Herrenhuter readings for Friday, the 5th February 2016

Now let the fear of the LORD be on you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.” (2Ch 19:7 NIV)

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. (Mat 9:10 NIV)

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 we read a very clear admonition from the Lord our God as recorded in the 2nd book of Chronicles. It follows on the personal message God gave through Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani to the king of Judah Jehoshaphat: “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is on you.” God tells the king what is wrong and that this is not just going to pass by. Rather his wrath is going to be over the king and ruler of Judah. It’s not as if God is just there to sign off the will and doing of the high and mighty. Rather they are accountable to him and subject to his laws and rules and commandments. To whom much is given, of him much will be demanded. God will not let the king get away with wrongdoing, but rather he is bound by God’s holy will like everybody else and even more so, because so much more has been entrusted to him. This obviously has repercussions in the life of the king too. The seer points out that the king was helping the wicked and loving those, who hated the Lord. That’s also not going to get by the Lord’s standards and holy benchmarks. Rather the king should be persecuting the wicked, punishing the wrongdoers and not pulling together with them in the wrong direction. The sword of justice has been given to the rulers, judges and enforcers of the law so that they protect the innocent and righteous even if they are weak and helpless especially against lawless tyrants, robbers and thieves big and small, murders, adulterers, liars  and other harmful outlaws. Blessed are those people, who are ruled by law abiding rulers and kings; where these laws are in line with the will of God and not contrary to the 10 commandments. Woe to those, where that is not the case.

Think of the murderer, who kills his wife, but comes of scot-free because he’s friends with the judge. Or think of the architect and builder, who doesn’t deliver safe bridges or malls, but earns exorbitant sums because he has bribed the officials and is not persecuted, because he has friends in high places. It’s bad for those, who are hurt and who suffer damages.  It’s not just another way of doing business. It’s bad and earns the wrath of God. Therefore: “Let the fear of the LORD be on you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.” (2Ch 19:7 NIV) Don’t do crime, wrong or evil. It doesn’t pay. In the long run, God is going to sort that out.

On the other side, we hear of Jesus eating with tax-collectors and sinners. They were people, who had transgressed the law. That was common knowledge. Every tax-collector was like that. It was proverbial. They were like the brand name for sinners. Just like prostitutes. Scum of the earth really. Now Jesus of Nazareth eats with them. He draws them back out of the precipice of sinful separation from God and the abyss of lawlessness and opposition to God’s ways. He gives them another chance at a normal life in the communion of God’s people – no longer outcasts and no longer hopeless cases, but rather forgiven and on the way to healing too: He as true God and man forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases! He grants a fresh start, makes things new. The old is forgotten and left behind. See and behold it is better now through God’s doing in Jesus Christ.

That’s how he deals with the high and lowly. Remember how he forgave king David after his snowballing rampage of sinfulness? He does so with the women caught in adultery, with Zacchaeus, with the robber on the cross. It is his mercy and goodness that calls us to repentance and forgiveness. He wants to forgive and heal. So today if you hear his voice, don’t harden your heart, but give ear to his calling and trust his good and faithful promises. Amen.

The peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you always + Amen.

  1. Jesus sinners will receive;
    May they all this saying ponder
    Who in sin’s delusions live
    And from God and heaven wander!
    Here is hope for all who grieve:
    Jesus sinners will receive.
  2. We deserve but grief and shame,
    Yet his words, rich grace revealing,
    Pardon, peace, and life proclaim.
    Here our ills have perfect healing;
    We with humble hearts believe
    Jesus sinners will receive.
  3. When their sheep have lost their way,
    Faithful shepherds go to seek them;
    Jesus watches all who stray,
    Faithfully to find and take them
    In his arms that they may live
    Jesus sinners will receive.
  4. Come, O sinners, one and all,
    Come, accept his invitation;
    Come, obey his gracious call,
    Come and take his free salvation!
    Firmly in these words believe:
    Jesus sinners will receive.
  5. Jesus sinners will receive.
    Even me he has forgiven;
    And when I this earth must leave,
    I shall find an open heaven.
    Dying, still to him I cleave
    Jesus sinners will receive.

Hymn # 229 from Lutheran Worship
Author: Johann Ulrich
Tune: Meinen Jesum Lass Ich Nicht
1st Published in: 1718

 

 

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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