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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 248

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From the Word: And he did not stretch out his hand against the leaders of the people of Israel. And they beheld God, and ate and drank. (Exodus 24:11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Returning Thanks

After the meal, they should reverently and with folded hands pray:

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. He gives food to all flesh; He gives food to the beast and to the young ravens that cry. He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.

Then pray the Lord’s Prayer and the following:

We thank Thee, Lord God, our Father, for all Thy benefits, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Pulling It Together: Even when facing the fear of God’s wrath, the leaders of the people were able to go up into the mountain of God with Moses and Joshua. How is it that they were able to do such a fearsome act? They went to face God because they had faith in him, and the promise of his covenant with the people of Israel. This answer is proved out in today’s verse. See what happened, what came first? First, the people beheld God; they looked upon his fiery glory, a devouring fire that they drew near to instead of fleeing.

We too, every day, draw near the devouring glory of God, expecting the benefits that come from the loving hand of the Father instead of the rage of a tyrant. We face the fire and instead of destroying us in his wrath, he feeds us and provides other benefits. He forgives our sins and gives us, not shortened life, but everlasting life.

This scene most certainly anticipates Holy Communion, where we behold God in faith, then eat and drink, consuming the very promise who is God. But it also speaks to the faith of people who are able to give the Almighty thanks, who are emboldened to face him despite their sin, and expect the care of a gracious God and loving Father.  

Prayer: Open my eyes wider, Lord, that I may see you by faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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