The holy prophet Moses writes: “I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand. (Deu 9:26 KJV)
The holy apostle St. Paul writes to the Philippians: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phi 1:6 KJV)
Dear friends of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always +
In this mornings reading the holy prophet Moses writes, how he prayed to the living Lord, the triune God for God’s people and chosen inheritance. The prophet recalls God’s gracious redemption and powerful deliverance and merciful guidance of Israel from slavery in Egypt through all the trials and temptations in the desert and all the way into the promised land beyond the Jordan river. This was God’s might miracle and wonder by which he initially established Israel as his chosen people and as inheritors of his promises and most precious testaments. Just as he had done with the archfathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and even with Joseph and his brothers. It was God’s omniscient choosing and almighty doing that he picked these small and insignificant people and made them into a great nation and holy example to all others. The triune God had taken these forefathers and people before all others so that it would be obvious that it was not their doing or achievement or success, but rather without any merit or worthiness on their side, but rather he had done this out of pure fatherly goodness and merciful favour. This divine goodness and mercy did not only determine their election and initial constitution, but continued to determine the living God’s dealings with his people. Just as they were constitutive for their coming into being, so also did they define and govern their daily lives. In this ongoing life Israel’s being depended entirely on God’s grace and mercy too. It was not as if they had been kick-started into a holy calling and were then left to their own devices. That would have meant the end of them, because they couldn’t even stay one day or even hour without God’s staying grace and mercy. Their all and everything depended on God’s upkeep and staying power. His forgiveness and redeeming love and kindness. And so the prophet Moses appeals to this divine goodness and mercy to prevent the demise and destruction and end of God’s people. Off course this negative ending is what they deserved. That’s what they had earned over and over again with their sinful attitude, dismal behaviour and ungodly opposition. Accourding to God’s holy will and law, they had merited his lasting wrath and punishment. Moses knows that. He does not argue on that one, but rather appeals to God’s readiness to forgive, be merciful and save, redeem and justify on account of God’s very own graciousness and fatherly favour.
How much more do we have the assurance of God’s gracious mercy now that we have the even greater redemption and salvation of Jesus Christ to fall back on too? The triune God did not only keep Israel throughout the ages by his readiness to forgive their sinfulness and redeem all their transgressions and iniquities so that they were returned mercifully and graciously out of Egypt, Babylon and Ninive, but he also gathered his people from the ends of the world to gather around the throne of the lamb, who was sacrificed for the sins of the world there on Golgotha and as a redemptive propitiation for all our sins and those of the world too. This great work of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice has been accomplished. It’s our objective justification in the sight of God. This has been subjectively applied to us in the holy baptism through water and the Holy Spirit, through the absolution of all our sins, by the forgiveness of our unholiness, our redemption and restoration to the holy family of God the holy Christian Church. Being confident of this very fact we together with the holy apostle St.Paul can hold on to the conviction and confession: “He who has begun this good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phi 1:6) Amen.
The peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you always + Amen.
1 I trust, O Lord, Your holy name;
O let me not be put to shame
Nor let me be confounded.
My faith, O Lord,
Be in Your Word
Forever firmly grounded.
2 Bow down Your gracious ear to me
And hear my cry, my prayer, my plea;
Make haste for my protection,
For woes and fear
Surround me here.
Help me in my affliction.
3 You are my strength, my shield, my rock,
My fortress that withstands each shock,
My help, my life, my tower.
My battle sword,
Who can resist Your power?
4 With You, O Lord, I cast my lot;
O faithful God, for sake me not,
To You my soul commending.
Lord, be my stay,
And lead the way
Now and when life is ending.
5 All honor, praise, and majesty
To Father, Son, and Spirit be,
Our God forever glorious,
In whose rich grace
We run our race
till we depart victorious.
Adam Reusner, 1496-1575 translated by Catherine Winkworth (In Dich hab ich gehoffet Herr…)