Spiritual Development

Can You Return to God’s Outstretched Arms?

The scream came hurtling down the staircase and through the open bedroom door.  I stood in front of the changing table in the middle of changing our one month old’s diaper.  I finished as quickly as a mother can slap the two tabs together on a diaper and place a baby in the playpen and raced up the stairs.  

As I approached the bottom of the stairs and looked up, my eyes were met with two feet dangling overhead.  I lept over many stairs and made it to the top right as my daughter let go of the rope.  My son’s fingers were clenching the railing and slipping fast.  My arms reached and grabbed him upright as his fingers gave way.

As he came over the ledge and found himself back on solid ground, he looked up at me in all seriousness and relief in his voice and said, “I should never have listened to my sister”   

After my heart stopped racing and I could start asking some questions the story unfolded.  Our daughter had convinced our son that they would go fishing.  They had tied three jump ropes together with their four, and three-year-old hands and then our daughter convinced our son to be the bait for the fish.  She lowered him over the ledge and waited for the fish.  When she “got a bite” and began “reeling him in,” it became apparent very quickly her brother’s weight, and gravity outweighed her four-year-old weight, and thus my ears were met with the terrifying scream.

This event comes to my mind periodically, and so it did this week as I read about the long arm of the Lord in the following passages.

Do you have an arm like God’s?  Job 40:9

Therefore tell the Israelites: I am Yahweh, and I will deliver you from the forced labor of the Egyptians and free you from slavery to them.  I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment.   Exodus 6:6

He struck the firstborn of the Egyptians 

    His love is eternal. 

And brought Israel out from among them 

    His love is eternal.

With a strong hand and outstretched arm. 

    His love is eternal.  Psalm 136:10-12

These verses remind us that God’s arm is not short or weak.  He can save and redeem His people because of His great love for us.  These passages are such a great foreshadowing of the ultimate outstretched arm of the God who loved His people so much that He sent Son to save us.  

Matthew R. Akers in his article, The Soteriological Development of the “Arm of the LORD,” reinforces the spiritual importance of God’s arm in the Old as well as the New Testament.

Physical deliverance was always a major concern of the Israelites, but the OT looks forward to a complete, spiritual redemption as well. Not only did the arm of the LORD birth the nation and continue to sustain it throughout the centuries, the arm also proved to be the means by which the people might obtain eternal hope. Israel’s redemption from Egypt, therefore, served as the model for the deliverance that God’s people anticipated.

The deliverance spoken by Akers is further supported through the parable Christ shares with the people He is with while traveling.  Jesus tells them a parable about a father who had two sons.  One son asked for his inheritance early and went off and squandered it all.  When he came to his senses, he decided to go back to his father and beg him to let him work as a hired hand.  What the son didn’t expect was how his father would respond.

So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’ Luke 15:20-21

Just as my daughter cried out for help and I ran to her, our God runs to us when we cry out to Him in our time of need and repentance.  

We have a God who has an outstretched arm waiting and willing to save us. 

Sometimes He will run to us and help us in our time of physical need.  

At other times He will run to us and help us in our time of spiritual need.  

At all times His arms are outstretched and longing for us to be in them.

Will you return to God’s outstretched arms today?

 

 

Additional Resources:

When God Ran by Philips Craig and Dean

The Prodigal Prophet by Tim Keller

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