Today’s Reading: Exodus 17:1-7
“They tested the Lord by saying, ‘is the Lord among us or not?’” – Exodus 17:7b
God with us? That was the question at Meribah. Israel did not believe or hope in “Immanuel”; they doubted His presence. Several centuries later, God promised to send one by that name—His final answer to the lonely misgivings of His people. Without water, they expected to die – all alone, forgotten. Without God Himself, this is most certainly true: we will perish. But with water and God’s Word, by daily contrition and repentance, the Old Adam in us drowns and dies, along with all sins and evil desires, that a new man should daily emerge and arise, to live before God in righteousness and purity forever. This is why, immediately after Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, the Spirit drove Him out into the wilderness: to combat the devil. We remember those forty days during Lent (matching Israel’s forty years of wandering in the desert). That whole time, Jesus did not eat or drink – impossible for a mere man. But this was Immanuel, anointed by the fullness of the Spirit. There and then, He overcame every temptation on our behalf. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Prayer: “Rise! To arms! With prayer employ you, O Christians, let the foe destroy you; For Satan has designed your fall. Wield God’s Word, the weapon glorious; Against all foes be thus victorious, For God protects you from them all. Fear not the hordes of hell, Here is Emmanuel. Hail The Savior! The strong foes yield to Christ our Shield, and we, the victors, hold the field” (Rise! To Arms! With Prayer Employ You, LSB 668:1).
This devotion was written by Rev. Paul Nus – Pastor of Trinity Lutheran in Millersburg and Calvary Lutheran in Deep River.