From the Word: 1 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be disheartened. Take the whole army with you, and arise; go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, with his people, and his city, and his land. 2 And you shall do to Ai and her king as you did to Jericho and her king. Plunder nothing but its spoils and take the cattle prey to yourselves. Lay an ambush behind the city.” (Joshua 8:1–2)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments
The First Commandment
You shall have no other gods before me.
Therefore, no one should venture to take or give anything except as God has commanded. We are to acknowledge everything as God’s gifts, giving thanks to him for them, as this commandment requires. Because of this, receiving good gifts through God’s creatures is not to be scorned, nor should we insolently seek other ways and means than God has commanded. That would not be receiving blessings from God, but seeking them for ourselves.
Pulling It Together: We want it, and we want it now. Furthermore, we want what we want, not that which is given. This is a depiction of children, but when adults act that way, it is an indictment. We too want a different job, a different spouse, and different children. We want more money, a bigger house, a fancier car. It seems that few are happy for long, and this of course, leads to childish impatience and a lack of gratitude. Furthermore, it gives way to taking matters into our own hands, taking what is not given, as happened with Achan after the defeat of Jericho (Joshua 7:19–21). What Achan’s greed would not allow him to see was that there was no reason to covet the contents of Jericho when the Lord was about to give him the things of Ai.
Prayer: Give me the patience and maturity, Lord, to receive with thanksgiving only that which you provide. Amen.
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A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.