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Blessed Is He Who Understands

December 03, 2018
By Martin Luther

Who is like the LORD our God? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.

PSALM 113:5, 7

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Blessed Is He Who Understands

[God] is not neutral as He looks, but He looks in order to raise up. And this is the nature of the true Creator, to make everything out of nothing. Therefore He raises no one except him who is not raised up but prostrate and downcast. Nor does He lift up anyone but the one pressed down, so that unless there is nothing of raising and lifting in that person, but complete degradation and suppression, He does not raise nor lift up. But although we are in truth all cast down and depressed, yet He does not lift and raise up all, but only those who acknowledge themselves to be downcast and depressed. Those who regard themselves as lifted up and standing are held to be and are lifted up and standing before God, though in truth they are most wretchedly degraded and pressed down. "Blessed is he who understands concerning the needy and the poor" (Psalm 41:1), that is, also the one who understands himself to be such a one. And Christ brought this new rule of humility, which had formerly been unknown. Therefore he says, "Who is like the Lord our God, etc.?"

From First Lectures on the Psalms, on Psalm 113 (Luther's Works 11:391-92)

December 3