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  • Writer's pictureVicar Matt Doebler

Matins Devotion: March 14, 2023


So much death. So much sorrow. So much fear. So much uncertainty.


We see all of these things swirling about Jacob and his small family tribe as they make their way through the land of promise. What should have been a joyful return for Jacob—especially after being reconciled to his brother, Esau, was quickly marred by horrible crimes committed both against and by members of his family.


Now it was all over the local news. The name of Jacob had become a curse in the mouths of the locals—even as they hid behind locked doors and behind barred gates whenever they saw Jacob and his sons approach one of their towns to buy food or to trade. In the midst of all this, Jacob not only has to bury his beloved wife Rachel, but also his father Isaac. I imagine as Jacob and Esau place their father in his tomb, that Jacob wishes he could have just a few of those twenty years back—the years of his self-exile caused by his own betrayal of the father that he now buried and the brother he now stood beside.


So much death. So much sorrow. So much fear. So much uncertainty.


And yet, in the midst of all this, we’re told that God appears to Jacob. God reaffirms his promises to Jacob. God reaffirms the new name that he gave to Jacob on the night when Jacob would not let go of the God who wrestled with him until he received a blessing. God speaks all of his great and gracious promises into Jacob’s ear in order to remind him that death and sorrow—fear and uncertainty will never overcome God’s power to give and bestow blessing through his Word.


So likewise, in this world, we are born in to so much death. So much sorrow. So much fear and uncertainty. We come into this life bearing the name of our father Adam—sharing in the corruption of his nature and in the penalty of his sin. We suffer betrayal from the hands of others even as we also sin against them. We watch as the consequences of our sin rob us of what should be joyful years and supplant the peace we long for with conflict.


And yet, in all this, God speaks to us. He reminds us of his promises. He calls us to remember the new name that he has given us. The name he himself placed upon us in our baptism. A name which reminds us of the one who carried all of our death, sorrow, fear, and uncertainty to the cross where he covered it in the forgiveness, life, and salvation of his precious blood. A name which reminds us of the one who was buried with all our death, sorrow, fear, and uncertainty but who rose on the third day and left all that behind in his tomb. A name which now reminds us that death and sorrow—fear and uncertainty will never overcome God’s power to bless us or keep us—to make his face shine upon us and be gracious to us—to lift up his countenance upon us and give us the peace he has promised.


So remember your baptism. Remember your true name. Remember who and whose you are.

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