Lord, You know us; give us grace to hear Your Word and keep Your ways. Amen.
Text: Genesis 18:17-19
And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
Of Mary it is said: “She kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” And again it says of her: “She kept all these things in her heart.” This is a great tribute to Mary and the reason that she is the one blessed among women. In that she so faithfully kept God’s Word in her heart, she received this indescribable grace and honor of instructing Jesus in God’s Word. Abraham was blessed and became a blessing, became Christ’s ancestor and the father of all believers, in that he kept God’s Word in his heart. To his son Isaac the Lord says: “I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” (Gen. 26:4-5)
Our Lord Jesus Himself was always about His Father’s business. He lived in His Word, got His strength from it, and was obedient everywhere. His believers in all ages are like Him and should try to be like Him. But to keep the Word in their heart is to think about it, ponder it, let its truths pass back and forth and stand still before the eye of our soul, to seek to find and keep its heavenly contents. Then to receive the Word, hold on to it, to embrace it with confidence of soul and not let it slip away. From this follows heartfelt obedience to the Word, and determining our way and making our whole life one of service to God. Then we cannot and will not lose God’s Word, and then it is our concern to walk in the Lord’s ways, completely contrary to the life of the heathen and unbelieving world.
The Lord wants to grant us the same grace. That’s why He has given us His Word. The worldly despise it and rob their children and their house of this blessing. Yes, they busy themselves as Satan’s servants in robbing our people of this true happiness. Christians must be wakened to zeal for the Word of the Lord and really make their hearts and their homes His temples. Are you willing to leave your children in this wicked world without having given them God’s Word in their hearts as a shield and weapon against the devil? “No, no!” May the Lord say of us: “I shall surely bless them and their seed, for I know them, that they bid their children and their household to keep the Lord’s way, to honor and esteem His Word sacred and gladly hear and learn it.”2
Lord, I have Your testimony as an everlasting inheritance, for it is my heart’s joy. I bow my heart to do according to Your will, forever to the end. I hate those who have evil thoughts, and I love Your law. You are my refuge and shield: I hope in Your Word. Amen.
God’s Word is our great heritage,
And shall be ours forever;
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way,
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant while worlds endure,
We keep its teachings pure,
Throughout all generations.
Grundtvig: L 44 ELH 583 tr. O. G. Belsheim;
tune: Ein feste Burg (ELH 583)