Reflections: Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 47:1-31; Mark 13:24-37


So Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly. (Genesis 47:27)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Israelites were tempted to think that their time in Egypt was one of glory and ease, and that they had deserved the possessions they had and land they dwelled in. But of course, we know how the story goes. As we learned yesterday, all the good things that happened to Joseph were not because he was a perfect, deserving guy. Far from it. In truth, everything Joseph had done and received in life–the dreams, the ascent to Pharaoh’s court, and so on–was accomplished by God’s grace.

The same was true for the people of Israel. Even when they were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years, the grace of God watched over and was with them. God waited for the perfect time when He would lead his servant Moses to take His people Israel out of slavery in Egypt into the Promised Land. And along the way there, the grace of God accompanied His people all the more. The Passover lamb. The Red Sea Exodus. The manna and quail in the wilderness. The water from the rock. The Divine Service of the Old Testament in the sacrifices of the tabernacle. It was all given and accomplished by the grace of God for His people.

The same is true for you. It’s tempting to think that we are entitled to God’s mercy. That we deserve His grace. That we have earned His favor. Just like Israel, we are tempted to look at our thoughts, emotions, and works as a ladder we try to use to ascend to God, or some kind of assurance that we are loved by God. And just like Israel, we are dead wrong. That’s the real kind of slavery: slavery to sin. 

Thankfully, God has compassion on us as He did for Israel. Only He didn’t send Joseph or even Moses. God the Father sent His only-begotten Son, so that in Jesus we would possess everything God desires to give us: His grace, mercy, peace, life, and salvation. Everything we have, all our gifts of body and soul, are given to us by God’s grace in Christ Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.


O God, you have given us the good news of your abounding love in your Son Jesus Christ: So fill our hearts with thankfulness that we may rejoice to proclaim the good tidings we have received; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.