Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Wednesday after the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on October 13, 2021 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Hosea 14:1-9 (NKJV)
14:1 O Israel, return to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity;
2 Take words with you, and return to the Lord. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us, we will not ride on horses, nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods.’ For in You the fatherless finds mercy.”
4 “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel; He shall grow like the lily, and lengthen his roots like Lebanon.
6 His branches shall spread; His beauty shall be like an olive tree, and his fragrance like Lebanon.
7 Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; They shall be revived like grain, and grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 “Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do anymore with idols?’ I have heard and observed him. I am like a green cypress tree; Your fruit is found in Me.”
9 Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; The righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.
The last verse of today’s reading takes us back to the first. What are “the ways of the Lord”? God’s ways are always about God calling sinners to “return” so that they may call upon Him to “take away all iniquity.”
Since Adam and Eve’s fall into sin God has been calling out to people to “return” to Him. “Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (Gen. 3:9). Throughout the centuries, God’s message through the Prophets, the Apostles, and faithful pastors has remained unchanged. God calls people to turn to Him for forgiveness of their sins.
One might wonder, “Is that all it takes? It seems too simple.” Yet, it is the very simplicity of the Gospel that makes believing the Gospel so difficult, indeed, impossible. Our sinful nature is always looking within ourselves for the answer to all our problems, including the problem of sin. It is only when our selfish conceit is overcome by the power of God’s Spirit can we look outside ourselves for help, and God stands ready, willing, and most assuredly able to do so. Thus the hammer of the Law breaks down our selfish conceit to the point where nothing of us is left, and all we can do is cry for God’s mercy, which He gladly and freely gives us for Jesus’ sake.
Prayer: O Almighty and most Merciful God, of Thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech Thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready, both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things that Thou wouldest have done; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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