January / February 1995 The President’s Column – To ponder, to meditate, to reflect – these are good characteristics which the believers should seek to cultivate.
From the January / February 1995 issue of The Concordia Lutheran
The President’s Column
To ponder, to meditate, to reflect – these are good characteristics which the believers should seek to cultivate. Scripture furnishes us with some fine examples of those who meditated upon the mercies which the Lord had bestowed upon them and the marvelous way in which He led them.
We read concerning Isaac, “And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide”… (Gen. 24:63). So also David who exclaims with joyful lips, “When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches” (Psalm 63:6), and again in Psalm 77, “I will meditate also of all Thy work”… (v.12). We recently heard in our Christmas services how the Virgin “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Such meditating upon God’s Word is certainly praiseworthy. The Lord told Joshua, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night”… (Josh. 1:8).
The entrance of another year of grace gives the believers in Christ an excellent opportunity to ponder and reflect upon that which has taken place in our lives in the light of God’s Holy Word.
We think of David, who after the Prophet Nathan had given him the assurance of God’s mercy to be revealed especially in the coming Messiah, exclaimed, “Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto?” (2 Samuel 7:18). We observe on the part of David his reflection on the past favors and mercies which he had received from the hand of the Lord. And what were those mercies? God had chosen him to be the king over all Israel (1 Samuel 16); the Lord had preserved him in the midst of so many dangers: from Saul (1 Samuel 19:10), from the Philistines (1 Samuel 22: 18-28; 29), from the lion and bear when he was still a mere shepherd (1 Samuel 17: 34-37), for allowing him to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6), and, above all, in making a covenant with him that his throne should endure forever in the King of kings and Lord of lords – the promised Messiah (2 Samuel 7:16).
As we ponder and reflect upon the mercies which the Lord has bestowed upon us, must we not also exclaim with David, “Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto?” And with Jeremiah, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22,23) We have been preserved through-out our childhood, youth, middle age and the eventide of our lives. We may not have been exposed to lions and bears as David was, but we surely have been delivered from many dangers and evils because “the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry” (Psalm 34:15).
Above all, we have been mercifully delivered from the greatest of all evils – sin, death and hell! And all this without any merit or worthiness on our part, but due solely and alone to our dear Lord Jesus Christ’s substitutional sacrifice and death, that we might be “His own and live under Him in His Kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness.” Although we have not received any earthly crown like David, we can and should rejoice because our names have been written in the Book of Life and therefore a crown of life awaits us in the joys of heaven (Luke 10:20). We can now declare with the Apostle Paul, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteous-ness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
As we ponder the unmerited blessings which the Lord so graciously showers down upon us, our hearts are constrained to ascribe all honor, praise and glory to “Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father” (Revelation 1:6). Such gratitude can not be confined merely to the heart of the believer, “for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45). While the mouth of the unbeliever may be filled with cursing and swearing, a true believer in Christ strives to praise God by confessing the Lord Jesus and His Word to those who still grope about ignorantly in the darkness of sin. For he knows that “the entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130).
And the Word of God which we speak with the mouth must also be shown in our behavior and conduct, not only with the unbelievers, but also with our fellow-believers. How often this is forgotten! Many times a fine Christian testimony given by mouth is torn down by the individual’s lack of action. The Apostle James reminds us that “if a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” (2:15,16). How quick we are, for example, to admonish one another and how slow we are to admonish ourselves! The Lord Jesus warns us, “why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Luke 6:41). In our relationship as brothers and sisters in the faith we should strive to “be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another” (Romans 12:10). “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8,9).
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor M. L. Natterer, President