When I first read Isaiah 41:13, one of the things that immediately jumped out at me was the reference to the right hand. Where is the connection between the two? Why not just use your left hand or hands in general?
1. The term is used rather literally in several verses to refer to the right hand or the right side of the body. An example is seen in Genesis 48:18 – Then Joseph addressed his Father by saying, “My Father, you could not be more wrong because this child is the oldest. Put your right hand on his head in this position.”
2. The term “direction” is another name for this concept. In most cases, the right hand indicates the direction of the south. The direction indicated by the left hand is north. Numbers 22:26 – And the angel of the LORD proceeded further until he arrived at a confined space from which it was impossible to turn either to the right or left.
3. Another interpretation of this word is a place of honor.
4. The final interpretation pertains to providing assistance or strength in an area where it is required.
The right hand (or right side) is believed to be synonymous with goodness in most of the contexts in which it is used, as detailed above. That is to say that “the right hand” and “goodness” belong to the same category when it comes to defining terms. Even if you look at the Old English word for “right,” you will see the word “riht,” which may be translated as “just,” “good,” “fair,” “appropriate,” “fitting,” or “straight.” Therefore, does this indicate that we should avoid using our left hand (or the left side) since it is evil? Of course not! It is not true that a person’s physical left hand or side is bad. Some wonderful Christians write and perform activities with their left hand. On the other hand, most lines in the Bible take a figurative meaning to describe the “right side” as moral and appropriate, while the “left side” is described as feeble or ignorant. Definition, rather than geographical location, should be the primary focus in almost all cases.
When Isaiah 41:13 is taken into consideration, this verse comes under the fourth category described above. The people of Israel were intended to receive encouragement from the verses found in Isaiah 41:10-20. The phrase “a promise that God will strengthen their hands” appears particularly in verse 13. (i.e., will help them). When we are tired, he will hold us up; if we are wavering, he will steady us; if we are trembling, he will encourage us; and so he will hold us by the right hand. He will hold us by the hand as our guide, to lead us in our way. He will help us up when we are fallen or prevent our falls. He will lead us in our way.
The right hand is significant in the Bible for several reasons, including the fact that it symbolizes rulership, power, sovereignty, blessing, and strength. Even in the process of separating the sheep from the goats at the judgment, we see this principle at work. Jesus said, “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” We see this principle at work when the sheep are separated from the goats. And the sheep will be placed on his right, while the goats will be placed on his left (Matt 25:32-33). Being on the right side is essential to our eternal destiny while being on the left side would bring about their destruction. To all those who put their faith in Christ, the exact righteousness of the Son of God will be credited to them, and they will be set on the right-hand side of Christ. This will be the case because they will have Christ’s righteousness imputed to them (2 Cor 5:21).
Keeping our attention fixed on the Lord and doing what He asks of us as we go about our daily lives, knowing that He is always with us, holding our hands, aiding us, directing us, and providing us with the fortitude we need along the path.