Friday, January 01, 2021

Why I Need God's Word Every Day

During my quiet time with God today, I was struck by its assurance that the person blessed by God is one  whose "whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night." (Psalm 1:2)

The Lutheran Study Bible emphasizes that the word translated as "law" in both strophes of this verse might just as readily be rendered as God's "instruction."

This seems the more likely translation to me. That's because God's Law, while showing us God's will for human beings, cannot save us from sin, death, and condemnation. The Law can only show us how far our inborn sin carries us from God and how desperately we need the forgiving grace given to us through faith in Jesus Christ.

It's far more likely that the word translated as "law" carries the meaning of the Hebrew word Torah, which means "the way of God." 

To contemplate God's way, or instruction is to consider God's whole Word, both the Law which condemns us for sin and the Gospel, the good news of new and everlasting life with God for all who repent and trust in Christ, God the Son, as their Savior. 

So, why do we need to meditate on God's truth--Law and Gospel--day and night?

Martin Luther famously said, "We need to hear the Gospel every daybecause we forget it every day." 

I think that Luther is right. I get caught up in the living of life and the fulfilling of my daily responsibilities and am at risk of developing what I've previously called spiritual amnesia

I forget God's perfect Law, become proud, and think I'm a righteous person whose goodness earns me a place with God until I remember that whatever good is actually present in my daily life comes from God, not me. God's Word says that my supposedly righteous acts are nothing but "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). 

But I also forget the Gospel about the perfectly righteous Savior Jesus Who died and rose for imperfect people like me. This leads me to despair over my unworthiness and unrighteousness as I understand that I could never be good enough to merit God's forgiveness and life with God. Whether in worship where we receive the Word and the Sacraments, or in daily quiet times in God's Word, or in considering the Scriptures with our friends, families, spouses, or small groups, we need to see Jesus lifted up before us "that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (John 3:14)

My prayer: Father, help me today to meditate on and delight in Your instruction so that through Christ and His death and resurrection, I will acknowledge all my sin and receive all Your forgiveness. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen

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