Isaiah 58: 1-12 Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023 Psalm 112: 1-10
1 Corinthians 2: 1-16
St. Matthew 5: 13-20
“Trust in the Lord”
Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.
Last week I mentioned meekness and how blessed we truly are if we are meek toward the Lord. I provided warnings of how our own pride can lead us astray; about acknowledging we are sinners and will fail God. In our failure I ask that instead of getting angry and sweeping under the rug the parts of Scripture that makes us uncomfortable that we instead, in all humility, bow down to God and meekly ask for forgiveness already knowing that God graciously provides to those who repent.
I focused heavily on the warning element, imploring that you do not come to hate God’s Word nor the messenger believing that you know better than God. Today I’ll like to focus on the benefits of trusting God.
We live in such dark times and with each waking day it seems like a new form of evil bubbles up, whether actual or perceived. The news these days understand that they get more viewers if they present bad news rather than good news. Some even generate for themselves fake news so as to generate American’s insatiable need to feel anger and anxiety. This has caused most of us to see the ill of society more readily than the miracles that do happen. Not like we humans have already been
like that, but in today’s society it is even more evident that our attention gravitates toward the ills then the blessings.
Where is the hope in such an environment? Why do we feel the need to engorge ourselves on such demoralizing content? To know what the future has instore for us; to be prepared; to know why things are the way they are? Well that is all good, but I ask what’s the so what? Why do you need to know these things if all it will do is cause you to divulge into an empty chasm of depression of which you may never climb out of? Unless you have hope, this knowledge is meaningless.
Then comes the problem of false hope found in earthly things such as the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age. The hope they provide is hallow; as they may appear great on the surface but lack the sheer gravitas that can shake away the creeping despair that grasps the cracks of our psyche like roots that wiggles its way through rocky soil. You may find joy in the morning, but the moment the sun sets you fall back into despair as you know not whether the sun will rise up again.
So what do we do when we are faced with bad news? Do we give into melancholy? Do we seek hope from false idols? Or do we place our trust and faith upon the feet of God who has not only given us promises of Salvation but has already fulfilled them through His Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ Crucified?
This is the promise that we have and know will be fulfilled, that no matter what, through faith in Him, on account of His grace, that we are indeed saved and will experience eternal bliss for God
Himself came down to earth and gave himself on the Cross and died so that all who believe in Him will not parish in Hell but live with Him. With this unshakeable faith, who can cause us to fail? What force out there, whether angelic or demonic, can separate us from the knowledge that we will be in Heaven?
Psalm 112: 7, “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.”
So when the world comes crashing down on us and demand that we become fearful and panicky we instead look toward the Lord God with trust. We do become overcome with fear, but our hearts are like calm seas that make even the most prone to seasickness comfortable. We acknowledge the bad news and we do what we can, but our hearts are not troubled. We are at ease because, unlike those whose faith is found in earthly things, we are privy to the hidden wisdom of God which tells us that all will be well.
This world does not know this, for if they did they would not have crucified the Messiah. The world is too consumed with trying to cure the world and humanity, of working themselves into salvation or saving the planet. The world lacks faith and thus it depends only in itself. Because of our own sinfulness and finite capabilities we inevitably will always fail. This cause us distress as we dive head first into insanity, repeating the process over and over again, expecting a different result all while knowing with abject fear that it is useless as all is doomed to pass away.
But the hidden wisdom of God that we have received through and only through the Holy Spirit reveals to us that there is hope for God has not abandoned us in our lowly estate but has provided for us the most precious of gifts. An example:
The one who has fell victim to the wisdom of today’s age and believe that humanity can save the earth from the unscientific belief known as global warming will out of fear of self-induced destruction plant a tree in order to mask this fear with false hope and vain glory.
The one whose trust in the Lord knows no bounds will outwardly do likewise, plant a tree, but for different reasons. Not out of fear because they know that the Lord will never allow humanity to destroy themselves or creation. Not out of a need to generate within vain glory, because we know that we are saved by faith and not by works; but simply because God commanded us to be faithful stewards of the earth.
Both do the same thing, but for different reasons; one out of fear, the other out of hope.
As I was preparing this service, there were so many hymns I could have picked that encapsulate this amazing trust and I wanted to pick all of them. Some I didn’t select include “Blessed Assurance” and “When Peace like a River…”
Hymn 699 in our blue hymnals, WOV:
Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising, my Savior all the day long.
We have assurance that we are indeed saved, and that there is no need to be overcome with concern, to be consumed with anxiety. He already died on the cross for our sake and through the cross fought the Armageddon battle defeating once and for all He who is the source of all evil. God purchased us with the blood of His Son and has washed us clean. He who praises the Savior all day, with the assurance that God has already won, will never be overcome with grief.
And in the final verse:
Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with his goodness, lost in His love.
This is where meekness comes in. Out of trust, when we in all meekness submit ourselves to the Lord, then we become perfectly at peace. For true happiness and bliss are found only in the Savior, not in things make by human hands. Now perfect submission isn’t going to end bad news, it’s not going to end events that may generate misery, it’s not going to cease the attacks, but it will create a rest that can weather all of these. The devil can make your life a living Hell, but because you have blessed assurance you are at peace.
Which leads me to the other hymn I didn’t include in today’s service, #346 in the green hymnal, LBW:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way;
When sorrows, like sea billows, roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
He lives – oh, the bliss of this glorious thought;
My sins not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
It is indeed well, maybe not on the outside, but definitely well within my soul. For whenever Satan comes with his trails, attempting to make life miserable, I can respond with blest assurance that Christ has already regarded my helpless estate and has shed His blood for my sake, nailing everything to cross, telling me that I no longer have to bear this grief and fear and shame. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.
Let us pray,
Dear Heavenly Father, give us the faith to know that in you all is well. Lead us not into fear but into hope whenever we face bad news. In Your most holy name we pray: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.