From the Word: “Stand up; consecrate the people, and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “There is a devoted thing in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies, until you take away the devoted thing from among you."’” (Joshua 7:13)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments
The First Commandment
You shall have no other gods before me.
Even though we experience much good from people, we receive everything by God’s command or plan. Our parents, all authorities, and all our neighbors, have received the directive from God that they should do us all sorts of good. Therefore, we do not receive these blessings from them, but from God through them. His creatures are the hands, conduits, and means by which God gives all blessings. As examples, he gives to the mother breasts and milk for her child, and grain and all kinds of produce from the earth for our nourishment, things that no one could produce by himself.
Pulling It Together: Lest we lose sight of our theme, we are considering how all good gifts come from God. We do not take them; we receive them. Some of the Israelites snatched blessings from Jericho’s dead. These were not given by the hand of God, but taken by the hands and from the hands of men. When we do not receive what God has provided, and have instead, taken what we want, we have failed to fear and trust God above all others. We have taken matters into our own hands. We have therefore, made ourselves above God.
We must return to our rightful place by consecrating ourselves. How else is one to do this sanctifying than by doing the very opposite of his previous defilement. Where you formerly put yourself over God, come under him again through confession and repentance. Believe that he forgives you, for this too is a way—perhaps the principal way—of honoring God above all others: expecting all good from him alone by expecting his pardon.
Prayer: Lord, walk me along the path of sanctification by always expecting your mercy and forgiveness. Amen.
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Living Faith, a Believer's Guide to Growing in Christ is a discipleship resource based on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. This 12-part Bible study by Pastor Brack East is designed to help individuals grow more deeply into a living faith in Jesus, while interacting with other believers in a life-to-life setting of three or four people. Such settings around the Word of God have proven to be part of the workshop of the Holy Spirit, and Luther’s Small Catechism has stood the test of time as a reliable guide to growing in faith.