"If God Himself be for me, I may a host defy; For when I pray, before me my foes, confounded, fly. If Christ, my Head and Master, befriend me from above, What foe or what disaster can drive me from His love?
"He canceled my offenses, delivered me from death; He is the Lord who cleanses my soul from sin through faith. In Him I can be cheerful, courageous on my way; In Him I am not fearful of God's great Judgment Day."
Who are your foes? There may be people who dislike us, and there are certainly those with whom we disagree. We may not classify any of these people as foes, but our Lord knows that we will encounter enemies. There are those who hate the Lord Jesus and anyone who follows Him. Concerning these people, Jesus tells us, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44b). Yet we have other foes, eternally deadly enemies—sin, death, and Satan.
We are easily entrapped, listening to the temptations of the devil and of the world around us and following our own selfish desires. We may feel lost and hopeless when faced with such enemies, but we are not alone in our daily war against evil. As David said concerning his fight with Goliath, "The battle is the Lord's" (1 Samuel 17:47b). We are called to stand defiantly against these foes, armed with prayer and the Word of God. Our hymn asks, "If Christ ... befriend me ... what foe or what disaster can drive me from His love?" The question echoes the words of the apostle Paul, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31b).
How is God for us? He gave His Son to be our Savior. In Jesus, God cancelled our offenses because Jesus fought our battle, taking our sins onto Himself and carrying them to the cross. He suffered death, the penalty for sin, in our place. On the first Easter morning, Jesus was raised up from death, overcoming every enemy, and His victory is our victory.
"God's great Judgment Day" lies ahead, the day on which Jesus will return in glory. We do not fear that great day, because our Judge is the Savior who promised, "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 5:24b). Confident in Christ Jesus, we can be cheerful and courageous as we wait in hope for Jesus' return. Our hymn asks the question: "What foe or what disaster can drive me from His love?" We know the answer. No foe or disaster, neither death nor life, nothing now or yet to come—nothing in all creation "will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39b).
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, nothing can separate me from Your love. Help me to be courageous and cheerful as I live in service to You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "If God Himself Be for Me," which is number 724 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Do you pray for the difficult people in your life? What's the benefit of doing this?
2. Are you able to say with David, "The battle is the Lord's," and turn things over to Him?
3. Though God's coming judgment is real, what escape do we have when it arrives?
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