Faith in God’s Promises
As Jesus continues during Lent to Jerusalem to suffer and die, we are reminded that there is a reason for it: our salvation. The motive for this sacrifice is God’s love. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us out of love for God and us. How does this affect us? Faith is the receptive agent which brings to us the benefits of God’s love. In the Gospel, faith in the crucified Christ brings us eternal life. Abraham by faith in God’s promise is blessed (Old Testament Lesson ). Paul uses Abraham (Epistle Lesson) as an example of faith which brought him and us the righteousness of God. The Prayer continues the theme: “Lead them again to embrace in faith the truth....” In Psalm 105, it is implied that the eye of the Lord is upon those who in faith respect God not because of the believer’s faith but because the word and the Lord’s covenant which He remembers.
Collects for Lent 2: 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 rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
God our Father, help us to hear Your Son. Enlighten us with Your word, that we may find the way to Your glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever.
Heavenly Father, it is your glory always to have mercy. Bring back all who have erred and strayed from your ways; lead them again to embrace in faith the truth of your Word and to hold it fast.
God our Father, teach us to find new life through penance. Keep us from sin, and help us live by Your commandment of love. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Collect for Psalm 121: Lord Jesus Christ, You have prepared a quiet place for us in Your Father’s eternal home. Watch over our welfare on this perilous journey, shade us from the burning heat of day, and keep our lives free of evil now and forever.
Monday, 10 March 2014—Psalm 105:4-7; antiphon, Psalm 105:8—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, He remembers His covenant forever, the word that He commanded, for a thousand generations. This psalm is an exhortation to Israel to worship and trust in the Lord because of all His saving acts in fulfillment of His covenant with Abraham to give His descendants the land of Canaan.
Tuesday, 11 March 2014—Psalm 121—key verse 8—The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. This week’s psalm is a dialogue of confession and assurance. Its use as a pilgrimage song provides the key to its understanding. Whether the dialogue takes place in a single heart or between individuals in the caravan is of no great consequence since all would share the same convictions. The comforting assurance expressed is equally appropriate for the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and for the pilgrimage of life to the glory into which the faithful will be received. The psalm is composed of four couplets, each having an introductory line, which the rest of the couplet develops. Key terms are “the Lord” and “watch over” each occurring five times.
Wednesday, 12 March 2014— Genesis 12:1-9—Faith accepts God’s promise of blessing. By faith Abraham accepts the Lord’s promise and obeys his command. Around 2000 B.C. a man named Abraham lived in Haran. The Lord came to him and called him to leave his home and family to go to a strange, unknown land where he would become the father of a great nation. Abraham proved his faith in the Lord by trusting His Word of promises and obeying. He left all for a great adventure in faith. The Lord promised to bless him and to make him a blessing to all nations. Abraham maintained his faith by building an altar to worship wherever he went.
Thursday, 13 March 2014—Romans 4:1-8; 13-17—Faith accepts God’s righteousness. The faith of Abraham was reckoned to him as righteousness.
In chapter 3, Paul had just explained that sinners are justified by grace through faith and not by the works of the Law. Therefore, believers in Christ have no reason to boast of their righteousness, because it came as a gift of faith, an illustration of what it means to be justified by faith.
Abraham did not have the Law and could not perform the works of the Law. He simply believed God, trusted in his promises and obeyed his command. As a result, it was reckoned to him as righteousness. What Abraham received by faith, believers, both Jew and Gentile, can have — the same promise of reconciliation with God.
Friday, 14 March 2014—John 3:1-17—In the Gospel lesson faith accepts Jesus’ promise of eternal life. Jesus teaches Nicodemus that faith in Him offers eternal life. This passage deals with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. After the discourse with Nicodemus on the necessity of being born anew of the Spirit, Jesus declares that faith in the crucified Christ will bring eternal life. Then John gives the Bible’s “greatest verse” which Luther called the “little Babe,” John 3:16. Again, we learn that whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life, for God did not send Jesus to condemn, but save the world. On this Sunday, we see the passage in the light of the Theme of the Day — Faith.
Saturday, 15 March 2014—Psalm 121; 2 Timothy 4:18; Psalm 91:9-12—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is God Who Made the Earth and Heaven (LSB #877). The Psalm for this week is the inspiration verse for our hymn of the day. God the Father who created the entire universe has promised to direct your life. He is the one who orders your day and directs your path. He has brought you to faith by the power of the Spirit’s work and He will sustain that faith. We can confidently trust in Him because He has established His everlasting covenant with His own people.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY