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Daily Devotion

Daily Devotional

In the Arena with God

April 01, 2020
By Martin Luther

Jacob said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me." . . . Then He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel."

GENESIS 32:26, 28

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In the Arena with God

Even if [God] hides Himself in a room in the house and does not want access to be given to anyone, do not draw back but follow. If He does not want to listen, knock at the door of the room; raise a shout! For this is the highest sacrifice, not to cease praying and seeking until we conquer Him. He has already surrendered Himself to us so that we may be certain of victory, for He has bound Himself to His promises and pledged His faithfulness with an oath, saying (John 16:23): "Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, He will give it to you in My name." Likewise (Mark 16:16): "He who believes and is baptized will be saved." These promises will never disappoint you, unless you refuse to follow and seek. In this case, through your fault, by snoring and sleeping, you lose the most certain promises and Christ Himself, because you refuse to enter this arena and take up the contest with God where the possession of these promises is seen and flourishes. This Man exercises Jacob until true strength and firmness of faith shows itself. For this reason, He changes his name. He says: "Your name shall no more be called Jacob. You were previously called a trampler because of your brother, but they have not yet imposed your true name on you. Your name will be Israel. For your fortitude and the invincible strength of heart by which you have conquered God and men have merited this."

God Can Be Conquered?

March 31, 2020
By Martin Luther

Jacob said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me."

GENESIS 32:26

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God Can Be Conquered?

[God] is not conquered in such a way that He is subjected to us, but His judgment, or His wrath and fury and whatever opposes us, is conquered by us by praying, seeking, and knocking, so that from an angry judge, as He seemed to be previously, He becomes a most loving Father and says (Matthew 15:28; Luke 7:50; cf. Matthew 8:13): "O woman, great is your faith. Your faith has saved you. As you have believed, so be it unto you. Oh, how you hurt Me with your cry!" It is the fullness of consolation that God exercises us in such a way and exhorts us to fight and shows that it is to Him a most pleasing sacrifice to be conquered by us. . .. God is conquered in this way as soon as He has surrendered Himself to us, so to say, and revealed Himself in His Word, promise, and Baptism. It remains that you should conquer those things which want to take this God away from you, namely, through the truth of the promises and faith. Or, if He pretends that He is unfriendly and angry with you inasmuch as He does not want to hear you and help you, then say: "Lord God, You have promised this in Your Word. Therefore You will not change Your promise. I have been baptized: I have been absolved." If you persistently urge and press on in this way, He will be conquered and say: "Let it be done unto you as you have petitioned, for you have the promise and the blessing. I have to give in to you. For a constant and persistent seeker and petitioner is the sweetest sacrifice."

Do Not Yield, but Press On

March 30, 2020
By Martin Luther

Jacob said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me."

GENESIS 32:26

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Do Not Yield, but Press On

Why do you not let him go? Your thigh is hurt and you are already lame; what will you do? "I feel no weakness," says Jacob. Who is strengthening you? "Faith, the promise, and indeed, this weakness of faith." In this manner God is conquered when faith does not leave off, is not wearied, and does not cease but presses and urges on. So it makes its appearance in the Canaanite woman, with whom Jesus was wrestling when He said: "You are a dog, the bread of the sons does not belong to you" (cf. Matthew 15:26). The woman did not yield here but offered opposition, saying: "Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." And so she was victorious and heard the excellent word of praise: "O woman, great is your faith!" Such examples teach us that faith should not yield or cease urging or pressing on even when it is already feeling God's wrath and not only death and sin. This is the power and strength of the Spirit.

God in Hostile Form

March 29, 2020
By Martin Luther

A man wrestled with [Jacob] until the breaking of the day.

GENESIS 32:24

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God in Hostile Form

The chief significance of this story, then, is the example of perfect saints and of temptations in high degree, not against flesh, blood, the devil, and a good angel but against God appearing in hostile form. For although Jacob does not know who this man is, he nevertheless feels that he has been forsaken by God or that God is opposed to him and angry with him. . .. For Moses wrote the story as Jacob recounted it, like this, no doubt: "Suddenly he attacked, and a man fell upon me." This was a shape, or an appearance. But he does not discuss who that man was, because he does not know. But later, when he sees his back, he recognizes him and says: "I have seen the Lord face to face." That attack, accordingly, was the same as if a great strong man had fallen upon him and attacked him. Who it was, he did not know. Jacob himself was a man of regular strength with powers intact such as are usually found in a sound and strong body. Although he fought without sword and arms, he offered stout resistance. He still had a degree of faith in the promise. Although he was alarmed, his thoughts had not yet reached finality and become conclusions. His faith was, indeed, assailed and tried, but he still held to this conclusion firmly: "I have the promise."

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