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“O come, let us sing to the LORD. Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving and make a joyful noise to him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth. The strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it. And his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.” Psalm 95:1-7a

In Hosea 8:14, we read that “Israel has forgotten his Maker and builds temples.” They were still a religious people, but they had forgotten who the LORD God was and how to worship and serve Him.

These words are not only true of Old Testament Israel at the time of Hosea the prophet; they are true of us today. As a nation and people, we still build churches but we have forgotten our Maker and we neglect to give Him the glory and praise due unto His name.

We need to remember that “the LORD himself is God. It is he who has made us, and not we ourselves. We are his people and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3).

In spite of man’s attempts to escape this fact, the truth still remains that the LORD (Yahweh) God of the Bible (the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) has created us and all things by His almighty word (Gen. 1-2; Neh. 9:6). It is He who formed us in our mothers’ wombs and gave us life (Ps. 139:13-16), and it is He who sustains our lives (cf. Ps. 145:15-16).

And, not only is the LORD God the Creator and Sustainer of all things, He gave His only begotten Son and redeemed us through the innocent sufferings and death of Christ Jesus that we might have forgiveness for all our sins and again be alive to Him and worship His name (cf. Ps. 130:7-8; Jn. 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10; Rom. 5:8-11).

Isn’t it about time we remember our Creator; look to Him to forgive our sins for the sake of the holy life and bitter sufferings and death of God the Son, Christ Jesus, and then worship and serve Him with our lives?

If we do not humbly kneel before Him now, we shall be humbled and kneel before Him on the Last Day when He executes His judgment upon all people (cf. Phil. 2:5-11; Ps. 2).

O Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, for the sake of Christ Jesus, our Savior, forgive us for our many sins against You, and grant that we might kneel before You and worship You both now and forevermore in heaven! Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version of the Bible.]

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Again, the Bible says: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light …” (Genesis 1:1-3; Read Genesis 1:1 – 2:3).

The Hebrew word for “created” in verse one is “bara” and indicates that God created all out of nothing. He called it into existence by saying, “Let there be …” and “There was.”

The Scriptures echo this truth throughout.

Psalm 33:6 says: “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”

Hebrews 11:3 says: “Through faith we understand that the universe was framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which appeared.”

These words teach us the truth that God created all things and sustains them by the power of His word.

The Bible says of the Son of God, in Hebrews 1:1-3: “God, who at many times and in diverse manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom he also made the universe. He is the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself made purification of our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

So, what has God done? He created all things out of nothing. He created and called all into being by His all-powerful word. And, it is by that same creating word that all things continue to exist.

It is as Nehemiah wrote: “You are Yahweh, even you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all things that are in it, the seas and all that is in them, and you preserve them all. And the host of heaven worships you” (Nehemiah 9:6).

Genesis 1:1 – 2:3

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light “day,” and he called the darkness “night,” and the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. 8 And God called the firmament “heaven.” And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 And God called the dry land “earth,” and he called the collection of waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after its kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth.” And it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, herbs yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, for seasons, for days, and years. 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 To rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the waters abundantly bring forth the moving creature that has life and the bird that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” 21 And God created the great sea-creatures and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly after their kind, and every winged bird after his kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply in the earth.” 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind: cattle, the creeping animal, and the beast of the earth after his kind.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, cattle after their kind, and every animal that creeps upon the earth after his kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth, and over every creeping animal that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image. In the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth, and subdue it. And have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the bird of the air, and over every living animal that moves upon the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed. To you it shall be for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to every animal that creeps upon the earth, in which is life, I have given every green herb for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made. And he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version. To read more from this translation, click on the link at the bottom of this page.]

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Who is the Creator? The Bible, which is God’s inspired account, tells us that “in the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.”

And, who is this God? The Hebrew word Elohim, which is the plural form of God, is the name used to describe the Creator in Genesis 1. He is also called by the name Yahweh or Jehovah, often translated LORD. “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens” (Genesis 2:4).

The Bible further defines God and who He is, when it says: “Yet to us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we in him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1 Corinthians 8:6). Thus we see that all things were created by God the Father through Jesus Christ, who is God the Son.

God’s creation account also tells us that, in the beginning when God created the heaven and the earth, “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). And so we see that God the Holy Spirit, too, was active in the creation of all things.

The opening verses of John’s Gospel tell us: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him nothing was made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:1-4).

John 1:14 tells us: “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.”

Thus, we learn that the Word, Jesus Christ, identified in verse 14 as God Himself in the flesh and the only-begotten Son of the Father, created all things and is the giver of life, both physical and spiritual.

In St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, the inspired Scriptures say of Christ Jesus, that “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature. For by him all things were created that are in heaven and that are upon earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers. All things were created by him and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:15-17).

So, who is the Creator? It is God, the God the Scriptures identify for us as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Though God is one – “Hear, O Israel. The LORD our God, Yahweh, is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4) – God is also three – thus, the command to “go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). This is why the God of the Bible is often called the Triune (three/one) God, because He is one God and yet three distinct Persons. The Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. Yet, there are not three Gods, but one God.

The Bible tells us “there are three who bear testimony in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit – and these three are one” (1 John 5:7).

Though beyond our ability to comprehend, this is how God has revealed Himself to us – it is His account and His word. And it is this God who has created all things and given us life.

[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version of the Bible. This version of the Bible may be freely read at the Revised Common Version of the Bible link at the bottom of this page.]

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There were present at that season some who told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus, answering, said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were sinners above all men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5

Many ask these days why God would allow such tragedies as the recent mass murders using guns, vehicles, knives and other means. As a sinful human being with a very limited understanding of the ways of God, I will not presume to speak on His behalf and try, as some have done, to explain God’s reasonings for permitting such wickedness and tragedies to occur. I will, however, let God speak for Himself if any care to listen.

In Isaiah 59:2-3, God says: “But your iniquities have come between and separated you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you so that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity. Your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has uttered perverseness” (read all of Isaiah 59).

Because our people have turned away from the LORD God and no longer listen to His Word, He leaves us to suffer the consequences of our sinful ways and to pay the price for the murder of millions of unborn children in the womb. Why should he continue to watch over us and protect us when we cast off His Word and rebel against his commandments!

In Luke 13:1-5, Jesus was told of certain Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. Jesus asked, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were sinners above all men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.”

Applying Jesus’ words to those who have been killed in recent shootings, bombings, vehicular homicides, knife attacks, etc., were these people worse sinners than others, including us, who have not yet suffered such tragedies? Jesus says, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.”

In 2 Peter 3, the Bible speaks of God’s final judgment upon this earth, and we learn why it has not yet occurred. Verse 9 says: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is patient toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

The recent events in our world could have just as well struck right here, at home. Stop and think about the possibilities. Why hasn’t such a tragedy struck us? Why hasn’t God permitted death to come suddenly upon us or our children? His answer: He “is patient toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Perhaps – no, most definitely – we ought to use the remaining time God has given us in this world to consider what He has told us in the Bible, repent of the evil in our lives and seek the forgiveness God offers us through the death and resurrection of His Son!

Jesus added this parable to His words: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came and sought fruit on it, and found none. Then he said to the dresser of his vineyard, ‘Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down. Why does it encumber the ground?’ And he, answering, said to him, ‘Lord, leave it alone this year also until I dig about it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, fine. But if not, then after that you shall cut it down’” (Luke 13:6-9).

Our gracious God expects to find fruits of repentance in our lives too. If we are truly sorry for our sinful ways and trust in Christ Jesus for forgiveness, we will not just continue on in our old sinful ways but seek to live for Christ according to His Word. Jesus is patient with us and, by His Spirit, works to strengthen us in the faith and sanctify us so that we might live for Him. But ultimately, if we produce no fruit for Him, we, like the fruitless fig tree will be cut down.

Jesus’ words are a warning to us against false security – thinking that all is well with our souls if we are baptized church members while we go our own way and live as we please rather than as God commands in His Word and as God’s Spirit leads us. Unless we repent, we will be cut off and perish.

God is patient with us and desires that we all repent of our foolish and sinful ways and turn to Jesus Christ and His innocent sufferings and death upon the cross for forgiveness and new life in Him. He is patient, but one day that patience will run out and the day of the Lord will come upon us!

O dearest Jesus, forgive my foolishness and sin and teach me to walk in Your ways and live for You in accord with Your holy Word. Grant that I produce the fruits of true repentance in my life and be found to Your praise and glory. I ask this for the sake of Your holy and precious blood shed for the remission of my sins and the sins of the whole world. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version of the Bible.]

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And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘In this way you shall bless the children of Israel, saying to them, “May the LORD bless you and keep you. May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”’ “And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27

This is the blessing that God commanded Aaron and his sons to speak over the children of Israel. We often refer to these words of blessing as a benediction because they are good words of blessing which God has commanded to be spoken over His people.

God also says of these words that in this way “they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” Thus, we see that this blessing is a way in which God’s name is to be placed upon His people; and we see that God Himself has promised to carry out the blessing.

The Aaronic Blessing is a Trinitarian blessing because the word LORD (Yahweh or Jehovah in Hebrew) is to be spoken over the people three times – once for each person in the Trinity. The threefold blessings also depict the work of the LORD for mankind.

It is the Father who has created and still preserves us. “He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life” (Luther’s Small Catechism). He also keeps us. “He defends me against all danger, and guards and protects me from all evil” (Luther’s Small Catechism).

In the person of the Son – who is also the LORD (Yahweh or Jehovah) – the LORD looks upon us sinners with grace and favor; for Christ Jesus, who is “true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary … has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death” (Luther’s Small Catechism). For Christ’s sake, God’s face shines upon us and He is gracious and merciful toward us sinners.

It is the Holy Spirit – also the LORD (Yahweh or Jehovah) – who lifts up His face toward us sinners and gives us peace (shalom) with God through the knowledge of the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting through faith in Christ Jesus. He “has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith” (Luther’s Small Catechism). He gives us peace by assuring us that God forgives and accepts us and all who look in faith to Christ Jesus and His cross for mercy.

We recall, of course, that God’s name has already been placed upon us at our Baptism and that we are God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus (cf. Gal. 3:26-27). And, in the Aaronic Blessing, God’s name is also spoken over us and placed upon us! As in Christian Baptism, where the minister applies water “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” and God washes away our sins and makes us His own dear children through faith in Christ Jesus (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 22:16; Tit. 3:5), so also in this blessing, the LORD – the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – grants us His grace and blessing through His Word and Sacraments.

And when we believe His promises, God does mercifully “bless” us and “keep” us. His face does “shine” upon us and He is “gracious” unto us. He does “lift up His countenance upon” us and “give” us His “peace,” all for the sake of Christ Jesus and His innocent sufferings and death on the cross in our stead. And He continues to bless us and keep us throughout our earthly lives, until that Day when we finally partake of the everlasting peace of heaven!

Dear LORD God, graciously grant that we receive Your benediction in faith and partake of the blessings which You give us for the sake of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In His name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version of the Bible.]

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