Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Tuesday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on November 5, 2019 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Isaiah 41:1-20 (NKJV)
41:1 “Keep silence before Me, O coastlands, and let the people renew their strength! Let them come near, then let them speak; Let us come near together for judgment.
2 “Who raised up one from the east? Who in righteousness called him to His feet? Who gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? Who gave them as the dust to his sword, as driven stubble to his bow?
3 Who pursued them, and passed safely by the way that he had not gone with his feet?
4 Who has performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the Lord, am the first; And with the last I am He.’”
5 The coastlands saw it and feared, the ends of the earth were afraid; They drew near and came.
6 Everyone helped his neighbor, and said to his brother, “Be of good courage!”
7 So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith; He who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil, saying, “It is ready for the soldering”; Then he fastened it with pegs, that it might not totter.
8 “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend.
9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
11 “Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish.
12 You shall seek them and not find them—those who contended with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing.
13 For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
14 “Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you,” says the Lord and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
15 “Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth; You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and make the hills like chaff.
16 You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; You shall rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 “The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, their tongues fail for thirst. I, the Lord, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together,
20 that they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.
There is more than one will behind the setbacks and afflictions we experience.
Concerning Old Testament history, recall that “all these things happened to them as examples…written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11). The Church is and always has been the true Israel of God, hidden then within the nation of Israel, and now within all nations (Gal. 6:14-16, Rom. 9:6-8, Jer. 31:34). The assurance the Lord gives through Isaiah is that the descendants of Abraham from Isaac—through faith in the promise, and not by the working of man—are His chosen, whom He never casts off.
Yahweh gave Abraham victory over his enemies, but Abraham kept passing through lands he could easily have claimed because God had directed him elsewhere. Even so, God would also give victory to anyone else if it would ultimately turn to the benefit of His Church—even to those who would teach His chosen to trust in Him and confess Him through the Exile. As Joseph confessed, they would mean it for evil, but God would intend and accomplish good for His people through them (Gen. 50:20-21). “Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you. Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you,’ says the Lord and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
We pray: Grant us, O Father, ever to trust in Your will and bountiful grace toward us, that we may never be dismayed, but confess that You will work all things together for the good of Your Church for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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