Today’s Reading: Introit for the 15th Sunday after Trinity (Psalm 86:4, 6, 15a, 16; antiphon: vv.1a, 2b, 3)
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. (Psalm 86:6)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Read Psalm 86 in its entirety. Clearly David composed this psalm in a time of trouble. David calls himself “poor and needy” (Psalm 86:1). He asks God to preserve his life and to save him. At the end of the psalm, David says that insolent and ruthless men are seeking his life (Psalm 86:14, 17). Thus, David asks the Lord to listen to his prayer and to save him.
Are ruthless men trying to kill you? Probably not. Still, you might feel like your life is in danger at times. Perhaps a terrible economy or unemployment has you shaken. You fear that one day your cupboards will be bare. Or perhaps your family has not been able to pay the bills and you are worried that they will turn off your electricity. That means no A/C during hot summer days and no heat during the cold winter. Or maybe your fears are not money related. Maybe you fear that your doctor will return with your tests and give you some really bad news.
The point is that we live in a dangerous world. So, we fear death. In Matthew 6:24-34, Jesus calms our fears. He reminds us that we have a good and gracious Father in heaven, who will surely feed and clothe us. We are never in true danger, since we rest in the hands of a loving God.
David knew this. He confesses that God is “merciful and gracious” (Psalm 86:15). And so, instead of wringing his hands and pacing the floor, David brings his fears to his God. “Listen,” David says to God, and indeed the Lord does listen. He listens to your prayers, too. “Ask,” the Son of God said, “and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7).
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we won’t suffer or die. It means that God will deliver us from death. And sometimes that means taking us through death and out the other side. This is what happened to Jesus. He prayed that His Father would deliver Him from death. God heard His Son, allowed Him to die on a Cross, and then made death release Him on Easter morning! And what happened to the only-begotten Son of God on Easter morning must also happen to the adopted children of God on the Last Day. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Children of the heav’nly Father Safely in His bosom gather; Nestling bird nor star in heaven Such a refuge e’er was given. (“Children of the Heavenly Father” LSB 725, st.1)
-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.