Reflections: Saturday the Fifteenth Week of Pentecost

September 16, 2023

Today’s Reading: Introit to Pentecost 16: Psalm 143:1-2; antiphon: Psalm 143:9

Deliver me from my enemies, O Yahweh! I have fled to you for refuge! (Psalm 143:9)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In Psalm 143, David is praying for refuge from his enemies and rest. Whether he is thinking of Saul, or the other sons of Solomon, or any number of other enemies, he is being pursued, and he finds only darkness and weariness. But behind those earthly enemies is God. If God enters into judgment with David, he will not survive, because no one living is righteous before Him (143:2). Everything depends on whether God is for you or against you. Even if you have no earthly enemies, if God is against you, what does it matter? On the other hand, even if everyone in the world is against you, what does it matter, if God is for you? 

“Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, because there is not a righteous one before You of all the living.” If God is going to answer us, we need Him to answer us according to His righteousness, not ours. Of all the living, there is no one righteous–except the Man who is also the living God. He alone is righteous, and God enters into judgment against Him on the cross. Because His righteous one faced the judgment of sin and death, God will not enter into judgment against you.   

In the Presence of the only one whose judgment matters, we flee to Him in the flesh of Jesus for refuge. In Him we will find rest from our enemies: He is the one who conquered our sin, which threatens to bring us under God’s condemning judgment, and He is the one who conquered death, which is behind the threat of every enemy. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him! Blessed is the one who finds refuge in the promises of God, in the baptismal name, in the absolution, in the body and blood that we eat with the bread and wine. In all of these means, God assures us that He delivers us from all our enemies, even our own sinful flesh. On every Lord’s Day, we flee to Him for refuge. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

From depths of woe I cry to Thee,  In trial and tribulation;  Bend down Thy gracious ear to me,  Lord, hear my supplication, If Thou rememb’rest every sin, Who then could heaven ever win  Or stand before Your presence?

Though great our sins, yet greater still  Is God’s abundant favor;  His hand of mercy never will  Abandon us, nor waver.  Our shepherd good and true is He,  Who will at last His Israel free  From all their sin and sorrow” (LSB 607:1, 5).

– Pastor Timothy Winterstein is pastor at Faith Lutheran Church, East Wenatchee, Washington.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

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.