"I am the most ignorant of all. I do not have understanding. I have not learned wisdom nor do I have knowledge of the Holy One. Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established the ends of the earth? What is His name and the name of his Son? Tell me if you know!" (Proverbs 30:3-5, NIV - UK version)
When I heard this verse read aloud in a UK podcast, I was immediately captivated by the question "Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands?" Some versions, including the standard NIV, use the words "Who has gathered up the wind in his hands"; other translations say "in his fists." For me, those don't carry the same poetic power as the wind being "gathered up in hollow of his hands." What an image!
I picture God's hands held out, cupped togehter as though he were about to scoop water out of a stream. In this hand-shaped bowl are all the winds of the world. I see a tempest of circling, howling gusts and gales, circling and swirling, spinning leaves and dust about - all within his cupped palms. What a magnificent image of the size, scope, power and control of God! (And yet to think even this image cannot capture Him.) No wonder the author of the above Proverb (Agur, son of Jakeh) says, "Who is He?!"
Then, I read the read the other lines of the verse and other mental images came to my mind as well.
God has all the earth's winds cupped in his hands as their mighty Creator...
He has all the world's waters wrapped up in his cloak...
This God, my God, made the ends of the earth - north, south, east & west - yet He has no beginning or no end himself; I cannot point to where He begins or where He ends...
He, who was both able to create, ascend to and depart from this planet controls, conducts and cares for all.
Wow! All of this makes me want to exclaim right along with Agur -
"I am ignorant! I have no understanding of God! I have no knowledge of his holiness! Who in the world does? Somebody? Anybody? If you do, tell me!"
Another way to inquire about this God, would be in the words of a song sung by Moses & the Israelites from Exodus 15:11: "...Who is like you, God - majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?" Maybe this was more of a rhetorical question and the answer for Moses was simple: "No one is like our God."
Who else can cup the winds in His hands? No one.
Who else can hold the oceans, seas, lakes and streams in his jacket? No one.
Can anyone else set the equator in its place and station both the north and south pole? Nope.
Who can make a planet, come to it and leave it? No one, but God.
The above poetic metaphors from Proverbs 30 show the power, omnipotence and omnipresence of Mighty God. OK, so maybe Agur took poetic liberty in putting hurricanes in His hands and water in His windbreaker, but He made his point in powerful images:
My God is a mighty God, so mighty in fact, that my puny mind cannot fully understand Him. I don't have full knowledge of His holiness and am unable to comprehend his glory.
His power is incomprehensible. Yet in the midst of my ignorance, I know enough to be thankful that the same hands that hold the winds, hold me as well.
So Agur - Who is this that holds both the wind and world in his hands?
His name is Jehovah. His son is Jesus.