Friday after Epiphany

1 The heavens declare the glo- | ry of God,*
         and the sky above proclaims
         his | handiwork.

2 Day to day | pours out speech,*
         and night to night reveals | knowledge.

3 There is no speech, nor | are there words,*
         whose voice | is not heard.

4 Their measuring line goes out through
all the earth, and their words
to the end | of the world.*
         In them he has set a tent | for the sun,

5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving
his | chamber,*
         and, like a strong man,
         runs its | course with joy.

6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the | end of them,*
         and there is nothing hidden | from
         its heat.

9 the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring for- | ever;*
         the just decrees of the LORD are true,
         and righteous alto- | gether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even | much fine gold;*
         sweeter also than honey
         and drippings of the | honeycomb.

11 Moreover, by them is your | servant warned;*
         in keeping them there is | great reward.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the
meditation of my heart be acceptable | in
your sight,*
         O LORD, my rock and my re- | deemer.

    —Psalm 19:1–6, 9–11, 14

Additional Psalm: Psalm 100

Old Testament Reading: Ezekiel 2:1–3:11
Ezekiel’s Call
1And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” 2And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. 3And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. 4The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ 5And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. 7And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.

8“But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” 9And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.

3:1And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. 3And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.

4And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. 5For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel—6not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. 7But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. 8Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. 9Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” 10Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. 11And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.”

New Testament Reading:
Romans 1:18–32
God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Merely preaching the Law, without Christ, either makes proud people, who imagine that they can fulfill the Law by outward works, or forces them utterly to despair. Therefore, Christ takes the Law into His hands and explains it spiritually (Matthew 5:21–48; Romans 7:14; 1:18). He reveals His wrath from heaven on all sinners and shows how great it is. In this teaching sinners are directed to the Law, and from it they first learn to know their sins correctly—a confession that Moses could never wrestle out of them. For as the apostle testifies (2 Corinthians 3:14–15), even though Moses is read, the veil he put over his face is never lifted. So they cannot understand the Law spiritually, and what great things it requires of us, and how severely it curses and condemns us because we cannot keep or fulfill it. “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed” (2 Corinthians 3:16).

Christ’s Spirit must not only comfort, but also through the office of the Law “convict the world concerning sin” [John 16:8]. In the New Testament, as the prophet says, He must do the work of another (reprove), in order that He may ‹afterward› do His own work, which is to comfort and to preach grace [Isaiah 28:21]. To this end the Spirit was obtained for us through Christ and sent.

—Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord V 10–11

But those who scornfully disdain

God’s Law shall then in sin remain;

Its terror in their ear resounds

And keeps their wickedness in bounds.

    —The Law of God Is Good and Wise (LSB 579:4)

Prayer of the Day
O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of Your people who call upon You and grant that they both perceive and know what things they ought to do and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L13)

Suggested Reading from
the Book of Concord
Large Catechism II 47–54