THE WEEK OF TRINITY XXIII – FRIDAY
LESSON: PSALM 40:1‒5
Thus says the Lord; “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5
The less a man is trained in the ways of the world, the less he is opposed to God. Those who have made progress and gained recognition before the world, deceive and lie more than the others. They think that in the deceitfulness and cunning procedures of their actions, their deceit and vice are covered up. It is true, that they are masters at covering up and hiding their activities! But the Holy Spirit is very keen-sighted, and He knows them very well. Holy Scripture calls such fellows lions, wolves, bears, swine, and wild animals. They are always raging, and they devour and consume everything with their treachery.
In the Old Testament, the Jews were forbidden to eat certain animals because they were to regard them as unclean. They included those we have just mentioned, as well as others. A possible reason for this was that they were a figure and indication of certain people who are strong, powerful, rich, gifted, learned, prudent, and wise, who are to be strictly avoided as something unclean, namely, as people who mislead and deceive others with their outward brilliance, power, and cleverness. They are people of such a kind, that one would never suspect them of any evil intentions. Hence, we must never put any confidence and trust in any man as such.
Do not believe anyone. If a man can do so, he will surely mislead you. If you trust him, you will find yourself in opposition to God so that you do not trust God. This is what Jeremiah wants to teach us in the passage cited above.
PRAYER: As Your children, heavenly Father, we owe all our faith and trust to You alone and not to men, through Jesus Christ 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, 5:293-306.