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Psalm 61

 
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.  Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
 
Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations! May he be enthroned forever before God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!
 
So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day. (ESV)

Taking Life Back

Easter Wednesday

30 March 2016

Moses paints a powerful picture of faith for us in Genesis 22 when God commands Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice on Mt. Moriah. Only God-given faith has the courage to believe against all better knowledge that the God who brings death also has the power of life. Abraham and Isaac, with fear and trembling, prepared for the sacrifice upon Moriah still confident that death had become a mere sport. Even through death God could and would still fulfill His promise that all people would be blessed through the Offspring of Isaac.
 
We too are given that faith by God who offered his one and only Son, that through Him life might be ours. So sure is this salvation that death, the greatest human dread, becomes, as it were, an object of mockery and derision to us. Oh, death where is your sting?! We have a God who brings life out of death. Christ is risen as the true substitute for Isaac, taking His life back again as Abraham had hoped against hope for his son. 

 

Martin Luther

"Christians, who have the Word, should hear it with all eagerness and should meditate on it, in order that their hearts may be stirred up, so that, however much they may be weighed down by the burden of sin and the hindrances of Satan, they nevertheless may attain to that glory and knowledge of God's mind and of immortality and be able to believe that this statement is true and unshakable: 'Death is sport.' This is what Abraham believed and felt, and with this confidence he conquered death. The thoughts of his heart were these: 'My son Isaac, whom I am killing, is the father of the promise, and this proposition is absolutely true. Consequently, my son will live forever and will be the heir. Therefore even if he has to die now, he will nevertheless not die in reality but will rise again.'
 
"Accordingly, faith reconciles contraries and is not an idle quality...but it has the power to kill death, to condemn hell, to be sin for sin, and a devil for the devil to such an extent that death is not death, even if everybody's reason should bear witness that death is present. Of this Abraham is very sure. He thinks: 'I am reducing my son to ashes. Nevertheless, he is not dying. Indeed, those ashes will be the heir.' Is this not playing in such an important and difficult matter-a matter in which all men are twice as childish as usual?
 
"But these things have not been recorded for the sake of Abraham, who is long since dead, but to encourage and stimulate us, in order that we may learn that in the sight of God death is nothing and may sing: 'In the midst of death we are in life. Whom shall we praise except You, our God?' This is the evangelical hymn; the other one has to do with the law. The patriarchs and spiritual men understood these truths clearly." 

Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, 22.11
 
Prayer
O Christ, you have brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. Grant me the confident faith that says "it is not death to die." Amen.
 
For newborn Aiden Scott Thallapally, that God the Lord would grant him strength and to his mother, Hemima, healing
 
For Mary Lou Brown, that God the Lord would grant a complete recovery following a heart procedure
 
For all those who will receive Christ's body and blood for the forgiveness of sins in divine services, that they might be kept in the death-defeating faith of the holy sacraments all their days
Art: RUBENS, Peter Paul  The Resurrection of Christ (1611-12)

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