How Do We Experience God’s Name?

Pentecost 14 Tuesday

Psalm 50:15

“Call upon me in trouble, and I will answer you, and you shall glorify me.”

The third work of the Second Commandment is to call on God’s name in all kinds of trouble. For God considers it hallowing and greatly honoring his name when we name it and call on it in affliction and trouble. And this is, finally, the reason why he inflicts on us so much trouble, suffering, trials, and even death, why he allows us to live in so many evil sinful inclinations: He thereby wants to urge and greatly cause man to run and cry out to him, to call on his holy name and thus to fulfill this work of the Second Commandment, as he says in Psalm 50:15, 14: “Call on me in your trouble, and I will help you, and you shall honor me; for I want to have a sacrifice of praise.” And this is the very path to salvation. For by such work you become aware and experience what God’s name is, how mighty it is to help all who call on him; and thereby confidence and faith grow very much whereby the First Commandment is fulfilled. David experienced this, Psalm 54:7, 6: “You have delivered me from all trouble; therefore, I want to recite your name and confess that it is lovely and sweet.”…Now what man on earth does not have enough to do also in this work? For who is without trial for even an hour? I will pass in silence the trials of misfortune which are countless. For the most dangerous trial takes place when
there is no trial and all is well and good. It is then that man might forget God, take too much liberty, and abuse the time of fortune. Indeed, here you need to call on God’s name ten times more than in misfortune, since it is written in Psalm 91:7: “A thousand fall on the left side, and ten thousand on the right side.” We also see very clearly in the experience of all men that many more cruel sins and vices take place when there is peace, when all things are cheap, and when times are good than when there is war, plague, diseases, and when all kinds of misfortune have weighed us down. For Moses was concerned about his people that it would abandon God’s commandments for no other reason than for being too full, too sated, and for having too much rest, as he says in Deuteronomy 32:15-16: “My dear people has become rich, full, and fat; this is why it has striven against its God.” This is why God left many enemies for Israel and would not drive them out, so that Israel would not have rest but would have to practice the keeping of God’s commandments…This he also does for us when he inflicts all kinds of misfortune on us.

St. Louis ed., 10:1324-1325.

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