Sunday, April 26, 2009

Returning the Favour

It has been said that in the beginning God created man since then man has the desire to return the favour. This takes many forms but the most common is to project ones desires and emotions, multiply them, attempt to perfect them and say “now that is the way God wants to be God and how he feels about things.”

Exodus 20:4 You shall have no other gods before me. 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 thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. ESV

Any gods created by man is the devil. That god will want to be served, cared for and fed continually. It will never be satisfied nor will it be able to forgive. In the first “command” we are given the gift of God himself by saying those who are brought out of sin will have no other gods before him. The second part of this command we are told that because we were brought out of the house of bondage we will set aside our idolatries and no longer serve them.

In the modern mind it is inconceivable that one would have idols. I know that few people whom I know have statues in their houses of deities and light candles, make food offering or pray to them. However, it is easy to place the desire to fill this home with the latest toys and furniture as a matter of pride and give more attention to that then to our Saviour. This would make the house our false God. This can become a slave master if one is so consumed by the acquisition of these items one has an increasing load of debt which causes one to have to work harder and harder just to service it.

10] So, too, whoever trusts and boasts that he possesses great skill, prudence, power, favor, friendship, and honor has also a god, but not this true and only God. This appears again when you notice how presumptuous, secure, and proud people are because of such possessions, and how despondent when they no longer exist or are withdrawn. Therefore I repeat that the chief explanation of this point is that to have a god is to have something in which the heart entirely trusts.

This is from Martin Luther’s Large Catechism on the first commandment. Here he shows how that for a while trust in self or what one can obtain is a fleeting good. In today’s economy many are receiving this wake up call to how much trust in self and one’s employment have become a god to us.

Our Real God actually bows to us. What? Yes he comes to us to, on a daily basis, take away our sin. In dying on the cross Jesus became our servant king. That is unheard of in the religions of the world today where the god, if it has a personal god, demands to be served. The god of great wealth and possession demands serving as well and the want is never ending and is insatiable.

Jesus also comes to serve us in the Divine Service in the form of bread and wine. He promised that he would truly be present in this way for his people for the forgiveness of sin and to strengthen the wearied and worried heart burdened by petty idolatries. Too many Christians do not believe this wonderful truth and still await his coming to them in another way. To deny his presence in the holy meal is to attempt to have Jesus in one’s own way rather then in the way he has promised himself. What a blessing which is missed indeed by not believing his clear promise.

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for [5] you. Do this in remembrance of me.” [6] 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. ESV

Thanks be to God. †


Martin Jack said...

Amen, David.

Steve Martin said...

A little piece of bread.. a little sip of's just not quite sexy enough for most people.

But that is all we're going to get.

And that is enough.