Lord, open our ears and let us hear Your Word. Amen.
Text: Isaiah 29:17-19
Is it not yet a very little while till Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest? In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness. The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice In the Holy One of Israel.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2Co 5:17). This is expressed in the passage from the prophet in this way: “Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest.” But one is also reminded of these words of the Apostle: “the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). Sin changed mankind and the whole earth; grace transforms man’s heart and renews everything. Jesus brought this power to effect this transformation; and He exercises it in His Church by the Gospel. “The words of the Book,” the heavenly teachings of Holy Scripture, are able to find their way into our hearts, which by nature are closed to the truth. For the Spirit of the Lord is in the Word, and His “Ephphatha” is miraculous. The Word itself both opens our ears, so that we hear and receive it, and at the same time contains life and makes us alive. The Spirit of the Word anoints our eyes, so that we who are blind see. The Lord Himself is with us in the Word, so that we see Him and have Him in the Word. “O the Bible, the dear, the precious treasure: without it our whole life would be a frightful night.” Dear friend, do you know this enlightening and life-giving power of God’s Word? Have you heard the Lord’s “Ephphatha” in it? Yes, then you have learned that the meek receive more joy in the Lord, after they are able to hear the words of the Book clearer and clearer, and that the poor among men rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. “Let the whole world pass away! My Jesus shall not fail us, nor shall His covenant be broken!” Soon everything that opposes the Spirit of God shall be gone forever; “it shall be outside with the wretched, the mocker shall fail, and all those who watch for iniquity are cut off” (Isa 29:20).
God, be gracious to us, and give us Your Spirit. Explain Your Word to us, and let us experience its power. Help us to be obedient to You, so that more and more You may reveal to us the mysteries of Your grace and sanctify us in Your truth. Amen.
Savior of sinners, now revive us
With Thy free mercy from above;
Friend of the sinful and weary,
Turn unto us Thy heart of love!
O come, Thy sweet compassion showing,
On our poor souls Thy grace bestowing.
O Thou, our only Hope and Helper,
The Wonderful is still Thy name,
Who comes to Thee in every sorrow
Shall ever find Thy love the same,
Thy grace and mercy never failing,
O’er every foe Thy might prevailing.
Thou knowest how poor mortals wander
In error’s shade, deceived and blind;
Come, Lord, and graciously enlighten
The darkness of our heart and mind.
Thy glory every truth revealing,
Which sin and Satan are concealing.
Father, our misery Thou knowest,
Our joy, our peace, our glory gone.
The message of Thy mercy send us,
The precious Gospel of Thy Son.
Then life shall change to peace and blessing,
In Christ our Lord our good possessing.
Gotter: L 118:1-3 LHy 171; tr. J. Borthwick;
tune: Bryd frem (LHy 171); alternate hymn: How precious is the Book ELH 232