Reflections: January 4, 2021
Monday of the Second Week after Christmas
By Bradley Drew
"Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation." (Genesis 46:3b)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Father Abraham went to Egypt. God promised He'd take care of Abraham in the Promised Land, but a famine apparently convinced Abraham otherwise. It wasn't long before Abraham tried pawning Sarah, his wife, off as his sister, which caused no small commotion in Egypt (Genesis 12). Perhaps Jacob was remembering this when, at his son's prompting, he was now heading to Egypt himself. Making matters worse, as Abraham had fled without any clear command from God to do so, Jacob was doing the same thing. That is, until now.
God always speaks His promises to our fears. He knows Jacob's doubts, his sins, his fears. Here's the good news: God's got this. All of this. He's got Jacob. He's got his family. His past. His present. His future. All of it. God knows what He's doing. God was even there when Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery. God would not let sin rule. God's grace would rule. Why, Joseph was now in Egypt at Pharaoh's right hand. He was in the perfect place to receive and care for Jacob and his family. Sound familiar? It should. Our own brother, Jesus, was sold into slavery when God placed on Him the sins of us all. Jesus became the condemned, the one sold into slavery when He went to the Cross for you and me. But having died there for us all, Jesus is in the perfect place now, at the Father's right hand, to receive and care for all of us as His family.
The Father's right hand is not geography. It's theology. It's God's promise that Jesus' death on the Cross has reconciled you once and forever to God. It's God's promise every day in Holy Baptism--Jesus' washing you, receiving you, cleansing you, clothing and saving you. It's God's promise to you in every Absolution and sermon from your pastor. God's got this, all of this. You. Your past. Your now. Your tomorrow. All of it. And it's God's promise to you at the Supper, "for you, for the forgiveness of sins." He knows. It's why Jesus is where He is, for you. At the Father's right hand.
Like Jacob, take God's promises, and pin them against all your fears. That's how God wants to be worshiped. Not by your trusting in you, but by your trusting in Jesus. You are forgiven. You are loved. You are cared for. You are God's. Forever. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Fear not! I am with you, O be not dismayed, For I am your God and will still give you aid; I'll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand, Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand. ("How Firm a Foundation" LSB 728, st.2)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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