Reflections: January 30, 2021
Saturday after the Transfiguration
By Jacob Ehrhard
For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down. (From the Introit for Septuagesima)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Haughty or humble. Psalm 18 makes a stark contrast between the two. Humble people get saved. Haughty people are brought down a notch or two.
Haughty means arrogant, conceited, proud. Haughtiness is always admiring yourself in the mirror. In the mirror of God's Law, haughty people think that they have accomplished everything the Law requires. Haughty people have no need for grace, because they think they have everything they already need, and if they don't they can get it for themselves. Haughty people have no need for God; they think God needs them.
Humble people need grace. Humble people are timid, modest, poor. Humble people recognize that they bring little or nothing to the table. Before God, humble people beg for mercy and open their hands to receive everything as a gift.
You can't make yourself humble. If you try, the best you can do is false humility, a humble brag. Humility happens to you. God makes you a humble person with His Law. Through punishments of the Law, God turns you from your own accomplishments and abilities. He brings you to your knees to ask for mercy, to stretch out your empty hands.
And then there is grace. His grace fills your empty hands and heart. His grace raises you up from your knees in anticipation of raising you from your grave. His grace is your salvation. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
By grace to timid hearts that tremble, In tribulation's furnace tried, By grace, in spite of fear and trouble, The Father's heart is open wide. Where could I help and strength secure If grace were not my anchor sure? ("By Grace I'm Saved" LSB 566, st.5)
-Rev. Jacob Ehrhard is the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church and School in Chicago, IL.
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