Having considered something of the meaning of the phrase 'the arm of the Lord,' and seen that it indicates the support, the upholding, the strength of the Lord, given to those who are wholly in line with His purpose, let us now ask the question: What does the Word of God show to be a real implication of this support or upholding of the Lord? What is in our minds when we think of having the Lord's support?
What Does the Arm of the Lord Imply?
We all want to have His support, His upholding, His strength. To have the Lord with us, alongside of us, with all His gracious and infinite power exercised on our behalf, is, after all, the most important thing in life, not only for us as Christians individually, but for the Church, and for the whole work of the Lord. But have we really thought as to what we mean by this? What do we expect? Is it just the bare support of the Lord, to get us through, to carry us over, to see that we do not collapse on the way? When we see somebody standing fearfully by the side of the road, afraid to step out and cross, we sometimes proffer an arm: we say, "Let me give you an arm and see you over" - an arm! Well, the arm is a support; it helps to the other side. Is that all we want from the Lord? We do not always speak about the Arm of the Lord; we often express it in other ways. We ask for grace; we ask for sufficiency; we ask for many other things; but it is all included in the Arm of the Lord. What is it that we are really seeking?
Now, what does the Word of God show to be the meaning of this support, this Arm of the Lord? Before I answer that question, let me pause to say that this is a matter of the most far-reaching importance and application. I am not at this time at all concerned with merely giving Bible studies. There is a very great practical background to all that is presented here. There is coming daily into one's life an almost continuous, unbroken demand for help in the problems of Christian lives, the problems of churches, the problems of Christian relationships; sometimes it seems almost day and night, without cessation. And letters are continually coming - sometimes very long letters - from assemblies of God's people in different places, telling of the deplorable conditions in those assemblies, with all their frustration, limitation, disappointment, even deadlock and defeat, and asking for counsel and advice as to what is to be done. It is over against this background of real and urgent need that these messages are presented. I want to stress that there is something very practical in this.
For after all, it just amounts to one thing: Where is the Lord? Just that: Where is the Lord? where shall we find the Lord? How are we going to know the Lord is unreservedly with us? And that contains this further serious question: How far is the Lord able to support this and that - to come in and undertake, to show His power, show himself mighty? That really is the heart of the whole matter. Is there a limitation upon the Lord, that He cannot do these things, because of certain obstacles? It is of supreme importance, then, that we should know and understand the ground on which the Lord will show His mighty Arm in these days, on behalf of His people, on behalf of His Church, on behalf of His work.
When, therefore, we ask the question: What does it really mean for the Arm of the Lord to be revealed? we find in the Word of God two or three things, holding a very large place there, in many forms of expression, which answer that question. But first may I pause again to say, in parenthesis, that the message of Isaiah 53 is the answer to everything! Perhaps we think we know Isaiah 53; perhaps we could even recite it. I venture to suggest that we know very little about that chapter. It is the most comprehensive chapter in the whole Bible. If we were able to read it with real spiritual comprehension, we should find that, in that one chapter, all our questions are answered; all our needs are met; all our problems are solved! The Bible is comprehended by Isaiah 53, and in what follows I am keeping within the compass of that chapter.
(continued with # 2 - "The Vindication of a Course Taken")