LÖHE ON JAMES 1:16-17

Who trusts in GodDon’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:16-17 NIV)

Here the apostle James warns us not to think bad about God and not to believe that evil comes from him. That is why he adds: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (Jam 1:16-17 NIV) The Lord does not change his goodness into evil and does not do good today and evil tomorrow. We might think that it is not so necessary to highlight the truth and it is not so important to warn of false and mistaken opinions. You are fortunate and blessed if you have no doubt about God’s goodness. However skeptics and those of just little faith often question God’s perfect goodness. It’s a real temptation if you are led dark and difficult pathways – in poverty, weakness and lonely suffering. It’s then that the tempter’s voice is most threatening: “Curse God and die!” Blessed is the man, who withstands these temptations. That is why the apostle James warns so sternly: “Don’t be deceived!” It is really like praising gratitude if he continues: “Every good and perfect gift is from above!”

Who trusts in God, a strong abode In Heav’n and earth possesses; Who looks in love to Christ above, No fear his heart oppresses. In Thee alone, dear Lord, we own Sweet hope and consolation; Our shield from foes, our balm for woes, Our great and sure salvation.

Though Satan’s wrath beset our path, And worldly scorn assail us; While Thou art near we will not fear, Thy strength shall never fail us. Thy rod and staff, shall keep us safe, And guide our steps forever; Nor shades of death, nor hell beneath, Our souls from Thee shall sever.

In all the strife of mortal life, Our feet shall stand securely; Temptation’s hour shall lose its power, For Thou shalt guard us surely. O God, renew, with heavenly dew, Our body, soul, and spirit, Until we stand at Thy right hand, Through Jesus’ saving merit. (Joachim Magdeburg 1525 tr Benjamin H. Kennedy 1804-99)

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the fourth Sunday after Easter: Cantate. It is found on Pg. 187 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu!   (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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