Armed with the Word
For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation. Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands.
Since we know we are sinful people, we may wonder at the statement, "The LORD takes pleasure in His people." Repentant honesty compels us to admit that we do not deserve God's pleasure. We sin daily in our thoughts, words, and actions, doing what we should not do and leaving undone a thousand good works that should be done. Why would the LORD be pleased with us?
God takes pleasure in us for the sake of His Son. At Jesus' Baptism, the Father spoke from heaven: "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17b). Jesus fulfilled the purpose for which He had come. He was obedient to His Father, even to the point of death on the cross. The Savior was raised to life, and in Baptism we are buried and raised with Him. We are clothed in His righteousness and placed into a right relationship with God as His sons and daughters. God is pleased with us because He is pleased with His Son, in whom we have "become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21b).
Clothed in Christ, we are dressed for praise—and for battle. We live with "the high praises of God" in our throats and "two-edged swords" in our hands. We wield, by God's grace, "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:17b). In the psalm, this double-edged weapon is used "to execute vengeance on the nations ... to execute on them the judgment written!" (see Psalm 149:7a, 9a) When Christ returns, those who have rejected Him as Savior and Lord will suffer God's just judgment. The mighty Lord will return with the armies of heaven and from His mouth will come "a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations" (Revelation 19:15b).
As we employ the powerful sword of the Word, we find that the two-edged weapon cuts both ways. The sharp edge of God's Law strikes home and "executes God's just judgments," revealing and condemning sin. The sweetly sharp edge of the Gospel delivers the good news of God's grace and forgiveness in Christ Jesus. Adorned now with salvation, we have Jesus' promise: "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life" (John 5:24).
The risen Lord said that repentance and forgiveness of sins was to be preached in His Name to all nations. Wherever that message is proclaimed, the Spirit is at work through the two-edged sword of the Word, bringing sinners to repentance and creating faith in the Savior who redeemed them. We know that "there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10b). If the angels are rejoicing, then we too can exult in glory and sing for joy—even on our beds!
Lord God, You are pleased with us for the sake of Your Son. We rejoice in Your gift of salvation and in the power of Your Word. Fill our voices with praise and with the good news of salvation in Jesus. Amen.
Dr. Carol Geisler
1. Can you think of a time when you felt like God took pleasure in you?Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
2. What do you think it means for us to "exult in glory"? What might that look like?
3. Do you feel competent handling God's Word? What can you do to become better with it?
Since we know we are sinful people, we may wonder at the statement, "The LORD takes pleasure in His people."