Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel Sixth Sunday after Epiphany –week of 15th-20th February 2021 “I am your God”

“I am your God:” this is a powerful and direct word from God, an admonition to remind His people Israel of the covenant He had made with them as He came to free them from the slavery of the Egyptians, which says, « I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians » Ex 6:7. And He reiterated this to them when they were held in captivity in Babylon, saying, « But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people » Jer 31:33. In fact, He had already commanded: « You shall have no other gods before me » Ex 20:3. But men’s heart is rebellious and wicked (Rom 3:9) because of the lust that is at work in them, which directs and enslaves them, and diminishes and takes away their love to God (Jn 5:43) and their keeping His commands (Jn 14:15). This is why they easily deviate and turn away from Him, yielding to the deception of the devil, enemy of God. So he lures them to worship “other gods” which are not God, which can neither save nor make them live! Therefore, the statement “I am your God” is the voice of God that is still calling men to come back to Him, and by which He stills gives them the promise: « Return, O faithless children, I will heal your faithlessness » Jer 3:22a. Therefore, the statement “I am your God” is the voice of God that is still calling men to come back to Him, and by which He stills gives them the promise: « Return, O faithless children, I will heal your faithlessness » Jer 3:22a. For those who serve the flesh will reap corruption from the flesh the corruption as they are sowing for death (Gal 6:8). Indeed, separation from God leads to a dangerous and deadly path, like Adam and Eve who found themselves without Caregiver. Therefore, He still gives a great promise of salvation to His sinful people, which He will fulfill when they return to Him, according to His word, saying, « Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you… » Isa 41:10. Indeed, the Lord says: « Do not fear, I will help you » Isa 41:13b.

Monday 15th: « I am your God. »
« Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me » Ps 50:15.
Reading 1: Rom 10:11-15. Reading 2: Ps 50:7-23. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Ps 50:15.
Introduction: God does not forsake His people, so He calls them to come back to Him. Bring your battles to Him, weep unto Him in our pain and failure. For He is « an ever-present help in trouble » Ps 46:1b. He sent His Son Jesus Christ « to seek and save that which was lost » Lk 19:10; indeed, He was sent by Him not to condemn but to save (Jn 3:17).

Tuesday, 16th: It is Jesus Christ who reveals the Father.
« This is my Son, my Beloved » 2 Pet 1:17c.
Reading 1: Col 2:9-15. Reading 2: 2 Pet 1:12-18. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 2 Pet 1:17.
Introduction: Jesus is truly the Revealer of the Father. In this respect, John said, « No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known » Jn 1:18. Blessed are those who have received Jesus, for He gives them « the power to become children of God” (Jn 1:12), that is, children who inherit God (Rom 8:17).

Wednesday 16th: Look to Jesus alone.
« And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone » Mt 17:8.
Reading 1: Heb 12:1-3.Reading 2: Mt 17:1-9. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 17:8.
Introduction: When Philip asked Jesus: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us,” He answered him, « Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works » Jn 14: 9b-10. The Father’s work in Jesus is to save men; therefore, « Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household » Act 16:31.

Thursday, 18th: Get rid of all false gods.
« You have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do-living in … detestable idolatry » 1 Pet 4:3.
Reading 1: Ezek 6:1-8. Reading 2: 1 Pet 4:1-7. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Pet 4:3.
Introduction: It is stated here that “idolatry is strictly prohibited” because it is enmity against God, humiliating Him by considering Him to be like the things that He created and things that human hands have made, about which He commanded: « You shall not make for yourself an idol …You shall not bow down to them or worship them » Ex 20:4a,5. For those who worship idols⸺ which consist of « worthless lies » Ps 31:6⸺are judged by God; they will be made as nothing, like the idols they are worshipping.

Friday 18th: Preach and proclaim who is your God.
« Let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth » Act 4:10.
Reading 1: Jn 1:43-49. Reading 2: Act 4:1-12. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Act 4:10.
Introduction: All those who have acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Christ cannot remain silent and not proclaim Him; they will open their mouth and say like the Apostle John: « We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life…we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us » 1 Jn 1:1-3. Paul exhorted Timothy in these terms: « Proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable » 2 Tim 4:2.

Saturday, 20th: Give glory to your God.
« To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen » 1 Tim 1:17.
Reading 1: Mar 8:34-38. Reading 2: 1 Tim 1:12-17. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Tim 1:17.
Introduction: If the Holy Scripture says about human beings: « Pay … honor to whom honor is due » Rom 13:7d, how much more should men give glory to God who created them to be in His likeness (Gen 1:26), and who above all made redemption for the sinners so that they may inherit eternal life (Jn 3:16)? Therefore, let us unite our voice with that of the Psalmist and say: « Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name » 1 Chr 16:29a.

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