March 15, 2023
Today’s Reading: Luther’s Small Catechism – Ten Commandments: First Commandment
Daily Lectionary: Gen 37:1-36, Mark 10:1-12
We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Idols are good things. The money you love more than God isn’t evil. The love of it is. The people we value more than God are the neighbors He gave you. The power you trust more than God isn’t sinful to have. It’s sinful to use it selfishly. It’s foolish to think it will save you eternally. That’s the point. An idol is a part of creation we worship instead of the creator. That stuff isn’t God. It can’t save you.
Not even when you put the name Jesus on it. That’s my favorite trick. I name all my idols Jesus. Jesus wants me to be successful. Happy. Rich. At least that’s what I tell myself. You can see it go wrong in two ways. First, the Scriptures never promise Jesus wants you to have those things. Second, if Jesus is only a means to an end, the end is your real god. Not Jesus.
Idolatry is like getting a Christmas present and saying thank you to the present instead of the person who gave it to you. It’s not just rude. It misses the greatest thing about presents. Someone loves you enough to give you something. That’s the real gift. Idolatry takes for granted the love of the Savior and trades it in for things that moth and rust destroy. None of the things we fear, love, and trust in will be around for eternity. None of them can get you to eternity either. But Jesus already has.
It’s the other side of the First Commandment coin. If God says, “You shall have no other gods”, what He also means is that He insists on being God to you. For you. He insists on being the one you trust in above all because He is trustworthy. He insists on being the thing you fear above all because His wrath consumes in a way nothing in this world can express. He insists on being what you love above all things because to see God is to see the source of all good things, and know He insists on giving them to you. Idols aren’t bad things. They’re good gifts from God that blind us to the giver. He insists you have good things so fiercely that He gives them even to idolaters like you, then forgives you, saves you from your idols, and even from yourself by the cross that becomes our treasure. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
“I am alone your God, the Lord; No other gods shall be adored. But you shall fully trust in Me And love Me wholeheartedly.” Have mercy, Lord! (These are the Holy Ten Commands, LSB 581:2)
– Pastor Harrison Goodman is Content Executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.