Daily Lectionary: Zechariah 4:1-5:11; Romans 15:14-33

You shall have no other gods. What does this mean? We should fear, love and trust in God above all things. (Small Catechism, First Commandment)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What is a god? The Large Catechism says that whatever you look to take care of you is your god. And if your god is the True God, then your faith will be true. But if your god is false, then it is an idol and your faith is nothing. Think about it: Even atheists have gods! Everyone trusts in something. Some people trust in money. Or their health. Or other people. Or most of all themselves. And those false gods might take care of you for awhile, but eventually they will fail, run out, disappoint, let you down.

So God, the True God, the Triune God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–this God says you don’t need any other gods. He’ll take care of you. After all, the Father made you and gave you life. He gives you everything you need and takes care of you. The Son became man to die for your sins and rise again, accomplishing your salvation. The Holy Spirit sanctifies you: He gives you faith in Christ and trust in your Father in heaven so that you know the True God and fear, love, and trust in Him.

Still, life, the world, the devil, and our own sinful natures find lots of things to be more afraid of than God. We find all sorts of things we love more than God. We have lots of things we put our trust in more than Him. The Commandments teach us that our efforts to hide all of this from God are useless. You have other gods. The First Commandment shows this. It is a piercing sword that exposes the hypocrisy when you say you love God but really love yourself and your stuff most of all.

The relief from the Law’s condemnation comes in Jesus, who is true God and true man. He perfectly fears, loves, and trusts in the Father above all things. And here’s the Gospel, the Good News: Whatever Jesus does to keep the Law is put on you in your baptism to become YOUR keeping of the Law. In Christ, His perfection is yours. His sinlessness is yours. Your sins are His. He takes what is sinful from you. He gives you what is perfect in Him. And that’s what makes Him the true and only God: Only He can and does do the saving of those who cannot do what He commands and counts them as Law-keepers in Him. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

To Jesus we for refuge flee, Who from the curse has set us free, And humbly worship at His throne, Saved by His grace through faith alone. (The Law of God is Good and Wise, LSB 579:6)

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