Divine Service I, Page 136, Lutheran Worship
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. – Psalm 51:10-13
Are there some days when you admittedly “wake up on the wrong side of the bed?” From the moment the alarm goes off, you know that the day is bound to be difficult. After hitting the snooze for the third time, you finally get up and get on your way. While God does not promise us that each day is going to be “a walk in the park,” he does promise us joy.
Now, on the one hand, we should wake up miserable – because we are still stuck with our miserable sinful self which desires only to be God’s enemy, to hate our neighbors and to love ourselves. And because of this, God would be completely justified to “cast us from his presence and take his Holy Spirit from us.”
But miracle of miracles, mercy of all mercies, God comes to you with his grace: his amazing love for sinners who are complete undeserving of any divine love or favor. By his gracious Gospel message, he announces to you that through Jesus, he has forgiven you, completely and fully! There’s the real reason to be joyful every morning. But there’s more…
By his grace, he has also sent to you the Holy Spirit who works upon your heart through the Word and Sacraments. In this way God creates that pure heart in you and gives you a steadfast spirit, no matter the ugly past sins or the ugly things of the day ahead. By his grace he continues to send his Holy Spirit so that the joy of your own salvation is made sure and certain once again in your heart. Such a message not only sustains you, it empowers you.
You know how little children love to show you the new toy they received for their birthday. They’re excited. They rush to tell you. They show you all it can do. Then they run off to tell the next person. How much more is the joy and excitement over the salvation which God has graciously given to you! No wonder the writer of this Psalm so quickly includes, “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.” He knows the power of the Gospel upon his heart, and he has every confidence in God’s Word to turn the hearts of sinners to their gracious God and be saved.
May God restore to us this joy today and always so that we are eager and ready to share God’s precious message of joy and salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, come to me with your comforting Word, which alone can drive away my doubts. Direct me to my Savior Jesus, so that I may trust in him with my whole heart. Amen.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! – Psalm 8:3-9
For those days when you feel like a big, important person, remember the cue ball on a pool table.
Our God is big enough to play billiards with the planets. If he did, earth would feel smoother to God than a cue ball feels to us. If Mt. Everest wouldn’t even show up as bumps on God’s galactic cue ball, how big of an impression can we human beings make? We’re 29,000 feet smaller than that massive mountain! When God holds the universe in his hand, why would he pay any attention to insignificant specks of humanity such as you and me?
Yet, from the beginning God did care for us, making us rulers over this universe. We’ve proven ourselves unworthy of this authority. We kill each other and pollute our world. We fight and hurt each other. We rarely say thanks to God who gave us so much. Creation rebels right back at us with hurricanes and viruses and everything in between.
We still have hope. Hebrews 2 tells us Jesus is the ultimate “son of man” of Psalm 8:4. God’s Son became a son of man. After laying down his life to pay for the wrongs we did, he went back to heaven to rule this universe in our place. All of nature is now under his control (under his feet).
Jesus rules by guiding and controlling all things for our good – even when we can’t see what good can come from cancer cells. I may not be able to see how he can make it good, but I know he will. I know because he loved me enough to die for me. Love like his guarantees he will take care of me even in the worst of times.
Not because I stand out on this planet sized cue ball. He’ll take care of me because he has chosen to love me – forever.