The Word for today:
God always had something up his sleeve.
At the end of Ezekiel chapter 16, God tells us that he will cleanse and restore his unfaithful wife (Jerusalem).
She had broken the marriage covenant (referring to the Ten Commandments, which Israel had agreed to obey) but God would make an everlasting covenant with her, one that could not be broken:
I will establish an everlasting covenant with you...when I make atonement for you for all you have done. (See Ezekiel 16:60-63.)
This is the new covenant, which we previously read about in Jeremiah 31:31-32:
"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,"
declares the LORD.
God, in the act of salvation, is pictured with his sleeve rolled up, ready to work and fight for our lives:
The LORD will lay bare his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see
the salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:10)
What God had up his sleeve, ready to trump our failure and sin, was Jesus:
"This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." (Luke 22:20)
Jesus had always been God's plan, but God waited until just the right time to roll up his sleeve and reveal his 'Ace'--
He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (1 Peter 1:20)
Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? (Isaiah 53:1)
When the time arrived, the first person to whom the arm of the LORD was revealed was, of course, his mother:
And Mary said,
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away." (1)
To whom, then, has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He was revealed as a Word to Isaiah, to Jeremiah, and to Ezekiel. That Word became flesh in Mary's arms. His flesh, torn, yielded the blood of the new covenant:
"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time," says the Lord...
a new and living way opened through the curtain, that is, his body. (2)
Anyone who has turned to the cross of Jesus Christ has seen the salvation of the LORD.
But until you turn to the cross, you've hidden the arm of the LORD behind your back.
(1) excerpted from Luke 1:46-53; (2) excerpted from Hebrews 10:16-20