"Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word; Curb those who by deceit or sword, Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son, And bring to naught all He has done.
"Lord Jesus Christ, Your pow'r make known, For You are Lord of lords alone; Defend Your holy Church that we May sing Your praise eternally."
In the hymn we pray that God would restrain those who "by deceit or sword" would try to tear the kingdom from our Savior's grasp, but we know from Scripture that such a thing is impossible. Jesus, our Shepherd-King, has a firm grip on His sheep, promising, "No one will snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:28b). We have received a kingdom "that cannot be shaken" (Hebrews 12:28b).
Still, there will always be those who seek—in vain—to destroy our Lord's kingdom. Many enemies of Christ wield the sword, violently persecuting Jesus' followers. All around the world Christians are attacked, imprisoned, and murdered; their churches, homes, and businesses are destroyed. Others who seek to destroy Christ's work rely on more subtle, but still destructive, methods. False teachers may try to "wrest the kingdom" from God's Son by suggesting that Jesus is not really the Son of God. Jesus, they say, was not God in the flesh but merely a wise teacher, a good example to follow through life. They try to deceive believers and unbelievers alike, denying that Jesus is the Messiah and Savior. Some false teachers claim that Jesus never really died on the cross. Others may admit that He died but claim that He never rose from the dead. Seeking to deceive the world with such false beliefs, these enemies of the Gospel deny the lordship of Christ and attempt to "bring to naught" all that He has done.
Jesus said, "If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31b-32). From the Word we know the truth. The victory in this battle belongs to Jesus, even though on earth the defeated enemy, Satan, continues to war against us in futile rage. In the hymn we ask our Lord to defend His holy church. We, as members of His body, the church, are involved in this kingdom battle, and so we pray, "Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word." It is in our Savior's Word that the world's false ideas about Jesus are revealed as deceitful lies, and it is in the Word we learn the joyful truth reflected in the hymn. The crucified and risen Savior we will praise for all eternity reigns now, and He alone is Lord of lords.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, by Your mighty power defend Your church on earth. Keep us faithful and strong in the study of Your Word. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word," which is found on page 655 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. What ways (subtle or otherwise) have you noticed that the church is disparaged or mocked by others outside the faith?
2. How does Jesus defend the church?
3. Do you rely on God's ultimate victory over the world to give you courage when you need it?
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