Among His Own People
Later, we are going to ask the question: What will be the principles upon which the arm of the Lord will be revealed, at any time, for any people, or against any situation? For the moment we confine our attention to the fact of the very great need for the revealing of the arm of the Lord in our time. That need exists, firstly, very strongly and urgently among the Lord's own people. Indeed, it becomes a personal and individual matter. It is of very great consequence whether the Lord can stand with each one of us, individually - stand alongside of us with His power and with His might; show His arm on behalf of you and of me, personally. It is of tremendous importance whether the Lord can commit Himself to you and me, and say, 'I can be with that man, I can be with that woman, with My strength. I can put My power alongside of them.'
Again, it is a very important thing whether the Lord can put His power behind us as local companies of His people - whether He can stand with us in strength, and say: "This is something I am going to look after; this is something that I am going to defend; this is something for which I am going to exercise My power: I am with this; I am in this." That is an ultimate question. What is the good of anything at all - all our striving, all our teaching, all our expenditure of time and energy - if the Lord is not with us, not free to exercise His power, to show Himself mighty on our behalf?
And what is true for the individual, and for the local companies, is true for the people of God in this world. For the entire people of God are involved in this world situation, and nothing but the arm of the Lord can save them. Only one thing can meet this present need and situation among the Lord's people, and that is, that He should make bare His arm; that there should be the "lighting down" of His mighty arm.
In The World
But if that is true in these three senses among His own people, what about this world, this iniquitous, evil world? Perhaps it is just there that we sometimes get nearest to having our greatest controversy with the Lord. I confess that, as I have moved over great ranges of this world, and seen things, sometimes the question has arisen in my own heart: "Oh Lord, how can You bear to allow this to go on? How can You, being in the position that You occupy, tolerate this?" I am not exaggerating. In a few hours from London I could show you something that would so horrify you as to make you cry out, 'Oh, God, bring this creation to an end soon!' The evil, the suffering, is such that nothing but the arm of the Lord can meet it.
This is a word for the hour, and we are going to ask this question, and seek to answer it, as far as possible, later. What are the principles upon which the arm of the Lord will be revealed? For we must recognize that that arm is, in a sense, governed; its baring is conditional. There are times when the arm of the Lord is, as it were, paralyzed; it is bound, it cannot move, it is not free. It was the cry of the prophet that He was like a bound man in the midst of His people, unable to move (Jeremiah 14:9). There are principles, spiritual laws, which govern the arm of the Lord. And whether it be our own personal need of the arm, or the need in local companies, or in the Church, or in the world, we must understand the ground upon which the Lord will exercise the might of His arm; the conditions upon which He will lift it, stretch it out, and perform His mighty acts.
As I have said, I am not answering that question immediately; that will come later. For the present I just want to bring into view the whole matter of the need of the arm of the Lord to be revealed. I want you to be gripped afresh by that need. This word was exercising me for many weeks, especially as I moved about in the Far East: "Arm of the Lord, awake!" (Isaiah 51:9). How great is the need for the arm of the Lord in this many-sided world situation. It could be put in other ways: Oh, that the Lord would do something - really do something! If the Lord would bring upon His people in these days a new sense of this need for the revealing of His arm, and move us,firstly to send up a cry, and then to get into line with those laws which govern the moving of His arm, this message will have been worth while, of very real consequence.
(continued with # 2 - "The Need of A Heart-cry")