THE WEEK OF TRINITY XVIII – TUESDAY
LESSON: PSALM 40:1-8
“Blessed are those who keep his (the Lord’s) testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart.” Psalm 119:2
Man’s unbelief has invented and set up countless substitutes for the two main commandments of the Law, resulting in forms of ungodliness which Scripture describes as “grieving” God and the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; Isaiah 63:10). Should not God be angry with me when He commands me to show love to my neighbor and I proceed to follow my own dreams and those of other men? It is just as if a housefather orders his servant to do some plowing and the servant goes off and washes dishes. Would not a housefather be justified in becoming angry with such a servant?
This is also the case with God. He wants us to obey His commandments. We should regard them more highly than the commandments of men. He wants all commandments to relate to love so that they may all be comprised in the two commandments of which Jesus speaks in the Gospel, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind … and your neighbor as yourself.” If you want to do something that pleases God, do it in such a way that it flows from a heart of love.
On the other hand, it is easy to conclude that all works are nothing which do not flow from love, or which are against love. No commandments or laws should ever be given any validity excepting such as put the law of love into practice.
PRAYER: Give us grace, heavenly Father, to keep the greatest of all the commandments by loving you with our whole heart, and soul, and mind, and the second commandment which is like it, by loving one another for your sake, in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 5:169-183