Strong Right Arm by Larry W. Peebles October 21, 2016 16.40
He came just at the critical moment. I was a young boy who had not yet learned to swim. My family had gone to a lake near our home town for a day of fun and recreation. Lying back on an inner tube, I drifted out into deep water where I had been cautioned not to go. When I shifted position, I accidentally slipped off the tube. It happened so fast I did not have time to cry out for help before going under. I opened my eyes underwater to see the sun silhouetting the inner tube floating on the surface above me, but I could not get to it. I could not scream for help while under water. No one would hear me, and I would lose my last breath. My lungs began to burn for lack of oxygen. I remember thinking this was probably it for me. I was done, helpless even as I struggled mightily to get to safety, but getting nowhere. I was sinking into an underwater grave. I thought I was going to die.
Suddenly, I felt my father’s right hand grab my arm and lift me out of the water and onto the safety of the inner tube. Just in the nick of time, my father rescued me and saved my life. He escorted me back to the shallow water, where I stayed the rest of the day, numb and quiet from what had happened. All these years later, if I close my eyes, I can still see that inner tube floating on the water above me, safety just out of my own reach.
My Dad, though short in stature, will always stand tall in my eyes because of that experience. He was only a few years removed from military service in WWII when I was born, and I remember his muscular arms. From the stories he and my uncles told, Dad was also a fast runner in high school. That speed must have translated into swimming as well, because to this day I do not know how he got to me so fast when I went under. I certainly do not remember him being near me when I drifted out in the inner tube.
One day in prayer, almost fifty years later, the Lord took me back to that day and caused me to remember two things. First, he reminded me that although I had gone where my father told me not to go, Dad never took his eyes off me. He was watching me the whole time. Second, the Lord pointed out that if my father would extend his strong right arm to rescue me from a dangerous situation, how much more would my Heavenly Father do the same and more.
Just as I can close my eyes and see that inner tube floating on the water above me, I can also feel my father’s hand grab me and lift me to safety. He loved me so much that he kept watch over me and took the necessary quick action to save me when I fell into danger. Although I had disobeyed his instruction to stay in the shallow water, he was vigilant as if he knew I might need him. My father has gone on to heaven, but this story gives me great comfort when I miss him.
If my earthly father would keep watch over me and rescue me with his strong right arm, would not my Heavenly Father do the same and more? Does He really protect and save with His strong right arm? His word confirms His character.
The Scriptures offer a number of references that should enlighten and encourage us that indeed He does. When Scriptures refer to God’s strong arm, or even strong right arm or hand, they are referring to a commonly recognizable seat or source of His power. For most people (90%), the right arm is the most used and therefore the most powerful arm. When we need help, God will come with His strongest assistance.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of the Exodus, when the children of Israel (Jacob’s descendants) were literally lifted out of 400 years of Egyptian slavery through God’s miraculous plagues inflicted upon their captors, followed by their journey through the wilderness into the Promised Land. Here are some descriptions of how God directed that journey:
- Exodus 6:6- “Say therefore to the sons of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”
- Isaiah 63:12- “Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses. Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name?”
- Deuteronomy 4:34- “Or has a god tried to go and take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders, and by war and a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?”
- Deuteronomy 33:27- “The eternal God is a dwelling place. And underneath are the everlasting arms; and He drove out the enemy from before you, And said ‘Destroy.’”
- Psalm 44:3- “For by their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them, but your right hand and your arm and the light of your presence, for you favored them.”
Here are some additional Scripture references to His strong (right) arm:
- Isaiah 59:1- “Behold, the Lord’s hand [arm] is not so short that it cannot save.”
- Psalm 98:1- “Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things; His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him.”
- Psalm 89:13- “Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.”
- Psalm 118:16- “The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things.”
- Psalm 136:12- “With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm his love endures forever.”
- Isaiah 52:10- “The Lord has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.”
- Following many miraculous signs and miracles that Jesus had performed before the unbelievers, this is recorded in John 12:38- “This was to fulfill the words of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke ‘Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’”
This is not an exhaustive list of references from the Bible. It is simply a list of twelve Scriptures that I have chosen. There are many more that clearly demonstrate our Heavenly Father’s willingness and ability to rescue, deliver and save us from our circumstances with His strong (right) arm. What my father did for me so many years ago serves as a picture.
Many of us might remember a time when something miraculous happened that literally saved our life, or saved us from a very difficult situation. We did not do anything to deserve it. In fact, we may have been doing something that we should not have been doing. Our Heavenly Father had his eye on us the whole time, and in that instant when the circumstances became a matter of life or death, He reached down and saved us with His strong right arm. He intervened out of His love for us.
How can we be assured of this strong protection? 2 Chronicles 16:9 says- “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” (NKJV). If we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, give our whole heart to Him, and follow Him only, we can expect that His eye is on us in all circumstances.
King David, though not a perfect man, loved the Lord with all his heart. Out of that very personal relationship, he perfectly sums up the point of this article with these words in Psalm 20: 6,7- “Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He answers him from His holy heaven with the saving power of His right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
This encourages us that no matter the situation, God can and will deliver us from it. Turn to Him today. He is certainly worthy of our trust, and His strong right arm is more than ready and capable to save and deliver.