The Arm of God

Luke 1:51, “He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.”

Luther says the following on the anthropomorphism of God’s arm: “In the Scriptures, the ‘arm’ of God means God’s own power, by which He works without the medium of any creature. This work is done quietly and in secret, and no one becomes aware of it until all is accomplished; so that this power, or arm, can be known and understood only by faith” (The Magnificat, LW 21:339). Thus, who knows how God’s arm—God’s power—is working today?

We do not need to see God in order to know He’s working. Scripture testifies to this. The Israelites, in slavery, did not know what God was doing behind the scenes to redeem them from Egypt. They did not know or understand until God’s work was complete. So, again, who knows how God’s arm is working today? We don’t know what He’s crafting.

God’s salvific story is like a play, who works behind the curtains; and we don’t know what God’s plan is until He opens the curtains, lets it play out, and it is finally revealed to us. What is God doing about all these mass shootings, forest fires, abortions, wars, and rumours of wars? We don’t know; indeed, we cannot. Yet we can pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” and trust God to do His mysterious work as we bring Christ to our neighbour.

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