One of the physical features I admired most about my father was the size of his arms and shoulders. As I peruse his younger years of black and white photos, Pop wasn’t born naturally muscular. But hard work on the farm, Acme Markets, Pepsi Cola Company and finally Sweetheart Bread Company developed his Popeye broad shoulders, chest, forearms, triceps and biceps.
As a matter of fact, growing up under our family roof for 17 years, I never saw anything too heavy that Pop couldn’t lift, hoist, or shove around — by himself. I never remember him saying, “That’s too heavy for me.” In a broader sense, Pop gave me a picture of the powerful, caring arms of Our Father in heaven … and Pop’s arms helped me appreciate the hymn lyrics: “Leaning on the everlasting arms.”
Speaking of everlasting arms … If there was ever a person who had a good end to their life it was Moses : “Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eyesight was sharp; he still walked with a spring in his step” (34:7, The Message). He had lived a life of knowing the Lord “face to face” (v.10).
No one can deny that Moses was greatly used by God: “For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did” (v.12). At the age of 120, Moses faced what everyone else faces … the end. One of the greatest challenges in life is to finish well. Part of finishing well is replacing oneself by leaving a legacy worth continuation.
Moses ended well. He planned for Joshua to be his successor: “Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord commanded Moses” (v.9). Just before Moses drew his last breath, so that God could personally bury him somewhere – he raised his arms and blessed each tribe of Israel: “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (vv.26–27a).
Seems to me that Moses realized that death was really not the end. His hope was secure. His trust was firm in the Eternal God. Moses knew his arms were limited in strength, but the arms God were unlimited and everlasting.
Do you know that? Do you know the arms of God can move, carry, uplift and hoist all your pain and difficulty, oppression and anxiety? Do you know those arms can even move things in place or remove things — so that your life and legacy continues?
As we prepare to gather for the holidays with family and friends, please hear the heart of heaven ... just like Moses, may you and I live in such close relationship with Our Father in heaven — that we absolutely know the arms of the eternal God is our refuge and that His arms will never fail.
Why not tuck away those words of comfort as you face “heavy difficult times and decisions” in the days ahead?