Löhe on Ephesians 6:16-17

The Harrowing of HellIn addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation  (Eph 6:16-17 NIV)

In battle the fiery arrows of the evil foe come flying. Weighty objections and terrible accusations are brought to bear from outside. Doubt and hesitation rise on the inside. That’s the real trouble in times of war. The thick armour alone is not enough defence. You need even more protection and security. Just as the knight of old wore a weighty helmet and bore a strong shield, so to the warrior of spiritual battles needs a helmet and shield too so as to have a chance of survival in conflict. The shield required is that of faith and the helmet, which protects and keeps us against all vicious hits by the Devil is the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, which protects and keeps us through thick and thin. What would you do if the fiery arrows of evil fly, if your confidence fades and you realize your own weakness and hopelessness? You can do nothing else but put your trust in the protective shield and armour of your Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. If you are dead afraid and you don’t see any salvation at hand, but are surrounded most terribly by animosity, hatred and fearful scoundrels and bloodthirsty foes, then you can but only put your faith in the one, who has overcome sin, death and devil once and for all there on the cross: Jesus Christ – the victorious Lord of all and King of kings.

O Lord Jesus Christ! You know us and you also know our weakness, poverty and faintheartedness as we face death, devil and all the world. Without you we are nothing – and just fade away. Therefore we come to call upon you o Lord. Garb and cover us with your most precious and protective armour. Strengthen and hearten us, that we might wield your weapons courageously and fight a valiant fight in your name and to your honour and glory. You have called us to follow you – and so we follow, where you lead us. We trust your guidance and victorious presence.  Amen.

The strife is o’er, the battle done; The victory of life is won; The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!

The powers of death have done their worst; But Christ their legions hath dispersed; Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!

The three sad days are quickly sped; He rises glorious from the dead; All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!

He closed the yawning gates of hell; The bars from heaven’s high portals fell; Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell! Alleluia!

Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee, From death’s dread sting Thy servants free, That we may live, and sing to Thee: Alleluia!

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Friday after the twenty first Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 367 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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