Thursday after the Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Isaiah 63:1-6 (NKJV)
1 Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?—”I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
2 Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?
3 “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes.
4 “For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come.
5 “I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; Therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; And My own fury, it sustained Me.
6 “I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, made them drunk in My fury, and brought down their strength to the earth.”
To read a section of God’s Holy Scripture using what comes across as harsh language can, for some, be unsettling. Unfortunately, these same unsettled remain in the dark when it comes to the understanding of God Almighty being holy and just. They need to be brought to the knowledge of God’s Law; His demand for perfection. And when that perfection is not carried out by them He then demands judgment.
Some go so far as to only read the flowery language of Holy Scripture—avoiding God’s Law at all cost. And what a cost it is, for when God’s Law is not known, purposely avoided, or lost, then so is God’s Gospel! It is not, however, just those who are unsettled by God’s Law or judgment language that are at risk, all sinful flesh desires to avoid God’s Law and Gospel truth. The Old Man (who remains in the believing/baptized children of God) ever strives to survive, to be like God. As Luther says in his commentary on this section of Isaiah: “The prophet adds some threats for those who despise the Word, so that those who did not want to obey the promises must hear threats, for such is the custom of the prophets after they have taught, instructed, and exhorted.” (Luther’s Works, vol. 17)
Hopefully this helps in understanding why pastors must continue to preach and teach God’s Law. And, thanks be to God, the Gospel is also preached and taught; to present to those broken and repentant the fully atoning merits of Christ Jesus. And, thus, when God’s Law crushes and grinds, and brings us to nothing, the Gospel abounds all the more to declare us alive and justified—by grace alone, because the merits of Christ alone, through faith alone!
We pray: 1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure! 2 For Your arrows pierce me deeply, and Your hand presses me down. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor any health in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities have gone over my head; Like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness. 6 I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. 7 For my loins are full of inflammation, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. 10 My heart pants, my strength fails me; As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me. 11 My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, and my relatives stand afar off. 12 Those also who seek my life lay snares for me; Those who seek my hurt speak of destruction, and plan deception all the day long. 13 But I, like a deaf man, do not hear; And I am like a mute who does not open his mouth. 14 Thus I am like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth is no response. 15 For in You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God. 16 For I said, “Hear me, lest they rejoice over me, lest, when my foot slips, they exalt themselves against me.” 17 For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. 18 For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin. 19 But my enemies are vigorous, and they are strong; And those who hate me wrongfully have multiplied. 20 Those also who render evil for good, they are my adversaries, because I follow what is good. 21 Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, be not far from me! 22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation! (Psalm 38)