Did you know God has tattoos?

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Why do people get tattoos?

In the article The Psychology of Tattoos, Dr. Michael R. Mantell, Phd., says people get tattoos for a variety of reasons including wanting to be noticed and identifying with a certain social group. They also get them to represent a loved one, for religious reasons, and for patriotism. And, some people admit to getting them by way of a bad choice.

Mantell goes on to describe tattoo-lovers as “a proud lot” who want to “declare that they are what they are.” In fact, Mantell says people with tattoos are “ordinary” except for having “a strong sense of identity they have no intention of hiding.”

I’m not advocating getting a tattoo. I don’t have one nor do I intend to get one. Just not interested. And I really don’t intend to get into a discussion on the debate surrounding tattoos (Collin Kapernick comes to mind here.). For this post, let’s just focus on the fact that most people who get tattoos do so with great thought and have great meaning behind their choice.

In other words, people who get tattoos hold something – a person or group or belief – as being so important to them they are willing to make it a permanent part of their body. Actually, perhaps we could use more dedication like that in our society.

Did you know that God has tattoos?

“Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me.” (Isaiah 49:16,)

Indelible means something cannot be erased, moved, changed, eliminated or forgotten. Zion here means God’s people, of which you are hopefully one.

Notice that the location of the tattoos are the palms of God’s hand. A sensitive area. A visible area. An area not easily overlooked. The point being that God has His people ever before His consciousness.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says that God’s tattoo signifies…

“that his people were always in his sight, his eyes were ever upon them, and never withdrawn from them; as anything held in the hand, or tied to or wore upon it, as a signet or ring that has the name of a person on it, to which the allusion may be; which shows how near and dear they are to him, what affection he has for them, and care of them.”

Just like many people get tattoos (again, not advocating, just stating fact), as a reminder of something significant and valuable to them, we are tattooed on God’s hand for that very same reason.

What can our response be to this deep affection?

God does not want us to be discouraged. He does not want us to feel abandoned or neglected. He desires that we know and experience His compassion. We are so important to Him that we are a permanent part of His thoughts, something like how a tattoo becomes a permanent part of a person’s body.

In response, we can be diligent in making our calling and election sure, and we can rejoice in the hope and glory of God (2 Peter 1:10-11).

Personally, I would be uncomfortable with my name and certainly with my face tattooed on a person’s body, but I am certainly not uncomfortable with being tattooed upon the very palm of God Almighty’s hand. Realizing His ever-present thoughts about me makes me know I am valuable and significant to Him.

DISCUSSION: How does knowing God is always thinking about you change how you live your life?

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17 thoughts on “Did you know God has tattoos?

  1. Knowing I am never out of His thought or sight; knowing no one can pluck me from His hand, is a phenomenal thought for me. It is more than a thought though. It is a motivating factor for me to love Him as well.

  2. I know when I see a person with a tattoo that I'm curious to know the story behind it, and people like to tell their stories. I know of only one case of a guy getting a tattoo because he was just too drunk to know better (an Army buddy).

    When I think of a significant sign on my hand, I consider my wedding ring. This is a public statement of an intimate relationship with a particular person, my wife. I think the interesting thing isn't that God thinks about me but that He makes a public declaration to all who see His hands. He's not afraid to let people know He loves and protects me (or you could say "us" but it loses something in the translation–although it's more accurate).

    • I have to admit that reading this article changed my perspective on those who have tattoos. I had been making wrong assumptions, and I am happy to correct that. The wedding ring connection is a good one and helps understand the point behind us being tattooed on God's palms. Plus, the marriage analogy fits with how he views our relationship with him anyway.

  3. Thanks Kari, I would not do it because I don't like the thought of the pain. My daughter chose to disclose hers as my late husband was being treated for a massive heart attack, to distract her distraught mother she shared her tattoos which represent things important to her, but were also done in rebellion to limits placed on her by someone in her past, not me.
    Other friends have them to remember their children who have died. So I understand that, but I don't understand some who just seem to cover their bodies with them and have no real purpose to them. I guess they consider it art.
    I like the thought of being permanently tattooed on God's palm. The hands that hold me, that protect me, that provide for me. Ya, I like that!

    • I appreciate those who have small, hidden tattoos with great significance. I also don't mind larger, not-so-hidden ones that have tremendous meaning. I do struggle with ones for the purpose of art. I also struggle with ones done to get attention. A friend of mine says his is really his testimony since it was gotten when he was not a Christian. But, it's preference and really nothing that should define a person, especially when God defines them instead.

  4. Some people are going to look like stained glass when the light shines through them is all I've got to add to the tale 🙂

    Me? I'll stay with the only tats I've got – the ones they used to mark the alignment spots for radiation therapy. All I needed 🙂

  5. Kari,
    I read Isiah 49 last night and it affirms how God does not forget us. Even if he did not have us engraved on his hand I am sure we would not be forgotten. We need to remind ourselves of this when we are struggling through dark times and when we feel absolutely alone because we all do. We are not… the God of the universe knows our name and knows us better than anyone and beyond that He cares for us and longs for us to be in fellowship with Him. Tattoo that on our hearts.

  6. I love this post, Kari. I always think about people who have a lover's name tattooed on themselves and later regret it. For me, it means that God will never regret having my name on His hand. What an incredible thought.

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  8. What an awesome reminder to know that I'm so close to God – that he has declared himself permanently with affection towards me like that. And it's amazing to me how personal it all is – God doesn't just love me, he loves ME.

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