On another front, it is day 624 in the Russia-Ukraine War. According to a report in the New York Times last week, close to 500,000 Ukrainian and Russian troops have been injured or killed since this war started in February, 2022. Add to that carnage thousands of civilian casualties.
Back here in America, gang and drug-related warfare continue to rip apart our cities. In this year alone--Chicago: 507 homicides. Milwaukee: 159.
All this stands as proof our Savior saw the future with 20-20 divine insight. He warned us, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because all these things must happen; but that is not yet the end. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matthew 24:6-7)
If you are like me, you grow weary of the noise. The hate. The seething anger. Satan stirring the pot, seeking whom he may devour. Where, oh where, can we find relief? In our Father’s Word. In His promises. In His plan of grace carried out perfectly by his Son, our Savior and Lord.
And... in His names. The inspired writer tells us, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower. A righteous person runs inside and is protected.” (Proverbs 18:10) Here are a few towers for you to run into today.
El Shaddai: “I am God Almighty.” (Genesis 17:1) This is how the Lord introduced himself when he promised that Abraham, age 100, and Sarah, age 90, were going to have a child. The name proved true! Isaac was born, and through his line came the Savior! Is there anything our God Almighty cannot do? (If you are skeptical and need further proof consider Creation. The 10 plagues on Egypt. The Virgin Birth. Easter, and more.)
Yahweh: “I am who I am.” Often translated as “LORD.” (Exodus 3:14) This is the name the LORD announced to Moses at the burning bush. It is the name Moses was to share with the Israelites as proof their God was with them and intended to deliver them from bondage in Egypt. The LORD uses this name throughout Scripture to guarantee to us that he cannot change. His grace is free, faithful, and certain.
Abba: “Papa!” “Daddy!” (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6. This name is Aramaic.) Through God’s Spirit, you and I have been called to faith. As God’s children, we have been given the incredible privilege to cry out to him like little children! With our arms outstretched and a smile on our face and in our hearts, because we know our “Papa,” our “Daddy” will never turn us away!
Immanuel: “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) This is the precious name given to our Savior. Drink in the comfort this name gives! Our God is not “against us,” or “divided apart from us.” Instead Jesus took on flesh to be one with us! Our brother! Our perfect Substitute in life and in death! It is Immanuel who guaranteed, “And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Remember that the next time you feel alone, afraid, and wearied by a sin-crazed, noisy world.
Privileged to serve,
Rev. Glenn Schwanke