Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


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Monday, October 15, 2012

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The nation of Israel wanted a savior. However, this is not the description they were hoping for. Words like disease, wounds, crushed, oppressed, and afflicted were not on their wish list for an ideal future leader. They longed for victory, not more suffering.

As ignorant as I can sometimes label the Israelites in texts such as this, I have to admit that I often find myself hoping for the same kind of savior. The rhetoric is especially ripe right now as our country prepares itself to elect a new leader. Admitting to wounds or oppression would be a nail in a candidate's coffin. We deserve someone with confidence, with fight, with uncompromising ideals—at least that's what we tell ourselves.

The Bible tells a far better story. Humility and grace describe an eternal kind of leadership, one that doesn't always change our external circumstances, but transforms our hearts.

Lord, take my heart and shape it for your work. Keep me humble and hopeful and ever aware of how you are calling me to suffer for the sake of the world. Amen.

Sara Spohr
Southwood Lutheran Church, Lincoln, Neb.
Master of Divinity , 2005

Isaiah 53:4-12 (NRSV)

4 Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

8 By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people.

9 They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.

11 Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

This week's devotions are offered by a Luther Seminary alumnus from the graduating class of 1998.