A devotion of Psalm 98
1 Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Scripture has much to say about God’s right hand and arm. Commentator Guzik teaches, “These are the instruments of God’s victory, the expressions of His skill and strength. As in Isaiah 52:10, the idea of His holy arm is that God has rolled up His sleeve to do His mighty work.” He quotes theologian Morgan adding, “these were the only instruments available for, or capable of working deliverance.”
The right side is indicative of a dominant hand and therefore of skill, strength, and power. To be someone’s right hand man is to be in a position of privilege, access, trust, and authority. From a young age, I have seen one prominent politician or another leaning over to the person on their right hand to whisper something. It could be a funny comment or a matter of national security.
Any promise God makes or action he takes by his right hand is an Ethan – mighty and rock-solid (https://tribalminded.com/2021/09/21/ethan-1/). The book of Deuteronomy is peppered with this wonderful phrase.
“For ask now concerning the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether any great thing like this has happened, or anything like it has been heard. Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live? Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him,”
Mighty miracles that are impossible without God’s intervention are wrought by his mighty right hand and outstretched arm. Unlike bulked up body builders who flex shiny, rippling muscles they spend all day in the gym for, God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm are for show and for work. He uses them to save or deliver his children from their enemies. “If I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me from the anger of my foes; You extend Your hand, and Your right hand saves me,” Psalm 138:7. “Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered,” Ps. 60:5.
Jesus is seated at God’s right hand, the ultimate place of favor, power, and authority. He has a front row seat to our lives as he did with Steven. It was there that he stood to cheer and welcome this first martyr home. It is from that place that he intercedes for us.
What is a fitting response to all this power? Because it is coupled with love and on a mission to set us free, joyful praise is the fitting response. He has done it before in our lives, over and over again. And he will do it again. He will continue to be our Way Maker, Promise Keeper, and the Light in the Darkness. Incorporate that wonderful phrase into your thinking and your prayer life. If we truly understood God’s mighty right hand and outstretched arm, our lives would erupt like the verses below:
4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.