Oculi—Lent 3 (Ps 25; Ex 3; Lk 11)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || [AUDIO](https://app.box.com/s/exxsyj1nr0qvmy6vj9fclxtrgl6onzpz)
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || [AUDIO](https://app.box.com/s/fre3i3c2mp99tkyydbpsk4uc73l9thg4)

“My eyes are ever toward the Lord because He takes My feet out of the net.” (Ps 25:15)

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: We’re surrounded by trouble and distress.))

We’re surrounded by trouble and distress. That’s life, isn’t it? Life’s hard. It’s not easy at all. You’ve got to control it, or it will control you. Life never stops. It’s always moving, and sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s bad, though—real bad! It’s tough. We get beat down, dragged down, stressed out. We survive. We worry.

There’s not much we can do about it. We try—all the wrong things, though. We don’t try to be better for our neighbor. Instead we focus on ourselves, and use all sorts of things to cope, but not the Lord. We’ll use the bottle or sports or TV or work or social media or things on the internet we should never see—all to deaden the stress, the pain, the worry. Then that troubles us, too!

((4. Ugh!: We’re attacked by large and devastating enemies.))

But it’s not just the daily, weekly stresses of life that trouble us. No, “the troubles of our hearts are enlarged!” Tragedies happen. Had one again! Lord, have mercy! And they’re awful. Unexplainable. Terrible. There’s nothing good about any of it! I don’t like it. You don’t have to either. Death is awful. It’s okay to be angry. David’s a little bit angry in our Introit. God can take it! He’s been God for a long time.

And there’s nothing good about the devil trying to drag us down either. In our troubles he comes along and tries to lock us up, kill us like Pharaoh did the Israelites. He tries to drag you down to hell, to make “the last state of you worse than the first.” And he’ll use all the ways we try to cope to do it. That’s him. So easy! It’s in the cabinet, the truck cab, it’s just a few clicks a way, there’s always enough chores to keep your mind off your loved ones. Our flesh likes it, runs after it. Just like the Israelites always wanted to go back to Egypt and Pharaoh.

And what’s even worse than all that is that in all these troubles it seems like the Lord’s turned His back on you. That He doesn’t care. That He doesn’t save. Is He the One who pulls your feet out of the net or not? Then why my sins? Why death? Why devil? Why trouble? From what we see, from what happens around us, it seems like He’s not. To our eyes it looks like He’s turned His back, ignoring us, cold shoulder.

We want to tell Him, “Hey! Just, look at me! I’m all alone here! You’ve abandoned me! All I’ve got left is pain and sin and death and trouble. Stop turning Your back and face me!” But we don’t really want to pray like that. I’m not sure why not. That’s what David’s saying in our Introit today.

((3. Aha!: THE LORD SEES YOU AND SAVES YOU.))

Stress. Daily troubles. Tragedies. Sins. Death. Devil. Hell. In the midst of all that, in our own whirlwind of trouble, we’re broken, desolate, afflicted, all alone. Or so it seems. Sure, what we see is all the mess of this life. Just darkness. Just slavery. Just sin, death, devil, hell. The real question, though, isn’t what you see. The real question is what the Lord sees and what the Lord does. The truth is: THE LORD SEES YOU. He really does! But He doesn’t just see you. THE LORD SEES YOU AND SAVES YOU.

((2. Whee!: The enemies and troubles have nothing on Jesus!))

He really does—SEE YOU, SAVE YOU. Because THE LORD who SEES YOU AND SAVES YOU is none other than Jesus, and your enemies, your troubles—no matter what they are!— have nothing on Jesus. He led the Israelites out of Egypt! He cast out demons! But that’s not all! It can’t be because if that were it, then we’d be left wondering: “Then why did this happen?” And for comfort we go: “Well, He’s got to have a plan.” Yeah, I guess, a terrible one—if we’re going to be honest about how we really feel about what’s going on.

But the LORD does SEE YOU AND SAVE YOU! “He plucks your feet out of the net.” Jesus does! He’s not far off. He’s not turned His back. He’s not sleeping. But still we wonder. Where is He in the cancer, in the accident, in any and all trouble, distress, death, and affliction? Did He blink? No, He’s right there! Or what death do you think He was enduring and swallowing up in His own death? That death! Every single death is His! His death is the dying of every individual death—in His own body! Or what death do you think He was destroying in His own resurrection from the dead? Every single one that every single grave stone marks!

And when it comes to our sins, our trying to deal with stress and trouble on our own, what sorts of sins do you think He was shedding His blood for? Those specific ones! He took those sins, that coping, that worry, and He made them His. They aren’t yours anymore! He’s already shed His blood for them. He’s already died and risen for them.

Not only that, the Lord’s really saved you from coping on your own. Our problem is that we’ve turned what He’s given to us into just something we do when we decide. But the LORD SEES YOU AND SAVES YOU—present tense! He’s given you His body and blood to eat and drink. Whatever you and I use to cope, just ends with more worry, more shame. He saves you from that stuff. His body and blood. Hose things just end in emptiness and death, but the Lord gives you His body and blood. Life and salvation. in His body and blood, He’s delivering forgiveness for our own coping.

You want the strength to meet that days ahead? Life in the midst of death? Forgiveness in the midst of sin? Peace in the midst of pain? “My body and blood for you for the forgiveness of your sins.” There He pours into you His very own death and resurrection, His very own life from the dead, His very own forgiveness of sins. He shares all that with you there. He shares all of Himself, all of His love. He pours it down your throat! Where is He? There! “Body and blood for you.”

((1. Yeah!: Your eyes will be on the Lord Jesus forever.))

THE LORD SEES YOU AND SAVES YOU. He will always do it. He’ll pluck your feet from the net, your body from the grave. He’ll see you forever. In fact, you’ll see Him, too. You’ll see Him face to face forever. Jesus face to face! You’ll see Him, the one you sees you. You are saved, and you’ll see your Savior. Risen from the dead just as He is. You’ll live, just as He lives. You’ll reign with Him in His Father’s Kingdom forever. No distress or trouble or sin or doubt or death will keep you out. Can’t! He died and rose. He pours His own resurrection and life and love and forgiveness into you. Body and blood. HE SEES YOU, SAVES YOU, and you’ll see Him forever and ever.

INI + AMEN.


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