Herrenhuter readings for Sunday, the 31 January 2016.

Jeremiah 6,13-14: „For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.“ (KJV)

1 Corinthians 10,33: St.Paul writes to the Corinthians: „Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.“ (KJV) 

Dear friends of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ + Because all depends on God’s word and his very faithfulness and dependability, falsifying this or hiding the truth from people is one of the worst calamities of all. We can stand all and everything, but the loss of God’s Word and his promises. Without these everything is lost, but with them, we can conquer all. That is why false prophets and lying pastors are of the most terrible scourges in the church and anywhere. And that is what the prophet Jeremiah was up against. In his time the hierarchy in Jerusalem was all out to keep everybody happy and without worries. Nobody should rock the boat. All should take hands and sing: „Kumbaya!“ Nobody was to give offence in anything. All were supposed to keep on smiling and make as if all was in good and even best order. At first this doesn’t sound too bad even if it is rather simplistic and superficial. Yet looking a bit closer it becomes a farce and a real disaster, because the people were ignoring God and his commandments. They were worshipping idols of their own making and following their own ideas and ways of living in direct contradiction of God’s holy will and in contravention of his clear ordinances and commandments. Even the priests, who were called to serve the Lord faithfully in the temple had left his ways, self-assured they were seeking to realise their own false and misguided goals. They disregarded God’s holy law and went about things in covetous manner – even in the most holy of holies in God’s own temple. Instead of devoting their energies to deal seriously with the ills amongst God’s people, they were doing so lightheartedly and quite superficially, without dedication, conviction and any amount of seriousness – just as if this was not a life’s calling and purpose of holy living, but just a passing pastime or another business and way of making a living: Doing God’s work as a means for commercial gain. The prophets, who were tasked to preach God’s will truthfully and faithfully, disregarded this high calling and preached fixations of their own mind, phantasies, speculations, myths and dreams. The horror of this, was that many were mislead by this unfaithful service. They mistook this social harmony and communal cooperation and cohesion as real peace and did not realise that they were actually at war with the living God himself. That is why this situation was so detrimental and utterly and most profoundly misleading. The living God himself was all out to correct the disastrous way of life and reestablish himself as the centre of all and unmoved mover of everything – casting aside the idols, correcting the wrong ways of his people and recalling the true worship and making good what was wrong and right what was crooked. He would not stand for this erroneous way amongst his people. He wouldn’t have them put their light under the bushel. On the contrary, he wanted to reestablish Israel as a light and guide to the heathen nations. Purifying his servants and minsters, pastors and teachers that they would again serve his people with faithfulness, holy respect and loving care, truthfully speaking God’s will and standing up for his promises in good and bad times.  The holy word would again be their only guide and measure of all, a light on the path and a star showing the way to salvation, yes, bringing this very salvation in pronouncing the forgiveness of sins and proclaiming peace only were God himself authorised and established this. Just as Jeremiah was but one of few left over, so God again called first twelve and then St. Paul too so that they would preach the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, the one crucified, died and buried, but also risen from the dead and glorified at the right hand of the Father from all eternity.

Thank God, he still grants good and faithful servants throughout the world, who go about seeking the profit of many that they be saved through the efficacious proclamation of God’s holy promises and his wondrous works and miracles for us and our salvation. They are not out to seek their own enrichment, but rather want to help others to come to the knowledge of truth in Jesus Christ and be saved by his wondrous and glorious works of salvation and justification. Something like August Prozesky from Prussia coming to Good Hope farm near Newcastle (KZN) in the late 19th century. And God gave mercy and grace to this planting of his word. The seed which was planted, grew and brought forth fruit – some 20fold, 30fold and some even 100fold. For God’s word does not come back empty, but do exactly that, which he has destined. That is a wonder in our eyes and we praise him for it. Amen.  The peace of the Lord be with you always + Amen.

A mighty fortress is our God, a trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from every need that hath us now overtaken.
The old evil foe now means deadly woe; deep guile and great might
Are his dread arms in fight; on Earth is not his equal.

With might of ours can naught be done, soon were our loss effected;
But for us fights the Valiant One, whom God Himself elected.
Ask ye, who is this? Jesus Christ it is. Of Sabbath Lord, and there’s none other God;
He holds the field forever.

Though devils all the world should fill, all eager to devour us.
We tremble not, we fear no ill, they shall not overpower us.
This world’s prince may still scowl fierce as he will, He can harm us none, he’s judged; the deed is done; One little word can fell him.

The Word they still shall let remain nor any thanks have for it;
He’s by our side upon the plain with His good gifts and Spirit.
And take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife, Let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won; The Kingdom ours remaineth.

Martin Luther, 1483-1546

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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