Dear Father in Heaven,
Your good book tells us that every good gift comes down from above, so we want to take a moment and give you thanks for your gifts—for the food we are about to eat, for the nice weather today, for the friendships we’ve made, for the health to play this game in the first place, but most of all for your only Son, and our only Savior Jesus Christ, in Whose name we pray, Amen.
So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. Numbers 21:9
The bronze serpent on the pole was there for those who had been bitten. When an Israelite was bitten, then the looking would save him.
Our salvation is all about looking to Jesus Christ who, like the bronze serpent, was lifted up so that those about to die might live. Might look, and live.
And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there…The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening. 1 Kings 17:4,6
O child of God, pay attention! He commanded the ravens; they didn’t just happen by. Sometimes we are blessed with a miraculous providence, most of the time with what we might think of as an ordinary providence. But providence all the same.
But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. Psalm 22:9
This verse, this chapter, is ultimately about Jesus the Christ. But so are all of the Scriptures. The Son of God became a man to identify with us, and that we might, through faith, identify with Him. The little child who is brought to the font is given faith, in a way mysterious to be sure. He is made to trust. It is a lifelong enterprise.
All Creatures of Our God and King is a hymn written by William Draper at the beginning of the last century. It is essentially a paraphrase of ‘The Canticle of the Sun’, a poem written by St. Francis of Assisi in 1224, the last year of his life. The final verse of the poem was composed just a few minutes before he died, and is paraphrased in Draper’s hymn very powerfully, although it rarely appears in hymnbooks:
And thou most kind and gentle Death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Turn to the Lord, and He will have compassion, and to our God, for he will richly pardon. Isaiah 55:8
To anyone listening, to everyone who hears the wonderful news that the Lord is rich in mercy, and ready to forgive, turn. Turn now. Turn around. Turn away from your self-centeredness, turn to the Lord with all you’ve got.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.
And He delights in his way.
And he delights in His way.
Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Acts 8:36
That with so great simplicity, without pomp, without any considerable novelty of preparation, finally, without expense, a man is dipped in water, and amid the utterance of some few words, is sprinkled, and then rises again, not much (or not at all) the cleaner, the consequent attainment of eternity is esteemed the more incredible.
I have consecrated this house which you (Solomon) have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 1 Kings 9:3
My eyes and My heart. Not only does the LORD see and understand, but He cares. He cares! And what is more, He understands because He cares.
For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10
We are obliged to keep the whole law. And Jesus said the whole law is summed up in the two greatest commandments, namely, ‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.
Apart from God’s grace, there is no one who can do this ‘There is none righteous, no not one’. And so any hope we have of salvation cannot be based on our own manufactured piety, nor can it be based on good deeds done for our neighbor.