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Daily Devotion

Daily Devotional

Showers of Kindness

December 12, 2018
By Martin Luther

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!

PSALM 118:1

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Showers of Kindness

This psalm is a general statement of thanksgiving for all the kindnesses God daily and unceasingly showers on all men, both good and evil. That is the custom of the holy prophets. When they want to thank and praise God for a particular blessing, they begin with lofty words that are all-inclusive in their praise of every one of His wonders and kindnesses. Since this psalm praises God especially for the greatest benefit He bestowed on the world, namely, for Christ and His kingdom of grace—first promised and now revealed—the writer begins with a general statement of praise: "O give thanks to the Lord; for He is a loving, gracious, good, and compassionate God, who continually does good and abundantly heaps His goodness upon us." You must not read the words "good" and "His steadfast love" with dull indifference. . .. No, you must bear in mind that these are vibrant, significant, and meaningful words; they express and emphasize one theme: God is good, but not as a human being is good; from the very bottom of His heart He is inclined to help and do good continually. He is not given to anger or inclined to punish except where necessary and where persistent, impenitent, and stubborn wickedness compels and drives Him to it. . .. [God] unceasingly showers the best upon us. He is the Creator of our bodies and souls, our Protector by day and by night, and the Preserver of our lives.

From Commentary on Psalm 118 (Luther's Works 14:47-48)

December 12

The Grace of God

December 11, 2018
By Martin Luther

Great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.

PSALM 117:2

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The Grace of God

There are unusually fine words in this verse, words which we should not skim over coldly or without feeling. In the first place, the psalmist speaks of "His steadfast love." This is not our doing, holiness, or wisdom; it is His grace and mercy. What, then, is the grace of God? It is this, that from sheer mercy, for the sake of Christ, who is our beloved Bishop and Mediator, God forgives all our sins. He abates all His anger, leads us by faith from idolatry and error to truth. And the Holy Spirit purifies our hearts, enlightens, sanctifies, and justifies us, chooses us as children, and heirs, adorns us with His gifts, redeems and protects us from the power of the devil, and finally gives us eternal life and blessedness. And yet He also supplies this transitory life with everything needful, gives and preserves it, through the service and co-operation of all creatures of heaven and earth. The whole world could not deserve even the tiniest of these gifts, much less all of them, or even some of the greater ones. In fact, because of its idolatry, ingratitude, contempt, and continual manifold sinning it has deserved nothing but anger, death, and hell. If this is true—and it undeniably is—then it follows that our works, wisdom, and holiness are nothing before God. For if it is God's love, then it cannot be our merit. And if it is our merit, then it is not God's love (Romans 11:6).

From Commentary on Psalm 117 (Luther's Works 14:25)

December 11

Real and Only Worship

December 10, 2018
By Martin Luther

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol Him, all peoples! For great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!

PSALM 117

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Real and Only Worship

The psalmist admonishes and instructs us how to serve the Lord. He urges us to give praise and thanks. Since of ourselves we are nothing but have everything from God, it is easy to see that we can give Him nothing; neither can we repay Him for His grace. He demands nothing from us. The only thing left, therefore, is for us to praise and thank Him. First we must recognize in our hearts and believe that we receive everything from Him and that He is our God. Then out with it, and freely and openly confess this before the world—preach, praise, glorify, and give thanks! This is the real and only worship of God, the true office of the priest, and the finest, most acceptable offering—as St. Peter says (1 Peter 2:9): "You are a royal priesthood, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." Yes, our mouths will be slapped for such praise; for the world does not want to hear it and cannot stand it. But that is the risk if one wants to bring this sacrifice to God; for it is written: "Praise the Lord, all heathen." It does not say that we should praise men or this world, but the Lord and His work or grace, not the works of men; for these are condemned.

From Commentary on Psalm 117 (Luther's Works 14:32-33)

December 10

They Must First Hear His Word

December 09, 2018
By Martin Luther

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol Him, all peoples! For great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!

PSALM 117

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They Must First Hear His Word

Now if all heathen are to praise God, this assumes that He has become their God. If He is to be their God, then they must know Him, believe in Him, and give up all idolatry. One cannot praise God with an idolatrous mouth or an unbelieving heart. And if they are to believe, they must first hear His Word and thereby receive the Holy Spirit, who through faith purifies and enlightens their hearts. One cannot come to faith or lay hold on the Holy Spirit without hearing the Word first, as St. Paul has said (Romans 10:14): "How are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard?" and (Galatians 3:2): "You have received the Spirit through the proclamation of faith." If they are to hear His Word, then preachers must be sent to proclaim God's Word to them; for not all the heathen can come to Jerusalem or make a living among the small company of the Jews. Therefore the psalmist does not say: "Come to Jerusalem, all heathen!" He lets them stay where they are and calls upon them, wherever they may be, to praise God.

From Commentary on Psalm 117 (Luther's Works 14:9)

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