“Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word; Curb those who by deceit or sword, Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son, And bring to naught all He has done.
“Lord Jesus Christ, Your pow’r make known, For You are Lord of lords alone; Defend Your holy church that we, May sing Your praise eternally.”
The church, the body of Christ, cannot be conquered; Jesus has said so. He is the Messiah and the Son of the living God, the foundation and cornerstone of the church “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18b ESV). Jesus’ lordship cannot be overcome, but our foe Satan does try. Moved by his hatred of the Word and works of God, the evil foe tries “by deceit or sword” to wrest the kingdom from God’s Son “and bring to naught all He has done.” The devil deceives people, leading them to persecute those who follow Jesus, to imprison and kill them and destroy their homes and churches. Satan also uses more subtle ways to war against the church, pulling into service various philosophies and worldviews that oppose the Word and will of God. More subtle still, there grows—even among some believers—a quiet, almost unnoticed, drifting away from the Word of God, a disregard for Scripture’s authority and its divine inspiration.
We have the Savior’s promise. His church will triumph, although we will suffer persecution, strife, and the temptation to follow competing worldviews. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b). Through His suffering and death, in the power of His resurrection, He has conquered every enemy, overcoming sin, death, and Satan. The risen and ascended Lord of the church reigns “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:21 ESV).
In our hymn we pray that our mighty Lord would make His power known and defend His holy church. He arms us for the fight with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and we pray, “Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word.” We confess its divine inspiration, its authority in our lives, its design for the world God made and the precious message of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But we do not hold steadfastly to the Word in order to keep it to ourselves. We are the church on the march, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to a world deceived by the evil foe. Defended by our Lord and armed with the Word, we storm the gates of hell, and those dreaded gates will not prevail against us.
Prayer: Lord of the church, lead me to cling to Your Word so that I might share it with others. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word,” which is number 655 in the Lutheran Service Book.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. How does life’s demands sometime slip in and keep us from Bible study?
2. How does Jesus defend His church in the world?
3. As you read God’s Word, how do you then share this message with others?