The Promises of the Third Commandment

Pentecost 16 Thursday

Psalm 1:3

“He is like a tree planted by the rivers who produces his fruit in due season; and his leaves do not wilt, and everything he does prospers.”

The praise of the Third Commandment is followed by the promises. Psalm 92:12 reads: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree.” And this is a glorious simile concerning the palm tree which flourishes in summer and winter, like the cedar tree and the pine tree, and has its sap everyday; for it grows only at sandy and moist places. A God-fearing person who gladly hears God’s Word is to be just like that: when you hear the Word, sap is to follow, that is, I will give my Spirit
and grace; the Spirit is present and gives grace where the Word is heard. The palm tree produces its fruit before its leaves come out, just like the vine and the fig tree. A God-fearing person does likewise: first he proves the teaching by his works, then he teaches himself. For the leaves signify the doctrine. This is why a God-fearing person can advise, instruct, and comfort everyone by his teaching whenever it is beneficial and necessary, not just at a certain time. That is, the God-fearing person produces fruit at all times, even when he sleeps, drinks, and eats. Likewise, the God-fearing man is competent in all things; neither hail nor lightning, neither rain nor snow hinder him. He freely walks right through the worst storms; for he has vigor and sap in his roots. Therefore, even when cross and persecution come, he does not worry about them; for he has the sap and keeps going; they cannot extinguish or dampen him. This is how he is competent for all things. This, then, is the promise that applies to him who follows the Word.

St. Louis ed., 4:1359-1360.

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