We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who know that God pursues them with a relentless and ultimate love said … AMEN!!!
God is totally in love you, He wants the absolute best for you. God does love you! Not in any trite way, I love pizza, I love the Red Sox. No!!! I might give up on the Red Sox, God is never, going to give up on you. As long as you’re alive, as Ezekiel describes, “I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock.” Each individual sheep was very valuable to its owner. Having a very valuable piece of property; that could produce more sheep, produce wool to sell season in and season out, produce food for your family, each sheep was very valuable in and of itself. No shepherd was simply going to write off losing a sheep. As valuable, as important as that sheep was to the shepherd, how much more valuable are we to God? Look around you, look at all He’s done.
There are often discussions about how arrogant Christians are, ya in a lot of ways. You should hear the incredible arrogance of those who say such things. I would submit that we are the only beings in the universe. I would get push back as to how arrogant that is. I can do the mathematical calculations to justify my case, for those who are so sure that they have a scientific argument. They don’t, most people who actually understand the facts would agree with me, most people who like to think that they are “so scientific”, really don’t even begin to understand the science. I’m not married to this concept. It’s certainly God’s domain, if He wishes to populate more planets in the universe. It is a massively huge universe. If God wanted to He surely could and that would not impact what we have in Jesus on this planet at this time. Our all powerful, all knowing God can do what He wants. If He chooses to create a massive universe all for the benefit of His people here, He certainly could, regardless of what the pretentious, secular person wants to believe. A universe we could look up at anytime. A universe so massive and so incredibly complicated, we can’t even begin to truly conceptualize it, yet, God promises us “I myself will search for my sheep and I will seek them out.” In all that huge space, trillions of cubic miles, God will search us out and find us in all that immensity.
Dr Luther writes: “Noah and his family needed comfort. They were terrified by God’s anger, which had just destroyed the world. Because their faith was shaken, God wanted to show himself in a way that would make them expect nothing else but His good will and mercy.” That is how God is with us, Luther goes on to write: “…He was present at their sacrifice , talked to them, that He was displeased at having to destroy the human race and would never do it again.” God was comforting His people in the face of all the tragedy of the world as He does for us who are in Jesus. God comforts us through His ministers, the family He’s given you, all that He has blessed you with.
We get into a lot of eschatology. God prompts Amos to write: “and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.’ 13 Their goods shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. …” 14 The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. 15 A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, … and thick darkness,” This is God trying to scare people straight. This is so necessary, especially in a world like today that is so filled with complacency, that it’s all about me, that what I expect is what’s important. Clearly, God is doing everything He can to make sure that is not how it will be and for all of those complacent people who are so careless in everything in their lives, except of course making the money they need to feed their continual need for worldly pleasure. God is not going to let it slide. There are concepts in the world that explain the different duties we owe to each other. In a hyper-individual world like today, where people truly believe they really don’t owe anyone anything, but of course everyone owes me. It can be readily understood that God is here for each, individual’s benefit, but not that anyone owes God any duty. Yes, God does have a duty towards us! He fulfills that duty constantly, He certainly did when He was pulling down Israel’s complacent world, using King Cyrus, the Persians and Babylonians to do it. That was one of Israel’s apocalyptic events. The Greeks, then the Romans and then essentially, everyone was thrown out of Canaan, Palestine, the Holy Land. It’s been restored, but to a secularized Jewish people.
There will be a final apocalypse, God will refer back to all He said in Amos: “18 Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light, 19… 20 Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? 21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. 23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. 24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.“
Many in the world hear that last part and think God means justice in their limited concept of what that means. No, it means God’s justice will pour down on those who have rejected Him. He will exercise His justice on them and they will be completely crushed and immersed in God’s wrath as if they had flowed over Niagara Falls to be crushed between the waters and the bottom of the falls. His justice demands that those who reject Him be destroyed. His justice is that those who have oppressed and persecuted His church will be lost in darkness and aimless wandering, completely alone, with nothing. All they had been so obsessed with in this world. Who were so consumed by what they had and what they could do and completely complacent towards God, will find out how irrelevant and worthless their skills and possessions were and what it will be like to be completely alone, with nothing for eternity. Dr Luther writes: “For if we are Christians and stay close to him, we know that he speaks to us… He wants to comfort us with his words. Everything He says or does is nothing but friendly and comforting words and actions.”  God does love us, completely sold out to us, has done all He could do through Jesus Christ to save us. We have duties toward each other, we have duties toward God and yes He has duties to us. Part God’s duty is to protect us from ourselves. Just as we go to lengths to protect those who don’t know better in certain instances, doctors warn us of serious symptoms, people in a lot of areas of our life who teach us what we need to know to function and further our lives. Pastors who God uses to keep up the drumbeat that there will be an end, that we need to trust in Christ. He who died for us to pay the penalty for the sins of the world, who endured so much so that we have the promise of an eternal life of bliss and comfort and fulfillment. Where those who chose otherwise will live an eternity of utter, ultimate misery. Not my words, Yahweh’s words to Ezekiel, Amos. Jesus’ words recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. A person can treat these words carelessly and without thought. But certainly God has fulfilled His duty to us by warning us. People today don’t seem to understand the concept that there is, has been and always will be one sheriff in town. That Sheriff is our all, completely powerful God. He created everything. He created us and so because of that He does have a burning heart, a red-hot desire to bring us into the eternal world.
Despite what we like to think, it’s only on His terms. It doesn’t matter in the least to God who/what you are: “34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:” God created us the way that we started out as being. Yeah, we mess it up right out of the chute with our sin, for those who claim they’re not responsible for “how God made them”. They’re deluding themselves, God did not make us to be sinners, we chose our sins and followed through on them. But in that sense our sins do make us equal and is entirely dependent on God and that we are led by Him and not our sin, which is the practice of the world. “I’m not responsible, this is how I was made…” No! Like the lost sheep of Ezekiel 34: 11, all the lost sheep that Jesus describes and promises to save, God does exercise His duty to relentlessly pursue us: Francis Thompson wrote a poem dated 1890, named “The Hound of Heaven” Thompson describes what he did to avoid Him: “I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years; I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter.”
That is a metaphor for all of us, we flee God imposing His will on us, even though Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Despite that we, like Thompson, flee because we are going to impose our own abuse, lies, and onerous burdens on ourselves and condemn ourselves, even though God in His duty to us, pursues us relentlessly to save us from ourselves. Certainly on this Thanksgiving Day weekend, this is our ultimate thankfulness that God warns us, He pursues us, He reaches into our hearts and minds through His Holy Spirit to do everything possible to reach us. His Son died to make the Father’s promise very real that He wants to save us, on His terms, to give us an eternal life in the resurrection. Jesus died for us, stretched out on that Cross, brutally beaten, separated from His Father taking our sin on His shoulders. The Hound of Heaven like a sheep dog pursues its sheep, infinitely more passionately so that He does everything He can to save us, despite ourselves. God is completely in love and sold out to you and will go to great lengths to save you. Never forget that He loves you with an everlasting love through Jesus our Lord.
The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom He has risen! He has risen indeed! Hallelujah!
 Through Faith Alone Devotional Readings from Martin Luther June 1
 Ibid January 13