Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Thursday after the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on November 21, 2019 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Isaiah 54:1-17 (NKJV)
54:1 “Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.
3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited.
4 “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
5 For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.
6 For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused,” says your God.
7 “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you.
8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.
9 “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
10 For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
11 “O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires.
12 I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.
14 In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you.
15 Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.
16 “Behold, I have created the blacksmith who blows the coals in the fire, who brings forth an instrument for his work; And I have created the spoiler to destroy.
17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord.
The Holy Ghost teaches us through St. Paul that this chapter is about the Church. The Church is often looked upon as a barren woman by the world, just as Hagar looked at Sarah with scorn. The true Church is small and insignificant by the world’s standards, while the false church is large and visibly successful. The false church gives birth to children of the Law, children who imagine they are saved because of a hybrid of grace and works, or of grace and social justice in our day. They are not true children of God.
Although the Church seems barren, she will give birth to many children, so many that her tent will expand throughout the entire world. She bears children by the promise of the Gospel and through Holy Baptism. She gives birth to children who are righteous on account of faith, not by works or virtue-signaling. Her children bear no disgrace or shame because Christ’s merits cover their sins.
Even though God at times withdraws His protecting hand, His covenant of grace is like His covenant with Noah. It endures beyond the close of this age so that there will always be a holy Christian Church. Don’t judge the true Church by its size, or any other metric, for God will bring forth more children when and where it pleases Him, children who trust His promises, which endure forever.
We pray: O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Thy Holy Spirit that, being ever mindful of the end of all things and the day of Thy just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with Thee forever hereafter; 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.

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