Herrenhuter readings for Friday, the 4th March 2016

King Solomon prayed to God in the temple of Jerusalem: “Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men.” (1Ki 8:39 KJV) And the apostle St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians: “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2Th 2:16-17 NIV)

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you + now and always +

Dear friends of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ: King Solomon prays to the living God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He does so with confidence and faith, because he trusts the forgiving goodness of our God. Although he knows of the divine omniscience and that no thought of any heart or mind is hidden from the heavenly Father, still he approaches God and pleads with him – not on account of this or that, but only in the hope that God will forgive, pardon, exonerate and absolve all blame, sin and disbelief that we have heaped up so readily from our earliest childhood, yes from the very beginning of our being, which roots in the sinful beginnings of humanity in most primeval times. Still the triune God is good, gracious and merciful not because he doesn’t know us, but although he knows us perfectly indeed, yet and still he is willing to forgive and be gracious to us and to grant us his saving favour – for Jesus Christ our redeemer’s sake.

In this ancient and exemplary prayer King Solomon is a good and saintly model for us and our daily prayer and devotion. Just as the Augsburg Confession teaches us in the twenty-first article: “Scripture sets before us the one Christ as Mediator, Atoning Sacrifice, High Priest and Intercessor. He is to be prayed to. He has promised that he will hear our prayer. This is the worship that he approves above all other worship, that he be called upon in all afflictions. ‘If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father’ (1Jo2:1).”

St.Paul shares this saving faith with King Solomon and the one holy Christian Church. That is why he commends not just Israel, but all of God’s people in his Church to God’s caring love and grace for Christ our saviour’s sake: “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2Th 2:16-17 NIV) He too knows, that God is not in the dark about us and our true sinful being and evil tendency and aptitude for going astray and contrary to God’s will, law and prescription. He knows our sinfulness full well, for his Son bore all of that himself on the cross. He carried our entire burden of godlessness, impiety and iniquity. He knows it even better than we ourselves do. For we are often so blind for even our worst calamities and evils, bluffing ourselves and making as if we’re ok. Still he knows. There is nothing hidden from him. We can’t bluff him. He’s informed perfectly well and in depth and at length. For he sacrificed himself as a propitiation for this very reason and burdensome load of which we ourselves couldn’t rid ourselves from. He knows it and in his caring love and grace has forgiven all our sins. That encourages us no end. That is why we have all reason to be hopeful and rejoice gratefully. For we have been forgiven.

Yet that is not all. We are forgiven, so that we can now live as God’s children in righteousness and holiness – every day of our life. We are comforted and strengthened by God himself for good works and deeds. These good works and deeds are part of God’s plan for us. He created us initially and then again in holy Baptism to do those good works and deeds, which he has prepared for us to do. We are called by him to do them so that they may benefit not only our fellow men, neighbours, family, friends and next of kin, but even our enemies and those that harm and persecute us.

God is good and hears and answers our prayers. That is why we don’t need to despair if we look at the good works waiting for us to do them, but rather be full of hope, encouraged by him and his faithfulness, that he will not only grant willingness, but also the necessary and required action and success. It is he, who deserves all laud and praise from us the recepients of all his goodness, grace and mercy day in day out. Thanks be to him now and forever. Amen.

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

Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me
By: Paul Gerhardt, 1607-76

  1. Jesus, Thy boundless love to me
    No thought can reach no tongue declare;
    Unite my thankful heart to Thee,
    And reign with-out a rival there!
    Thine wholly, Thine alone, I am;
    Be Thou alone my constant flame.
  2. Oh, grant that nothing in my soul
    May dwell, but Thy pure love alone;
    Oh, may Thy love possess me whole,
    My joy, my treasure, and my crown!
    All coldness from my heart remove;
    My every act, word, thought, be love.
  3. This love unwearied I pursue
    And dauntlessly to Thee aspire.
    Oh, may Thy love my hope renew,
    Burn in my soul like heavenly fire!
    And day and night, be all my care
    To guard this sacred treasure there.
  4. In suffering be Thy love my peace,
    In weakness by Thy love my power;
    And when the storms of life shall cease,
    O Jesus, in that final hour,
    Be Thou my rod and staff and guide
    And draw me safely to Thy side!

 

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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