God was at Moses six several times before he could get him forward; at last, after many excuses, he went, but unwillingly.  If I had been Moses, I would, with the aid of some lawyer, have framed a bill of complaint against our Lord God, for breaking his promise; for he said to Moses: ‘I will be with thee,’ but he performed not what he promised.  

In like manner God comforts and encourages with similar promises in the Gospel, saying: ‘And ye shall find rest for your soul.’  But alas! we see and find the contrary, by John the Baptist, by his dearest Son, our blessed Saviour Christ Jesus, by all the saints and holy martyrs, and by all true Christians; so that, according to the lawyers, our Lord God has lost the cause.

Christ spake unto me as he spake to St. Paul: ‘Arise and preach, and I will be with thee.’  I have read that as an example.  It is, indeed, an office exceeding dangerous to preach Christ; had I known as much before as I know now, I should never have been drawn thereunto, but, with Moses, would have said: ‘Send whom thou wilt send.’ 


I find this to be a fascinating text, especially in light of the discussion on Veith’s blog about our assurance of salvation.  The collections within Table Talk are candid off the cuff moments with Luther.  Here we see Luther the man, full of doubts and almost despairing under the difficulties he has endured.  Several thoughts come to mind:

  1. Was Luther SAVED when he was in such a state?  Of course, he was.  We should find great comfort in that.
  2. What would Joel Osteen have to say about this?  Did Luther have his “Best Life, Now!”
  3. The image of some lawyer making out of lawsuit against God is very humorous to me.  No doubt, we could easily find a lawyer willing to do it.
  4. Interestingly, I could not find this selection in any of the online collections of Table Talk (for cut and pasting purposes).  Yet, it was in my William Hazlitt translation published by Fount Classics.  I typed it myself.  Those online collections are all Reformed in worldview.  Was the omission a coincidence.
  5. The selection shows Luther’s humility and, at times, uncertainty.  He let God’s Word be his rock.  We would be wise to do the same.
  6. Of course, God keeps His promises.  But, His Kingdom is not of this world.  His ways are not our ways.  The peace of the soul He offers only comes in the next life. When it comes, it will be eternal.