“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
– Isaiah 49:16
No doubt part of the wonder that is concentrated in the word “Behold” is on account of the contrast with the unbelieving lament of the preceding sentence. Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God’s favored people? The Lord’s loving word of rebuke should make us blush. He cries, “How can I have forgotten you, when I have engraved you on the palms of My hands? How dare you doubt my constant remembrance when the memorial is carved upon My own flesh?” O unbelief, what a strange marvel you are! We do not know what to wonder at most – the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His people. He keeps His promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt Him. He never fails; He is never a dry well; He is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapor; and yet we are as continually troubled with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears as if our God were a mirage of the desert. “Behold” is a word intended to stir our admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marveling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain such a closeness to the heart of infinite love as to be written on the palms of His hands. “I have engraved you.” It does not say, “your name.” The name is there, but that is not all: “I have engraved you.” Consider the depth of this! “I have engraved your person, your image, your circumstances, your sins, your temptations, your weaknesses, your wants, your works; I have engraved you, everything about you, all that concerns you; I have put all of this together here.” Will you ever say again that your God has forsaken you when He has engraved you on His own palms?
– C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening for November 7.