Entrust Your Days and Burdens - LSB 754

This hymn, by the great Lutheran pastor and hymn-writer Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676), speaks of the absolute trust and confidence we have in God because of all He has done for us. The tune (SUFFICIENTIA) is by Stephen R. Johnson, a Lutheran church musician living in Mahopac, NY.

Stanza One:

Entrust your days and burdens To God’s most loving hand; He cares for you while ruling The sky, the sea, the land. For He who guides the tempests Along their thunderous ways Will find for you a pathway And guide you all your days.

God is the Creator of all, from the tiniest atom to the largest galaxy and beyond. That same God cares for you, so what is there to fear? As the Psalmist says, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalm 125:1-2). God will guide us through the storms of this life unto our eternal home with Him.

Stanza Two:

Rely on God your Savior And find your life secure. Make His work your foundation That your work may endure. No anxious thought, no worry, No self-tormenting care Can win your Father’s favor; His heart is moved by prayer.

Christ is your Redeemer, so with Paul you can “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:4-7). Christ is the one mediator with the Father, interceding on our behalf and for our benefit. Christ is our brother and God is our Father, so we can ask Him with all boldness and confidence as dear children ask their dear father.

Stanza Three:

Take heart, have hope, my spirit, And do not be dismayed; God helps in every trial And makes you unafraid. Await His time with patience Through darkest hours of night Until the sun you hoped for Delights your eager sight.

Christians live as people of hope, knowing that the sure and certain promises of Christ are true. Though we endure the troubles of this world, we know that Christ has defeated the darkness and the the Light of the World is coming soon. Confident in this, we wait with patience for Christ’s return on the Last Day.

Stanza Four:

Leave all to His direction; His wisdom rules for you In ways to rouse your wonder At all His love can do. Soon He, His promise keeping, With wonderworking powers Will banish from your spirit What gave you troubled hours.

St. Peter writes, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7). We need not worry, for Christ fights for us, keeping at bay the powers of evil, no matter how bleak things look. He invites us to give Him our burdens and take His yoke upon us, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Stanza Five:

O blessed heir of heaven You’ll hear the song resound Of endless jubilation When you with life are crowned. In your right hand your maker Will place the victor’s palm, And you will thank Him gladly With heaven’s joyful psalm.

Oh, the wonder and glories of heaven! This is what we long for: to be with the Lord in that place where there will be no sorrow or tears and where Christ will be our light forevermore.

Stanza Six:

Our hands and feet, Lord, strengthen; With joy our spirits bless Until we see the ending Of all our life’s distress. And so throughout our lifetime Keep us within Your care And at our end then bring us To heaven to praise You there.

Confident of the joys of the life to come, we pray that God would strengthen us while we sojourn here on Earth. He will keep us in His care throughout our lives and take us to be with Him. What wonderful promises we have, promises that are sure and certain because of Christ’s death and resurrection for us and for all people.
 

Rise! To Arms! With Prayer Employ You - LSB 668

This hymn, in the Church Militant section of Lutheran Service Book, is a bold encouragement to Christians to “put on the whole armor of God, that [we] may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:11). The text is by Wilhelm Erasmus Arends (1677-1721), a Lutheran Pastor in Crottorf, in the Western part of Germany. The tune, WACHET AUF, was written for the text “Wake, Awake, For Night is Flying.” The composer, Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608), was a German Lutheran pastor who wrote both text and tune for the hymn “Wake, Awake, For Night is Flying” (LSB 516) and “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright) (LSB 395).

Stanza One:

Rise! To arms! With prayer employ you, O Christians, lest the foe destroy you; For Satan has designed your fall. Wield God’s Word, the weapon glorious; Against all foes be thus victorious, For God protects you from them all. Fear not the hordes of hell, Here is Emmanuel. Hail the Savior! The strong foes yield To Christ, our shield, And we, the victors, hold the field.

When our Lord was tempted by Satan He did not use His divine powers, but the Word of God, the “sword of the Spirit,” as St. Paul writes in Ephesians 6. We Christians, then, also use the Word and prayer, which is speaking back to God the promises He’s given us, in our daily fight against the Devil. We need not fear the hordes of hell, for Christ has won the victory.

Stanza Two:

Cast afar this world’s vain pleasure And boldy strive for heavenly treasure. Be steadfast in the Savior’s might. Trust the Lord, who stands beside you, For Jesus from all harm will hide you. By faith you conquer in the fight. Take courage, weary soul! Look forward to the goal! Joy awaits you. The race well run, Your long war won, Your crown shines splendid as the sun.

Christ says in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The stuff of this world will not last, it will decay and turn to dust. But in Christ, we have an eternal treasure that will neither perish, spoil, or fade, kept in heaven for us. So, while we live amidst this world of decay and destruction, we have the sure and certain hope that the best is yet to come because of Jesus.

Stanza Three:

Wisely fight, for time is fleeting; the hours of grace are fast retreating; Short, short is this our earthly way. When the Lord the dead will waken And sinners all by ear are shaken, The saints with joy will greet that day. Praise God, our triumph’s sure. We need not long endure Scorn and trial. Our Savior King His own will bring To that great glory which we sing.

Christ will come again soon! We don’t know when, but we wait with eager expectation for that great and glorious day. “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). We have such great promises from the Lord and we know that they are certain and sure in Christ. “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raise imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53) Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!