“The Great Work of God” by Valerius Herberger – An Amazing Book of Rich Devotional Meditations on Scripture
From my colleague, Ed Engelbrecht’s blog site: A devotional thought from our latest book, a unique and classic commentary called: The Great Works of God by Valerius Herberger (1562-1627), translated by Matthew Carver. Below the devotional thought is more information about the book.
Here the Lord Jesus made a clear announcement of His gracious intent to poor Adam and sorrowful Eve, and thus became the first, best, and most lovely Preacher of evangelical comfort. The Lord Jesus Himself even spoke in this fashion in Isaiah 61:1–2: “The Lord has sent Me to preach to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to those who are bound, that it may be opened to them; to proclaim a gracious year of the Lord, and a day the vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn,” etc. In Luke 4:18, the Lord Jesus plainly connects these words to Himself in His first sermon, delivered in His fatherland of Nazareth where He was brought up. And of this comforting work, Christ says, “The only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known to us” (John 1:18). Jesus also says that He is “He who spoke to you from the beginning” (John 8:25), that is, “I am He who spoke comfortingly to the patriarchs from the beginning of the world, and made pledges to them in their grief.” Just as our Lord Jesus was the speaker in the work of creation as discussed earlier, as found in the First Article of the Creed, He is also the speaker in the work of redemption here, as found in the Second Article of the Creed. Thus the Chaldean Bible says, “They heard the voice of the Word of God our Lord.” So the whole world should listen to and love this preacher of comfort, as Moses says in Deuteronomy 18:15, and as God the Father Himself says in Matthew 17:5.
Oh my Lord Jesus, You are the first and most pleasant preacher of comfort, and You will remain the most beautiful, noblest counselor to all godly hearts until the end of the world. I pray You, graciously also fulfill Your office in me in my every need.
I trust, O Christ, in You alone;
No earthly hope avails me.
You will not see me overthrown
When Satan’s host assails me.
No human strength, no earthly pow’r
Can see me through the evil hour,
For You alone my strength renew.
I cry to You!
I trust, O Lord, Your promise true, etc.
The whole hymn is relevant here.
Therefore, when all manner of empty comforts and human trifles are foisted upon you, simply reply: Jesus Christ is the best comfort in every trouble. He is the oldest source of consolation. I will stay with Him. It is good to keep what is old. The old God and the old comfort are always best. Others have no lasting power. The heart cannot be at peace apart from Christ’s comfort. New bread, new calendars, new things each year—I count them but trifles. The old God and the old comfort are always best.
Matthew Carver, MFA, is a translator of German and classical literature. He resides in Nashville, TN, with his wife Amanda, where they pursue interests in art, orthodox Lutheran theology, liturgy, and hymnody.