Devotional of the Week: The Arm of the Lord (2 in Psalm 98 series)

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, public domain

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, public domain

His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. Psalm 98:1b

Symbols matter – we need them to help us interpret what is true and real in our world. Although the Lord God doesn’t have a human body (except, of course, for Jesus being born centuries after this psalm was written), he uses the language of symbol to communicate so that we might understand truth.

One such symbol is his strong and powerful arm, which appears not only in the Old Testament – such as in several places in Deuteronomy, which describe how the Lord delivered the Israelites, or in Isaiah’s prophecy – but also in the New Testament. For instance, Mary, in what is known as the “Magnificat,” her song glorifying the Lord over being the mother of Jesus, uses the image as praise: “He has performed mighty deeds with his arm” (Luke 1:51).

Whether found in the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament, this image of the Lord’s arm reveals how God intervenes in his world. He who provided freedom in the land of milk and honey for the Israelites also enacts salvation and new life for us, not only through the death of his Son on the cross, but through the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. The Lord is not removed from his world and his people, but delights in rescuing and redeeming us.

Prayer: Lord God, as you work salvation through your powerful arm, help me to serve others today, for your glory. Amen.

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