Reflections: Friday of the 18th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 20:1-20; Matthew 15:21-39

“When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 20:1)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land. Moses knew that the Canaanites would raise armies to meet them. He told the Israelites to fear no army, because the almighty Lord would be with them.  

The Church faces far greater foes. The whole world hates Jesus, and thus hates the Church (John 15:18-19). Entire governments and institutions seek to destroy the Church. And we have greater enemies still! The devil and his legions of demons oppose the Church (Ephesians 6:12). If that wasn’t bad enough, every Christian has an enemy within himself. The sinful flesh resists the Spirit constantly (Galatians 5:17).

Do not be afraid, dear Christians. Do not be afraid of the devil, the world, and the flesh, although they are great. God is greater and He is on your side! “If God is for us,” Paul asks (Romans 8:31), “who can be against us?” Indeed, your Lord is with you at all times.

And the devil, the world, and the flesh are scared spitless of your Lord. The world tried to destroy Jesus on a cross, but failed. He was crucified and killed, but then was raised from the dead. The devil wields sin and death against mankind. He tried to wield them against Jesus and found Himself disarmed. Your sinful flesh might be a nuisance, but when Christ was nailed to the Cross your sin found itself pinned to that wood, too. 

Jesus is an impenetrable fortress. Those of us baptized into Him never need to fear our evil foes. He is our mighty champion, who won the battle that we could never win. So, no matter how much they rage, we can sing the victor’s song. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Cast afar this world’s vain pleasure And boldly strive for heav’nly treasure. Be steadfast in the Savior’s might. Trust the Lord, who stands beside you, For Jesus from all harm will hide you. By faith you conquer in the fight. Take courage, weary soul! Look forward to the goal! Joy awaits you. The race well run, Your long war won, Your crown shines splendid as the sun. (“Rise! To Arms! With Prayer Employ You” LSB 668, st.2)

-Pastor Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.