Holding God to His Word
Jacob wrestled with God; he would not let Him go until he received a blessing from Him (Gen. 32:22–32). So it was with the Canaanite woman. Though Jesus seemed to ignore and reject her, she continued to call upon His name and look to Him for help (Mt. 15:21–28). Even when the Lord called her a little dog, she held on to Him in faith and would not let Him wriggle out of His words: “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” This Gentile woman shows herself to be a true Israelite, who struggles with God and man in Christ and prevails. “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire” (Mt. 15:27–28). This is the sanctifying will of God (1 Thess. 4:1–7)—to test your faith in order that it may be refined and strengthened. For tribulation produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. And hope in Christ does not disappoint (Rom. 5:1–5).
Collect for Ash Wednesday (prayed after the Collect for the Day throughout Lent): Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Collect for the Commemoration of St Matthias (24 February): Almighty God, You chose Your servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve. Grant that Your Church, ever preserved from false teachers, may be taught and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Prayer for patience: O God, by the patient endurance of Your only-begotten Son You beat down the pride of the old enemy. Help us to treasure rightly in our hearts what our Lord has borne for our sakes that, after His example, we may bear with patience those things that are adverse to us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Prayer for the aged: Almighty God and gracious Father, in Your mercy look on those whose increasing years bring them weakness, anxiety, distress, or loneliness. Grant that they may always know care and respect, concern and understanding. Grant them willing hearts to accept help and, as their strength wanes, increase their faith with the constant assurance of Your love through Jesus Christ, their Savior,
Monday, 18 February 2013—Psalm 25:1–2a, 7–8, 11; Antiphon, Psalm 25:6, 2b, 22—Reminiscere is the Latin word for ‘remember,’ the first word of the Introit. It sets the theme of the day, for both Jacob in the Old Testament reading and the Canaanite woman in the Gospel insist that God remember his promised mercies. We, too, pray that the Lord would remember His mercy, and pardon our guilt, for it is great.
Tuesday, 19 February 2013—Genesis 32:22–32—At a place which he named Peniel (meaning ‘the face of God’), the patriarch Jacob wrestled with God in earnest prayer. His striving was spiritual and physical. Jacob strove with God because he trusted God to be true to His promises; he persisted until God granted him a blessing. Jacob could do this, not because he was stronger than God (for no one is), but because he held God to His promises (Gen 28:13–15). God cannot lie, and He delights to let us win victories over him on the basis of humble, believing prayer. Jacob clung in faith to God and to God’s promise, and he received the blessing he desired.
Wednesday, 20 February 2013—Psalm 121—The psalm for the day is a joyful, exuberant proclamation by the faithful of their trust in the Lord. The one who trusts in the promises of God knows that he shall be preserved throughout all his days, for the Lord neither slumbers nor sleeps, but keeps us from all evil, until the glorious day of the Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Thursday, 21 February 2013—1 Thessalonians 4:1–7—We have been redeemed from the consequence of sin by the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We have been given new life by the washing of water with the Word in Holy Baptism. How, then should we live as new creatures in Christ? St Paul gives us some guidelines in Sunday’s epistle reading, especially as regards our sexual impulses. We are to live lives of purity, reserving the good gift of sexual relations for the marriage bed, for God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.
Friday, 22 February 2013—Matthew 15:21–28—In Sunday’s Gospel account, Jesus heals the daughter of one who was despised by the Jews of His day—a Canaanite woman. Jesus shows that His ministry is not limited to the Jews; it extends to all people. This foreign woman shows great faith, for she is dogged and determined to hold Jesus to His promises of grace and blessing. Like the woman, we are all poor beggars before the Lord, and are privileged to receive His crumbs of mercy, for even His crumbs are more than sufficient for us.
Saturday, 9 February 2013—Sunday’s hymn of the day is When in the Hour of Deepest Need (LSB #615). Because of sin, we find ourselves in a terrible predicament, facing all the consequences of our transgressions. The first stanza of the hymn establishes our hopeless condition—hopeless, that is, apart from the mercy of God. The remaining stanzas profess confidence that the Lord will deliver us from our afflictions. In stanza 3, we hold God to His promises, much as Jacob and the Canaanite woman did.
Collect for Reminiscere, the Second Sunday in Lent: O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Artwork by Ed Riojas © Higher Things
Lectionary summary on first page from LCMS Commission on Worship
This week’s Time in the Word written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning