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1 Chronicles 16:8-23

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Israel his servant, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!

 

He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. Remember his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, which he confirmed as a statute to Jacob, as an everlasting covenant to Israel, saying, "To you I will give the land of Canaan, as your portion for an inheritance." When you were few in number, and of little account, and sojourners in it, wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, saying, "Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!"

 

Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day. (ESV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Joseph

Friday of Advent 3

19 December 2014

Most of us will spend a day or two with family members over this Christmas holiday. What we will learn, besides how much turkey we can gulp down, is that families don't always get along. In fact, these supposedly idyllic family events often break into full scale feuds after the tension between quarreling family members becomes too great and cracks. In the Bible, Joseph's monumental patience with his evil and conniving brothers is truly a testament to brotherly love and acceptance of God's mysterious will. Joseph had both the power and the right to punish his brothers for their horrible mistreatment of him. Yet, he does not. Instead he embraced them; absolving them, and showering them with astonishing temporal blessings. He refuses to give the brothers what they deserve and gives them what their heavenly Father wants for them, even if it was given a great personal cost to Joseph.

 

Our heavenly Father has sent us a greater Joseph who is abused and sold into slavery to death by His brothers. Those brothers are us. But Jesus accepts our abuse and wickedness, not so as to commend it, but so as to swallow it up; taking away its power and consequences. Then he confers on us holy absolution and showers us with astonishing blessings, both temporal and spiritual. This is one of the most amazing trades ever made. Our Joseph absorbs the results of our perversity into Himself and give us the results of His pristine piety and holy patience.

 

The Lutheran theologian and coworker of Martin Luther Philip Melanchthon said in his Commonplaces of Theology, "To know Christ means to know His benefits." You know Christ best when we see what He has done for you. It is one thing to know who Christ is; it is another to believe that Christ is your substitute in God's presence. It is one thing to know the story about Jesus; it is another to know that it was done for you. It is one thing to understand that in the incarnation Christ is both God and man in one undivided person; it is another to confess this mystery to be the accomplishment of your salvation. To know such things without faith in them is quite useless. Our Joseph weeps for joy to embrace sinners whom He has gathered to Himself. No matter how exalted our Joseph is, He condescends to our need.

 

Martin Luther

 

"Although Joseph enjoyed the very highest honors, he nevertheless conducts himself humbly and submissively toward his brothers, so that he does not spurn them but addresses them most attractively and pours out tears of joy. When he is seen and when he is recognized by them, he even kisses and embraces them. Therefore you will not find a better example in which there would be greater kindness and sweetness of disposition and ways than in Joseph. He does not make mention of the crime and abuse of his brothers, but everything is absorbed in the immense sea of his mildness, friendliness, and love.

 

"These virtues and excellent works shine forth in him and are recorded as an example for us and for our correction, as Paul says: 'All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work' (2Ti 3:16-17). For the Holy Spirit, who has committed these things to writing, testifies abundantly that God takes great delight in those trivial and carnal matters, which, to be sure, seem to be insignificant and contemptible but are most precious in the eyes of God, since they are done in the spirit and in faith."

Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis,
45.12-13
 
Prayer

Lord Jesus, You have sent us Holy Scripture that we might be taught unto our salvation. Keep us mindful that every word of Scripture is breathed out by You and given to the prophets and apostles for our instruction, that we might grow in faith and holiness. Help us to see that no Word of God is ever trivial but is written so that we are equipped for every good work. Amen.

 

For the family of Rachel Hunt, that the Lord Jesus would give comfort in the midst of darkness at her passing

 

For Simon Makangula, who suffered heat stroke, that he might experience a full recovery

For those who are experiencing stormy weather, that they would be kept safe
Art: Annunciation Schnorr Von Carolsfeld, Julius (1818)

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