Devotion - October 23, 2014

Devotion - October 23, 2014

Daily devotion from Hymn 306, verses 1 and 2.

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Hymn of the Week

Before you, God, the Judge of all,
With grief and shame I humbly fall.
I see my sins against you, Lord,
My sins of thought and deed and word.
They press me sore; to you I flee:
O God, be merciful to me!

O Lord, my God, to you I pray:
Oh, cast me not in wrath away!
Let your good Spirit ne'er depart,
But let him draw to you my heart
That truly penitent I be:
O God, be merciful to me!

(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 306, verses 1 and 2)

O God, be merciful to me!

When I sin, my natural tendency is to run away from God. To hide. To ignore. To pretend. So why would I, as the author of this hymn says, flee to God, the Judge of all? When I know that I violate God’s holiness so often, when I know that I sin against him in thought and deed and word every day, why would I flee to the one, the Judge of all, who should rightly cast me away in wrath?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to flee from God, like Adam and Eve hiding from God among the trees of the garden? (Genesis 3) Wouldn’t it make more sense to turn away from God, crying out like Isaiah, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips”? (Isaiah 6) Of course that makes no sense. I can’t hide from God. Nor can anything be gained by turning away from him, or ignoring my sins, or pretending they don’t matter.

When my sins press down upon me, the only thing I can do is fall humbly before God in grief and shame. The only thing I can do is repent. The only thing I can do is plead: “O God, be merciful to me!”

This is what the hymn writer and what God himself urges you to do: plead for God’s mercy! That mercy was evident to Adam and Eve when God first extended the promise of a Savior who would crush the devil. That mercy was evident to Isaiah when God directed one of his angels to assure him, “Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” That mercy is evident to you throughout the Bible as God comforts you with promises like this: “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).

Confident of his promises, Children of God are moved not to flee from God but to flee to him, not to hide from God but to fall humbly before him, not to turn away from God but to plead for his mercy.


O Lord, my God, to you I pray: Oh, cast me not in wrath away! Let your good Spirit ne'er depart, but let him draw to you my heart, that truly penitent I be: O God, be merciful to me!

From September through December 2014, the Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday are based on the Word of God expressed in a Christian Hymn selected each week. All devotions in this series are located here.

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