Repentance and Forgiveness
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Tuesday, Third Week of Easter
O Almighty God, You who are of purer eyes than to look at iniquity, who requires of those who would truly worship You clean hands and a pure heart, what can we do, whom sin has stained but cast ourselves upon Your mercy and accept the purifying discipline of Your burning love? We thank You for the fire that consumes our dross, for the blood of Jesus Christ Your Son which cleanses us from all sin, for the pain the purifies, for the despairs of earth from which the sure hope of heaven is born, for the light out of darkness, and for the Everlasting Day beyond our mortal night. Amen
One has to wonder whether this virus is not something God allows in order to bring a change of heart in many people who live on the earth.
When we look at God’s work throughout history, there is a pattern. When human arrogance and self-reliance rise up, God often humbles.
The prophet Isaiah warns of a day when God alone will stand exalted. “The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear.” (Isaiah 2:17)
In the 21st century, most of us know what idols are, and we are fairly sure that we left all the idols in the dust bin of the dark ages.
Or have we?
As I listen to the messaging that is played on multiple media channels I hear these ideas: “We will overcome this virus. We can do it if we work together. Science will win the day.” It strikes me that we might want to ask ourselves, “At the end of the day, in whom do we put our trust?” Do we trust in ourselves? Do we trust more in our scientists and health care workers (who by the way are doing a great job)? Are we relying upon our social distancing? Or in God?
The Spirit of the Lord reveals one definition of an idol that sounds strangely all too familiar: wealth, military might, and things defined as “the work of our hands, to what our fingers have made.” (see Isaiah 2)
The first command that God gave to the people of Israel coming out of Egypt was this, “You shall have no other gods before me.” In other words, He wanted them to rely on Him for everything; for their daily bread, their protection, their livelihood, even their health. They were humbled knowing that their freedom from Egyptian slavery was nothing that they did by their own hands. It was all God! He heard their cry, and he delivered them.
This corona virus time affords us opportunities to evaluate how well we are doing in this area of trust. Are we willing to humble ourselves before God and turn to him alone before the great and terrible day of the Lord?
I pray it would be so. For ourselves, and for all people in the world. God wants all people to be saved from every sin, from every false trust, from every power of evil. God wants us to know that we live because He, and He alone, gives us life, and he loves us. He proved his love and his promise by sending his Son Jesus to deliver us, without any help from our own hands.
With humble gratitude to God and his Son, Jesus,
Pastor Langdon Reinke
P.S. Hope you and your family are healthy and safe. We are in this together. We have help available if there are needs. Please let us know.