The Bridge of History -- The Bridge of God's Grace - September 2021

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on September 23, 2021

Today's devotion  was filmed last year on the bridge on the south side of our campus.

Our Old Testament lesson (Isaiah 37-38) is part of an historical bridge. The first half of Isaiah (chapters 1-35) focused on the Assyrian Empire as God's instrument of judgment on the Israelites. The second half (chapters 40-66) offers comfort for God's people who would suffer exile in Babylon 100 years later. 

The main character in this historical bridge is King Hezekiah. When confronted with the attacking Assyrian Empire, the king spreads out his problem before the LORD in prayer and God graciously delivers him. In that very same year, the king suffers from a life-threatening disease. Again he prays. Again the LORD delivers him. 

I wish this historical bridge ended there. You may want to continue your reading today (Isaiah 39) and see how "spiritual success" can become a temptation.

After the LORD answered King Hezekiah's prayers twice in a miraculous way, the king falls into the trap of self-salvation. When envoys from Babylon come, he tries to impress them that he is a worthy ally by showing off all his treasures. He was trying to save himself by making an alliance rather than trusting that the LORD would continue to save him. 

Dear fellow spiritual pilgrim, can you also look back in your life and see times of great spiritual victory (Isaiah 37 & 38), followed by a time that you failed the test? Perhaps you are in that time right now, where you see that your faith has faltered and you are filled with doubts and fears. If that is the case, read our New Testament lesson (Titus 2:11-3:15) and celebrate The Bridge of God's Grace. Highlight words like grace, hope, redeem, kindness, love, washing of rebirth (baptism). 

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 

When doubts and fears and guilt assault you like the Assyrians attacked King Hezekiah, walk across the bridge of your baptism. See the waters of grace wash all your sins away. On the Bridge of God's Grace, the spiritual giants like King Hezekiah who stumble and fall, and the spiritual infants like us who stumble and fall... on the Bridge of God's Grace we are safe. Amen. 

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