Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent 2021 - First Table of the Law (Belt)

Week 1 - First Table of the Law

February 15 – Pastor Belt

            The First Commandment: You shall have no other gods.

            This brings up several thoughts.  What is a god?  Who has a god?  Who is the true God that we should have?

            Luther is brilliant here.  In the Catechism, a god is something/someone that you fear love and trust in above all things.  A god is something that you fear above everything else.  Something that you love above everything else.  And something that you trust in above everything else.  This definition allows Luther to say that everyone has a god.  An atheist wakes up in the morning and worships his god.

            What are some gods?  Money, family, love, sex, drugs, technology, health, reputation just to name a few.  A god is not something you just make with your hands but something you cling to with your heart.  This stands in stark contrast to the God we are to be fearing, loving, and trusting: The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The God and Father whom Jesus Christ worships is the God we too are to worship.

            The scary thing about false gods is that they come from good things.  We make idols out of gold, not out of manure.  The more noble and beautiful something is, the more likely it will be made into an idol.  This is because we have rebelled against God.  If you could keep the first commandment, you could keep them all.  If you trusted God above all things you wouldn’t need to steal food.

            Second Commandment: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

            God’s name means something.  So when you say His name, you better speak accordingly.  When the Triune God’s name is spoken or said, it carries his presence, his power, his glory and his salvation.  In Numbers 6 and Matthew 28, we find out that when God’s name is given or said, God brings gifts with him.  At the name of Jesus Christ every knee shall bow.

            So when we use God’s name in ways that act like God is not present, or that his name means nothing what we are really saying is that God’s salvation means nothing to us that his presence is common place and has no value on our lips or in our lives.

            But this teaches us that we need to say God’s name that emphasizes who he is.  So Luther rightly teaches us that God’s name is honored when we call upon God in prayer in praising him, and acknowledging Him as the source of every gift.

            Third Commandment: Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it Holy.

            What is something that is special to you?  How do you treat it?  What do you use it for?  When the Packers come on TV does anything get in the way of that time?  When you hold something expensive or priceless in your hands aren’t you extra careful with what you do with it?

            That is what being Holy means.  Special, nothing gets in the way of it, it is set aside as honored.

            When we say remember the Sabbath Day, we remember that God once looked out at all that he created and said, “This is awesome!” When we come to worship, when we pray, when we receive God’s gifts we are joining with God in saying, “Isn’t what God does awesome?”

            To not honor God’s Word or set aside time for it, denotes that we do not love the Lord our God and what he has done, nor do we love our neighbor with whom I share this holy time and salvation with.

            To rest on God’s Sabbath is to learn to enjoy the rest that God has won.  The book of Hebrews makes this point ad nauseum that to come to God is to enjoy his rest and his Sabbath.  Eternal life is resting from our labors and enjoying the fruits of God’s work.  Every service is a foretaste of that.

February 16
Read Mark 1

February 17 – Ash Wednesday
Read Commandments 1-3 in the Catechism and the following readings. Attend Divine Service

Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 6
Romans 3:21-31
Matthew 22:34-40