Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 33:12-23
Yet you have said, “I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.” (Exodus 33:12b)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. How do you know that you’ve found favor with God? When you’re popular and everyone likes you? What if they don’t, and even friends betray you? Is it when you are healthy and strong? What about when you are sick and weak? Is it when you are rich? What if you are poor? How do you really know you have found favor with God?
Beware of the devil’s preachers. They love pointing away from the Cross. Rather than teaching you to hide yourself in the promise of Jesus and His sacrifice for you on the Cross, they teach you to ignore all that and instead to look at yourself and your circumstances. After all, they know the plans God has for you–that you will be popular, liked by all, healthy, strong, and rich in this life. Fall for that, and you will end up hating God when those plans don’t work out.
Remember, Moses was a sinner, a murderer, even. Yet Moses found favor with God. Look at Moses and his circumstances, and you’d never believe it–sinner that he was, exiled from his homeland, wandering around in the wilderness for 40 years, not even being allowed to enter the Promised Land. But don’t look there anymore than you would look at yourself or your circumstances to see if you have God’s favor or not.
Instead, like Moses, listen to God’s promises to you. “I know you by name” (Exodus 33:12). That’s the promise God makes to you every day in Baptism, tying you to the promise of Jesus’ sacrifice for you on the Cross. “My presence will go with you” (Exodus 33:14). That’s the promise God makes with Jesus’ Body and Blood at the Supper, “for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” “And I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14) is the promise God makes with you in every Absolution and sermon you hear from your pastor.
How do you know that you’ve found favor with God? Hide yourself! Hide yourself in Jesus. All eyes on His Cross. Because whatever your circumstances, Jesus’ death declares you to be holy to God, His child, an heir to eternal life. That’s the favor God has promised you in this life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure: Cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r. (“Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me” LSB 761, st.1)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch