“One will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name of Israel.” – Isaiah 44:5 NIV



Photo: MBowman


Do I even dare broach the subject of tattoos?   I think we’ve all seen by now the explosion in our culture. Now, tattoos have taken their place on everyday people, but in my youth, tattoos were reserved for those with shifty-eyes, questionable lifestyles, penal-code-breakers, and motorcycle riders. For the previous generation, just the word mom scrolled across a forearm was considered rebellious. I’m sure his mom was proud, but the rest of the town locked their doors when he came around!

But today. Today, tattoos are really something, aren’t they? Have you seen these things? Ok, some border on the edge of craziness but there are some real artful designs out there. Mom now takes on full Picasso like paintings. You can’t swing a cat (no cats were harmed in this writing) without hitting a tattoo parlor on a nearby corner—and that’s just in the upscale neighborhoods!

I’m sorry, I have to confess—I’ve been tempted. There have been times when I have seen some beautiful art with scrolls and colors that were appealing. And then there is the mystique of what it feels like and having ink on your body. But just like a late night potato chip and chocolate craving, it soon passes and I decide I don’t want anything permanently on my body. Things sag. Things change colors. Cellulite has taken over. If mom were ever written on this body, in a few years it would probably say “mooooooom” and then I’d have to explain it—always.

So why do I bring up tattoos?

I know it can be a tricky subject to talk about. After all, we have the reference in the Book of Leviticus that’s out there. Leviticus 19:28 says—NO tattoos! Moms and dads all over the world have used it when the kids get a crazy grand idea.

But what about our key verse?

Isaiah speaks of writing on your hand, ‘The Lord’s.”

Most of the commentaries I read, it suggested it is a true marking of one’s hand. They give examples of other uses when hand marking was common. Slaves wore their master’s brand; Roman soldiers voluntarily marked their loyalty to a commander; Idolaters etched their gods’ symbols—there were reasons people were marked.  Isaiah knew this well. He threw it out there for a reason.

And here we are a few thousand years later still talking about it.

I read Isaiah’s verse and wonder about a tattoo on my hand. Could I mark my skin with a notation of to whom I belong? I don’t know. The jury’s still out on that one but I don’t think the question is whether or not to tattoo. I think the question is—is the decision of whom I belong to about permanence on my hand or permanence in my heart?

And I think whichever side you land on of indelible ink on bodies, comes the realization that either way, we must mark ourselves to the One we belong. And that marking isn’t based on societal trends.

Isaiah was warning the world—get right, get ready, get God. He was a direct prophet from The Creator and he had much to say. And there God told him, “Tell my people—make your mark, let everyone know to whom you belong, let it be evident to all.”

So a question…

If today you would have to write on your own hand to whom you belonged, whose name would you write?

Would it be your husband’s?

Would it be your kids’?

Would it be your grandkids’?

Would it be someone you’re indebted to?

Would it be a best friend?

Or, frankly, would it be blank?

The verse in Isaiah still has meaning to us today. We are no longer a society of brandings or markings or ownership tattoos, but we are a society of wandering children who claim longing to something or someone. The question is, to whom or what?  What would be your tattoo?

Don’t you think it is time for us Christians to hold up our hands and tell the world, “I AM THE LORD’S!” To say to all, I am marked by His blood and He is to whom I belong!

So who do you belong to?

Are you willing to be marked with it?

If it is Christ, I know the spot.

Maybe not your hand.

But somewhere much more important.

Your heart has plenty of room.

It’ll last forever. It won’t ever fade.

And everyone will see it. They will recognize the markings. The Lord’s will be evident to all.

2 Replies

  1. Chrissy

    Hi Renae,

    Did you notice in The Amplified Bible that it also mentions after the word “flesh”, ( for the dead ). Maybe there is something else, also going on here a few thousand years ago besides a command to not getting a tattoo. Maybe people back then were getting tattoos “for the dead” besides cutting themselves.


    1. Yes Chrissy, I think the Leviticus reference is open to some interpretation but I didn’t want to go there. I just know its one of those “go to verses” for those against tattoos. I’ll leave that up to the scholars. But years later, there was obviously some other markings going on, too. And there are suggestions Paul took a mark referenced under Galations 6:17. But again, not my place to debate that–only the fact that we ALL should take the mark of Jesus in our hearts so we know who we belong to. Thank you checking in.

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