Today the Church celebrates the Feast of St. James the Elder. The appointed Psalm for this feast is Psalm 56. Our devotional reading comes from Psalm by Psalm: 365 Selected Readings from Martin Luther.
Read the propers for the day in Lutheran Service Builder.
We must not assume that God is disregarding our blood. We must not assume that God has no regard for our afflictions. “Our tears, too, He gathers into His bottle,” as Psalm 56:8 says. And the cry of the blood of the godly penetrates the clouds and heaven until it arrives at God's throne and urges Him to avenge the blood of the righteous (Psalm 79:10).
Just as these words have been written for our comfort, so they have been written to fill our adversaries with terror. What, in your opinion, is more awe-inspiring for those tyrants to hear than that the blood of those whom they have slain cries and incessantly accuses them before God?
God is indeed long-suffering, especially now near the end of the world. Therefore sin reposes for a longer time. Vengeance does not follow immediately. But it surely is true that God is most profoundly outraged by this sin and will never allow it to go unpunished.
From Lectures on Genesis (Luther’s Works 1:288–89)
Why is [the psalmist] not afraid? Because he hopes in God. On the contrary, one who puts his hope in man or gold, what is there left for him but to fear what man may do to him, namely, but taking away gold, friendships, honors, and other human goods? …
To praise the words [of God] is to preach and hear them gladly, not indeed on their own account or because they come from a man (since every man is a liar and speaks lies), but in God, that is, because the words of God are both true and righteous, I will not be ashamed of them.
But why do we not do this? Because we have put our trust in man and human affairs, which must necessarily perish, if you have proclaimed the words of God. Therefore we are afraid that man may do us some harm. This man, however, can fear no one but God, since he puts his hope in God.
From First Lectures on the Psalms, on Psalm 56 (Luther’s Works 10:260–61)
Devotional reading is adapted from Psalm by Psalm: 365 Selected Readings from Martin Luther, July 28 and 29, © 2017 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
O gracious God, Your servant and apostle James was the first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for the name of Jesus Christ. Pour out upon the leaders of Your Church that spirit of self-denying service that they may forsake all false and passing allurements and follow Christ alone, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (F23)
Prayer is from the Treasury of Daily Prayer, page 559, © 2008 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.