Today’s Reading: Isaiah 55:10-13
Daily Lectionary: Job 16:1-22; John 7:1-13
“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God speaks. Stuff happens. His Word does what He wants it to. He spoke. Let there be light. Then it was light. And good. It’s what you would expect from the Almighty. The power displayed within words only seems to magnify the simplicity of the Bible today. His Word doesn’t seem so active anymore. The Bible is still ours to read, but it’s dark down here, and far from good. For all the promises of Scripture, it doesn’t look like they’re true yet. Usually we just put them off into the future. Someday they’ll be true. But not today. That’s wrong.
It’s wrong because it calls God’s Word effective only in terms of power. It looks to creation and sees only might, but never mercy. Isaiah promises that God’s Word is effective not just in power, but chiefly in mercy. You can see it in a little word: instead. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress. It should be one way. But it’s another. Your sins deserve death. Instead, Christ died for you, and you get life. God’s Word insists that sinners be forgiven.
The Cross of Christ is an act of great power. It forgave the sins of all the world, but only by seeing the mercy can you appreciate the gift, because crosses don’t look like much. The Cross looks messy and not ordered like creation was before the fall, but it does what God intends. It forgives sinners. His Word speaks of this Cross, and so the Bible is measured chiefly in mercy, not just in power. The words of Scripture paint a picture of the God who endures with you and for you, and promises the same resurrection He Himself has won. God’s Word is not ineffectual just because it isn’t acting according to the power of the Law. It’s succeeding even now in bringing the Gospel to sinners. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Thy strong Word bespeaks us righteous; Bright with Thine own holiness, Glorious now, we press toward glory, And our lives our hopes confess. Alleluia, alleluia! Praise to Thee who light dost send! Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia without end! (“Thy Strong Word” LSB 578, st.3)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Discover new insights from each line of the Psalms in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer. Read, repeat, and return to the Lord as you walk through all 150 Psalms. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.