From the Word: Now then, put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel. (Joshua 24:23)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments
The First Commandment
You shall have no other gods before me.
He has demonstrated this throughout history, as the Scriptures abundantly show and daily experience still teaches. From the beginning, he has uprooted all idolatry, and because of it, both heathen and Jews. Even so, in the present day, he overthrows all false worship so that all who continue in it must finally perish. There are proud, powerful, and rich worldly people, boasting defiantly of their mammon, with utter disregard as to whether God is angry at or smiles upon them. They dare to withstand his wrath, yet they will not succeed. Before they know it, they will be wrecked, along with all in which they trusted, just as all others have perished who have thought themselves higher and mightier than God.
Pulling It Together: Because God is a loving Father who cares for those who believe in him, we owe it to him to esteem him above all else. Yet, even those who do not believe are obliged to honor him, simply because he is God. This is not too much to ask. It means that you have your proper place in the world, not thrusting yourself before your neighbor and especially, not above God. It also means that nothing of your own making is to be held above God. No idols, whether of stone or wood, or of riches or power, are to be regarded as greater or more cherished than God.
Be certain of this: whether or not to love and trust God is not a choice that may be made without consequences. For he is also to be feared. If we refuse to incline our hearts to God, we will perish in due course, and along with ourselves, everything in which we trusted and valued more than God.
Prayer: Give me such faith, Lord, that my heart is inclined to you above all else. Amen.
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Examining Our Core Beliefs explains in straight-forward terms the core of what we believe—from a biblical, theological, historical, and confessional point of view. A 30-page study guide is included in the back of the book.