February 22, 2005 - Tuesday in the Second Week of Lent

"You tell and bring forth; Yes, let them consult together! Who has declared this from antiquity? Who has long since declared it? Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides me, a righteous God and Savior; There is none except Me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God and there is no other!" (Isaiah 45:20-25)

In the name of Jesus. Amen. Lent is a good time to learn the First Commandment by heart, "You shall have no other gods before Me." What does that mean? "We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things."

Recite that commandment daily over and over again until it's in your memory. The First Commandment will rescue you from the false religion of this world. Our inborn religion wants to talk about "god," but really wants to start with us. We may not always carve our idols out of wood anymore, but we sure have made a bunch of idols out of the things we think, feel, and do.

The Lord God is very clear through the prophet Isaiah, "They pray to a god who cannot save." You can have all sorts of "god" and "Jesus" religion and still be talking about a god who does not save.

"You shall have no other gods before me," means that Jesus alone is your righteous God and Savior. Any talk about your God is going to be talk about the Cross. How is God toward you? Look to Jesus on the Cross. How is it with your sins? They are forgiven because of the Cross of Christ.

On the Cross, Jesus took all your sins on Himself, all your false gods, and died for you. His death was your death; His resurrection is your resurrection. He delivers that salvation to you in your Baptism, in His Word, and at His Supper.

The world is going to call you "closed-minded." That's ok. The only God there is showed His love for you by giving His only-begotten Son on Good Friday. The True God is so closed-minded about our sins that He refuses to treat us as we merit. He refuses to call you anything but His child. For you, He remembers His tender mercies and His loving-kindness toward you. That's closed-minded!

You will also be called "ignorant." Take comfort! That's part of being one who bears the name of Christ. People will look at you funny, treat you like you are strange, like you are the one who doesn't know what everyone else knows.

"They have no knowledge," says the Lord. Lest you become one who also truly has no knowledge too, recite and memorize the First Commandment. We have no other God but the One crucified for our sins. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Higher Things Reflections are written by Rev. George F. Borghardt III, Assistant Pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Conroe, TX