Hebrew Highlights 71 – ARM OF THE LORD
Shalom. This is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
DEU 26:7-9, “Then we cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders; and He has brought us to this place, and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”
In Hebrew, an “outstretched arm” is “zroah n’tuya”. The “zroah” is basically the forearm. The part which can move and maneuver, and yes, reach out. This scripture in Deuteronomy is always remembered during the Passover Seder, recounting how God Himself reached in and pulled His people out of bondage. God’s arm is pictured many times in the Bible.
For instance, in ISA 40:9-11 we read, “Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!" Behold, the Lord God will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him, And His recompense before Him. Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs, And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.”
Here we see that God’s arm is a place for both authority, and comfort. As His lambs, we are held close to our loving Father’s heart by a firm, yet loving embrace.
In Michelangelo’s “Creation” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, we see God’s outstretched arm touching Adam. The inspiration for this famous painting may have come from JER 32:17, “Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee.”
God’s arm is also a symbol of His great deeds, as we see in ISA 53:1, “Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” This scripture is later quoted in JOH 12:37-38, “But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him; that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"
God’s creative, saving, and stirring arm has not finished His work, but is still busy today, as we see being fulfilled in our lifetime in ISA 52:8-10, “Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together; For they will see with their own eyes When the Lord restores Zion. Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. 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.”
Just as in English, the image of God “baring” His holy arm signifies that He means business. We know from the 12th chapter of 1st Corinthians that we are all part of the Body of Messiah, and he uses us to reach out to the world. Wouldn’t it be great to be part of His outstretched arm?
Shalom, Shalom , from Jerusalem.