Reflections: August 17, 2020
Monday of the Tenth Week after Trinity
By David Magruder
Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:7)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. A bird has more sense than you do! That is the message God used to invite His people to return to Him. We call that the preaching of repentance. The people rejected the invitation and yet Jeremiah kept up the call. The meaning of Jeremiah's preaching is clear: even the birds, irrational creatures, know their appointed time and return to their homes, which they have left. Instinctively, they follow the pattern fixed for them by their Creator: they travel hundreds of miles, because that's what they've been created to do. Unbelieving Jerusalem had sunk below the common sense of a bird!
What is sadder than the people's refusal to hear the Word and return to the Lord their God is that they had forgotten how much God loved them. "My people know not the rules of the LORD." That is a tricky translation. The Hebrew word is mishpat which means righteous judgment. It's not just rules to be followed but also a declaration of innocence.
The people were so caught up in themselves that they pushed aside the mercy and promises of God: His just decrees and the justice He had done and would do for them. That is a picture of us, too. Sad to say, but we know it is true. Thankfully, God still sends Jeremiah to stick His Word into our ears and call us to repentance and faith.
God the Father would fulfill all His righteous promises in Christ. Instead of pouring out the punishment for sin upon the world, the Father pours it on His Son. At the Cross the righteous judgment of the Law is proclaimed. Jesus is overthrown in death, but only for a time. Jesus, the perfect One, rises from the grave and brings you along with Him. Jesus took your place in death on a cross and in a stone-cold tomb so that you would know God's righteous judgment: You are free from sin and death in Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Now my conscience is at peace; from the Law I stand acquitted. Christ hath purchased my release and my ev'ry sin remitted. Naught remains my soul to grieve: Jesus sinners doth receive. ("Jesus Sinners Doth Receive" LSB 609, st.7)
-Rev. David Magruder is pastor of Peace With Christ Lutheran Church, Fort Collins, CO.
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