Daily Reading: January 1st


#DailyDevotion On this 1st day of our year, let it be the year of the Lord’s favor upon you.

January 1st

Read Is 61:1–11

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (2) to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; (3) to grant to those who mourn in Zion– to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

The opening verses Jesus in his first sermon at Nazareth reads and then proclaims that he has fulfilled it. Everyone marveled at his words. Then they decided to kill him. Why? Because they did not believe him. Yet Jesus in his earthly ministry did indeed do all these things. He proclaimed the good news, bound up brokenhearted, gave liberty to those who were captive to their sins and at his death open the gates of heaven to those bound in Hades. His death and resurrection brought upon the year of the Lord’s favor.

Today Jesus still does these things through his priest, i.e. all his disciples who proclaim the excellencies of him to a fallen world in their daily vocations, of all Jesus has done for them. Jesus does it through all his pastors who faithfully teach and preach what Jesus has done for the world. Jesus does it through the Word and Sacraments he exercises through his pastors.

So now, through his people and his pastors, with the Word and Sacraments, Jesus adorns us with a beautiful headdress called faith, the oil of gladness who is the Holy Spirit, the garment of praise which is his righteousness. We who have put our faith in Jesus because of these things while we look broken to the world are instead oak of righteousness through whom our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is glorified.

On this day of Jesus’ naming and circumcision we greatly rejoice in the Lord and exalt in Jesus who is our God. Through his first spilling of blood this day, he began to fulfill all righteousness for all mankind. In us, Jesus is causing righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations who do not acknowledge Jesus as their King. This new year, will Jesus be your King? Will Jesus be allowed to give you his righteousness? Will you allow the brokenness of his cross bind up the wounds of your soul and grant you peace, joy, and courage in the face of all obstacles? Will you let him turn your sorrow over you guilt and shame into joy and gladness? Jesus is here in his Church, his people and he can and will do it through his Word and Sacraments.

Lord Jesus Christ, on this day you first spilt blood that we may obtain your righteousness, grant us such faith in you that our souls are indeed bound and we are set free from the guilt and shame of our sins, that we may bear your righteousness and covered with the oil of gladness. Amen.

Daily Readings: December 31st


#DailyDevotion Jesus is the light and glory of the Lord.

December 31st

Read Is 60:1–22

Isa 60:1-9 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. (2) For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. (3) And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising… (6) A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD… (9) For the coastlands shall hope for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful.

This lesson is often read at Epiphany, when the magi from East come and visit the infant Jesus. It depicts a time past for us now, a present reality and a future reality. The time past is the incarnation of the Word of God, Jesus and his visitation by the Magi who came to him on camels (how do you travel out there then?) with treasure fit for a king. The world was in darkness but the Light of the world arose and his glory shown in the sky as the angels proclaimed his birth.

The time now is the nations who continually stream to the Lord our God, Jesus Christ. Through the proclamation of the good news, Jesus has brought peace between God and man by his death and resurrection, people from all nations, languages, tongues and tribes are coming to Zion, the holy City of our God, the Church. You and I are part of this present reality as we become part of Zion, living stones and pillars in the City of the Living God.

We still look forward as God’s people when, Isa 60:17-21 “Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver; instead of wood, bronze, instead of stones, iron. I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness. (18) Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. (19) The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. (20) Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. (21) Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.”

Oh Lord our God, Heavenly Father, send forth your ministers upon the face of the earth to gather your people from the nations that they may inherit your Zion, your City, the place of your peace when you send your Son Jesus Christ, a second time to the earth. Amen.

Daily Reading: December 30th


#DailyDevotion Are your sins hindering your prayers?

Dec. 30th

Read Is 58:1—59:3, 14–21

Isa 59:1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; (2) but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. (3) For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness… (20) “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the LORD. (21) “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.”

Sometimes we may wonder why our prayers don’t get answered. Believe it or not, sometimes the fault is ours. God does not hear our prayers because they are not prayers. A prayer must have faith in Jesus for it to be a prayer. Our sins and iniquities place a barrier between us and God our Father. Our lips are speaking lies and uttering wickedness. We are simply mumbling fanciful wishes to a God we do not trust.

But God does not want to leave us there. He wants to receive our prayers and answer them. So the Father sends to us an intercessor. Jesus the Son of God, becomes flesh and in that flesh removes from us our sins and our iniquities. He gives us the Holy Spirit that we might speak blessings and intercede for others rather than using them to curse and speak wickedness.

Jesus has put on righteousness as a breastplate and the helmet of salvation and in his zeal won salvation for us. He has defeated our enemies: sin, death and the devil. Jesus has made his covenant with us with his very own body and blood and has us participate in that in his Supper. With this Supper he affirms his covenant and puts his words in our mouth and upon our lips that our prayers may be heard. His Spirit intercedes for us with groaning to deep for words. Indeed, Christ Jesus himself intercedes for us at the right hand of God.

Because of this we shall fear the name of the Lord and glorify in Jesus’ name from East to West forevermore. His name we place before the Father so he will not look at our sins, our guilt, our shame, our wickedness or our iniquities. Instead, the Father will only see the righteousness of Jesus when we pray. It will be the voice of his Son and his Spirit when we open our mouths. Then the prayers which we utter will not be sin but the praise and glory of the name of Jesus and they will be heard.

Lord Jesus Christ, ever give us your Holy Spirit so that when we pray, we may pray the prayer of faith and be heard by your Father in heaven. Amen.

Daily Reading: December 29th


#DailyDevotion Eternal Life is having an end of year sale.

December 29th

Read Is 55:1–13

Isaiah 55:1-7 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (2) Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. (3) Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. (4) Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. (5) Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. (6) “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; (7) let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

What a deal! Is this not the good news of Jesus Christ in a nutshell? Free water, free food, free wine and your soul living, free, free, free, grace upon grace, favor upon favor, that is good news in Jesus Christ. Revelation says the same thing doesn’t it? Revelation 22:17 “The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” And Revelation 22:1-2 “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb (2) through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

God your Father is calling to you to come to Him through Jesus. Jesus is the everlasting covenant God has made with you and all people. Jesus is the sure love for David. Jesus is the witness to the peoples. Matthew 26:27-28 “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, (28) for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” And Hebrews 7:22 “This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.” What kind of covenant? Jeremiah 31:33-34 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (34) And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Therefore seek the Lord where he may be found? Where is that? Where his people gather around his Word and receive his new covenant, his body and blood. There is coming a day when you will not be able to do this. And now, believing you have full pardon for your sins, turn away from you old, wicked ways and thoughts. God is plenteous in redemption. He only wants to forgive you and have you be part of His people. You will be glorified in Him.

Lord God, Heavenly Father, your ways and thoughts are not ours, you forgive freely those who do not know and do not seek you, by spilling the blood and giving his body into death. Grant us the gift of repentance that we may seek you out and receive abundant pardon and grace. Amen

Daily Reading: December 28th


#DailyDevotion Jesus fulfills the Scriptures

December 28th

Read Is 52:13—54:10

Isa 52:13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.

Joh 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

Isa 52:15 so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.

Mat 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Heb 10:22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 1Pe 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Isa 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Mar 15:19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him.

Isa 53:4-5 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

Mat 8:16 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 1Jn 2:2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. Mat 20:28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

Mar 15:5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Isaiah 54:1 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the LORD.

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

O Lord God, Heavenly Father, you portrayed for us the work and death of Jesus, grant us faith to believe in Christ who completed this work that we may be the children of the barren one at his second coming. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Daily Reading: December 27th


#DailyDevotion Who will plead your case before God? Jesus represents all who trust in Him

December 27th

Read Is 51:17—52:12

Isa 51:22-23 Thus says your Lord, the LORD, your God who pleads the cause of his people: “Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering; the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more; (23) and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who have said to you, ‘Bow down, that we may pass over’; and you have made your back like the ground and like the street for them to pass over.” Isa 52:1Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. (2) Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. (3) For thus says the LORD: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.”…7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

The Israelites who have run after other gods were under the wrathful hand of God. He had sent the Assyrians to pour out his wrath upon them. While they may have thought the Assyrians were their enemies they indeed had a more formidable foe. Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. It is these forces which deceived the Israelites and the Jews to fall away and rebel against the Lord their God.

They are indeed the foes of all mankind. They pit man against man and man against God. They torment people day and night by driving us away from our Creator and turning us to serve things, people, wealth, sex, drugs, idols and the imagination of our hearts. Such things do not give us life but take it away from us. They drive wedges between our love for our fellow man and from the love of God. The Lord God, our Lord Jesus Christ, will ultimately defeat these our enemies and cast them into the Lake of Fire where they shall be tormented day and night even as they have tormented us.

God has taken away the wrath laying upon us. He has redeemed us from the life we used to have and those who sought us nothing but harm. Our Father in heaven has seen our poor estate and sent His Son, to bear the wrath for us as he cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” Jesus has redeemed us with his blood and bought us to be his own people and to be delivered from all those false gods that used to enslave us.

Therefore, awake and put on your strength. That strength is the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. It delivers us from bondage to sin. Put on the beautiful garments of the righteousness of Jesus who gives it to us freely so we not be naked and ashamed before our heavenly Father. Shake off the dust of your past, for God will no longer remember your sins but forget them for all time, they have been washed away by the blood of Christ. Peace has been made between you and God. Salvation has been procured for by Jesus. Live in the joy of the Lord. Christ has come to reign in your hearts.

Lord Jesus Christ, ever reigns in our hearts by faith that we may live in your peace. Amen.

Daily Reading: December 26th


#DailyDevotion God has made Jesus our ‘safe base’ which we gather around.

December 26th

Read Is 49:22–26;50:4—51:8, 12–16

Isa 49:22-23 Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. (23) Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.” 50:4 The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. (5) The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward. (6) I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. (7) But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. (8) He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me. 51:12“I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, (13) and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor?

In Is. 49:22 the Lord God promises to lift up his hand to the nations and raise a signal to the peoples. In 50:4-8 the Lord describes his hand and signal. It is the Lord Jesus Christ whose ear is opened and was not rebellious. It is Jesus who turns his back to those who strike and his cheeks to those who pull the bear. It is Christ who does not hide his face from disgrace and spitting. Why and how? The Lord God, his Father and our Father sustains him. The Father vindicates him. There is none who can contend with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus does this out of love for the Father and out of his great love for you. Jesus is the hand of God who gathers us to the Father. Jesus crucified is the signal which gathers the nations. What glorious promises he gives to those who place their trust in him. Kings and queens shall be our foster fathers and nursing mothers. Who is that other than God our Father and the Church through whose womb we are born as Christians?

So as the Lord Jesus Christ’ holy people we are comforted in knowing the Father’s true attitude toward us which is love, mercy, forgiveness, gentleness and kindness. So we do not need to fear any man. Man dies and tomorrow is forgotten. Do not forget you have a Father in heaven who cares for you and who does not forget you. You are the apple of his eye on account of Jesus. What can man do to you? Indeed what can even the spirits do to you if the almighty God and Lord is your Father and the Lord Jesus Christ is your brother. The world can only bring harm to you for a short term. But the blessings of the Father are forever. So fear and trust in God, the living God, alone and his Christ, Jesus.

Lord God, Heavenly Father, grant us the revelation of your son Jesus Christ, that we may see him as your hand and signal to gather around and be received as your children whom you have gathered from the four corners of the earth and remain faithful to you unto death. Amen.

Daily Reading: December 25th


#DailyDevotion Jesus is Israel

December 25th

Read Is 49:1–18

Isa 49:1-9 Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. (2) He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. (3) And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” (4) But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God.” (5) And now the LORD says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him– for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength– (6) he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (7) Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” (8) Thus says the LORD: “In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, (9) saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’ They shall feed along the ways; on all bare heights shall be their pasture;

What insight has the Lord given to Isaiah that he should see into the mind of Christ Jesus. It is Jesus who is called by God the Father from the womb of his mother Mary. Even before he was conceived, the angel spoke and he was named.

This Jesus is pictured with a sharp sword for a tongue just as he is pictured in Revelation for his tongue is his Word. His tongue, His Word, divides soul and spirit and judges the hearts of men. He shows what is on our hearts. He kills us with his law and gives us life with the forgiveness of sins. He was a polished arrow in which as death tried to swallow him he pierced death through and was raised from the dead to give eternal life to all who would believe in him.

Jesus is Israel. In Jesus all the judgments against Israel are punished on the cross. In Jesus, all the promises of God to Israel are fulfilled. As such the Father sends him to redeem not only the physical descendants of Abraham but call out to the world, to the nations, every language, tribe and tongue. He joins them, both Jews and Gentile into Christ in baptism (Rom. 6:3ff) and calls them by his name, Israel.

Jesus is the Redeemer of Israel. Jesus is the Holy One. Jesus is the one who is despised yet every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Jesus is the Lord, he is the Holy One. Jesus and his blood is the covenant which brings peace to the nations and joy to the world. Jesus is the One who is the light of the world which calls us out of darkness by the peace won by his humiliation.

Heavenly Father, ever grant us your Holy Spirit that we may recognize your Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Redeemer, our Light, our Strength that we may be one with him in baptism and be your Israel in him. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: December 24th


#DailyDevotion Every knee shall bow and confess Jesus is Lord willingly or unwillingly. How will you do it?

December 24th

Read Is 44:21—45:13, 20–25

Isa 44:28-45:1 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.'” (45:1) Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed:… 21 Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. (22) “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. (23) By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’ (24) “Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him. (25) In the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.”

For those who doubt the Lord’s power to predict and dictate the future and to reveal it to man through the prophets, Isaiah 44:28-45:1 are a cause of offense. “Isaiah the prophet couldn’t have written this,” they say, “It was written after the fact.” But the point is that the Lord God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did speak this through the prophet Isaiah, that we may know that he alone is God and there is no other.

If the God of Israel is alone God and there is no other, if we are accountable to him for everything we think, say and do then we might want to reconsider our ways and our faith which drives our ways.

The good news is that in this God is salvation. In him there is redemption. His righteousness and strength he offers to all nations freely on account of himself in his incarnation, Jesus of Nazareth. Isaiah says every knee shall bow before the Lord and the apostles proclaim to us every knee shall bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Turn then to Jesus and no one and nothing else for your salvation.

If you reject him, Jesus, you shall be ashamed for how you were incensed against him. Yet you will be compelled to confess him as your Lord. If you turn to him for help, he shall justify you and you will be glorified in him. Make Jesus your allegiance and you shall have knowledge and understanding, righteousness and glory. For he is God. There is no other. All else is a sham and demons who await the eternal fire.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant us such faith in you that we shall be justified and gloried on the day of your coming. May the word of your holy prophets and apostles convince and convert our hearts to your truth. Amen.

Daily Reading: December 23rd


#DailyDevotion Jesus says, “besides me there is no god” and “I blot out sins for my own sake.”

December 23rd

Read Is 43:25—44:20

Isa 43:25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Isa 44:5 This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’s,’ another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and name himself by the name of Israel.” 6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. (7) Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. (8) Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

What a lead into the rest of this reading! Who is the God of the Old Testament? He is the one who “blots out transgressions for his own sake.” Oftentimes we seem we to get overwhelmed that the Lord God Almighty is angry and wipes out lots of people for their sins. And well, the people, like us, deserve it. But He is also a merciful, kind and forgiving God. He reserves a remnant like Noah and his family. He preserves a family to become a line through whom He will become one of us to redeem us with his blood.

When God forgives sins it is not because you have become repentant enough. He doesn’t do it because of your well intentioned prayers of changing your life around. God doesn’t forgive you because you set out to make things right. No, he forgives you for his own sake and for the sake of his name. That name is Jesus.

The rest of this reading is the Lord reasoning with us to stop making idols for ourselves. Sure we may not carve out wooden figures and cover them with gold or silver but we break the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me” nevertheless. For when we turn to created things to comfort, give us strength and hope instead of turning to Jesus we make them our gods. These could be alcohol, drugs, sex, spouses, jobs, parents, friends, credit, money, food, church, religion, philosophy, or anything else that is not the Uncreated One that we think will solve all our problems today. The Lord says, Isa 44:9 “All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame.” And Isa 44:19 “No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, ‘Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?’”

What or who are you fearing, loving and trusting more than Jesus? Who are what is getting you through the night instead of the promises of God in Christ? Your maker is always there, ready and willing to forgive you for the sake of his name, Jesus. Turn and look to him.

Lord God, Heavenly Father, we turn to so many things to give us comfort, strength and hope and to solve our problems. Grant us your grace in Christ Jesus to turn to you instead to solve all our problems today and to comfort and give us strength and hope until we see the light of your salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.