Saving the Day, Every Day*
Mary said, “For the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.” Luke 1:49
Mighty Mouse was my favorite cartoon when I was a kid. Maybe the little fellow appealed to me because I was small, too. Or maybe I was just mesmerized by the tiny mouse speeding through the air—one arm lifting a runaway train above his head while the other arm steered him past skyscrapers and mountains.
Thanks to Mighty Mouse, I just naturally associate the word mighty with superhuman strength and miraculous acts of heroism. But in the Bible, mighty refers to much more than physical strength.
Hebrew has two words for mighty. One is primarily used for heroes and soldiers—gibbowr. Israelites would have used that word for Mighty Mouse. The other word, abiyr, is used only of God and is translated “Mighty One.”
Jacob was the first person to call God Abiyr, which literally means “the strong.” Near the end of Jacob’s life, as he blessed Joseph, he said, “But his [Joseph’s] bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24).
Jacob was not referring to God’s physical strength or His military triumphs; he was thinking of God’s strength of character–His unchanging nature and His eternal faithfulness. Those were the attributes that had sustained Joseph all the years he was separated from his family. And Jacob knew it.
It took Jacob almost all of his 147 years to recognize that both he and his beloved son were totally dependent on God. For most of his life, Jacob had relied on his own cleverness and charisma. Finally, though, he humbly acknowledged that God alone is “The Mighty One.”
We may run to our mighty God when enemies tower over us or circumstances threaten to overwhelm us. Yet God’s might—His unwavering, rock-solid character—is not just a “here I come to save the day” attribute. God’s might sustains us every day.
Mary uses “Mighty One” in her prayer recorded in Luke 1:46-55. What attributes of God is she praising?
Why do you think the psalmist in Psalm 132 uses the name “Mighty One”?
Isaiah connects the name “Mighty One” with Savior and Redeemer in Isaiah 49:26 and 60:16. Why do you think he uses these three names together?
Denise K. Loock
*Note: This devotion appears in a slightly different form in Open Your Hymnal: Devotions That Harmonize Scripture With Song. Order a copy at http://tinyurl.com/ctfxtko.