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Psalm 148

 

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away. Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD!

(ESV)

 

Hope Not Dashed

Tuesday of Easter 2

14 April 2015

In these days, our church institutions are scrambling to have sufficient funds to fulfill their mission to the world. Fund raising is a significant part of the work of our church college and seminary presidents. Occasionally, people put the seminary in their will to give significant sums of money. This, of course, causes much rejoicing on the part of the seminary. However, such bequests are seldom irrevocable and there have been changes made to wills as the years progress; sometimes much to the disappointment of the seminary. Human-based hopes may be easily dashed.

 

Our Christian hope is not able to be dashed because it is not based in the variable and changeable opinions of humans, but on the promise of the God who has offered His own Son on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world and who raised Him again for our justification. Our hope cannot be disappointed because God is its guarantor. His ever-living Son rules and reigns over His church for the sake of His redeemed children. He who lives promises to raise us to newness of life that the gift of baptism might be brought to its full and final consummation at His return.

 

However, this hope is not hope in nothing, but is based upon God's perfect track record. How do we know God will keep His promises? He has had a superb history of coming through for us poor sinners, who have done nothing to merit His grace toward us. He had compassion on us in Christ, not only when we have not deserved it, but long before we were even born to do any deserving He has chosen us in Him to be holy and righteous in His sight (Rm 9:10-16). He has dressed us in the lamb's skin (Gn 27:15), that His Father would stroke our arms and would find that we would feel like His Son, the Lamb. He stands with us pleading for us, so that our Father would hear His voice not our own, and stretch out His hands in recognition of His Son's voice: "You are my son?" In our place He says, "I am" (Gn 27:24). Our Father grants us His blessing. And while Esau was fooled and Isaac deceived, our brother Christ provides what we need to stand in the presence of our Father in righteousness and holiness, making us a true Israel by the blessing. He does it intentionally, disadvantaging Himself unto our eternal advantage. He serves us that we might be God's sons. Given that record what could cause our hope to be dashed or made uncertain? 

 

John Chrysostom

 

"Do our goods lie in hope? Yes, in hope. But not in mere human hope, which often slips away, puts him that hopes to shame when someone, who was expected to patronize him, dies, or changes though he remains alive. No such situation is ours. Our hope is sure and unmovable. For He who made the promise ever lives, and we that are to enjoy it, because even when we die and we will rise again. There is absolutely nothing which can put us to shame, as though we have been filled with joy for no reason, to no purpose, or upon unreasonable hope.

 

"Having then sufficiently cleared them of all doubtfulness by these words of his, he does not pause in his discourse, but urges again the time to come, knowing that there were men of weaker character, who looked too for present advantages, and were not satisfied with those mentioned. So he offers a proof for them in the blessings already given. For lest any should say, 'What if God should become unwilling to give them to us?' He could do that, who lives and abides, we all know. How do we know that He is willing to do it? From the things which He has done already. 'What things has He done?' The love which He has shown for us. Some might ask, 'In doing what?' In giving us the Holy Spirit."

 

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 9
 
Prayer

Lord Christ, You were rejected that we might be accepted. You live forever that you might bless us forever with your merits and grace. Help us to live in that blessedness, that we might never fear death or damnation. Amen.

 

For Rosa Summers and her unborn child, during the last days of her pregnancy, that mother and child would be kept safe in the loving arms of Jesus

 

For the work of the Friends of Westfield House, that the mission to proclaim the gospel in all the world would go forward with their support

 

For all military personnel, that the Lord Jesus would send the holy angels to watch over them

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Resurrection (1515)

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Memorial Lutheran Church | 5800 Westheimer Rd. | Houston | TX | 77057