Today’s Reading: Introit for the Second-Last Sunday of the Church Year
“Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky” (Ps. 85:11).
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. This is a remarkable Scripture passage. Ps. 85 is a cry from God’s people for His blessing. Reminding God of His previous good favor for His undeserving people, the psalmist remembers how God restored the fortunes of Jacob (meaning His people, Israel) at times in their history. When God brought destruction, enemy armies, famines and disease, God’s people were brought to their knees to repent of their sins. But then they trusted in the Word of hope that the prophets brought. This cry of repentance moved God’s heart at times past, and He spared His people and brought them blessings. Even if it didn’t always seem like a blessing at the time.
Today, the psalmist also reminds us about the nature of faithfulness. Faithfulness, he says, “springs up from the ground.” This is partly a reminder of Gen. 2. When God made the first man, He fashioned Adam out of the dust and dirt. Then breathing in His Holy Spirit, the man became a living person. In that sense, Adam also “sprang up from the ground.” The fact that Ps. 85 uses this language suggests it has Gen. 2 in mind. Faithfulness is created. It is not something that we can make or help make. We are on the receiving end of coming to faith. God the Holy Spirit is the creator of faith, just as He first brought Adam’s lifeless body to new life that had been made from the dirt.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground. That’s because God grows it. He plants the seed of the Word in hearts, and brings the hearers to faith as they grow up in the Word. Faithfulness is created. It is therefore a gift of God. Meanwhile, Ps. 85 also says that “righteousness looks down from the sky.” God’s righteousness means being right with God. This happens by the Gospel that does not charge your sins against you, but counts you as pure and innocent despite them. Now that Jesus is ascended into heaven, God’s righteousness also looks down on you from heaven. For God’s righteousness is found in Jesus. The Holy Spirit takes this righteousness and presses it to you. He applies it, taking Christ and His righteousness from heaven, and by the means of grace bringing Jesus to you on earth. By this He sustains you even in times of hardship as well as good times. Faithfulness springs up from the ground. Righteousness looks down from the sky. Remarkable. But that’s always how God is. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord, look upon Your people with favor on account of Christ, and sustain us in faithfulness. Amen.
-Pastor Robert Mayes is Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church and Zion St. John Lutheran Church in Beemer and Wisner, NE.
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.