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The Breath of His Mouth

April 16, 2023; Rev. Kurt A. Lantz, Pastor
Easter 2. He breathed on His disicples.jpg

The Breath of His Mouth


Rev. Kurt Lantz Easter 2 Psalm 33

April 16, 2023 Resurrection Lutheran Church St. Catharines, ON



O righteous who hope in the Lord,


Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.



Last week’s psalm told us that “the right hand of the LORD does valiantly” (Psalm 118:15-16). Today’s psalm mentions another anthropomorphic characteristic of the LORD God. “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made; and by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as heap; He puts the deeps in storehouses.” (Psalm 33:6-7). It is a statement about the creation of the world by the breath of God’s mouth issuing forth in the form of words.


At the Easter Vigil Service we heard the reading from Genesis chapter 1, including:

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven... And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place”... And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. (vv. 6-9, 14-16).


You may have heard it said of someone that their breath “could knock down a horse,” or even that it “stinks to high heaven,” but those are exaggerations and negative ones at that. In fact, our breath causes damage even when it smells sweet, perhaps even moreso then. By the breath of our mouth words are formed which come out as curses and lies and slander and abuse, and it can stink, too.


The damage and disaster that our breath wreaks upon family, friends, and neighbours, is because our breath is used to form words which are hurtful and harmful and horrendous. We breath through a sinful heart. God created us in His image and breathed into man the breath of life (Genesis 2:7), but we have soured that divine inspiration by speaking evil of others and of God Himself.


In contrast, the breath of the LORD speaks words that are creative, constructive, and comforting. He spoke and the heavens were made. He gave life to bodies made from clay because of His life-giving nature. He spoke the sun into its place. He spoke the moon into orbit. He breathed out words and the stars appeared to govern far off galaxies and to help us navigate where and when we are on this planet. That same powerful breath that spoke all things into being, spoke His life-giving Word into man. If we have any hope at all to escape the death and hell that we deserve on account of our spoken sins, it is in the breath of the LORD which brings salvation for His people and makes all things new.


His breath blew back the waters of the Red Sea so that His people escaped death at the hands of the Egyptian army and were ushered toward new life in a promised land (Exodus 15:10). It was to this breath of the LORD which saves His people that Ezekiel was told to prophesy so that it would breathe onto the slain of Israel in the desert and they would stand again: “‘Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.’ So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army” (Ezekiel 37:9-10).


God will resurrect His people even from the dry dusty bones of defeat at the hands of death. He will open the graves of His people and once again breathe His Spirit into them and they shall live. When Jesus comes on the last day He will come with a shout by the breath of His mouth. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Our dry dusty bones will again be covered with flesh and infused with the breath of God.


He conquers the sins that we breathe out of our mouths. He conquers them by the breath of His almighty Word. He destroys what we speak like He frustrated the plans of those who sought to get rid of Him. The Jews took counsel together and made plans to kill Him, but just like the psalm prophesied, “The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:10-11).


They crucified Him but their plans came to nothing when He was resurrected. He was placed in a tomb where they thought His bones would decay to dust, but His soul was not abandoned to Hades, nor was the Holy One allowed to see corruption (Acts 2:27; Psalm 16:10). On the third day He was out of the tomb and that evening He appeared whole and living to His disciples.


From the cross He had called out with a loud voice and said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” and having said this He breathed His last (Luke 23:46). It was the last breath that was required for our salvation from sin and death. He rose again and breathed again. “He breathed on [His disciples] and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld’” (John 20:22-23).


By the breath of His resurrected mouth He filled the disciples with His Holy Spirit, so that in the forgiveness of their sins, they might bestow forgiveness on others by the Spirit that issues from the mouth of Jesus. In the cleansing of their mouths by the breath of Jesus, they cleanse the mouths that have spoken curses and lies and slander and abuse. By the breath of His mouth He frustrates the counsels and plans of sinful people. He provides forgiveness and life, absolution and blessing. That is the salvation we need. In the breath of His mouth is where we put our hope.


But for those who speak deceitful words, denying their sin, and preferring to live by their lying lips, the Lord has bestowed His Holy Spirit upon His disciples to speak the words of condemnation and death, that the sins of such unrepentant sinners are not forgiven. They are bound to the slander they have spoken and will never be released until they confess with true faith, despairing of their deceitful words, and placing their hope in the almighty creative, life-bestowing, forgiving Words from the mouth of the LORD.

There is no deceiving Him. He looks down from heaven on all (Psalm 33:13). He looks down upon you. And He doesn’t just see the outward appearance of your works. He looks right into the hearts of men. He looks throughout His whole creation, and He is the one who created the hearts of mankind. He sees past lying lips and behind deceitful words. His gaze penetrates to your very soul and spirit, so that even if the words you speak are good words, He knows the hypocritical heart that is behind them.


But it is not His desire to consign you to death and hell. He does not wish to speak a judgment of condemnation against you. From the beginning He has spoken words that create and bring life. He has looked so deeply into your heart that He has breathed out words of hope and salvation for you, knowing that you need them. He breathed out His last breath upon the cross for you. He breathed His resurrected breath upon the disciples for you, so that you might hear of His death and resurrection for your sins; that He might deliver your soul from death, and keep you alive when you are in a famine of faith.


The words of the breath of His mouth bring you hope and peace. They resurrect you from being dead in your trespasses and sins. And alive by the breath of His mouth once more, your breath is cleansed and purified, and sweetened by the Holy Spirit. The curses are replaced with blessings, the lies by the Gospel truth, slander is excluded and abuse abandoned. With the breath of Jesus breathing on you who have been slain to sin, you are filled with His resurrection life to stand again and to join the army of the LORD in shouts of triumph and songs of victory.


Praise befits the upright and He has stood you on your feet again by the creative, almighty, life-bestowing, and forgiving Words that come from the breath of His mouth.



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

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