Reflections: Wednesday of the Week of Transfiguration

Today’s Reading: Small Catechism: First Commandment

Daily Lectionary: Job 6:1-13; John 3:1-21

You shall have no other gods. (Small Catechism: First Commandment)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. This commandment shouldn’t actually be that hard. There’s only one God. He’s literally the only God there is. There was a piece of fruit on a tree and we made a god out of that. The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was not God. But we imagined it was so that we didn’t need Him anymore. It didn’t work, but we’ve never stopped trying to get rid of the real God who loves us so we can chase after the fake ones that don’t. 

This commandment is at the root of every other sin. We do not fear, love, and trust in God above all things. If we did, we’d stop taking the good gifts He gives us and turning them into replacements for Him. 

This commandment might be at the root of our sinful desires, but the root of this commandment is that God actually wants to be God to you. He insists on being the God of sinners. He insists on giving you good gifts. He insists on calling you back to Him over and over. He tells us not to treat the things that can’t save us as if they can. Don’t trust in imaginary gods. Don’t trust in creation as if it were the Creator. Don’t trust in yourself to save yourself. None of that works. None of it needs to, though; He already has saved you. He bore the Cross to forgive your idolatry. He insists that you have no source of salvation other than Him. Trust only that. Love only Him.

From there, even the “fear” part becomes understandable. Fear, love, and trust in God above all things. Fear doesn’t just mean healthy respect. We downplay it because it seems like it doesn’t go along with love and trust. Fear means that you realize you can’t control God. That’s the First Commandment all over again. The desire to control God is the desire to be God. To fear God is to recognize that we can’t control Him, but to love and trust in Him is to recognize that we don’t need to. He wants to be God to you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O LORD God, dear Father in Heaven, You have given us the Law for our good, calling us to fear, love, and trust in You above all things. As we rejoice that You would insist on being God to us, help us to cast aside all idols and follow you alone, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. 

-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Discover new insights from each line of the Psalms in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer. Read, repeat, and return to the Lord as you walk through all 150 Psalms. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.