Sermon for 04.10.22 “Who is your rock?”

Palm Sunday: Sunday of the Passion, April 10, 2022

Who is your rock?

Text: Deuteronomy 32:36–39

In the Name of the Father…Amen

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:

559 Oh, How Great Is Your Compassion

Oh, how great is Your compassion,

Faithful Father, God of grace,

That with all our fallen race

In our depth of degradation

You had mercy so that we

Might be saved eternally! Amen.


Finlee Farnham was thirty-one years old, unmarried, living with his
parents, and collecting 1960s vintage transistor radios. (I know. It’s
weird.) Against his parents’ better judgment, he went out hastily one day
to buy a Marvel Model 6 YR-15A, aqua and in vintage condition. What a find!

Out in the car, Finlee set up his GPS. He looked down at his gas gauge. Hmm
. . . maybe enough to get there. Anyway, he’d fill up along the way.
(Finlee’s a little absentminded.)

Well, you know what happened. He was several miles from anywhere and ran
out of gas. He got out and took a shortcut through a field to the main
highway. A few minutes later, he began to notice the chigger bites. By the
time he got home that evening (without the Marvel 6 YR-15A), he was in a
sour mood. He didn’t want to hear anything from his mom and dad. He went to
take a shower and discovered not only the chigger bites but also several
tick bites, which developed into Lyme disease. Being sick, he was not able
to get back to his car, which then two days later was impounded. He missed
several weeks of work and didn’t have the money to get his car out of
impound, so it was sold at auction.

Do you think his mother told him, “I told you so”? No. She nursed him
through months of chronic disease. Meanwhile, his father helped him sell
off a couple hundred radios, some for a pretty penny. Now Finlee could buy
a new car and get on with some kind of productive life.

3.You are experiencing a big mess in life because of your accumulated
sinful actions.

Okay. So you’ve disobeyed the Law of God, and I mean really disobeyed it,
and now the nasty consequences are bearing down on you: diminished health,
ruptured relationships and surly neighbors, opportunity loss and job loss,
damaged reputation, monetary debts, earthly goods repossessed, doubt,
depression, and anxiety. The list could go on, and there’s little you can
do to fix the mess. You can try.

You had banked your happiness on all the things that got you into this hot
mess in the first place. I doubt it happened all at once. It’s just that
you got your eyes off your Rock, the one sure source of security.

(By the way, Martin Luther, in the Large Catechism, asked this question:
“What does it mean to have a god? Or, what is God?” His answer: “A god
means that from which we are to expect all good and in which we are to take
refuge in all distress” [LC I 1–2].)

It’s not that one day you actively decided to set aside your Rock, the One
who simply is, and there is none beside him. You began to think of God as
one source of good among many—to be sure, the chief source, but,
nevertheless, one among many. Ever so slowly, you began to look to other
things for your good and security. It probably all started thoughtlessly.
Something just presented a seemingly innocent opportunity to you. It seemed
to make sense. So many other people around you were doing it. You took it,
and then took some more, until you were caught, so that here you are today,
beginning to see that those so-called “opportunities” are actually enemies
out to get you.

You do have enemies out to get you, and sometimes your biggest enemy is
your own sinful nature.

2. How will God respond?

Now all of you know the Law of God. Okay, maybe you don’t know it well, at
least as it’s written in Holy Scriptures, but then again maybe you do. In
any case, it’s written on your hearts, and God has baked it into his
cosmos. So I’m not going to talk to you a lot about the content of that
Law. I’m not going to tell you what an idiot you were; you already know
that. The time is too short now.

If you know God’s Law, why do you disobey it? Why do you stray from it? And
when you do, does he just wipe his hands of you? That’s the burning
question our Old Testament Reading presents, and it’s one that has
preoccupied God’s people from time out of memory. Your experience is not
unique. You’re not the first one to blow it.

But this is a delicate moment. If you’re ashamed and dig in to prop up your
pride, God will let you do that for a while. He’ll say to you, “Where are
those gods of yours, the rock in which you took refuge? Did they accept
your offerings? Have they answered your prayers? Keep offering to them.
Keep praying to them. Let’s see how this works out.” (Hint: he’s being

He doesn’t really want you to do that, but then, sometimes we’re just so
bullheaded that we have to get into the mess even deeper before we’ll look
to the one true Rock for help, the only One who is our true good and

1. He will divert your enemies and absorb all the consequences himself.

Yes, you have made a royal mess of it all. But the Lord will vindicate you.
He will have compassion on you. He sees that you are powerless against
these things—including your own sinful nature—that have caught you. You’re
so powerless, it’s as though your hands have been cut off, the blood has
drained out of you, and now you’re a quivering heap of sadness. Away with
your pride! Your power, your hand, is not going to do what you need. It’s

Here’s what your Rock says to your enemies: “I, even I, am he, and there is
no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is
none that can deliver out of my hand” (v 39).

And how does he do that? By stretching out his own hands. He does his
greatest work when he is most powerless, hands pinned to the cross, the
blood draining out.

God Takes Vengeance on Our Enemies by Taking the Blows That Were Coming Our


God’s people regularly make a hash out of things. We deserve nothing but
his contempt and disgust, but he does not give up on us. He has “compassion
on his servants, when he sees that their power is gone” (Deut 32:36).

All those enemies were out to get you. They were bearing in on you. You
were circled. Suddenly, your Rock came to you as a decoy, drawing them off.
He took on the form of a servant, your servant. He dies. You live. Amen.

Let us pray:

I will praise Your great compassion,

Faithful Father, God of grace,

That with all our fallen race

In our depth of degradation

You had mercy so that we

Might be saved eternally.

Text: Public domain

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and
minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

In the Name of the Father…Amen.