11-08-11 © traveler1116, courtesy of iStockphoto

The merit of all things lies in their difficulty.

~ Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers


Rosie the Riveter was a bandana-clad woman who became an inspiring icon of the American spirit. She represented those women who served their roles alongside the soldiers fighting in World War II.

And what image did she display to emphasize her effort? The bared arm.

  • God saw a need for redemption.

Mankind’s war effort against its own sinfulness was a lost cause. The Lord knew this. He didn’t just come alongside our struggle as Rosie did; He assumed all responsibility for winning that war.

This was the most difficult task for an all-powerful God. To demonstrate the sincerity of His effort, Isaiah portrayed God with His arm bared:


The Lord has made bare His holy arm

In the eyes of all the nations;

And all the ends of the earth shall see

The salvation of our God.

~ Isaiah 52:10, NKJV

As we focus on this passage, we discover many truths.

  • Redemption required great exertion.

The Judean attire of that day didn’t cover the arms like long-sleeved shirts and jackets of our day do. The outer robes tended to flap and could be disruptive to hard labor for the workman; even more, to a soldier engaged in hand-to-hand combat.

Thus, a person of action rolled up his sleeves to have full use of his extremities in times of exertion or battle. Isaiah’s metaphor helped the people of his day see with what effort God intended to act.

Sin holds a death-grip on all of us. For God to redeem us, He had to perform a feat that only He could. And He did.

  • Redemption required a decisive choice.

Since the clothing didn’t recede naturally on its own, a laborer or soldier had to use his other hand to manage the sleeves on each side. The decision was purposeful; the action followed. Just so, God took the necessary measures to fulfill His desire.

  • Redemption required complete exposure.

The Judean workman exposed his shoulder to perform the work he had to do. The Hebrew term for arm indicated the entire limb, extending from the shoulder to the fingertips. Thus, we see that God gave it His all to save us.

  • Redemption came from the One who judged.

He revealed His holy arm in judgment against our sin so that we could see the salvation He pointed us toward – that which came through the One He judged in our stead: His Son.

The Elevation Worship song, “Raised to Life,” proclaims:


Sin was strong

But Jesus is stronger.[1]



Have you ever considered God’s riveting sacrifice to pay for our sins?

[1]  Steven Furtick, Matt Redman, Chris Brown, Mack Brock, Raised to Life, Elevation Worship, © 2013, by Provident Label Group, LLC, CCLI # 7011534, http://elevationworship.com/onlykingforever/raisedtolife/