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The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost A, July 16, 2023

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The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost A, July 16, 2023

The cheerleaders at my (long ago) high school had a chant they would use to encourage the players on the court: “V-I-C-T-0-R-Y, that’s the way we spell “success!” The team’s only way of knowing they’d been successful was when they had a victory over their opponents.

The prophet Isaiah was preaching to the Israelites whose opponents had had the victory. The Israelites had been defeated, herded off to exile in Babylon, and awaited the work of their God. Isaiah announced to them that their God was indeed working. Isaiah spoke promises from their Lord and delivered assurances of their certainty. The promise delivered to them was forgiveness from their God; they would receive the Lord’s mercy. It was promised to them by the Word of God—a most certain and true promise.

This Word of promise was so sure and certain that it could be compared to the certainty of rain and snow. It was as certain as the sprouting of the seeds. It was as certain as the nourishment which comes from bread. The Word of the Lord always accomplishes the purpose for which the Lord sends it. For faith’s sake, the accomplishment of that purpose hides behind whatever mask God uses at the time. This is most certainly true!

Today, you have heard the Word of the Lord. It has been delivered to you by your pastor, by those who read the scriptures, by those who served communion: “The body and blood of Christ, given and shed for you!” God gives his Word so that his purpose—your salvation–will be accomplished. For faith’s sake, only the eyes of faith “see” this salvation but nonetheless, it is your salvation. This is most certainly true!

Table Talk: Tell of a time you received a promise and how you waited for it to come about. How important is it to trust the one who makes the promise so that you can wait faithfully?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us such trust in you that we can wait faithfully for the victory you give us. Amen

Isaiah 55:10-13

10 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

12 For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

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