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How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. (ESV)

A Soothing Voice

Monday in Pentecost 10 

3 August 2015

"I am struggling with my sin," said the penitent.


The confessor, while giving spiritual counsel, replied, "Are you reading the Bible every day?"


"Well, no. But how would that help? The problem is with me. My sin is about my weakness and ungodly willfulness."


"If the problem is in you, then your only help will come from outside of you; from the Bible. The Bible not only makes clear your sin, but it is God's resource for those who are struggling. It is the medicine for sick souls. It is the prescription for life. It is the delivery of the forgiveness of sins."


How often we dispense with the Bible and ignore its power! Our wicked tendency is to "bootstrap." We attempt to remake ourselves by an act of our own will, rather than by the power of the Word of God. How we struggle unnecessarily, because we do not avail ourselves of the power of the divine Word in our lives.


Many years ago, a homeless man came to the door of the church at which I was serving, requesting money for food that he said he intended to purchase at a local fast food restaurant. It was quite late in the afternoon and so I suggested to him that he and I could share my dinner of leftovers, which my wife had prepared for me for that evening meal. I would split the food with him. He and I could eat together. Without knowing what the food was, the man said indignantly, "I don't eat none of that [expletive]." To which I replied, "Well, I do." It is amazing the number of times people refuse to delve into the banquet of God's Word to feed on Christ. "They don't eat none of that [expletive]," because they think they have their spiritual lives under control on their own, or at least ought to. Being in the Word is literally crucial to our lives in Christ. You can't have one without the other.


Sometimes people think that if they read the book once, they needn't open it again. But they fail to understand each morsel of God's word needs to be carefully savored by consideration of it over and over again. It needs to be meditated upon and carefully digested. I don't know how many times I've been confronted by a word of God that I've read hundreds of times and yet suddenly something I had missed previously was extremely helpful to me; especially at a time of personal crisis or sorrow. The Lord's Word is new every morning. It speaks into our situation in ways we cannot predict before we pick up the book and set our hearts upon it. Listening to the divine speech can be very comforting and soothing. When a child is disturbed by a thunderstorm at night, he just needs to hear the voice of his father to give peace and to still his troubled heart. The Bible is our Father's soothing voice. Let's listen to it.


John Chrysostom


"Keep on saying, 'By [Bible passages] be instructed.' For every single word of Scripture has in it an indiscoverable ocean of meaning. For we have been just running through passages. But if you give these Bible passages detailed consideration, you will see the riches are great. It is possible even by what I have given in this sermon to be cleared of the passions that lie upon you. Since Lord forbids envy, or being offended, or being despondent without reason, or thinking that riches are anything, or tribulation, or poverty, or fancying life in this world to be anything, he frees you from all these passions. For this let us give thanks to God, and have our treasure always in hand, 'that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope' (Rm 15:4), and enjoy the good things to come. May God grant that we all attain these, by the grace and love toward humans of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 28

We thank you, O God, that we have the treasure of Your Word always in our hands, that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Keep us steadfast in holy Writ that we might enjoy the good things to come. Grant that we all attain to Your gifts, by the grace and love toward us of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


For the Council of Presidents of the LCMS as they travel to a meeting, that the Lord of the church would keep them safe


For the faculty and staff of Memorial Lutheran Church and School, that the Lord would bless their endeavors and give the fruit of the Word to their labors


For all those who mourn, that they might place their cares in God's gracious hands and that by comfort of God's Word they might be granted peace
Art: D ürer, Albrecht   The Adoration of the Trinity (1515)  

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