Vicar Matt Doebler
Matins Devotion: March 3, 2023
We see something interesting when we read the previous account of Abraham’s journey into Egypt in light of today’s reading. In both cases, we are given a beautiful reminder of how God remains faithful to his word and promises at all times.
Recall that when Abraham journeys down it to Egypt it is because there is a severe famine in the Land of Promise. Here, we see that Abraham’s faith falters. He hatches a scheme with his wife and spreads a self-protecting lie. Yet, God, in his mercy delivers Abraham. Although Abraham doubted—God never failed. Abraham returns to the Land of Promise—returning to the altar—calling upon the name of the Lord in repentance.
But now, Abraham’s faith is tested again. This time, it’s a family feud. There’s not enough grass to go around it seems, and Abraham’s herdsman and about to come to blows with the herdsman of Abraham’s nephew—Lot. But, we see in Abraham’s response that his faith in God’s promises has returned and even been strengthened. Abraham, because he was older, should have gotten the pick of the land—but he graciously defers to Lot. A sign that Abraham remembers and trusts in the blessings that God has already promised to give him.
Lot of course, is not so faithful. He chooses the well-watered Jordan plain—abundant in rich grassland, but also filled with cities that were so wicked that God would later completely destroy them. And yet, after Lot and his company head in the direction of what their eyes have coveted—the Lord himself speaks to Abraham and reassures Abraham that his promise stands firm. “I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth…I will give you [all this] land.”
These two stories taken together are a good reminder of why we should desire to come to the Lord’s Table as often as we can. First, we recognize that, like Abraham, there are times when our faith in God’s Word falters. And yet we see that, even if we are faithless, God remains faithful. He cannot deny himself. And so we return in repentance to the place where we, once again, hear the promises—where we receive the gifts—we worship at the altar from which Christ speaks. And then, there are times when our faith is severely tested simply because we live lives in a fallen and wicked world—where we acquire enemies and suffer wrongs.
And so we come to the Table—so that Christ can speak. So that he can assuage our fears with his promises and so that he can heal our wounds with the fruits of his own.
As you prepare yourself to go the Lord’s table this Sunday—meditate on what Christ promises to give you there. Forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. Medicine for the soul. Strength for the journey.