Reflections: Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

Today’s Reading: Romans 15:4-13

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 26:1-19; 1 John 3:1-24 

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4) 

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever wondered why the Old Testament was written? All those pages of names and actions of people who rebelled against God? Now once in a while, we read about a fairly good guy–maybe an Abraham, Moses, or David–but more often we read about a Cain, Samson, or Ahab. Books of the Old Testament are filled with life stories of men and women who knew the truth. They heard the voice of God in the wilderness. They saw the pillar of fire. They had eaten the bread of heaven. The prophet of God had come and had spoken to them, yet they kept right on falling into sin. 

Why were all these sinners written about in the Old Testament? Why did God choose to share with us the stories of all these imperfect people? Well, in the book of Romans, Paul tells us that Scripture was written so that we might have instruction, encouragement, and hope. 

The Bible has pages upon pages of instruction so that we might see what God requires of us. The Bible is filled with the stories of men and women who failed to listen to God so that you and I might see that we are in good company because we, too, fail to listen to the Lord. The pages of Holy Scripture are filled with the encouragement of the grace, mercy, and long-suffering love of God. For God so loved the world that even before the fall into sin, He planned to send His Son to redeem us from all our sin.

The pages of Holy Scripture are written so that we might have hope. In the Bible we receive the glorious message of salvation. We learn that Christ came, took our place, and suffered our punishment. Jesus died on the Cross to forgive us and all those sinners in the Old Testament who had faith and trusted in the Lord. Instruction, encouragement, and hope–these are the reasons that the Holy Spirit caused the men of God to write the Bible. What a great gift we have received by the hand of God! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Holy and most merciful God, who by your Word has taught us the truth of who we are and what we need. Continue to pour out your grace and mercy upon us so that we might live for you. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.

Rev. William K. Stottlemyer is the pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hancock, MD.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch