Daily Lectionary: Exodus 40:17-38; Luke 8:40-56

He keeps our soul among the living, and does not allow our feet to be moved. (Psalm 66:9, from the Introit for Easter 4)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In verses 6-7 of Psalm 66, the psalmist remembers God’s deliverance of His people at the Red Sea and the Jordan River: “He turned the sea into dry land; they passed by through the river on foot” (Psalm 66:6). These two events are foundational for Israel as a people, and centuries later they still remembered them in song.

The pattern of God’s work for and among His people in the Old Testament is a pattern of deliverance. Again and again, as Israel becomes enmeshed with the false gods and idols of the nations, God sends a deliverer, who returns them to His Word.

This is what it means that “He keeps our soul among the living.” All other gods finally lead to death. To be among the living is to be among the things of God.

Israel’s time of wandering and their anticipation of a land of their own to live in was bracketed by water. The Red Sea was their path out of Egypt and the Jordan River was their door to the land God promised to them. God’s great act of deliverance in the Old Testament was through water.

And so He keeps our souls among the living by His deliverance through water. Holy Baptism is the path out of slavery and death, and the door to eternal life. God’s greater act of deliverance in the New Testament is, like in the Old Testament, bracketed with water.

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Water joins us to Christ’s cross, and our old way of life is put to death. Water likewise joins us to Christ’s empty tomb, and our death is turned to life. So rejoice! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

With high delight Let us unite In songs of great jubilation. Ye pure in heart, All bear your part, Sing Jesus Christ, our salvation. To set us free Forever, He Is ris’n and sends To all earth’s ends Good news to save ev’ry nation. (With High Delight Let Us Unite, LSB 483:1)

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