ISAIAH 46:4 = “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
The God who remembers His mercy sustains and rescues. When we sustain someone it means to give support or relief. This word gives us the picture of one person helping to hold up another. Some people are so ill that they have to be held up to eat or to drink. In their weakness they cannot even help themselves to the things that will give them life and have to be led to them or supported to receive them. The picture of Good Samaritan comes to mind, binding up wounds and feeding and helping etc.
We have a God who promises to lift us and support us and feed us and provide for all that we need. He gives us the 1st article gifts. He gives us everything that we need for life in this world and life in the world to come. At any time, we can lean on Him, in fact He asks us to. In reality He demands that we do.
Anytime life seems to be more than we can bear, that is the spot where God comes and confronts us with His mercy. It is in what Luther calls the “narrow places” that divine mercy makes sense. It is there when we have no where else to go that we are forced to lean on God and He will nourish our soul.
Anytime we feel weak and unable to stand on our own that is where the realization comes that God is there to hold us up. That is where he will “strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand upheld by His righteous omnipotent hand”. (LSB 728 Concordia Publishing House 2006)
We have a God who rescues us. What else can salvation mean than to be rescued? Rescued from sin and death and the power of the devil we are snatched from the narrow places and let loose in spacious places of grace. God also sustains and recues through means. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper and the preaching of the Gospel are means that God uses but they do not come out of thin air. They are mediated through the means of others. We must hear the Gospel through the means of another human voice proclaiming it. We are baptized and we receive the body and blood of Christ through the hands of other human beings and we are sustained through the other human beings that make up the body of Christ. All of these are a part of God’s mercy and grace. God serves us in the worship service and gives us His gifts. God has mercy on us in the Divine service and helps us to remember what He remembers; “his mercy and love for the children of men”. The Divine service is God’s gifts to us and in that service God remembers – brings His love and forgiveness in Christ into our present; and we remember too. In the remembering mercy becomes active through faith.