“What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10 KJV)
“God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1Co 10:13 KJV)
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always +
Dear friends of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ: In this mornings reading we read the apostle St. Paul’s encouraging assurance that the living God is faithful and that he will not push us over the cliff. He doesn’t want us to fall victim to temptation, but rather be strengthened and edified by it. So even if we fall off that cliff, he’s there to catch us.
Job went through very deep waters. Lost not only his possessions, but also his sons and daughters and finally his health and well-being. Reason enough to despair. Yet, he does not curse God and die. He commits all and everything to God in the knowledge, that he himself is not omnipotent like our heavenly Father nor omniscient like him either. That is why some things are just impossible for us and do remain in the dark for us too. We’re not God, but just his creatures and entirely dependent on him. That is why the first commandment has absolute priority: We must love, trust and fear God above all else – and have no other gods besides him.
As long as we believe that God is out to get us, so long we will flee, shun and even hate him. It’s our sinful disbelief and mistrust that is the root cause of our dismal situation as outcasts from paradise and strangers and even enemies of God. Somewhat like Luther, who struggled with the just God until he was shown the gospel light, that this divine justice does not primarily just condemn him, but rather it’s God’s powerful means to justify him rather with the foreign righteousness of Christ, who is the propitiation of our sins and the vicarious sacrifice for our salvation and deliverance – outside of us and purely by grace and God’s overriding favour and mercy. In the same way God does not use his almighty power and absolute foreknowledge to harm, destroy and condemn us, but rather to save, deliver and bless us in eternity. That’s what God’s good and merciful will is all about – that he wants all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.
Job was shown that. St. Paul taught that in his preaching and teaching, his writing and living. Obviously we need to see the big picture for this and not be too shortsighted either. For some of these things, we will only see once we are on the other side of death and beyond the ultimate judgement of God, when he has finally brought to completion his work of salvation and justice. Then, when he will have wiped off all tears and healed all our diseases, after he has raised the dead from the graves – all those martyrs and holy innocents, those aborted children and murdered imbeciles, victims and all and everyone – to face his absolute just and righteous verdict. Before that there’s a lot of injustice and many wrongs and terrible pains and innocent sufferings too. This will tempt many to loose faith and hope and love, because they don’t believe in God’s help and salvation anymore. Yet, God is faithful and he will find a way to make his promises come true. Therefore we should rather despair of our own means and faculties, our own thoughts and ideas, our deapest fears and anxieties and rather look up to Jesus Christ – who is the author and perfector of our faith, hope and life – in this life and the next. Thanks and praise be to him our Father and savior, Lord and king, who lives and reigns one God Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you always + Amen.
- I walk in danger all the way.
The thought shall never leave me
That Satan, who has marked his prey,
Is plotting to deceive me.
This foe with hidden snares
May seize me unawares
If I should fail to watch and pray.
I walk in danger al the way.
- I pass through trials all the way,
With sin and ills contending;
In patience I must bear each day
The cross of God’s own sending.
When in adversity
I know not where to flee,
When storms of woe my soul dismay,
I pass through trials all the way.
- And death pursues me all the way,
Nowhere I rest securely;
He comes by night, he come by day,
He takes his prey most surely.
A failing breath, and I
In death’s strong grasp may lie
To face eternity today
As death pursues me all the way.
- I walk with angels all the way,
They shield me and befriend me;
All Satan’s power is held at bay
When heavenly hosts attend me;
They are my sure defense,
All fear and sorrow, hence!
Unharmed by foes, do what they may,
I walk with angels all the way.
- I walk with Jesus all the way,
His guidance never fails me;
Within his wounds I find a stay
When Satan’s power assails me;
And by his footsteps led,
My path I safely tread.
No evil leads my soul astray;
I walk with Jesus all the way.
- My walk is heavenward all the way;
Await, my soul, the morrow,
When God’s good healing shall allay
All suffering, sin, and sorrow.
Then, worldly pomp, be gone!
To heaven I now press on.
For all the world I would not stay;
My walk is heavenward all the way.
Hans A.Brorson 1694-1764 translated Ditlef G. Ristad (“Der lieben Sonne Licht und Pracht”)