With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm,
His love endures forever,
For the life that’s been reborn, His love endures forever
Sing Praise, sing praise!
These words are from the song Forever by Chris Tomlin. I love that opening phrase “With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, His love endures forever.” When I first learned the song, it reminded me of a challenging church meeting, many years ago, where someone said, “Let us never think the arm of the Lord is too short.” I was encouraged by the statement, not realizing at the time, that it was reference to a scriptural theme.
Eventually, I began to notice the phrase again and again, in scripture, initially in Exodus, where God promises His people, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm.” Many times in Deuteronomy, we read “God brought you out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm”.
A friend pointed out that Pharaoh was known to have ruled with his arm lifted high, demonstrating his might. Exodus 6:1 says of Pharaoh, “For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land. Yet God says in verse 6 of the same chapter, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm…”
Recently, in my study over lent, I was reading about the Passover; the four cups of wine represent the “I will” promises of God, in Exodus 6:6-7. As Jesus was observing Passover with his disciples, he would have recited the promise “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm…” This statement accompanies the third cup, also called the cup of redemption. “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm… It’s amazing to know that while Jesus recites the words from the Exodus experiences, He himself will be the one to provide redemption.
Soon after that Passover, Christ was beaten and flogged, bruised and mocked. And then He laid down His life, with outstretched arms on a harsh rugged cross, and He died.
His death… his resurrection… his victory over death… our redemption!
….I will redeem you with outstretched arms.