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Today we get back into our Catechism Sermon schedule at Zion Lutheran Church. Tonight we will meditate on the 1st commandment which says, "You shall have no other gods. What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things." Why would God make such a demand? To fear, love, and trust in Him above all things isn't something we have in our sinful capacity. When we hear this commandment, all we can do is say, "Yes, Lord. I am the sinner. I love everything in this life more than you. I love my money, my family, my health, my football team, my job, my friends, my food, my beer, my vacations, my Netflix, my book collection, my intelligence, my virtue, my morality, my steadfastness, my president, my day off, more than I love you. I trust in my ability to be holy, my emotional stability, funds in y bank account, a good reputation, good weather, stable society, and everything else the idols of this world have to offer. I fear death, dying, cancer, heart attacks, being poor, loosing all my money, looking foolish, being ugly, being fat, being too skinny, and the burdens that the world places on me everyday." In short, after that long list of sins, I Lord, fear, love, and trust in everything instead of you. All this happens because I, like Adam and the woman before me, desire to be God instead of You.
If we can't keep this commandment, and all it does is drive us to despair in how pathetic we really are, why then does God give this commandment? Well, Albrecht Peters, in commenting on Luther's Catechism, says, "The only true God, our Creator and Redeemer, wants to turn the heart of man away from all other places of comfort and refuge to Himself alone as the only giver of life." (Commentary on Luther's Catechism Ten Commandments 104). It's like how Luther's hymn ends singing, "Our works cannot salvation gain, they merit only endless pain. Forgive us, Lord. To Christ we flee, Who pleads for us endlessly. Have mercy, Lord." God gives us the 1st commandment, and every commandment flows from this one, in order that we may forsake our trust in temporal gods that will fail us and instead cling solely to the God who creates us, redeems us, and sanctifies us for all eternity. When God gives this commandment, He is at the same time saying that He alone is The God that we trust in for everything we need concerning our body and soul. God desires us not to have any other god, in order that we may cling to Him alone. This is not a selfish thing, but rather the reality that God knows these false gods will forsake us in the end, and will only drain us of our time, love, and trust. There is no assurance, either in this life or the one to come, in the idols that our bellies and hearts create. However, in the One True God, there is absolute assurance that our daily life and our eternal life is well provided for and that we will never lack one thing. May we ever repent of our transgressions against the 1st commandment in the confidence that we have The God who cares for us in both body and soul. May we in confidence confess and receive absolution in the Name of Jesus.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.