Saturday after the Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Joel 2:12-27 (NKJV)
12 “Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.
14 Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him—a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly;
16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room.
17 Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?'”
18 Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, and pity His people.
19 The LORD will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.
20 “But I will remove far from you the northern army, and will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, with his face toward the eastern sea and his back toward the western sea; His stench will come up, and his foul odor will rise, because he has done monstrous things.”
21 Fear not, O land; Be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done marvelous things!
22 Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; For the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit; The fig tree and the vine yield their strength.
23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
24 The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.
25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.
26 “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame.
27 “Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.”
Most of the devotions assigned for this week have God’s Holy Scripture tearing down man’s corrupt sinful flesh. As was stated in an earlier meditation, as much as the flesh hates God’s Law and the Old Man strives to survive, the killing nature of God’s Law is a good thing. “The Law of God is Good and Wise” is a hymn by Matthias Loy. The 2nd stanza of his hymn confesses: “The Law is good; but since the fall—It’s holiness condemns us all;—It dooms us for our sin to die—And has no power to justify.”
Today’s reading of God’s Holy Scripture is a continuation from yesterday. Who can endure the coming of this host, the dawning of this Day of the LORD? Only the LORD creates the possibility of escape. Any hope of rescue and refuge lies only in repentance! And, yet, all of those things: “escape”; “hope of rescue and refuge”; and “repentance” only come about according to God’s sure and certain Word and Sacraments!
Luther once stated: “If I now seek the forgiveness of sins, I do not run to the cross, for I will not find it given there. Nor must I hold to the suffering of Christ…in knowledge or remembrance, for I will not find it there, either. But I will find in the Sacrament or Gospel the Word which distributes, presents, offers, and gives to me that forgiveness which was won on the cross.” (Luther’s Works, vol. 40, pg. 214)
As God’s Word is undoubtedly filled with the Law—it is undoubtedly all the more filled with the Gospel of Christ’s fully atoning merits for the forgiveness of sins! As the final stanza of Matthias Loy’s hymn confess: “To Jesus we for refuge flee,—Who from the curse has set us free,—And humbly worship at His throne,— Saved by His grace through faith alone.”
We pray: 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise. 18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. (Psalm 51:13-18)