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Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Meaning of the Arm of the Lord # 2

The Vindication of A Course Taken

Now, I find that the first thing that is meant by the Arm of the Lord on behalf of His people is this: it means the vindication of the course that they have taken. If you turn to your Bible with that in mind, you will find how much there is that gathers around it. You will agree that it is a very important matter, that the course that we have taken should be proved at the end to have been the right one. There could be nothing more terrible and tragic than that, having taken a course, and given ourselves and all that we have to it, poured out our lives in it and for it, we should find at the end that we have been wrong, and that the Lord is not able to vindicate the course that we have taken. It is plainly of the utmost importance that the course that we have taken should, in the end, receive the Divine approval - that over against everything, in spite of everything, from men and from demons, God should be able to say: "That man was right!"That, after all, was the vindication of Job, was it not? How much that man met of misconstruction and misrepresentation! But in the end God said, "My servant Job is right"; and it is no small thing to have God say that. In Isaiah 53 it is that: the vindication of a course taken, in spite of everything. And that 'in spite of everything' amounts to a good deal in that chapter, does it not? - an overwhelming weight of contradiction and misunderstanding; but, in the end, the Servant is vindicated; God says He was right. "To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" To that One - to that One!

That thought runs everywhere through the Bible, in relation to all the great men of faith, as they walked with God. What a difficult way they went! But in the end, God said, not in word only, but in very, very practical vindication, 'He was right, he was right.' That is the meaning of the Arm of the Lord. That is what I want when I ask for the Arm of the Lord: 'O Lord, that I may take such a way with You that, in the end, You may be able to stand by that way and say: He was right.' Do you want that? There is no value in anything that does not work out like that.

The Abiding Fruit of a Life

A second thing that I see to be the meaning, or evidence, of the Arm of the Lord, is in the abiding, spiritual fruit of a life. In Isaiah 53:10 we read: "He shall see His seed" - that is, His abiding spiritual seed; the life that was in Him now perpetuated and established, indestructible, in new forms of expression. Of what value is it if, when we have lived our lives here, and done our work, and have gone, that is the end of everything? - a memory, growing more and more indistinct, fading into the past? It may be true to that very depressing verse that some people like to sing:

"Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day"

but that is pessimism to the last degree! That ought not to be our heritage. It ought not to be true of any servant of the Lord that he is "forgotten," "born away," "passed out, nothing left, a vapor. No, "He shall see His seed." The Arm of the Lord on behalf of any true servant of the Lord ought to mean that, when the form of service and expression, the vessel and the framework, which were only temporary, have gone, there is something intrinsic, indestructible, that goes on and ever on, and will be found in Heaven, abiding for eternity. That is the Arm of the Lord! That is the vindication of life, and that is what you and I covet, is it not? Surely, that is the only thing to justify our having lived at all! Not that we did all kinds of things, and that there was much to show even while we were here, but that, when we are gone, the work goes on, there is a seed that lives on - an imperishable spiritual seed.

That is what the Bible means by 'the Arm of the Lord.' It is the Lord giving His seal, the Lord involved in things. The Arm of the Lord establishes what is of Him, as something which cannot be destroyed. Do you not want the Arm of the Lord in that way? We all desire that there should be spiritual fruitfulness, spiritual increase, no stagnation, no end, but a going on. We can see that, can we not, in the case of all the true servants of the Lord - that the Lord came in after they had gone, and stood by their ministry. He stood by Jeremiah when Jeremiah was gone: "that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation ..." (2 Chronicles 36:22; Ezra 1:1; Daniel 9:2). Paul has ministered to the seven churches in Asia, and now Paul is gone; but the Lord comes back to the seven churches to vindicate the ministry of His servant (Acts 19:10, 26; Revelation 1-3). That is the Arm of the Lord - that He does not allow what has been of Himself in any servant's life to perish. It is established. (Compare also what is said of Samuel, in 1 Samuel 3:19 and 28:17).

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 3 - "The Principles of the Revealing of His Arm")

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