Thursday after Laetare
Scripture: Deuteronomy 28:1-14 (NKJV)
28 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:
3 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
4 “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
5 “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
6 “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
7 “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
8 “The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
9 “The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. 10 Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. 11 And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. 14 So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.”
When we are faced with the tragedy of our sin or the consequences that sin produces in this life and world, we often find ourselves in sorrow and despair. It is hard to lift up our countenance when faced with the grave realities of sin in ourselves and in this world.
The Church is under constant attack by this world. At times it seems that we are fighting a losing battle. Our countenance falls and fails to be lifted up again. But Moses in his final address from today’s reading gives us hope. This reading is filled with all of the blessings that the Lord God promised to deliver to His people. These promises were made to the congregation of Israel, but these promises and blessings are also for you.
The Lord God desires only good for you. Certainly He can provide for us earthly benefits: protection from our enemies, daily bread and sustenance, good weather, good government, good neighbors, and the like. But our Lord God is even more gracious to us in that He provides for the needs of our soul. He has sent His Only-Begotten Son into our flesh to fulfill the Law of God, which we break daily, for us. He offers up His life as a ransom for us, enduring our punishment on the tree of the holy cross. Our sin and shame have been taken upon Himself so that we no longer need to bear it. Therefore, do not sorrow, but rejoice!
We pray: Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of Thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.