Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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February 13th, 2012 – Lessons From History

“He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamores with frost. He gave over their cattle to the hail and their flocks to thunderbolts. He let loose on them His burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels. He made a path for His anger; He did not spare them from death, but gave their lives over to the plague.  He struck down every firstborn in Egypt, the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.” Psalm 78:47-51

Devotional Thought For The Day

As a description, this account of the destruction of Egyptian strength and wealth is appalling – but the reality of living through it must have been absolutely hellish. Soldiers who survive fierce battles see such scenes, perhaps even worse – the virtual destruction of everything. So do those who have been through horrific natural disasters – hurricanes, tidal waves, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods. I hate to bring such dismal and depressing thoughts to mind early this second day of the week, but the same kinds of rebellion against God which occasioned His “burning anger, wrath, and indignation” are quite prevalent in the pleasant land which He has blessed us to live in. When people harden their hearts against God – in idolatrous rebellion and ignorance [in this circumstance it was principally their leader, Pharaoh], the time comes for God to act on behalf of His dear people of faith – and the hammer comes down as He makes “a path for his anger.”

Foolish people forget the past, and so as the distinguished philosopher noted, they “are destined [doomed] to repeat it.” [George Santayana] A couple of observations need to be made – it was principally the ignorant rebellion of the leader of Egypt, and the ill-fated policies he was determined to follow, that led to this horrid devastation.  However, all of the Egyptians of the time, all of the common people, suffered for the wicked godlessness and stupidity of their leaders. The children of God were spared from much of this, but had to witness it and were certainly somewhat discomforted by it. However, in the end, they were delivered and went on their way to better things. In our own time, and especially in a democracy in which the people elect the leaders, all are responsible for the behavior of our leaders – especially when they act in keeping with their promises and what can be known about them prior to their election. And when the people are as evil and wicked as the leaders, insisting that the leaders facilitate their wickedness, it is hardly surprising that God’s hand of judgment should fall heavily upon all. Let us not forget the past.

People today conclude that the decline of the church signals its demise, and is sure evidence that God is not with His people, and perhaps even that God does not exist. People have come to the same stupid and idiotic conclusions before. The fact that many within the church have drifted into the same darkness and wickedness as the unbelievers around us makes such a “cleansing” of the church understandable and inevitable – and we’re all aware of the moral and spiritual decline within the “church,” the visible institutions. Those who reject God’s Word and will in unbelief, whether within or outside of the church, certainly call down His wrath and anger upon themselves, and suffer the same end as the other rebellious, idolatrous, and immoral unbelievers.

But within the visible church, in virtually all of the visible institutions, there remain genuine, repentant, humble believers in Christ, people who are still being reshaped, renewed, re-motivated, and directed in the ways of God, the ways of real love. They are hidden within the churches, buried from the view of the unbelievers just as the true Israelites were hidden from the view of the ancient Egyptians, but not from the view of God. It is for their sake that God pours down His wrath and indignation against the wicked – just as He did upon the ancient Egyptians, to deliver His people and make a way for them to journey to a better place. We may still have to observe much of the punishment and devastation – but God will also graciously spare us and lead us onward to greener pastures. Though the unbelieving come to just the opposite conclusions, God is watching over His children, and He orders all things, even the destruction of godless and wicked nations, for the good and welfare of His dear children of faith. This is the history; let us not forget it!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, the currents, dynamics, and incidents all around us are dizzying and dismaying. We can easily become confused and lose faith, confidence, and compass for life. Remind us of Your wondrous love for us, Your forgiveness and salvation, and Your many promises to work all things together by Your almighty power for the good and blessedness of Your dear people of faith. Grant us confidence and constancy to face all that is coming. Amen.