Saturday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Deuteronomy 9:23—10:22 (NKJV)
9:23 “Likewise, when the LORD sent you from Kadesh Barnea, saying, ‘Go up and possess the land which I have given you,’ then you rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and you did not believe Him nor obey His voice. 24 You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.
25 “Thus I prostrated myself before the LORD; forty days and forty nights I kept prostrating myself, because the LORD had said He would destroy you. 26 Therefore I prayed to the LORD, and said: ‘O Lord GOD, do not destroy Your people and Your inheritance whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 27 Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look on the stubbornness of this people, or on their wickedness or their sin, 28 lest the land from which You brought us should say, “Because the LORD was not able to bring them to the land which He promised them, and because He hated them, He has brought them out to kill them in the wilderness.” 29 Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out by Your mighty power and by Your outstretched arm.’
10:1 “At that time the LORD said to me, ‘Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to Me on the mountain and make yourself an ark of wood. 2 And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you shall put them in the ark.’ 3 So I made an ark of acacia wood, hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand. 4 And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the LORD had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the LORD gave them to me. 5 Then I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, just as the LORD commanded me.”
6 ( Now the children of Israel journeyed from the wells of Bene Jaakan to Moserah, where Aaron died, and where he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered as priest in his stead. 7 From there they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, a land of rivers of water. 8 At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister to Him and to bless in His name, to this day. 9 Therefore Levi has no portion nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance, just as the LORD your God promised him.)
10 “As at the first time, I stayed in the mountain forty days and forty nights; the LORD also heard me at that time, and the LORD chose not to destroy you. 11 Then the LORD said to me, ‘Arise, begin your journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.’
12 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? 14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 18 He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 19 Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 21 He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. 22 Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude.”
The Lord said to His people: “You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast.” At His temptation in Matthew 4 Jesus uses the words of our text against Satan when He says, “Away with you Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'” For Jesus these words are the final word. But for Satan there is much more to say. He left Jesus after these words, but he doesn’t leave us alone.
Satan has been successful in his temptation of us. In 1 Peter 5:8 we are told, “your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” When we look at God’s Law we see how successful Satan has been in us. However, through the Word and Baptism we have been brought to faith in Jesus Christ. We have been forgiven. We have been made God’s holy people. We have been given the tools with which to resist Satan’s temptations.
Following his warning about Satan, Peter says, “Resist him, steadfast in the faith.” God has given us His Word and has promised to be our mighty fortress, as Luther’s hymn states:
“Tho’ devils all the world should fill,
All eager to devour us,
We tremble not, we fear no ill,
They shall not overpow’r us.
This world’s prince may still
Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none,
He’s judged the deed is done;
One little word can fell him.” Amen. (TLH 262:4).