Devotion 57 – Thursday After Epiphany

Opening Prayer

Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, and all the earth shall be filled with His glory.

Text: Isaiah 45:22-25

“Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath. He shall say, ‘Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him. In the Lord all the descendants of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.'”

Devotion

God wants all people to come to Him and be saved (1Ti 2:4), and what God wills, He wills sincerely. Our Bible text today is another one of these faith-creating and faith-strengthening passages, with which the Scripture is so rich, and by which the Lord assures us that He shall attain the goal He has set for Himself, in spite of all that stands in the way. “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth!” He says. “For I am God, and there is no other.” If He says so, then won’t it happen? Of course, there are many around the world who reject His call, many who turn away from Him instead of to Him, and are lost instead of being saved. For grace is free and election is free for us all, but whoever will not receive the true lovingkindness for salvation must be lost.

But this will not prevent the Lord from gathering to Himself a congregation of the saved from all the ends of the earth. There is no other god than the God of Israel, no other god than the One we see and know in Jesus Christ. Before Him every knee shall bow, and all shall confess that in Him alone is salvation. And as many as believe on Him shall boast in Him, for they are justified and regenerated in His name and gathered into one holy and glorious communion. We do not know exactly, nor do we wish to know, how it will come about that even the knee of those who are under the earth, of those who are lost, shall bow before our Lord Jesus. God spare us from experiencing and feeling that! But we do know that all who are saved are saved in Jesus, and we know that all believers, all true children of Israel, shall be saved, and that every nation shall form a branch for themselves in the olive tree of Israel. Since there is one flock and one Shepherd (Joh 10:16), all the blessed shall be knit together as one in the Lord, and sin shall no longer divide them. And yet every single person shall retain his individuality, and every people its identity. The glorified people of God shall consist in a unity of the multitude of nations (Mat 28:19. Rev 21:24). “I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,” – take note of this! – “and shall not return,” He says. The goal of our mission work is certain and glorious.

Closing Prayer

God, make our faith alive, and show us that our work is not in vain in the Lord (1Co 15:58). Amen.

Hymn

O Christ, our true and only Light,
Enlighten those who sit in night,
Let those afar now hear Thy voice,
And in Thy fold with us rejoice.

Fill with the radiance of Thy grace
The souls now lost in error’s maze,
And all whom in their secret minds
Some dark delusion haunts and blinds.

O gently call those gone astray
That they may find the saving way!
Let ev’ry conscience sore oppressed
In Thee find peace and heav’nly rest.

Heermann: L 193:1-3 ELH 198:1-3 tr. C. Winkworth, alt.;
tune: O Jesu Christe, wahres Licht

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