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Psalm

119:97-104

 

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. (ESV)  

 

 

 

Eating the Word

Thursday of Pentecost 17 

19 September 2013

If Christ is the incarnate Word of God, the written Word of God must be accorded great honor and respect. It is to be believed, taught, and confessed, even to the point of death. For what God gives in His Son, He gives equally in Scripture. The Word is the Word. And that runs both ways. Christ to Scripture and Scripture back to Christ. To believe in this Christ is to believe His Word. When He has set us upon the rock (Ps 27:5), why would we seek to be founded on our own foundation, which will be but sinking sand?

 

Sadly, many people try to found their faith on their own opinions and views. Such an attempt has nothing but disaster at the end of it. If Christ and His Word are not your foundation, when the rain falls, and the floods come, and the winds blow and beat against that house, it will fall, and great will be the fall of it (Mt 7:26-27). Great houses fall when they are founded upon sand and their collapse will be great. This is why the Lord Jesus begs us to believe all that He has commanded, as he says in the much-ignored conclusion to the great commission" "Teach all things I have commanded you." The psalmist has said, "For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock" (Ps 27:5). Christ comforts us in this text and says, "I will set you high upon the rock which I have established in my true Word, then you will be safe. Every enemy will in vain try to destroy you. Yes, they may take your goods, fame, child, and wife, but they yet have nothing won. Yours is this kingdom that is the high rock."

 

The people of God hear what God has said, so that they might put what He says into practice. It does no good to possess the rock if you will not stand upon it. You may not play fast and loose with this Word of God, as though you are a politician feigning ignorance about who said what and when. God has spoken in Christ. This is the rock, the immovable truth. It is to be confessed by us in its naked form no matter who takes offense.

 

Some years ago, while fishing in a small boat in one of the bays of the Gulf of Mexico, smooth, three foot swells rose on the water. While I had never suffered seasickness before, that day I suffered it. While I had been out on worse seas, that day I felt so sick I couldn't even sit up. I just lay in the bottom of the boat in misery. Finally, my fishing partner, who was a bit of an old salt, put me out on an oil rig. Suddenly the world stopped moving and I felt much better after lying down on the concrete platform. But the second I was back in the boat the world commenced to moving again. I begged to be put back onto dry land and thankfully my partner complied. How foolish that so many people are willing to abandon the solid rock of Christ, His Church, and the rock of His truth, for the constantly moving, rocking and rolling world of human opinion.

 

Our good Shepherd does not want to leave us deluded in the darkness of our own perverse human opinions, but He sets before us the table of His Word so that we can be fed on His will and speech. When we are set upon that Word then we have the immovable truth, which becomes honey to the mouth. Eating and drinking the Word means that we have everything we need.

 

Martin Luther

 

"By means of these words, 'You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies' (Ps 23:5), David wishes to indicate the great, splendid, and wonderful power of the dear Word. It is as though he would say: 'O Lord, You offer me so many good things and feed me so splendidly and richly at the table that You have prepared for me. That is, You overwhelm me so greatly with the boundless knowledge of Your dear Word, that through this Word I not only have rich comfort inwardly, in my heart, despite my guilty conscience, despite sin, fear, the terror of death, and God's wrath and judgment. Through this Word I also become outwardly so courageous and invincible a hero that all my enemies cannot prevail against me. The more raging and raving and insane they are toward me, the less I worry about them. Yes, instead, I am secure, happy, and cheerful. And that is true only because I have Your Word. It gives me such strength and comfort in the presence of all my enemies, that even when they rage and rave most violently, I feel more at ease than when I am sitting at a table and have all that my heart desires: food, drink, joy, pleasures, music, and the like.'

 

"Here you shall hear how highly blessed David exalts and praises the dear Word, namely, by telling us that by means of it the believers gain the victory over the devil, the world, the flesh, sin, conscience, and death. When one has the Word and in faith clings to it firmly, these enemies, who otherwise are invincible, must all yield and let themselves be taken captive. It is, however, a wonderful victory and power, also a very proud and haughty boast on the part of the believers, that they may command and conquer all of these horrible and, as it were, almighty enemies, not by raging, biting, resisting, striking back, avenging, or seeking counsel and help here and there, but by eating, drinking, rejoicing, sitting, being happy, and resting. All of this, as we have said, is accomplished through the Word. For in Scripture 'eating and drinking' means believing and clinging firmly to the Word; and from this proceeds peace, joy, comfort, strength, and the like.
 
Martin Luther, Psalm 23, 23.5
 
Prayer

Lord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, that as You have promised, Your Word may accomplish the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

For Charles Allen and Donald Ehrke, and all friends, family, and neighbors who are presently serving in the US military, that God would keep them safe in their vocation as soldiers

 

For all those who are suffering persecution at the hands of Islam, that they might faithfully confess the Lordship of the incarnate God, Jesus Christ, the God of all grace and mercy

 

For those struggling with the besetting sin of pornography, that they might be liberated by the grace of God from this monster, which perverts God's good gifts of marriage and sexuality
Art: Eyck, Jan van  The Adoration of the Lamb (1425-1429) 

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