(16 verses, 2:30 to read)
What I am about to READ
- The Lord continues to proclaim judgment for sin. The judgment of God is complete and full; there is no escape from it. But in the midst of His wrath and judgment God always provides salvation.
MARK & LEARN
- vs. 1-3: The root of all sin is found in the breaking of the 1st Commandment. That is where sin finds its foothold: in setting up false gods and false worship. Once a false god is in place, once the One True God is replaced with another, all other sins come tumbling after. There is no way around this. … Everyone who replaces God with an idol of their own making will fade away like the morning midst. And their feelings of safety and security will disappear like the morning dew at the judgment of the Lord.
- vs. 4-8: The Lord once again reminds Israel that He alone is their God, no matter how many Baals they may bow down to. It was He who was their Savior in Egypt and it is only He who can be their Savior once again. … But the people became complacent with the blessings they received from God. Their life was easy, there was food in their bellies and money in their pockets. With this the people turned away from their God and placed their hope and trust in themselves. And when this didn’t work they turned to every false god of silver and gold, earthly kings and princes, other nations and even their enemies. For all this, the Lord must bring His wrath and judgment upon them in the hopes that they might once again be brought to repentance and faith.
- vs. 9-11: The Lord quite literally asks Israel where her kings are now. Where are all of these false gods that they have turned to for help. God permitted them to have these temporal blessings out of His divine goodness, but once the people’s focus turned from the Giver to the gifts He took them all away. How will they help them now?
- vs.12-13: Israel has bound up her sin in the hopes that she might justify it. She hopes that either the Lord will forget about her sin or that she might be able to deal with it on her own. But this does not work. It cannot work. the childbirth pangs of judgment are a warning for the full judgment to come. But Israel is foolish and hides away from the forgiveness that might be hers.
- v. 14: In this verse we have a glimpse of the Gospel, the promise of salvation. For the unbeliever God is the plague of death and the sting of hell. But for the believer, the one who has been brought to repentance and in faith clings to the Savior, God is the very One who will rescue from the snares of sin, death, and the devil.
- vs. 15-16: God’s judgment is full and complete. Those who do not turn in repentance have brought this judgment upon themselves. And yet the Lord still desires to bring the sinner to repentance, to stay His final judgment from them. In life sin brings temporal consequences and judgment. The hope is that through this temporal judgment the sinner might come to the recognition of his sin and then in faith cling to the mercy of God before the final judgment comes upon them.
- In this chapter the Lord once again lays forth His Law and the punishment that must come upon all those who cannot fulfill it. The most grievous sin that Israel has committed is her continual search for salvation in any place other than he God. This the Lord will not abide. He deeply desires to save the sinner, to be the one and only Savior for His people. His promise of forgiveness, life and salvation is sure. It is ours because He has promised it to be so. And yet this salvation can only come to us once the Law has done its work of showing us our sin and bringing us to contrition. Then, through the faith freely given to us by the Holy Spirit, we might grab onto our Savior’s gracious mercy with sure confidence that it will save us against all our enemies.
- Prayer: “Gracious Father, may Your Law forever show us our sin and our need for a Savior. And may your gracious Gospel give us the cross of Christ which takes away and forgives our sin. Amen.”
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Pr. Eli Lietzau
Faith in Christ Lutheran Church