300 S Ardmore Ave, Villa Park IL, 60181

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Saturday - 4:30 pm Sunday - 8:00 am & 10:30 am Christian Education Sunday - 9:15 am



Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in. Psalm 24:7






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Pastor Rob Rogers was born in Seattle Washington. He has a B.A. in Communication from Concordia University, Austin, TX and a Masters of Divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO. READ MORE >>

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Advent 1 – November 28, 2021
Text:            Jeremiah 33:14-16
Theme:         “Where Are You Lord”


        I talk a lot about holding God to His promises, but in order to hold him to His promises, we have to know what He promised us. God promised his people in Jeremiah, our Old Testament text for today, that a son of David would reign forever over His people. In verse 17, right after our text for today, the Lord says,

        “For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel…”  Well, Jeremiah wrote between 628BC and 580BC. Right after he wrote that, the temple was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Then, a little later, Zedekiah, the last King of Judah, descendant of King David, was captured trying the escape Jerusalem with his sons. He was forced to watch his sons be put to death and then his own eyes were gouged out and he was taken to Babylon in chains where he lived until his death.  So…what about that promise that there would never be lacking a man to sit on King David’s throne? I imagine God’s people were wondering in those days what ever happened to God? I imagine that, like today, there were people asking, “where are you Lord?”

        When things get messy, we human beings often like to forget the part that we played in making the mess, and only remember what God promised.  Remember that the 10 Commandments have nothing to do with salvation. To the extent that you keep the 10 Commandments, you will have a better life on this earth and to the extent that you break them, blessings in this life will be withheld and sometimes even removed. God’s people and more importantly, their King, Zedekiah, had done evil in the sight of the Lord.  They had been doing all manner of evil and if you want a laundry list, just spend some time reading through the prophets, Kings and Chronicles.  Essentially though, it all boils down to idolatry.  When we put anything before God, for any reason, we are doing evil in the sight of the Lord.  So, God withdrew His hand, and Judah fell, the temple was destroyed and the people were packed off to Babylon. God had warned them many times, and they failed to listen.  What about you?

        Have you ever found yourself wondering in the midst of trouble, “where are you Lord?”  Whether it is trouble in your own life or trouble in the world, sometimes we have the expectation that if anything is going wrong, God is not paying attention. Or, perhaps some think God doesn’t care. Some people believe that God fired the world up and walked away.  That is not supported anywhere in Scripture.  God cares.  And God is always paying attention but God is not a circus pony who responds to our commands whenever we snap our whip.  God is the ruler of the universe and while he always fulfills his promises, he does not fulfill them when we demand them to be fulfilled, and He withholds them when it is for our good, and we have precious little to say about it one way or the other.  If you are the type of person who likes to be in control of things, this will naturally bother you more than someone who is content to let someone else be in charge.

        About 582 years after God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah in our Old Testament text for today, Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph, both of whom could trace their lineage to King David. Promise fulfilled. Tick that box. On Palm Sunday, King Jesus entered Jerusalem to claim David’s throne forever.  Thus, a son of David would reign on his throne eternally. Tick that box as well.

God never forgot his people then and he does not forget about us now.  He knows, as every good parent does, that benign neglect is sometimes, perhaps oftentimes, the best way to care for children.  Bishop Pittelko taught me about benign neglect. Sometimes the best thing to do, is nothing. Be quiet and wait for God to act.  I am not responsible for any person’s silly choices. Human beings tend to over-parent.  That is, they try to control every consequence their children experience.  God never over-parents us.  He allows us to fall flat on our faces again and again.  He is always ready to forgive, constantly teaching, but very rarely does He diminish the natural consequences of our stupid behaviors.

        God uses those consequences to help us grow in faith.  He provides relief when it is good for us, when we have grown enough to receive His next gift. He allows the consequences to teach us and strengthen us and He is always with us. The Lord is now and always has been right here with us and if we are not seeing Him, it is not because He is not here, but because we are blinded by our own human arrogance and weak faith. 

Do you want to see Jesus more clearly in your life? Bolster your faith with Word and Sacrament and he will become brilliantly clear to you. He will become as brilliantly clear as he was on the day when he entered Jerusalem and the crowds went wild shouting Hosana for they knew their king had arrived.  Read His word every day.  Worship Him every week and receive His holy body and blood. He has arrived for us today.  He is on the altar and comes to us today in His body and blood. God does not get more present in our lives than that in this world.