Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trinity 24 Isaiah 51:9-16

Stir up, stir up, put on strength, Arm of Yahweh; stir up as days before, generations of long ago. Wasn't it You, the One Who cut down Rahab, the One Who pierced the sea monster? Was it not You, the One Who dried up the sea, waters of great depths; Who made from the depths of the sea a pathway for the avenged-by-bloodshed to cross over? And the ransomed of Yahweh will return and come to Zion in shouting; and joy eternal on their heads. Exultation and joy will overcome; will flee away sorrow and sighing. I Myself am He Who comforts you. Who are you, fearing from a man, a mortal? And from the son of a man, reeds offered? And you have forgotten Yahweh, your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth; and you tremble constantly all day from the face of fury of the oppressor, as which he prepares to destroy? And where is the oppressor's fury? Quickly the one in chains–to freedom, and he will not die in the dungeon, and his food will not be lacking. And I, Yahweh, your God stir up the sea and its waves roar–Yahweh of Armies–His name! And I have put my words in your mouth and in the shadow of my hand I have covered you, to plant heavens and to found earth, and to say to Zion, "My people–you are!"

The Arm of the Lord is a pretty amazing thing. The Father stretches forth His Arm and creates the heavens and the earth. The LORD reaches down parting the Red Sea to create a path for Israel to cross over. Jesus reaches His hand to a dead girl and raises her to life again! You can see that when God moves His Arm of almighty strength, some amazing things happen. He hasn't changed in all these years. He keeps on stretching forth His Arm, reaching out to you today to bless you!

Now, we need to pause a bit to figure out just what this Strong Arm of our God is. It's *not* just some metaphorical platitude so that people think there's a God out there Who cares. He's not a stern God looking down at you with arms crossed, in judgment over your actions and attitudes. He's not an uncaring God Who twiddles His thumbs with indifference toward you and your daily needs and ongoing problems. Your Lord actually reaches out His hand to bless you in many and various ways!

We also do well to consider that God has two arms for blessing you. With His left hand, He provides for you your daily bread–all you need to support your body and this life here on earth. He gives you clothes, food, a home, and a means to provide for your family. He provides the weather, government, health, friends, and a host of other blessings with His left hand. He may even give you a spouse and children. He blesses you richly each day with more than you really need, so you may bless others.

That's a whole lot that God does with only one hand! And all this He does with the "weaker" of His two hands, so to speak. For you have a God that is right-handed. His almighty Right hand has the power to save you! That hand doesn't bestow the temporary blessings of this life, but the heavenly blessings that last forever! The omnipotent Right hand of God is what He uses to forgive you your sins, to rescue you from death and Satan, and to bestow to you life everlasting in paradise with Him!

You know about this powerful Right hand of God. You confess it in the Creed. It is Jesus, your Savior Who sits on the right hand of the throne of God! Christ Jesus is the Father's right-hand man Who came down to earth to accomplish what no person before or after ever could. He kept God's law perfectly in your place, earning life in heaven. Then, He gave up what He won, instead suffering the death you deserved at the cross. So that by His death, you would have life eternal given as a free gift!

So, where is the right hand of God now? It's *not* in some far off place called "heaven". It is where your Lord continues to act to bless you today! The right hand of God came down to you in the font to cleanse you of your sins in your baptism. The right hand of God marks you as one redeemed by Christ the crucified in Holy Absolution. The right hand of God serves you His body given unto death in the bread, and delivers to you the cup of His blood shed at the cross for the forgiveness of your sins.

God's right hand continues to deliver you from death & the devil's temptations today. It still marks you with the cross of Christ Jesus, your Savior. It keeps on cleansing you from your sin in the daily bath of your baptism. The right hand of the LORD covers you in its shadow to protect and keep you. It has been stirred up to help you by His great love for you in Christ Jesus. His strong Arm reaches out to lift you up to life again! It takes you to heaven to hear forevermore, "My people–you are!" Amen.

Today's hymns from LSB:

#811 Oh that I had a Thousand Voices

#755 In the Very Midst of Life

#552 O Christ Who Shared Our Mo
rtal Life (insert stanzas 5 & 6)

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