Tuesday, December 22, 2015

“Secure in His Hands”

S-1527 3SIA/3C 12/13/15; Hymns: (O) #338; (S) #347; (C) #335,
Texts: Psalm 80:1-7; Micah 5:2-5; Hebrews 10; 5-10; Luke 1:39-56
Theme: “Secure in His Hands” (Micah 5:4-5a)
Question: “How good is Your Insurance?” (16th Sermon at Trinity).
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text is the O.T. reading: And He shall stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they shall dwell secure, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth. And He shall be their peace” (Micah 5:4-5a).
Precious children of the heavenly Father, every one of us in this room from the youngest to the oldest want to know that we are safe and secure. In this broken and messed up world we long to be secure. With the rise of terrorism, thefts, robberies and murders, we know we are not as secure as we would like to be.
To be sure, security is a big thing and a big business. Our government spends billions of dollars to secure the boarders and keep us safe. We buy virus protection for our PC so they are secure against hackers. We purchase alarm systems for our houses. We, as parents do everything in our power to help our children feel and know they are safe and secure. As adults we spend a great sum of money buying insurance to protect our property, possessions, health and life. We seek the best insurance for the money. There is one Insurance company that wants your business and has this great slogan, “You are in good hands with All State!”
Even though we desire to be safe and secure, we know we can’t be completely safe proof. In spite of the fact, we pay our insurance premiums…and on time, when something goes wrong, we realize we are not as protected as we should have been. You know when you have water in your basement and speak with your agent, he will say, “Sorry this is not covered!” We fail to read the “small print.” PAUSE.
Yet on this 4th Sunday in Advent, the voice of the prophet Micah vibrates through the centuries to tell the people of Israel and us that we are safe and secure in the hands of God. Listen to the voice of the prophet once more: And He shall stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they shall dwell secure, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth. And He shall be their peace.”
Indeed, in the pierced and outstretched hands of Christ we are secure from all our enemies. And this is more than a slogan; it is true, tried and tested! Throughout all of Scripture we see God’s mighty and powerful hands protecting His people.
As the Israelites left Egypt, God kept them safe from their enemies—the Egyptians by a Pillar of Fire by night and Cloud by Day. Satan was given freedom to assail Job, but God chained him like a dog and said, “You can go this far and no further.” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s lives were spared when thrown into the burning furnace. God shut the mouth of the lions when Daniel was lowered to their pit.
David the shepherd boy knew first hand this security provided by His God, and didn’t fear the bear or the lion when they attacked his flock; or even a giant that mocked his king, nation, and God! He experienced this security when he was being chased by Saul and his army. He even wrote these words to help us know that we too, can be secure in the hands of our God and Savior. Listen to David’s description of His Awesome God: “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies” (Ps. 18:1-2). PAUSE.
Beloved in Christ, you, who are precious in His sight! I want you to know this truth and hold it dear like many other believers who have trusted God in life and in death. In my office I have many pictures that have been given me. I enjoy looking at them. But there is one that stands out above the rest. (Show picture).
As you look at this picture notice please that there are 3 characters in it. Shepherd [Jesus] a little lamb and two wolves. Study the picture well. You will notice the hungry wolves eyeing the lamb. The lamb is near the feet of Jesus unafraid, and Jesus’ eyes are on the wolves. I can almost hear Him say, “I dare you come closer! If you attack my lamb I will shred you to pieces.” The lamb is unconcerned and unafraid because it is secure under the watchful eye of the Shepherd.
This is our security today and always. This morning we are reminded of this through the word of the prophet. And if that is not enough let me share with you few other verses to comfort you with. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One” (John 10:27-30). Did you hear that, NO ONE IS ABLE TO SNATCH US FROM HIS HANDS? In His hands we are safe and secure. And if this is not enough for you then, hear another prophet speak of this security. Listen to the voice of Isaiah: “But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.’  ‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me’” (Isaiah 49:14-16).
This is a beautiful reminder for us, the 21st century followers of Jesus. Yet, sadly we don’t take it to heart. So often we act like a 2 year old wanting to do it ourselves; grasping to something temporal for security, whatever that thing may be. We get ourselves into messes because we don’t trust God. We think we know better. We try to do what we can’t do to save and secure ourselves. But it doesn’t work that way beloved.
That is why Advent is such a blessed season. It reminds us why the Babe of Bethlehem came to earth. Remember He came to be the Savior of the world—but more importantly YOUR Savior. He came to live the perfect life, and fulfill the demands of the Law perfectly in your place. He came to suffer, die and rise again for you. He came to give you salvation, safety and security and He has and continues even today doing so through His Word and Sacrament. The birth of Jesus allows us to simply drop the false security we have been grasping so tightly, and learn to trust and cling to Him instead. PAUSE.
Oh, how we need this reminder again and again. We are God’s blood-bought people. We are secure in His hands today and always. The opening hymn we sang has these words: “Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free; From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee” (LSB338). And from our sermon hymn: “Comfort, comfort ye My people, Speak ye peace, thus saith our God; Comfort those who sit in darkness, Mourning ’neath their sorrow’s load; Speak ye to Jerusalem Of the peace that waits for them; Tell her that her sins I cover, And her warfare now is over” (LSB347).
Beloved bride of Christ, certainly, we are secure in the hands of God. As we listen to the voice of the prophet again, we realize there is only one Insurance company that will give us the true and lasting security. It is the greatest company in the whole wide world. This insurance, unlike All State gives us the benefits without pay. And it covers everything that we need not only our bodies, but more importantly our souls. It is run by three loving people—God the Father who is the Author of our Salvation. God the Son the Agent of our Salvation. And God the Holy Spirit who is the Administrator of our salvation.
This is the Good News for you today and every day. There is no monthly fee to be paid by us. There is no small print which we don’t understand. There is nothing that is not covered. Instead, you will see the contract sealed by the blood of the Lamb. And the payment paid in full through His death and through His resurrection. Therefore we can say, “We are in good hands—NOT of All State Agent, but the pierced hands of Christ who conquered death for you. Amen. And Amen.
Now the peace of God…

No comments: