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Thy Strong Word from KFUO Radio
54 minutes | a day ago
Deuteronomy 34: God Kills Moses, Blesses in ☧ Joshua Anyway
Rev. Matt Zickler, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Western Springs, Illinois, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study Deuteronomy 32:48-52 and chapter 34.“You did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there.” What’s the big deal? Moses hit a rock with a stick—does that merit the death penalty?Holiness however isn’t about physical damages; it’s about representing God. When Moses publicly made himself and Aaron the center of power, it came time for him to step aside. When he dies on the mountain in Deuteronomy 34, the message is clear: God has executed him. And yet, God still shows grace to Moses and to all Israel, pointing ahead to Joshua and to the greater Jeho-shua in Jesus Christ.
54 minutes | 4 days ago
Psalm 46: Refuge in Body of ☧, Our Fortress, River, King in Control
Rev. Peter Bender, pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Sussex, Wisconsin, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study Psalm 46.“Be still, and know that I am God. [...] The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Martin Luther based his hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” on Psalm 46. Like the Trinity, it presents three pictures of God side by side: a “trusty shield” to defend us, like a coastal fortress that stands tall over the wind and waves; a victor “by our side,” like a river flowing through the peaceful city of God; and a “valiant One” on the battlefield, like a conqueror who destroys His people’s enemies. We take refuge in Christ as His body the church, where we can let go of the sinful impulse to try and take control.
55 minutes | 5 days ago
Psalm 45: Intimacy with God, ☧ Pours Royal Gifts on Bride
Rev. Jeremy Klaustermeier, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Warrenton, Missouri, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study Psalm 45.“Forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty.” Psalm 45 is a totally unique psalm, the only one called “a love song” in its title. A woman of a foreign nation joins herself to God’s people as she marries the king of Israel—a picture of the repentant church. Faith belongs with true beauty and desire, and Christ uniquely brings us not only faithfulness but intimacy with God. He pours out royal gifts of grace: His Spirit, His Word, absolution, and the sacraments.
55 minutes | 8 days ago
Job 1: Law Does Not Command God | Job, ☧ on Trial
Rev. David Boisclair, pastor of Faith and Bethesda Lutheran Churches in North St. Louis County, Missouri, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study Job 1.“Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side?” Heaven’s courtroom hears the arguments of the Prosecutor General in Job 1. When he puts Job on trial, the most righteous man on earth, all of humanity is examined with him: Isn’t it the reward that motivates us? If God always rewards good behavior, how can we really be just? Then again, how can God be just if He doesn’t! Such questions attempt to command God with His own law. Our pride must die in One even more righteous than Job. Jesus the Christ is the rest of the story, in whom God and man are both truly just.
55 minutes | 11 days ago
2 Samuel 24: Unity in ☧'s Altar on Zion, Not by Power of Pride
Rev. Dennis McFadden, pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 24.“Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them.” David was losing his grip on the North, and he wanted to remind them who was in charge. In chapter 24 God uses David’s sinful power play to bring His proud messiah and the whole nation to repentance. Whereas David tries to unite through power, God offers unity through grace and forgiveness at the new Jerusalem altar for all twelve tribes. As the ultimate once-and-for-all sacrifice, Jesus Christ offers unity for all the tribes of our human race.
54 minutes | 12 days ago
2 Samuel 23: Broken Heroes Established for the Dawn of ☧
Rev. Steven Theiss, pastor of Hanover Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 23.“He dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.” So is it cloudless, or are there rainclouds? David’s oracle frames the paradox of the entire 23rd chapter: David’s reign was a fading glory, but it was also a pale image of what was to come. He seemed noble in his refusal to drink from Bethlehem’s well while his men fought and died for him, but his murder of Uriah became all the more damning. Yet David also anticipated Christ, who sacrificed His own life for us as He refused even the most meager of comforts, let alone the kingly riches He now shares with His church.
55 minutes | 13 days ago
2 Samuel 22: Swan Song of ☧, Spectre of Saul Banished
Rev. Nathan Meador, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Wisconsin, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 22.“Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed.” Instead of a lawyer, imagine going to a minstrel for your last will and testament! This is no victory chant; chapter 22 is David’s swan song looking back on how God has saved his life time and time again. The point is not that David was a superior or more deserving man. Rather, despite his sins, God showed him grace for the sake of His promise: “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.” David felt like he kept reliving the nightmare of his youth, running from Saul in the forms of Ish-bosheth, Absalom, Sheba, and even a disastrous three-year famine. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God finally banishes the spectre of our past, because David’s “offspring” rules as the LORD’s Anointed forever.
55 minutes | 15 days ago
Psalm 47: Korah Reminds David, God is King of Kings, ☧ Ascends
Rev. Dustin Beck, pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Warda, Texas, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study Psalm 47.You might say the Korahites had a legacy of objecting to monarchical power: “You have gone too far!” Korah accused Moses & Aaron. “Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” In collective repentance, the Korahite composer of Psalm 47 does not rebel like his ancestor, but gently reminds the newly-ascended king of Judah that “the LORD, the Most High” is the true king, even over the foreign rulers or “shields of the earth.” Judah’s king was a mere shadow of the King of Creation, anticipating the ascension of Jesus the true Christ, whose rule truly causes “all peoples” to clap, shout, and sing. Faith’s perspective resists rebellion, but pledges ultimate allegiance only to Heaven’s throne.
55 minutes | 18 days ago
2 Samuel 20: ☧ to Fire Him, but Joab Still Here | Lady Wisdom
Rev. Scott Adle, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Collinsville, Illinois, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 20.David tries to fire him, but Joab just won’t leave. His ruthlessness and cold calculation are on full display when he murders Amasa his replacement. But Joab isn’t one-dimensional, showing restraint with the wise woman of Abel, “Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy!” Ultimately we see a reflection of our own mercurial selfishness, never willing to step aside until our dying day. Satan may be powerful like Joab, but Jesus Christ is the king. One day He will finish what He started, but in the meantime, faithful women reflect the wisdom and grace given to the church by God’s Spirit.
55 minutes | 19 days ago
2 Samuel 19: Equal Shares of Mercy, ☧ David Returns
Rev. Thomas Eckstein, pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church in Jamestown, North Dakota, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 19.“You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. For you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you.” Joab’s not wrong. Although David’s grief reflects his unconditional love and forgiveness towards his children, in chapter 19 he goes too far the other way, failing to show gratitude for the men who have bled and died for him. We too sometimes idolize health or family to the point of neglecting our church, our community, or our country. When David returns as king, he grants equal measures of mercy to all, potentially upsetting loyalists. This is however how Jesus Christ shows God’s love, which is less concerned with fairness than with repairing relationships and restoring unity.
55 minutes | 20 days ago
2 Samuel 18: ☧ Takes Absalom's Place to Rescue from Joab
Rev. John Shank, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Edwardsville, Illinois, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 18.“O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” David would’ve gladly given his life even for his son who tried to kill him. Chapter 18 is full of heart-wrenching irony: Ultimately, Jesus Christ became a second Absalom, accused of insurrection, hanged on a tree, and pierced with a spear. Likewise his death was a “victory proclamation,” gospel in the original sense. Despite His allies’ reasonable advice, Christ spurned His own success so that the truth-telling Joab of Satan would be overcome by the greater truth of God’s loving mercy.
55 minutes | 21 days ago
2 Samuel 17: Ahithophel's Perfect Plan vs. ☧ Not Godproof
Rev. John Lukomski, retired LCMS pastor, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 17.“The LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom.” There was no way out for David—the strategy of his treacherous former advisor was perfect. “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.” Chapter 17 shows how no amount of wealth, power, or intelligence can thwart God’s purposes. God is constantly at work in the little details and the little people, like the clever servant woman by the well. Like Christ, she doesn’t navel-gaze or worry about her righteousness. She simply does what’s necessary to love and serve.
55 minutes | 22 days ago
2 Samuel 16: Shrewd Players | Meek ☧, Takes Shimei's Curse
Rev. Benjamin Maton, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 16.“Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.” Israel was playing a life-and-death poker game, polarized between pro-David and pro-Saul/Absalom factions. In our own age of polarization, we are quick to defend our team no matter the criticism, but David humbly accepts Shimei’s curse. If we are honest about our humanity, all criticisms against us have a kernel of truth. We’re tired of “the game” and the posturing, but we’re addicted to it. Freedom comes in Jesus Christ, who refused to play the game, humbly accepting the curses and becoming our curse for us.
55 minutes | 25 days ago
2 Samuel 15: Absalom's Kiss of Betrayal, ☧ Patient in Injustice
Rev. Brian Thieme, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 15.“Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place.” Absalom repays his father’s kiss of peace with a kiss of betrayal, buying his way into the hearts of Israel. His actions are ungrateful and underhanded, but in 2 Samuel 15 King David does not respond in kind. Like Jesus Christ, he entrusts himself to God and patiently endures the injustice, knowing that God will restore his throne if it is His will, in His own time.
55 minutes | a month ago
2 Samuel 14: Bold Faith Disguises, Starts Fire, Mediator of ☧
Rev. Curtis Deterding, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Myers, Florida, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 14.“Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but Joab would not come to him. And he sent a second time, but Joab would not come. [...] So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.” What kind of persuasive technique is that?! Chapter 14 shows the boldness of relationship. Whether it’s Absolom starting a fire in Joab’s field or Joab disguising someone as a widow in mourning, these characters don’t worry about the consequences of their audacity because they have faith in their relationships. Similarly, people seeking healing boldly broke through roofs, seized Jesus’s clothing, and trapped Him in His own words because of their faith. God’s Son Himself boldly took on the ‘disguise’ of human flesh as He mediated between God and man.
55 minutes | a month ago
2 Samuel 13: David Fails Amnon, Hated Tamar Loves as ☧
Rev. Doug Minton in Blaine, Minnesota, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 13.Are we in love with a person, or an idea? When King David’s son Amnon falls in love with his half-sister Tamar, it’s not self-giving unconditional love, but infatuation with an “impossible” forbidden fruit. Jonadab, “a very crafty” snake of a man, merely stirs the pot—like the serpent of Eden. Guilt rests squarely on man, not God or anything else. David set a poor example for his sons with his power-crazed lust, even as he closes the chapter lamenting that his firstborn will never inherit his throne. The real tragedy however is that of Tamar, who like the first Tamar, only tries to make the best out of an impossible situation. In her suffering she is the most like Christ, willing even to marry the one who has most heinously wronged her. God’s love for us is even greater than our faithless wrongdoing.
55 minutes | a month ago
2 Samuel 12: David Destroys His Own, ☧ Guides & Spares
Rev. Mark Jasa, pastor of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Pasadena, California, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 12.“As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” Nathan’s story touches a nerve with David in chapter 12—the poor shepherd boy from Bethlehem lashes out at the pitiless Nabals and Sauls of his life. God mercifully uses this story of law to guide David to repentance, and when David confesses, God spares his life with Nathan’s word of gospel. There are, however, still consequences. Just as how David killed his own soldiers as collateral damage when he targeted Uriah, so too has David destroyed his own family with his murder of Uriah. Yet God works good from David’s evil, and the firstborn of David & Bathsheba atones and saves, just as God's own firstborn would later save and atone for us all.
55 minutes | a month ago
2 Samuel 11: David Betrays Uriah, Bathsheba Blessed for ☧
Rev. Warren Woerth, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Arnold, Missouri, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 11.“And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, ‘I am pregnant.’ So David sent word to Joab, ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’” This one sin is the action around which the rest of 2 Samuel revolves; and it doesn’t remain one sin for long, evolving into murder and the abuse of God’s name. Chapter 11 gives a sobering warning about how sin can come seemingly out of nowhere (“in the spring [...] late one afternoon”). Like Saul, despite years of faithful service, now David also deserves to fall from power. Rather than casting blame on Bathsheba or blaming David’s circumstances, we should see our own sin in David and Joab, who foremost cared about their image and their career. It was not God’s will that David sin, but that the Savior would be born to offer forgiveness for every kind of sin.
54 minutes | a month ago
2 Samuel 10: ☧ Meets the Shamed, Keeps Faith w/ Rebels
Rev. Jacob Heine, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Topeka, Kansas, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 10.“When it was told David, he sent to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, ‘Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown and then return.’” David might’ve said, “Grow thicker skin!” or “Shake those haters off!” and sent them back to Jerusalem, but instead the king himself goes out of his way to help these men deal with their shame quietly so that they might return to their families and communities without further scandal. King Jesus did the same for lepers and sinners, meeting them on the fringes to bring them back among God’s people, just as He does for us. Chapter 10 teaches us about keeping faith and keeping confidence with others. It’s not about what we think we deserve or even need, but about what “What seems good to” God.
55 minutes | a month ago
2 Samuel 9: ☧ Contends for Us, Keeps Faith w/ Merib-baal
Rev. Duncan McLellan, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ankeny, Iowa, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study 2 Samuel 9.“And David said to him, ‘Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.’” David’s mercy towards Mephibosheth is a beautiful image of God’s mercy to us in Christ. 2 Samuel 9 says that David wants to show him the “kindness [ˈħɛsɛð] of God.” Just as David gives mercy and blessing to Saul’s grandson for the sake of his fathers, so David had received mercy and blessing from God for the sake of his fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. On our own, we are weak and undeserving Mephibosheth. But in Christ, who was raised up by the Father’s power to give Israel the riches of heaven’s kingdom, we are Merib-baal, because it is the LORD Himself who contends for us.
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