Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever! Psalm 111:1-3, 9-10
When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the Lord may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
. . . Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 1 Kings 2:1-4; 3:3-14
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith,so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
 Now we will reply to those passages that the adversaries quote in order to prove that we are justified by love and works. From 1 Corinthians 13:2, they quote: “If I have all faith . . . but have not love, I am nothing.” Here they triumph greatly. Paul testifies to the entire Church (they say) that faith alone does not justify. 98] But a reply is easy after we have shown above what we teach about love and works. This passage of Paul requires love. We also require this. For we have said above that renewal and beginning to fulfill of the Law must exist in us, according to Jeremiah 31:33, “I will put My Law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.” If anyone should cast away love, even though he has great faith, he does not keep his faith. 99] For he does not keep the Holy Spirit. Nor indeed does Paul in [1 Corinthians 13:2] talk about the way of justification. Instead, he writes to those who, after they have been justified, should be urged to bring forth good fruit lest they lose the Holy Spirit. . . . 101] No one can conclude anything more from this text than this: love is necessary. We confess this. . . . Paul does not say that love justifies. He says, “If I have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). In other words, faith–however great it may have been–is extinguished. He does not say that love overcomes the terrors of sin and of death, that we can set our love against God’s wrath and judgment, or that our love satisfies God’s Law. He does not say that we have access to God by our love without Christ as the Atoning Sacrifice and believe that for Christ’s sake God is reconciled to us. Neither is justification even to be dreamed of without Christ as the Atonement. If there is no need of Christ, if we can overcome death by our love, if we have access to God by our love without Christ as the Atonement, then . . . our adversaries remove the promise about Christ [and] abolish the Gospel.
105] . . . Indeed, let us grant to the adversaries that love toward God and our neighbor is the greatest virtue, because the chief commandment is this: “You shall love the Lord your God” (Matthew 22:37). But how will they conclude from this that love justifies?106] They say, “the greatest virtue justifies.” By no means! For just as the greatest, or first, Law does not justify, so also the Law’s greatest virtue does not justify. But the virtue that justifies receives Christ, which brings to us Christ’s merits, by which we receive grace and peace from God. This virtue is faith. As it has often been said, faith is not just knowledge. But it is willing to receive or take those things that are offered in the promise about Christ. 107] Furthermore, this obedience toward God (i.e, to want to receive the offered promise) is no less a divine service (latreia) than is love. God wants us to believe Him and to receive from Him blessings. He declares this to be true divine service. [The APOLOGY of the AUGSBURG CONFESSION ARTICLE V.97-99, 101-102, 105-107: LOVE & FULFILLING THE LAW]
DAILY PRAYER for TUESDAY
Almighty God, heavenly Father; we praise Your fathomless mercy, with which You take pity on sinful men. All the prophets and apostles preach this to us in Your Holy Word.
Let our hope not be put to shame when we pray to You for all who suffer at this time. For behold, the evil foe has become mighty, and the great ones of this world rule often with unrighteousness. O God, who in former times caused Your saints to overcome injustice, strengthen also today all who stand in need of Your help. Grant that all prisoners of war—held as slaves and sacrifices of earthly wrath—may return to their homes. Stand by all refugees and homeless people, and be their justice. Be a father to the widows and orphans with Your strong protection.
Go through bars and fences to those who are imprisoned for the sake of Your name; strengthen them for a good witness, and let them not waver in the confession of Your name. Teach us through their example, and the example of so many holy martyrs, to be ever watchful of the confession of Your Son’s name. Let us not be put to shame when the evil foe lays his hand on us. But if it is Your will that we be persecuted for confessing Jesus as our Lord and only Savior, then support us in Your grace that we may withstand all trials, and grant us peaceful rest; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.