Reflections: September 25, 2020
Friday of the 15th Week after Trinity
By Mark Buetow
"I have loved you," says the Lord. "Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?' Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" Says the Lord. "Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness." (Malachi 1:2-3)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Whoa! Why is the Lord talking about hating someone? He is responding to Israel, who said, "God doesn't love us!" Really? Have you ever thought that God doesn't love you? He's got it in for you? What did you ever do to make God mad at you so that He's making your life so hard?
That's not how the Lord operates. He tells His people that though Esau and Jacob were twin brothers, He chose Jacob to be the one to carry the promises of the Savior through His line. Later on, when Esau's descendant, the nation of Edom, picked on Israel, the Lord saved them. He rescued Israel so that someday from that chosen people, the Savior would be born.
When you think God is against you, stop and remember how He loves you. He loves you by not sparing His own Son but by sending Him to suffering and death. That's to save you! That sounds awful! Why would the Lord do that? It's not a macho display of His love. It's a love that pays the price for our sins.
On Calvary, the Father abandons His Son so that His hatred of sins is taken care of. God the Father chose you over His own Son in that moment. On Good Friday, God the Father makes His Son into sin, into the curse, so that you would be set free.
Your Baptism into Jesus is the Lord's own promise that He loves you. The pronouncement of Absolution is a promise God loves you. The Body and Blood of Jesus are His pledge and promise that God can never hate you but loves you without measure. If you're ever not sure of God's love, look to those gifts of Jesus which deliver His Cross and resurrection to you. Look to those promises by which He says, "Here is how I have loved and always will love you. I'm never against you. I'm always for you to save you and give you eternal life." In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
The Lord my life arranges; Who can His work destroy? In His good time He changes All sorrow into joy. So let me then be still: My body, soul, and spirit His tender care inherit According to His will. ("From God Can Nothing Move Me" LSB 713, st.3)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.
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