Home > Reading > Daily Reading – December 9, 2019

Monday of the Week of Advent II

Based on 2 Corinthians 1:1-11

The service for the Burial of the Dead in the Lutheran Book of Worship begins, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of all mercy and the God of all consolation. He comforts us in all our sorrows so that we can comfort others in their sorrows with the consolation we ourselves have received from God” (LBW, p. 206, vs. 3-4). For some, mention of the burial of the dead, suffering, trial and affliction may seem an intrusion into the season of Advent when, already, colorful Christmas lights may be twinkling on the tree, social gatherings fill our weekends and family and friends bring joy and laughter. This is what we expect during the pre-Christmas season of Macy’s, Norman Rockwell and Hallmark. The reality? Struggle, loss, grief and illness don’t take a holiday during Advent and Christmas.

Paul’s opponents challenged his apostleship, based upon his suffering. Paul turned their reasoning upside down, asserting that his suffering, in fact, caused him greater faith, relying not on himself, but only on the God who raised Jesus from the dead and even now brings comfort and hope. He writes, “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort.” It is rare in our day and age for people to understand affliction and difficulty in life as a blessing leading to deeper, stronger faith in God. Commonly, we ask, “Why me, Lord?” A more profitable question might be, “Lord, what am I to learn from this? How can my faith, my trust in you be strengthened through this?” The saints and martyrs understood their suffering as an opportunity to grow in faith. Paul relied even more deeply on God as a result of his trials. Not that we seek affliction, suffering or grief, but neither will we succumb to it. We have set our hope on God, that He will deliver us again!

Prayer: Lord God, in every struggle and trial in life, let me rely, not on myself, but on you. Amen.

Advent action: Consider the trials of the past year and ask, “How have I grown through this?”

 

This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about Blessed is He Who Comes, visit thenalc.org/advent.

Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.

Is. 8:1–22

8:1 The Lord told me, “Take a large tablet and inscribe these words on it with an ordinary stylus: ‘Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.’ 2Then I will summon as my reliable witnesses Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah.” 3I then approached the prophetess for marital relations; she conceived and gave birth to a son. The Lord told me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, 4for before the child knows how to cry out, ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.”

5The Lord spoke to me again: 6“These people have rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and melt in fear over Rezin and the son of Remaliah. 7So look, the Lord is bringing up against them the turbulent and mighty waters of the Euphrates River – the king of Assyria and all his majestic power. It will reach flood stage and overflow its banks. 8It will spill into Judah, flooding and engulfing, as it reaches to the necks of its victims. He will spread his wings out over your entire land, O Immanuel.”

9You will be broken, O nations;

you will be shattered!

Pay attention, all you distant lands of the earth!

Get ready for battle, and you will be shattered!

Get ready for battle, and you will be shattered!

10Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted!

Issue your orders, but they will not be executed!

For God is with us!

11Indeed this is what the Lord told me quite forcefully. He warned me not to act like these people:

12 “Do not say, ‘Conspiracy,’ every time these people say the word.

Don’t be afraid of what scares them; don’t be terrified.

13You must recognize the authority of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

He is the one you must respect;

he is the one you must fear.

14He will become a sanctuary,

but a stone that makes a person trip,

and a rock that makes one stumble –

to the two houses of Israel.

He will become a trap and a snare

to the residents of Jerusalem.

15Many will stumble over the stone and the rock,

and will fall and be seriously injured,

and will be ensnared and captured.”

16Tie up the scroll as legal evidence,

seal the official record of God’s instructions and give it to my followers.

17I will wait patiently for the Lord,

who has rejected the family of Jacob;

I will wait for him.

18Look, I and the sons whom the Lord has given me are reminders and object lessons in Israel, sent from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who lives on Mount Zion.

19 They will say to you, “Seek oracles at the pits used to conjure up underworld spirits, from the magicians who chirp and mutter incantations. Should people not seek oracles from their gods, by asking the dead about the destiny of the living?” 20Then you must recall the Lord’s instructions and the prophetic testimony of what would happen. Certainly they say such things because their minds are spiritually darkened. 21They will pass through the land destitute and starving. Their hunger will make them angry, and they will curse their king and their God as they look upward. 22When one looks out over the land, he sees distress and darkness, gloom and anxiety, darkness and people forced from the land. (NET Bible)

Ps. 131

131:1 A song of ascents, by David.

O Lord, my heart is not proud,

nor do I have a haughty look.

I do not have great aspirations,

or concern myself with things that are beyond me.

2Indeed, I have calmed and quieted myself

like a weaned child with its mother;

I am content like a young child.

3O Israel, hope in the Lord

now and forevermore!

(NET Bible)

2 Cor. 1:1–11

1:1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia. 2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

3Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you. 6But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort that you experience in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer. 7And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you will share in our comfort. 8For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, regarding the affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of living. 9Indeed we felt as if the sentence of death had been passed against us, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. 10He delivered us from so great a risk of death, and he will deliver us. We have set our hope on him that he will deliver us yet again, 11as you also join in helping us by prayer, so that many people may give thanks to God on our behalf for the gracious gift given to us through the help of many.

(NET Bible)

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.

[Luther writes:] “Here the Spirit plainly ascribes to Scripture that it allumines and teaches, that understanding is given alone through the words of God as through a door for, as they call it, a first principle (principium primum) with which everyone who will come to light and understanding must begin. Again: “‘Principle or head of thine words is truth’ (Ps. 119:160). There you see that truth is here ascribed only to the head of the words of God, that is, if you learned the words of God in the rst place and used them as the first principle when you judged the words of all. And what else does this whole psalm do than to condemn the foolishness of our labor and call us back to the fountain (revocet ad fontem) and teach us that we should rst of all and alone spend our labor on the Word of God and that the Spirit is ready to come voluntarily and to expel our spirit so that we pursue theology without danger? … Therefore, nothing but the divine words are to be the first principles (prima principia) for Christians, all human words, however, are conclusions which are deducted from them and must again be reducted to them and approved by them. They must first of all be well known to everyone but not sought through men nor learned by them, but men must be judged by them. If this were not true, why should Augustine and the holy Fathers, whenever they contradict each other, go back to the holy Scripture as to the first principles of truth (ad sacras literas seu prima principia veritatis) and illumine and approve by their light and trustworthiness their own that is dark and uncertain? By doing so they teach that the divine words are more understand- able and certain than the words of all men, even their own … I do not want to be honored as one who is more learned than all, but this I desire that Scripture alone rule as queen (solam Scripturam regnare), and that it is not explained through my spirit or other men’s spirit but understood by itself and in its own spirit.” (77)

–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures

This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.

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