Devotion 267 – Fourth Sunday After Pentecost (Evening)

Opening Prayer

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psa 124:8) Amen.

Text: First Peter 5:6–11

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Devotion

When God strikes us, He wants to make us humble. So then let us humble ourselves under His mighty hand! This hand lets no one escape, but all who humble themselves under it are exalted and saved by it. If you recognize His righteousness and your sinful guilt, and are quiet and take the Lord’s chastening as well-deserved, then you surely believe that He is gracious to you and you learn to cast all your care upon Him. There is not one of us who has never wanted to be conceited and proud, if the Lord would not chasten us with tribulation and temptation. We would be drunk with our fortune as a child of God, and then the devil would lead us to fall into sin and from there into doubt. It is good that the Lord lays His heavy hand on us, although it “does not seem to be joy, but grief.” Then pride and self-conceit die, then the sober and humble mind is preserved, then faith grows, then meekness and holy confidence of spirit toward God flourish, then the fraternal bond between you and all the saints is strengthened, then Aaron and Hur lift up Moses’ hands while Joshua slays Amalek (Exo 17:8-13). Understand this, dear brothers and sisters. Humble yourselves and cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. “Humbling yourself” and “casting all your care upon the Lord” are very closely connected.

The Apostle calls Him “the God of all grace.” Take note of this name: The God of all grace – He called you to partake of salvation, which cost Him the death of His Son. And likewise He will earnestly prepare and bring you to this glory, strengthen, confirm, and establish you. If you want to watch and to stand firm in faith, then you can do it by the discipline of His grace. Then the devil shall flee from you, but otherwise you are helpless sheep in the power of the ravenous wolf. What can you do, wretched man, unwise and unaware as you are, against the prince of hell and his host? But when, humbled by the Lord’s chastening grace, you grow in confidence in the mighty God, then the devil shall be put to shame, but the Lord shall receive glory and you shall have eternal salvation.

Closing Prayer

Guard us, God of all grace, from pride and carnal self-conceit. Give us vigilant, humble, and God-fearing hearts, which with childlike confidence entrust themselves to You. Strengthen us in suffering, confirm and establish us with all the saints in fellowship with You to our final end. Amen.

Hymn

Jesus, help conquer! – When, other hopes waning,
Press’d with my wants, I my nothingness find,
Strength scarcely left me for pray’r, or complaining,
Lonely I stray like the poor timid hind, –
Then let on Thee my reliance be single!
Sighs can prevail, if Thyself with them mingle.

Jesus, help conquer! – That we, too, victorious,
Worthily guests to Thy Supper may come,
Then to behold Thee in victory glorious,
There ‘mong Thy jubilant host finding room;
While all Thy foes are cast out and despairing,
We shall be there, crowns of righteousness wearing.

Schröder: Jesu, hilf Siegen L 471:7-8 tr. H. Mills;
tune: Tidings H82:539, altered; alternate hymn: Rise, my soul ELH 253:4-5

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