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Psalm 111
 
Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! (ESV)

What More Do You Want?

Monday of Epiphany 2

18 January 2016

"Is that all there is?" is the question that often meets the Ten Commandments. Isn't there something more exciting, more powerful, more obvious, and more praiseworthy than showing obedience to parents and other authorities, helping our neighbor in his physical need, helping our neighbor maintain his property, speaking well of our neighbor's reputation, and keeping our hearts pure from inappropriate desire? These all seem to be so prosaic, mundane, and every-day. They are just the common, everyday works of a civil and peaceful human life.
 
Our disappointment with the commonness of the Decalog's works identifies our own perversity. Because of our sinfulness we cannot even acknowledge or perceive the goodness of the commands of God. We want to "one-up" God. But God will not have any part in our "one-upsmanship." Even Christ our Lord submitted himself to the mundane righteousness of the Ten Commandments, condescending to their everyday humility, showing obedience to his parents, even though He Himself was their Lord and creator. "Is that all there is?" If the Son of God submitted Himself to such, what more do you want?

 

Martin Luther

"We have the Ten Commandments, a summary of divine teaching about what we are to do in order that our whole life may be pleasing to God. Everything that is to be a good work must arise and flow from and in this true fountain and channel. So apart from the Ten Commandments no work or thing can be good or pleasing to God, no matter how great or precious it is in the world's eyes. Let us see how our great saints can boast of their spiritual orders and great and mighty works. They have invented and set these things up, while they let these commandments go, as though they were far too insignificant or had long ago been perfectly fulfilled.
 
"I am of the opinion, indeed, that here one will find his hands full and will have enough to do to keep these commandments: meekness, patience, love toward enemies, chastity, kindness, and other such virtues and their implications (Gal 5:22-23). But such works are considered to be of no value and make no show in the world's eyes. For these are not unusual and proud works. They are not restricted to particular times, places, rites, and customs. They are common, everyday, household works that one neighbor can do for another. Therefore, they are not highly regarded."

Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 1.10
 
Prayer
O Lord, send Your Holy Spirit that I might recognize the goodness of the holy law and that I might seek no other righteousness on earth. When I fail, forgive me. Amen.
 
For Pastor Ian Pacey, that the Lord Jesus would continue to give him strength of body and soul
 
For the people of the Lutheran Church in Guntur, that the Lord would be with them as they grow in faith and numbers
 
For President Obama, that he would be kept safe and be upheld in every good deed
Art: AERTSEN, Pieter  Adoration of the Magi (c. 1560)

 

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