Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Devotions on the Lectionary: Pentecost 12, Second Lesson

by Michael Schottey

Hebrews 11:9-10 By faith, (Abraham) made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country: he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (NIV)

Chapter 11 of the letter to the Hebrews is often called, "The Heroes of Faith."

As Christians, we focus far too intently on the heroes listed in this section--missing the Holy Spirit's point almost entirely.

This portion of scripture is not simply a Bible History refresher course, but rather an object lesson on a very important topic--Faith.

Abraham did not move from Ur to Canaan on a whim. He did so because of a promise. He did so by faith.

Abraham did not long for greater joys because of a great investment plan or a bountiful harvest. He did so because of a promise. He did so by faith.

It is faith--faith kindled by a promise, faith in God and in his grace--that transforms sinful man. The LORD who justifies also works continually to sanctify.

Only through faith.

Only through the Word and Sacraments.

It is this faith which clings to the promises of God.

The promises of God are not riches, comfort, luxury or security. Rather, God promises Christ with all his benefits, which even include crosses and trials to refine your faith. These trials remove the dross that clings to our Old Adam. These trials drive us back to the God who longs to be with us forever.

The promises of God are life and eternal salvation to all who believe--in a city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, increase my faith! Grant me a heroic faith in you and in your promises. Give me a measure of patience and endurance to withstand my own shortcomings. Lord, bring me closer to you each day--my Creator and my Redeemer. Amen.

I know my faith is founded, on Jesus Christ my God and Lord,
And this my faith confessing, Unmoved I stand upon his Word.
Man's reason cannot fathom the truth of God profound;
Who trusts in worldly wisdom, relies on shifting ground.
God's Word is all sufficient, it makes divinely sure,
And trusting in its wisdom, my faith shall rest secure.

CW 403

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