August 26, 2017
Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
In World War II, the people of the west had a worrisome problem.
Many of the able-bodied young men were fighting in one theater of war or the other. That meant the people back home felt they were vulnerable to an enemy assault from Japan. They asked themselves, "What form of attack would produce the greatest positive propaganda for them and cause the greatest amount of concern and upset for the United States?"
The answer was a simple one. Planes, balloons, and gliders could drop incendiary bombs on the great forests of the west. Without firefighters on line, those fires could cover vast areas before they would run out of fuel and burn themselves out.
To combat such a possibility, a special draft was made ... a most unusual draft.
On August 9, 1944, Smokey Bear was enlisted for service. As Smokey is still going strong today, he has become the longest lasting public service announcement in the country. Although Smokey's original message, "Only you can prevent forest fires" has, in recent years, become, "Only you can prevent wildfires," Smokey, himself, has pretty much stayed the same. His outfit is the same; his spade is the same; his gentle manner of talk, the same.
Now you might think a message and messenger which have remained unchanged for over 70 years would be pretty boring. Not so. The truth is people pay attention when Smokey speaks. They believe his message is for their good, and the children, well, the children love Him.
Now there's a truth to be learned here.
That truth is this: just because something doesn't continuously change doesn't mean it's valueless. The book of Hebrews applies that fact to our lives when it tells us that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Yes, I know when some people hear a text like that, they have to do all they can to stifle a great, big yawn.
I hope you are in the other camp -- the camp of believers who realizes that
• an unchanging Savior means that the Lord's love for you is solid and steadfast;
• an unchanging Savior means that the forgiveness He has won is constant and consistent;
• an unchanging Savior means that His promises are in effect, and you can call on Him anytime, anywhere;
• an unchanging Savior means that although others may leave, desert, or betray us, He is with us always;
• an unchanging Savior means when the physicians have done all they can, and I breathe my last, He will be at my side, and take me through the valley of the shadow of death to be with Him in a home where there is no sadness, sorrow or tears.
To paraphrase Smokey: only an unchanging Savior can prevent hellfire.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, when it comes to my salvation I give thanks for the changes You have brought about in me. At the same time, I give thanks for a changeless Savior who can be trusted at all times and in all situations. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one carried by USA Today on August 7, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries