Herrenhuter readings for Saturday, the 13th February 2106.

  • „Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.“ (Psalm 94:15 NIV)
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6 NIV)

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you + Dear friends of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ + Perhaps you don’t follow the news like some good friends and even family of mine. They say, they are a lot happier for it. No bad news. Just turn a blind eye. Like those so-called wise monkeys: „Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.“ Sadly now news doesn’t remove bad or evil. Quite the opposite. It may let me cry: „Peace, peace“ (cf. Jeremiah 6:14), when there is no peace or „Don’t worry, be happy“ even when I’ve got all reason to be concerned and disturbed and really need to do something about it. Yet, because I don’t know, I just remain ignorant and in the dark. I, for my part really can’t keep away from the news for long. It’s on my mind and if I don’t read the newspaper, I’ve got the feeling I’m isolated, perhaps even banished into exile. Sadly, that doesn’t make me wise either. For wisdom and insight doesn’t come from just watching the news or following every link on Twitter or just being exposed to the flood of information day in day out.

No, true wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord (cf. Proverbs 9:10). And the biggest calamity of our day is the fallacy to live as if there is no God. Just because I don’t see him, doesn’t mean he’s not the determining factor, the absolute being and really all that matters. The one we are to love, trust and fear above all else. 

We human beings can’t do anything to save ourselves. On the contrary, we’re great at destroying good, right and salutary things. It’s not just the obvious destruction of wars throughout the ages, but they sure do a lot to prove the point. Which people have not suffered tremendously and horrifically at the cruel hand of others. It would seem as if human history is one of wars and bloodshed, persecution and destruction starting off with that terrible fratricide there just outside paradise. Since then this human tendency to be more beast and wolf than brother and friend has snowballed. Just look at Mel Gibsons film: „Apocalypto“ and you’ll understand what I’m getting at or James Clavell’s book „Shogun“ or William Golding’s „Lord of the Flies“. The ruthless and faithless think they can get away with murder and continue in their destructive ways.   This underlying foundation of all our existence and inner mechanics of our world doesn’t disappear even with a Rousseauean overcoat of Kleethian colours and garnish. 

Well, and the great temptation, when faced by this incredible and profuse violence, which is often to horrible to even contemplate, is to conclude erroneously that the true God, the living Lord and righteous judge does not see, hear or do anything about this. That he’s left this place a long time ago (cf. Blood Diamonds). That his hands are tied or he’s dead even and that the world is just spinning out of control – way beyond the grip and caring guidance of a heavenly Father full of grace, mercy and compassion. That’s when the psalmists puts our questions into words addressed to the living God in cries of lament:   

  • Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?
  • How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?
  • They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage.
  • They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.
  • Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.

These thoughts of the despairing are answered as the psalmist continues in the name of the Lord:

  • Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law;
  • That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.
  • For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
  • But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.

Yes, the Lord our God will finally uphold righteousness and bring justice to the fore once again. That is what the downtrodden and despairing are taught to be waiting for even as they are threatened by loosing faith and reacting most anxiously to their tribulations and sufferings. They, who are tired and heavily burdened. They are to look up to the Lord and wait for his salvation. For it is he alone, who will bring forth righteousness and let justice shine like the morning sun. He is the living judge, who will do what is right and set up goodness, peace and justice at his time of the last judgement. That is what the people of the world should be waiting for even as they drench their bed with tears at night and eat their dry bread with sorrow, mourning and pain before they go about their vain and empty chores of the day, anxious what will come and happen to them, because it is so vain and hopeless to wait for princess and put ones hope in failing men. God alone is our refuge and a very present help in our need. He alone can help and he is sure to do so. Therefore hear again the true promises of the Lord given many, many decades and centuries ago. He is faithful and will surely do it. Therefore let us call to him for he will surely hear our cries for help: 

  • O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.
  • Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.

Our Lord Jesus Christ promises: „Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.“ (Matthew 5:6 NIV)

Even if we don’t see it right now, there is reason to hope. Jesus Christ is God’s living guarantee that he doesn’t fail, but fulfils whatever he has promised. In him all promises are yes and Amen. Therefore we don’t need to avenge ourselves, but can bide God’s timing. We can commit all and everything into his good and caring hands. He will deliver us from all evil – at the end of time and as this world ends and the new creation of God is called into being. A world without end and without sin or evil or death. Even if we now are hard pressed, discriminated against, persecuted, tortured and even killed – God is alive and we shall live also – for Christ’s sake. Therefore trust in him. He will do the good, right and salutary. Therefore don’t despair, but lift up your heads for the Lord is near. He is coming with great might to deliver us and set up righteousness, justice and peace – for he is God and the true saviour of the world. Amen.

The peace of the Lord be with you always + Amen.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 Zebbaoth Lord, and there’s none other God;
    He holds the field forever.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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