Collect of the Week (Proper 19-C)
Lord Jesus, You are the Good Shepherd, without whom nothing is secure. Rescue and preserve us that we may not be lost forever but follow You, rejoicing in the way that leads to eternal life; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Exodus 20:1-6 (From the Daily Bible Story Lectionary)
1 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 "You shall have no other gods before1 me. 4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands1 of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Catechism: The Ten Commandments—The Close of the Commandments
What does God say about all these commandments?
He says: “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:5-6
What does this mean?
God threatens to punish all who break these commandments. Therefore, we should fear His wrath and not do anything against them. But he promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. Therefore, we should also love and trust in Him and gladly do what He commands.
Devotion (Taken from the note in Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions)
In the name of T Jesus.
Command and promise; Law and Gospel. That’s what we have in these words from Exodus 20. On the one hand, we have the clear reality of an all-powerful God who is just, and jealous, and promises to punish those who would not believe in Him. But on the other hand, this same all-powerful, just, and jealous God is loving to all, and will show mercy to those who love Him and keep His commandments. The Law threatens those who deny Him; but the Gospel promises every blessing to those who have faith in Him.
In the meaning of The Close of the Commandments, Luther says it so clearly: “God threatens to punish all who break these commandments. Therefore, we should fear His wrath and not do anything against them.” Who can argue against that? Only those who would reject His existence, or His authority, or disagree with His Word, would be foolish enough to ignore this. But if this is the Word of the only true God, then this Word is to be taken as authoritative, and its threats are to be taken lightly.
But he who has faith, will not ignore these words. How could he? If faith exists in the heart, then that person believes in the one true God, and trusts in His Word, and takes it seriously. If faith exists in the heart, where God has promised to punish sin, the faithful person agrees that God is just in doing so—even if he sees that sin in himself. If there is faith in the heart, and sin is made known, the promise of threat will lead to contrition, and repentance. And where there is repentance, what follows is the promise.
God’s love and mercy is promised to those who would not deny Him, but trust in Him. Even though our flesh is set against Him, and we daily fall short of the glory of God, the Lord is merciful to those who know Him, and believe in Him. And while they will be unable to keep His high demands, they will not ignore them, or deny them, or treat them as unimportant. How could they? They’re the demands of God.
No, where there is faith, there is forgiveness. But where there is faith, there is also a person who sees God’s will as good and wise, and endeavors to keep it, even handing it over to children and grandchildren—to those thousands of generations that would continue to love Him and keep His commandments.
To be sure, the Lord has given commands, and has promised to punish sin. But thanks be to God, that for those who know him, and believe in Him, sin is put away on account of Christ, and every blessing is given.
In the name of T Jesus. Amen.
“You have this Law to see therein That you have not been free from sin But also that you clearly see How pure toward God life should be. Have mercy, Lord!” Amen (LSB 581:11).
Daily Prayer (For Monday)
We pray…for faith to live in the promises of Holy Baptism; for one’s calling and daily work; for the unemployed; for the salvation and well-being of our neighbors; for schools, colleges, and seminaries; for good government and for peace.