Herrenhuter readings for Friday, the 28th November 2014

jesus-the-good-shepherdHe that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.  (Jeremiah 31,10) For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Romans 11,29)

As far as the heavens are above the earth and as far as the east is from the west so much higher above our ways are the ways of the Lord and his reckoning beyond our recognition and comprehension. In hindsight we can perceive, how wonderfully the triune God has gifted, called and lead his people through the ages. His meticulous preparation of Bethlehem in Israel as the breadbasket of the world is quite marvellous really in its simplicity and perfection. “Take and eat and taste how friendly the Lord is!” And still we eat and are satisfied, not just the twelve tribes, but all nations across the globe into the most distant corners.

Part of the wonderful ways of the Lord are his discipline and necessary admonition, warning and even severe chastising and punishment of his chosen one. Yes, because of his ample and so special gifts to his most cherished bride, he just can’t let her get away with going her own ways and blatant adultery. That’s what syncretism and idolatry boil down to. Although God had served his chosen one well, had showered her with gifts – even in the desert and especially in the promised land of milk and honey, yet over the years Israel had always tended to squint at others and even followed them and clung to them – like a crazy camel on heat. It was his passionate love for Israel that made him do all he did so that she would not get away with it. He let her have her ways. She was taken up both in Egypt and Assyria, yet God always called and brought her back in the end. Binding her up, healing her and restoring her to be his very own – protected, sanctified and loved like no other. It’s just that his gifts of love and his gracious calling are irrevocable. He does it for his own sake. He is God – and he really can and does as he pleases.

When the time was fulfilled, he himself came as the good shepherd to seek and find the lost sheep of Israel. He himself took care of his fold and waited on his flock – so that it would lack nothing, but would enjoy divine abundance, bliss and peace in his presence. He does this wonderful work of divine missions and service even today. Leading his very own to green pastures and peaceful waters by. Yes, he visits, calls and gathers even those, who are not of his fold and gathers them into the one holy Christian Church so that his place will fill up and many more will be saved from the wretched desolation. The old truth remains extra ecclessiam nulla salus.

It is very comforting that God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable. Especially in a time, where love is cooling off in far to many, where to many promises are but temporary and people’s favour changes more frequently than the weather in Chicago it is so good to know, that the Lord’s favour and goodness don’t waver, they don’t fade, but are constant all the way. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Remember all the goodness the Lord has shown you already – starting off with your most holy Baptism. He has never relented. He has never given up on you. He continues to love and nurture you, whom he has loved from the start and had destined to call you even before the making of the world. This his plan for you and your salvation is what he’s busy with day in day out. That is why we should not fear nor worry as we live our lives in faith, hope and love wherever we are by his grace and calling to flourish under his care and utilise his gifts in the most appropriate and befitting way. Even if we walk through the dark valley of sorrow, suffering and death – we shall not be afraid – he is with us. His rod and staff comfort us. His love sustains us. For he sets my table richly with his gracious gifts – even in the sight of my enemies. He fills my cup to overflowing. Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will remain in the house of the Lord evermore. For a day in the forecourts of the Lord – at the door of his holy temple – in his presence and in earshot of his vital words and grace – is better than otherwise thousands. Oh, yes praise the Lord for he is good and his mercy endures forever and ever. Amen. Hallelujah +

Lord heavenly Father, we give praise and thanks to you for your miraculous gifts and gracious calling into your divine presence and healing goodness. You deal so wonderfully with us human beings. You achieve your goals so amazingly through the ages that we praise and glorify your holy name. You are our God, our Lord and saviour – and we thank you for having made us your very own and that we can be in your presence always. You are all and everything. Without you we have nothing and are nothing, but in you we are content and at peace. Thank you o Lord + 

What our Father does is well; Blessèd truth His children tell! Though He send, for plenty, want, Though the harvest-store be scant, Yet we rest upon His love, Seeking better things above.

What our Father does is well; Shall the willful heart rebel? If a blessing He withhold In the field, or in the fold, Is it not Himself to be All our store eternally?

What our Father does is well; Though He sadden hill and dell, Upward yet our praises rise For the strength His Word supplies; He has called us sons of God, Can we murmur at His rod?

What our Father does is well; May the thought within us dwell; Though nor milk nor honey flow In our barren Canaan now, God can save us in our need, God can bless us, God can feed.

Therefore unto Him we raise Hymns of glory, songs of praise; To the Father, and the Son, And the Spirit, Three in One, Honor, might, and glory be Now, and through eternity.

Benjamin Schmolck 1720 (Translated by Henry W.Baker 1861)

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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