his thoughts below, Phillips speaks of the Psalmist…

“He knew he was not the end product of blind forces of chance.  He was sure that the Lord has a real part in creating him.  The best work, the work that displays the most tender, loving care, is work done by hand.  A machine may turn out work faster and in a more uniform way, but anything made by hand has a value of its own.  Sometimes when we are shopping se see an article displaying a sign, handcrafted and handmade.  We know that such an object has special workmanship.  In olden times of course, all work was done by hand.  Cathedrals in Europe, which took hundreds of years to build, display the most exquisite craftsmanship.  Carvings embellishing the rafters and cornices show that artisan’s meticulous care.  Even high up on the roof can be seen figures of cherubim, whose back sides are carved as painstakingly as the front – because the workers reasoned, God could see the back as well as the front. In creation, God simply spoke worlds into space.  Billions of worlds spring into being in infinite space, burned and blazed expanded and exploded, shone and shimmered in an output of exuberant energy.  To create, God only had to speak. When it came to the making of man however, God did more than speak.  He rolled up his sleeves so to speak, put his mighty hands into the red clay of Eden, and fashioned man’s body by hand.  Man was something special, set apart from the rest of creation; the making of man called for craftsmanship.  God, it might be said, mass produced the universe; He made man with his own hands.”

Biographical information – John Phillips has been teaching and writing about the Bible for a lifetime. Born in Britain, he moved to Canada after World War II, where he founded and pastored a small church. Dr. Phillips later joined the staff of Moody Bible Institute where he served for twenty-five years. He was Assistant Director of the Moody Correspondence School and spoke regularly over the Moody network. He also taught in the Moody Evening Extension School. During those years he authored his first three books – Exploring the Scriptures, Exploring Romans, and Exploring Revelation.  To date he has authored over fifty books, including a complete set of New Testament Commentaries. Currently he travels much of the year nationwide preaching and teaching at churches, schools, and Bible conferences.

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