Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion. Psalm 147:12
We should be ashamed that we’re so lazy we need to be prodded into praising God or awakened to so, as if we were sleeping. We’re showered with blessings every day, and we’re always using what God gives us. Why do we need to be continually reminded of the wonderful things God does for us? We should be able to remember to thank him without reminders from the psalms. God’s gifts alone should inspire us to praise God. But this doesn’t happen. We have to be yelled at before we start praising the Lord. The words have to be written down for us and spoon-fed into our mouths, as this psalm does.
More shocking still is that the one who is giving us all these blessings has to be pointed out to us. Jerusalem must be admonished, “Do extol the Lord,” and Zion told, “Go ahead and praise your God.” We all use God’s blessings every day, but we never think about where they come from—God. He is the one who gives us everything. Instead, we accept his gifts as if they simply appeared out of nowhere or as if we earned them through our own efforts, diligence, or wisdom. We think that God somehow owes us these things, and therefore we don’t need to thank him. Even animals don’t live that shamefully. Pigs recognize the person who gives them their food. They’ll run after her and cry to her. But the world doesn’t even recognize God, let alone thank and praise him for these blessings. If God’s people must be encouraged to praise him, how can the world be expected to do any better? It’s astounding how unwilling people are to acknowledge what God has done for them and to praise him for it.
Timeless insights from one of the most important people in church history. Resounding across the centuries, Martin Luther’s prolific writings as a pastor, theologian, scholar, Bible translator, father, and more, remain powerful and richly relevant. Faith Alone is a treasury of accessible devotionals taken from Luther’s best writings and sermons from the years 1513 through 1546. This carefully updated translation retains the meaning, tone, and imagery of Luther’s works such as this gem:
Some people value good works so much that they overlook faith in Christ. Faith should be first. It is faith—without good works and prior to good works—that takes us to heaven. We come to God through faith alone. —Martin Luther
Through daily readings, Luther’s straightforward approach challenges you to a more thoughtful faith. Read one brief section a day or explore themes using the subject index in the back of the book. Faith Alone will deepen your understanding of Scripture and help you more fully appreciate the mystery of faith.