Mother's Day

Preached: May 12, 2013

How Wonderfully Our God Works!
Psalm 139:13-18

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The word from God through which the Holy Spirit leads us to marvel at what our God has done is Psalm 139:

For you, yourself, made my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb.

I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful; my soul knows that well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when you secretly made me. You wove me in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw me as an embryo, and they were all written in your book. My days were formed before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your goals, O God! How numerous is the sum of them!

Were I to count them, they'd be more than the grains of sand. When I awake, I'm still with you. (Psalm 139:13-18).

This is the word of our Lord.

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

A well-made gun. A hand-crafted cabinet. A precision performing engine. A handmade quilt. An intricately embroidery cloth. A heart-touching painting. These and others works of human craftsmanship and skill draw out our deep appreciation and admiration.

But none of them compare with the wonderful works of our God. And you don't need to go to a museum or search countless shows to find an example of his skill. Just look in a mirror.

In Psalm 139 David marvels at God's wisdom and power, which is at work for us, his creatures. Let's join David and exclaim: How wonderfully our God works! He knitted each of us. And he knows all our days.

A. He knitted each of us

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; you works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13, 14 NIV84).

To me it's amazing how someone can take a rolled up ball of yarn, and from this single strand they knit or crochet and afghan or sweater. But how much more so as our God took fundamental atoms and strands of DNA and knit them together to make you and me! And he made us not simply as biological machines put together from various parts. He made us who we are, our individuality, our personhood, our soul and spirit, our emotional and mental makeup, our inner most being.

And whom did he choose as his partners in his ongoing work of creation? Our mothers. Genesis three tells us, “Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living” (Genesis 3:20 NIV84). The name Eve sounds like the Hebrew word for life. God Almighty, who created all things out of nothing by the power of his word in six normal days -- he chose to continue to bring new life into this world not through the male, but through the woman. What a blessing motherhood is as you partner with God in his creative work. “You knit me together in my mother's womb” (Psalm 139:13 NIV84)!

And what wisdom belongs to our God! He knows the deepest secrets of how our bodies were formed and how they continue to work. He knows the hidden connections between body and soul, between brain and mind. Nothing is hidden from him. “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body” (Psalm 139:15, 16 NIV84). “Secret place” and “depths of the earth” are poetic pictures to bring home that only God truly knows how we are formed. All the knowledge of science will never measure up to God's wisdom even in just this one matter. He knitted each one of us, individually. How wonderfully our God works!

But someone may object, “You say that I'm wonderfully made? Don't you know how many problems I have. And what about those born with defects?” How true it is that our bodies are far less than perfect! But, dear friends, that is not a failure on God's part. Rather, ever since Adam and Eve fell into sin, sin and it's badness have infected each and every human being from the moment of conception onward. That means you and you and me. In another Psalm David writes, “Surely I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5 NIV84). That's your confession and mine as well.

Such weaknesses and defects that we see in our physical nature bring home the deeper corruption of sin within our hearts and souls. It's truly a wonder that leads us to stand in awe and reverent fear as we marvel at why God, who is completely good and holy, would give physical life to sinners like you and me. Why? Because he wants to save you. He wants to rescue you from this sin that brings death and damnation, this sin that clings to our inmost being and corrupts within and without.

He wants to rescue you. So he sent his Son, Jesus Christ. Through the virgin mother, as his body was knit together in her womb, God the Son came into this world as our Substitute. What love for the loveless! What love for you and me. God gave his Son and did not spare him the agony of the cross. He became our sin. He died our death. Through your mother God gave you physical existence, but through faith in Jesus he gives you eternal life. He knitted each of us in our mother's womb so that through Baptism you would be reborn into Christ's family. How wonderfully our God works!

So, dear Christian friends, in light of God's saving work that is yours through faith in Jesus, marvel all the more at his creative work. Don't let your thoughts about family planning, birth control, motherhood, and children be shaped by the world. Just this past week, the Minnesota House of Representative showed how confused this world is when it comes to marriage and family. Rather, dear Christian, cherish motherhood. Let your thoughts and actions be controlled by God's values as revealed in his word. Think carefully about your motives before limiting God's blessing of children. See the wonder of God's creative act at work in a mother. Don't view motherhood as just another item to juggle in a modern schedule of work, recreation, and personal improvement. Cherish motherhood as a very high calling, right next to your calling as Christian and as wife. God chose mothers to share in his creative work. He knit you together in your mother's womb. How wonderfully our God works!

B. He knows all our days

Now just as a mother's heart goes out to her children no matter how old they get, so also our God knows all our days. He knows them with his bountiful kindness and loving care.

“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake I am still with you” (Psalm 139:18 NIV84).

Sometimes people keep a diary or journal. They write down each day as it happens. But unless you're a time traveler, you can't look ahead. It's just blank pages. Nevertheless, all our days are known to God. He has formed them and set them in place. He has written them in his book. Don't mistake this as blind fatalism. We're not mechanical machines fated to carry out whatever destiny is allotted to us. God makes it clear that we are responsible and accountable for our thoughts and actions. We cannot say, “I couldn't help what I did. What's meant to be is meant to be. Don't blame me.” God did not tell us that he knows our days in order to give us an excuse for sin

Rather, dear Christian, he told us this in order to assure you that nothing can happen in your life that surprises him or is beyond his knowledge and power. The future is blank pages for us, but God knows every last detail, including the number of hairs you'll comb out next week. So no matter what the future brings, we can face each day with confidence in our God.

I realize this all doesn't fit together in my head. How can the future by blank pages for me but fully written in God's book? But why should I expect God's thought to fit into my puny head? As David said, God's thoughts are so vast they are more than the grains of sand. He did not reveal this truth for us to try to figure out in our heads. Rather he assures us that he knows all our days, so that we count on his promises. When he makes a promise, he will keep it. For he made his promises fully knowing what the future holds. What assurance that gives you and me! He will keep his word.

But maybe you want to say, “OK, God knows the future, but it's still blank pages for me. So how can I be sure. How can I stop worrying?”

First of all, dear Christian, faith looks back at the journal we can read. Faith doesn't try to guess at what God's written on those blank pages of the future. Faith looks back at the journal we can read, the journal that records God's love for us in Christ Jesus. While we were still powerless sinners, Christ died for us. God did not spare his own Son but gave him up as the bloody sacrifice to pay for all the sins of the world, including all of yours and mine. You have the written record of all his. Read it. Ponder it. Believe it. What a journal the Bible is! Cherish it.

And then as you look toward the future, faith sees those blank pages and says, “No matter what God has written, he has promised to take care of me. And he will do it. Look at how he has already given me his Son! Nothing can separate me from his love, as I faithfully follow him, listening to his word. I will wake up each morning with my God.”

So, for example, even though Minnesota is in the process of redefining marriage and that troubles us because we love our country and see the harm such laws do to our society, yet we can wake each morning and live that day for our God despite what the world does. For we know how wonderfully we works. I'm not saying this world will get better or that laws will improve. The world conspires and plots to go its own course contrary to God. But he knows all and has power over all, so we follow him with confidence, trusting him despite the world. Consider how the devil schemed to put an end to Jesus, but by doing so carried out God's plan that led to his own defeat and your salvation when Jesus rose from the dead. Our God is in control. Face each day with that confidence. How wonderfully he works!

Therefore, dear Christian, rejoice in the wonder of your God. Rejoice in how he knit you together in your mother's womb. From the very beginning he was taking care of you. Rejoice in how he knows all your days. Nothing is beyond his knowledge or power. He takes care of you each day of your life until you wake up in the glory of heaven and are with your Lord Jesus forever. How wonderfully our God works! Praise to the Lord, the Almighty! Amen.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Pastor Gregg Bitter

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
859 5th Street
Hancock, MN 56244
(320) 392-5313