See if this sounds familiar: You’re reading along in the Bible when you come upon a phrase you’ve seen before, maybe even many times. But suddenly the realization dawns. You don’t really know what that phrase means.
That was my experience as I read this verse: “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8). Can you pick out the two words that caught my attention? Right hand. I had to wonder, what is so significant about God’s right hand?
After a bit of research, here is what I discovered.
1) In Bible times, the position to the right was considered a place of honor. This concept is seen at its finest in Hebrews 1:3 where Jesus “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” But according to Psalm 16:8 (above), he is in the place of honor in my life and yours. With our reverence and obedience we can demonstrate our honor of him.
2) If a man has God at his right hand, it means God’s shield is next to him. God’s sword arm is free to deal with the enemy. Visualize yourself walking behind that impenetrable shield. And in his right hand, God wields His sword, ready to strike down the enemy—Satan and his demons. “He stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save his life from those who condemn him” (Psalm 109:31). I love that visualization of God on the offensive for us.
3) A bride stands with the groom on her right, symbolizing the groom’s protection. The Lord Jesus is our Bridegroom and we, his church, are the bride (Revelation 21:1-3). David proclaimed God’s protective right hand in Psalm 17:7. “You…save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes,” he said. God is our undefeated defense.
4) For many of us the right side of our bodies is stronger than the left. Perhaps David had that idea in mind when he wrote, “Your right hand sustains me” (Psalm 18:35b). And what does sustain mean? Uphold, encourage, and affirm. Imagine God’s right hand upholding you—day in and day out. Just the warmth and strength flowing from his touch has the power to encourage and affirm.
5) In addition to extra strength on the right, most of us have extra dexterity in our right hands. We use that hand for writing, drawing, cutting, and other such tasks. Any good handwork is accomplished with that dominant hand. So what comes from God’s right hand? The psalmist proclaimed: “Your right hand is filled with righteousness,” (48:10). Everything God does is good and morally correct. He always gives his best to his work.
I thank you, Father, for the many times I have been protected, sustained, and blessed by your right hand. If you never lifted your hand again on my behalf I would have no cause for complaint. And yet you have promised us “eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11c). I bow before you in wordless wonder.
(Photo credit: sonfeld.wordpress.com.)