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Saturday, February 16, 2013

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The number 40 is like a thread in the Bible, tying sacred story into a provocative gift. Moses and Elijah fasted in the wilderness for 40 days. It rained 40 days and 40 nights in the Noah story. God tested Israel for 40 years in the wilderness. Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by that Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days. And, as if to keep the beat going, we are embarked upon a season of fasting and reflection for 40 days.

This hymn places us in the midst of the biblical story, and forces us to concentrate on repentance and prayer. The words of the hymn, with a tune set in a minor key, cause us to look backward at Jesus' temptation and forward to the Easter dawn. It is as if we are pulling forward in a rowboat while looking back from where we've come. Muscle weary, we know the journey is worth the effort, for God inspires and sustains. Now, pull.

Lord God, help us steer a firm course through Lent and life. Keep us steadfast in your word. And when we go off course, correct us again and again, and restore us through your Son. Amen.

Robert Brusic
Luther Seminary Pastor Emeritus

“O Lord, Throughout These Forty Days” ELW 319

1. Lord, who throughout these forty days
For us didst fast and pray,
Teach us with Thee to mourn our sins
And close by Thee to stay.

2. As Thou with Satan didst contend,
And didst the vict'ry win,
O give us strength in Thee to fight,
In Thee to conquer sin.

3. As Thou didst hunger bear, and thirst,
So teach us, gracious Lord, To die to self, and chiefly live By Thy most holy Word.

4. And through these days of penitence,
And through Thy passiontide,
Yea, evermore in life and death,
Jesus, with us abide.

5. Abide with us, that so, this life
Of suff'ring over past,
An Easter of unending joy
We may attain at last.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.