Friday – Lent 4

11I will remember the deeds | of the LORD;*
         yes, I will remember your won- | ders
of old.

12I will ponder | all your work,*
         and meditate on your | mighty deeds.

13Your way, O God, is | holy.*
         What god is great | like our God?

14You are the God who works | wonders;*
         you have made known your might among the | peoples.

15You with your arm redeemed your | people,*
         the children of Jacob and | Joseph.
         —Psalm 77:11–15

Additional Psalm: Psalm 17, Psalm 38

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 47:1–31
Jacob’s Family Settles in Goshen

1So Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan. They are now in the land of Goshen.” 2And from among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. 3Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were.” 4They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.” 5Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”

7Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the days of the years of your life?” 9And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.” 10And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. 11Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their dependents.

Joseph and the Famine

13Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. 14And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought. And Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.” 16And Joseph answered, “Give your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. He supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. 18And when that year was ended, they came to him the following year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent. The herds of livestock are my lord’s. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. 19Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”

20So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them. The land became Pharaoh’s. 21As for the people, he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other. 22Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land.

23Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. 24And at the harvests you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.” 25And they said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh.” 26So Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt, and it stands to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; the land of the priests alone did not become Pharaoh’s.

27Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly. 28And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were 147 years.

29And when the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal kindly and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30but let me lie with my fathers. Carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying place.” He answered, “I will do as you have said.” 31And he said, “Swear to me”; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself upon the head of his bed.

Additional Reading: Genesis 48:1–49:28

New Testament Reading: Mark 13:24–37
The Coming of the Son of Man

24“But in those days, after that tribula-tion, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

28“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

No One Knows That Day or Hour

32“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—36lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

From the beginning [God] has utterly uprooted all idolatry. Because of idolatry, He has uprooted both heathen people and Jewish people. To this day He overthrows all false worship, so that all who remain therein must finally perish [2 Chronicles 7:19–20]. Proud, powerful, and rich men of the world … boast defiantly of their Mammon. They utterly disregard whether God is angry at them or smiles on them. They dare to withstand His wrath, yet they shall not succeed. Before they are aware of it, they shall be wrecked, with all in which they trusted.…

Such hard heads imagine that God overlooks and allows them to rest in security, or that He is entirely ignorant or cares nothing about such matters. Therefore, God must deal a smashing blow and punish them, so that He cannot forget their sin unto their children’s children. In that way, everyone may take note and see that this is no joke to Him. These are the people He means when He says, “those who hate Me” ([Exodus 20:5]; i.e., those who persist in their defiance and pride). Whatever is preached or said to them, they will not listen. When they are rebuked, in order that they may learn to know themselves and make amends before the punishment begins, they become mad and foolish.…

But as terrible as these threatenings are, so much more powerful is the consolation in the promise. For those who cling to God alone should be sure that He will show them mercy. In other words, He will show them pure goodness and blessing, not only for themselves, but also to their children and their children’s children, even to the thousandth generation and beyond that. This ought certainly to move and impel us to risk our hearts in all confidence with God [Hebrews 4:16; 10:19–23], if we wish all temporal and eternal good. For the supreme Majesty makes such outstanding offers and presents such heartfelt encouragements and such rich promises.
         —Large Catechism I 35–40

The clouds of judgment gather,
         The time is growing late;
Be sober and be watchful,
         Our judge is at the gate:
The judge who comes in mercy,
         The judge who comes in might
To put an end to evil
         And diadem the right.
         —The Clouds of Judgment Gather (LSB 513:1)

Prayer of the Day
Lord Jesus Christ, so govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of Your glorious return, we may persevere in both faith and holiness of living; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (B87)

Lenten Catechesis: Who receives what Baptism gives and profits?
The Baptism of infants is pleasing to Christ, as is proved well enough from His own work. For God sanctifies many of those who have been baptized as infants and has given them the Holy Spirit. There are still many people even today in whom we perceive that they have the Holy Spirit both because of their doctrine and life. It is also given to us by God’s grace that we can explain the Scriptures and come to the knowledge of Christ, which is impossible without the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:3]. But if God did not accept the Baptism of infants, He would not give the Holy Spirit nor any of His gifts to any of them. In short, during the long time up to this day, no person on earth could have been a Christian. … Since the holy Christian Church cannot perish until the end of the world, the sects must acknowledge that such infant Baptism is pleasing to God. For God can never be opposed to Himself or support falsehood and wickedness, or for its promotion impart His grace and Spirit. … The sects shall not take from us or overthrow this article: “I believe in … the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints.”
         —Large Catechism IV 49–51

Further, we say that we are not very concerned to know whether the person baptized believes or not. For Baptism does not become invalid on that account. But everything depends on God’s Word and command. Now this point … rests entirely on what I have said, that Baptism is nothing other than water and God’s Word in and with each other [Ephesians 5:26]. That is, when the Word is added to the water, Baptism is valid, even though faith is lacking. For my faith does not make Baptism, but receives it.
         —Large Catechism IV 52–53

Suggested Reading from
the Book of Concord
Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord III 36–43

By Rev. Michael Mayer

Lutheran Pastor of two small Lutheran Churches in rural SW Ontario.