Herrenhuter readings for Friday, the 12th December 2014

Mother-HenHe shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4 NKJV) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 NKJV) 

Dr Luther discovered anew the unique ways of God in dealing with his people through his most precious Word. Part of discovery of the strange ways God’s works in and with us is that he does not take away the trouble, but rather keeps us safe and sound in trouble. He does not remove the calamity, but preserves and sustains us in the most dire straits, yes, he let’s us flourish and prosper even in the most adverse conditions. The best example for this is, that he makes alive by letting us die. He justifies by letting the innocent be crucified on the gallows. God does what he wills often even under the very opposite. That is why we believe, teach and confess that the peace of God surpasses all understanding.

This all surpassing peace is the power of God with which he dispels all fear, anxiety and faithless doubt. Just remember how the risen Lord Jesus Christ greets his deeply disturbed and perturbed disciples again and again: “Don’t be afraid!” On the contrary – take courage – for I am with you and nothing will separate you from me ever again. Like a fowl takes care of its chicks against impeding danger, so too I gather you under my wings granting refuge and peace. No need to fear!

God’s protection for us is through his most Holy Word – the divine truth – with which he thwarts all attacks of the evil one. This truth is like a protective shield and strong armour, because it stands firm against all evil means of Satan. That is why our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ counters the sly temptations of the devil with the affirmation: “It is written!” Yes, as authoritative Lord of all, he counters the misinterpretations of the devils ilk with: “Yet I say unto you!” The Holy Spirit leads and guides us in all truth by reminding us of all that our Lord and saviour taught and entrusted to us. That’s what we are supposed to cling too. That’s what we should gladly hear, learn and take to heart. That’s what gives us guidance, protection and the necessary weapons against all half-truths, lies and deceptions.

In this way Luther was kept on the true foundation in Worms: ““I cannot choose but adhere to the word of God, which has possession of my conscience; nor can I possibly, nor will I even make any recantation, since it is neither safe nor honest to act contrary to conscience! Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God! Amen.”  or with the potent potion against affliction: “I am baptised +” or the even shorter “EST”.

This did not only work for Luther, but for all of us, who trust in his glorious and gracious promises. It works wonders against all, who want to water down God’s commandments and most holy will in deceitful ways: “Where is it written?” “Did God really say?” “Can we know for certain?” Well, here too it is worthwhile to recall what is written and remember all the Lord has said. His 10 commandments stand firm against all politicking of sly schemers and deceivers. Woe to those, who contrary to God’s clear commandment justify evil, sin and trespassing of his divine laws. Woe to those, who call bad good. Woe to those, who demand, what God has forbidden. They will surely fall into their own pit. Blessed are those, who walk in the ways of the Lord, contemplate his words night and day and live accordingly. They will rest in peace – even in the greatest tribulation – because the Lord holds and keeps them. He will guide and keep their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always.

The first Psalm is the summary confession of our faith and God’s word. It teaches us to believe, teach and confess:  Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither And whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Let us pray with Dr Luther:  Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word

Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word;
Curb those who by deceit or sword
Would wrest the kingdom from your Son
And bring to nought all he has done.

Lord Jesus Christ, your power make known,
For you are Loud of lords alone;
Defend your holy Church that we
May sing your praise triumphantly.

O Comforter of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth;
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death of life.

Hymn # 334 from Lutheran Worship
Author: J. Klug
Tune: Erhalt Uns, Herr
1st Published in: 1543

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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