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Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Our theme for today comes from the Old Testament Reading, and we read a devotion from Luther’s Works, Volume 9 (Lectures on Deuteronomy).

Scripture Readings

Deuteronomy 6:1–9
Psalm 119:1–8
Hebrews 9:11–22
Mark 12:28–37

Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.

Devotional Reading

5. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart.

This is the second assertion of the First Commandment. For the first, which has already been stated, touches faith. No one can have one God unless he clings to Him alone and trusts in Him alone; otherwise he will be snatched off into a variety of works and will devise various gods. The second touches love, which follows from the first. For when we repose all faith in Him to whom we cling and understand that all things flow from Him alone and that we are in His care, then sweet love toward Him has to follow. Therefore he [Moses] uses a negative phrase in the Commandment: “You shall not have gods, etc.”; as though he were saying: “You need to humble, and despair of, yourself, lest you make many gods, and that you may have one God. For nature cannot but commit idolatry.” When, therefore, he says: “The LORD our God, the LORD is one,” he takes away all confidence in yourself. When he says: “You shall love the LORD,” he arouses joyous and free service to God. For when I love God truly, I want everything God wants; nor is anything sweeter than to hear and do what God wants, as also human love does with its beloved. Thus through oneness with God in faith we receive everything freely from God; through love, we do everything freely toward God.

The next phrases, however—“with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might”—are difficult. No saint could fulfill them if God did not forgive. Yes, who is there who does not fail in both respects: in having as well as in loving one God? There is no one who does not waver at times in his faith and love other things and God at the same time. “With all your heart” denotes with the inmost and complete desire; “with all your soul,” with the whole animate life; “with all your might” means with all powers and members. This means, not that we should love nothing else—since everything God has made is very good and should be loved—but that in love nothing should be made equal to or put ahead of God and the things that are of God, and that the love of all things is to be pressed toward fulfilling the love of God.

6. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

Not only in a book, not only in thought, but in the inmost feeling should they be the most precious treasure for you. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6:21). Therefore let nothing reign in your heart except faith and the love of God. On these let your heart meditate day and night (Ps. 1:2).

Devotional reading is adapted from Luther’s Works, Volume 9 (Lectures on Deuteronomy), pages 68–69 © 1960, 1988 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.

Hymn

Video is of “Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart” from Reformation Hymns for Men’s Voices © 2016 Concordia Publishing House.

 

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.

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