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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Large Catechism – part 41

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From the Word: 7 And he took up his address, and said, “From Aram Balak has brought me, the king of Moab from the mountains of the East. ‘Come, curse Jacob for me, and come, condemn Israel.’ 8 How canI curse whom God hath not cursed? How can I denounce whom the Lord has not condemned?” (Numbers 23:7–8)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Therefore, it is the intent of this commandment to require true faith and trust of the heart that settles upon the only true God, and clings to him alone. That is to say: “See to it that you let me alone be your God, and never seek another.” For example, what you lack of good things, expect it from me, and look to me for them. Whenever you suffer misfortune and distress, come, cling to me. I will give you enough and help you in every need. Only do not let your heart cling to or rest in any other.

Pulling It Together: What do you want: Balak’s fortunes, or God’s blessings? We get in trouble when we want more than we need, more than what God has promised to provide. Do you desire fame instead of the vocation you have been given? Unless God’s will is held above that desire, then you will push your donkey forward toward your desire, at your peril. Do you want wealth or any other god, instead of what God has provide for you? Then, you have made wealth, fame, health, friends, work, family — whatever it might be in your life — a god above the Lord.

Balaam, in the midst of his desires, did not go beyond the will of the Lord. But he tried; he wanted to pursue his own will and desires. We run the same danger when we confuse want and need. God has promised to provide the latter. When we want the former, at the cost of obedience to God’s will, we break the First Commandment.

Prayer: Keep me true to your word, Lord. Amen.

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