In our Bible class, we are studying Genesis by way of Luther’s commentary, the equivalent, as our pastor said, of taking a class on the subject at the University of Wittenberg, the commentary consisting essentially of Dr. Luther’s lecture notes. Sunday we were looking at the state of the world just before the Flood. Luther noted that one of the things that happened was that the people had become so rebellious, so blind, so hardened, that God withdrew His Word. Luther said that it is one of God’s most terrible judgments, when He withholds His Word.
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God , “when I will send a famine on the land– not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).
The phenomenon of the loss of God’s Word takes place a number of times in Scripture and in church history. God’s own people end up forgetting it, whereupon some Reformer, such as Josiah, re-discovers it. The same thing happens today in congregations, church bodies, nations, cultures, and civilizations. There are places today where once the Word of God rang out and did not return void, but now it cannot be found. This is not just about Bible literacy, but the decline of preaching, the loss of the Law and the Gospel, the eclipse of the Holy Spirit, and indifference to Christ and the Redemption that He has won.
On this Thanksgiving, if you have a pastor who still proclaims God’s Word and if you belong to a congregation that still holds to that Word, express your gratitude.