"Lord, enthroned in heav'nly splendor, First begotten from the dead, You alone, our strong defender, Lifting up Your people's head. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Jesus, true and living bread! Jesus, true and living bread!
"Life imparting heav'nly manna, Stricken rock with streaming side, Heav'n and earth with loud hosanna Worship You, the Lamb who died, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Ris'n, ascended, glorified! Ris'n, ascended, glorified!"
Throughout the church year, in our hymns and worship, we review the life of the Lord Jesus and the unfolding events that tell the story of our salvation. Now, as the church year draws to a close, our hymn reveals the Savior as we will one day see Him, "enthroned in heavenly splendor." The crucified, risen and ascended Lord provides for His faithful now as He long ago provided for Israel in the wilderness, where His people "drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:4b).
As the Israelites wandered through the desert on the way to the Promised Land, the Lord fed them with manna, bread from heaven. At God's command, water gushed from a rock to quench their thirst. These miraculous provisions followed the great miracle of freedom when lambs' blood streamed down the doorposts of Israelite homes, shielding them as the Lord passed over to destroy the Egyptian firstborn, an act of judgment that forced Pharaoh to free his Hebrew slaves.
Centuries later, in a far greater act of redemption, the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, streamed down a wooden cross as the firstborn Son of God was offered up as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. By God's grace, through faith in Christ the Lamb, we are set free from slavery to sin and death. As we travel through this world's wilderness, the risen and ascended Lamb sustains us.
Enthroned in majesty, Jesus, the "true and living bread" of heaven, who on the cross was the "stricken rock with streaming side," nourishes us with His body and blood in His holy Supper. Our glorified King is the "first begotten from the dead"—the first to rise in victory over death—but He is not the last. The coming season of Advent will mark the beginning of the new church year as we prepare to celebrate our Lord's first advent, His birth in Bethlehem. But Advent will also be a time to pray earnestly for our King's second advent. On the Last Day, Jesus, the firstborn from the dead, will return in glory as King and Judge. Raised up from death as He was raised, "when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as he is" (1 John 3:2b). On that great day we will add our voices to the loud hosannas of earth and heaven in worship of the Lamb who died and rose to save us.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, enthroned in splendor, sustain us as we travel through this world's wilderness. Strengthen us with Your forgiveness and nourish us with Your Word and with Your body and blood. Accept our grateful praise until that day when we join in the loud hosannas offered up before Your throne. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor," which is found on page 534 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Do you read hymn texts before you sing them or look up the Bible verses from which they're inspired? (You can find hymn-writer and Scripture references in tiny print at the bottom of the page, usually.)
2. What imagery in this devotion's hymn verses do you find most effective?
3. How do you like today's contemporary worship services (range of instruments) when compared against traditional organ-based styles of the past?
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