Friday, January 3, 2014

God is Our Everything

"The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation" (Psalm 118:14, English Standard Version)
Martin Luther's comments on this verse were helpful this morning:
Note the fine, threefold summary of the psalmist: The Lord is “my Strength,” “my Song,” “my Salvation.” The first indicates that he trusts wholly and completely in God, that God does, speaks, and quickens ... everything in him; and he will not boast of his own power, ability, knowledge, wisdom, holiness, or deeds. He will be nothing; in him God will be all and do all. What a sublime song and how rare in this world! He trusts and relies on no man or prince, on none of this world’s power, wealth, friends, alliances, support, wisdom, deeds, comfort, or help. He trusts in God alone, in contrast to himself and all the world’s might, wisdom, and holiness. This is expressed even more impressively in the song: God alone shall be his strength, trust, and defiance. Next, the psalmist cannot keep still about this. He turns it into a psalm and sings; he preaches, teaches, confesses, and declares what he believes about God. Faith cannot do otherwise; it always confesses what it believes (Rom. 10:10)...

In the third place, God is his salvation and will not utterly abandon the singer and his song. God helps him in life and death and grants him victory. Though all the gates of hell and the whole world rage and rave, God, in the end, will be our salvation; we and our psalm and teaching shall survive, and all the adversaries shall founder. The Word of God abides forever. No amount of raging, blustering, blasphemy, or cursing will change this.
Martin Luther, vol. 14, Luther's Works, Vol. 14 : Selected Psalms III, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, Luther's Works (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999, c1958), 14:77. 78.
I am grateful for this reminder of who God is and who we are. 2013 was a wonderful and yet difficult year. We don't know what lies ahead, but we know who is behind, beside and ahead throughout all the days of our lives. 
O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 304)
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