Wednesday of Septuagesima
Feb. 16, 2022
2 Samuel 8-9
Free to Serve Him Without Fear
The Benedictus (Luke 1:68-9), the song of John the Baptist’s father, is the song of the Church during its daily prayers in Advent and Lent. It reminds us of the Lord’s promises to His people in the past. One of those promises was the oath to Abraham that his descendants would be delivered from the hand of their enemies, so they would be free to serve Him without fear.
If you think back on Abraham’s life you can see why he would have been eager to serve God without looking over his shoulder. The Lord called him first to leave his family and go to the land of Canaan alone. Once he got there he had to flee to Egypt for relief from a famine. There he felt compelled by fear to let Pharaoh take his wife, Sarah. He did the same thing later under pressure from the king of the Philistines.
Because Abraham believed God’s promise that he would have a descendant through whom the whole earth would be saved, he was under pressure and threat from his neighbors. He longed to be in a land where he could serve God by faith without fear. And God promised Abraham and his descendants, those who like him believed God’s promise, that the Offspring to come would give them safety from those who hated them.
In David we see an image of this Offspring who was to come and make God’s nation secure. In chapter 8 David subdues all the nations surrounding Israel. He defeats the Moabites and Edomites and the armies of Syria. A nearby king brings David tribute of gold and silver. And after the neighboring nations are no threat to Israel any longer, David reigns in justice and equity over all Israel.
In chapter 7 God promised David that one of his offspring would have an eternal kingdom (2 Samuel :12-16). David had begun to give Israel safety from its enemies, but David’s son would finish the work and give everlasting peace and freedom to those who, like Abraham and David, believed God’s promise and trusted in the offspring God promised.
In the Benedictus we praise God with Zechariah that the Son of David has come. God raised up a “horn of salvation in the house of His servant David.” (Luke 1:69) But this deliverer doesn’t bring safety in the same way as David his father. David was a man of war and subdued the surrounding nations by killing their fighting men and setting up garrisons of Israelite soldiers.
Jesus, the horn of salvation in the house of David, delivers us from the hand of our enemies, and enables us to serve Him without fear of death. “Since the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.” (Heb. 2:14-16)
In this world the Christian Church doesn’t appear to be free to serve God without fear. Enemies surround us and threaten us on every side. But we are free, because our Savior has defeated the devil and taken from him the power of death. By atoning for our sins, He has freed us from death and condemnation. Death has no dominion over Jesus or us (Rom. 6:9). Sin has no dominion over us (Rom. 6:14). We are truly free in this world because we have been set free from sin, death, and the devil.
Though our freedom is invisible, we can be bold. We are free from death and the devil. And when our Savior appears, the glorious freedom we have already will also appear (Rom. 8:20-21).
He canceled my offenses,
Delivered me from death;
He is the Lord who cleanses
My soul from sin through faith.
In Him I can be cheerful,
Courageous on my way;
In Him I am not fearful
Of God’s great Judgment Day. Amen. (LSB 724 st. 4)