Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Daily Devotional Thought--From the Psalms

Collect of the Week (Proper 15-C)
Merciful Lord, cleanse and defend Your Church by the sacrifice of Christ. United with Him in Holy Baptism, give us grace to receive with thanksgiving the fruits of His redeeming work and daily follow in His way; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Psalm 119:81-88 (Assigned Psalm for Proper 15-C)
81 My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.
82 My eyes long for your promise; I ask, "When will you comfort me?"
83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 How long must your servant endure?1 When will you judge those who persecute me?
85 The insolent have dug pitfalls for me; they do not live according to your law.
86 All your commandments are sure; they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87 They have almost made an end of me on earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

Catechism: The Third Commandment
What is the Third Commandment?
            Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy.
What does this mean?
            We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

Devotional Thoughts
In the name of T Jesus.

If you ever tire of the Word of God—who doesn’t?—then consider the words of the Psalmist.

You can almost hear the battle being waged within him.  On the one hand, he hopes in the Word of Yahweh.  On the one hand, he confesses that all of Yahweh’s commandments are sure.  On the one hand, he has not forsaken Yahweh’s precepts.  On the one hand, the psalmist’s desire is to keep the testimonies which Yahweh has spoken.

But on the other hand, his eyes are longing for a promise.  On the other hand, he confesses that he has become like a wineskin n the smoke—dried up and ruined.  On the other hand, he speaks of enduring hardship, being persecuted, while those who are enemies of Yahweh dig pitfalls for him.  On the other hand, there is the struggle of a man living through his sinful nature, even while having, and knowing, and trusting in the Word of Yahweh.

You see, the Third Commandment functions in two ways.  In the first way, it shows us that we ought to delight in the Word of God; that we ought to hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it.  For in the Word of God, we’re given a Sabbath rest which come through the Yahweh’s promises fulfilled in Christ.

But in the second way, it shows us rightly shows us to be sinners.  Indeed, we should hold gladly hear and learn the Word of God because we know it to be sacred.  But we’re just like the psalmist.  The Devil tells us that there’s more important things to do today.  The world’s relentless demands tire us and tempt us to neglect the one thing that can give us true rest.  And our flesh is all too easily prone to giving in.

And so, the words of the Psalmist are our words, prayed in faith.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, we confess our sin of tiring of the Word of God.  That’s repentance, and that’s the point of the Law.  But repentance brings faith.  And faith rejoices that Christ has fulfilled the Law where we could not.  Where we tire of the Word, Jesus delighted in the Word.  And by His death on the cross, even our neglect of God’s Word is forgiven.  That the Gospel.

And so you live.  You live each day with this dichotomy.  On the one hand, you tire of God’s Word and treat it as less than sacred.  But on the other hand, in repentance and faith, forgiven by Christ, you know that the Word of God is what you need—not only for forgiveness, but in order to know how to live according to the will of the Lord, who you fear and love.  In the name of T Jesus. Amen.


Thanks be to You, Lord Jesus, Captain of our salvation, for the godly weapon of Your Word, with which we drive the enemy before us, and can rout thrones and potentates. Create in us a zeal for Your Word, willingly to hear and learn it, that we may always have our weapon polished and ready. Amen (Reading the Psalms with Luther, p. 292).

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