4His lightnings light | up the world;*
the earth sees and | trembles.
5The mountains melt like wax be- | fore the LORD,*
before the Lord of | all the earth.
6The heavens proclaim his | righteousness,*
and all the peoples see his | glory.
7All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless | idols;*
worship him, | all you gods!
8Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Ju- | dah rejoice,*
because of your judgments, | O LORD.
9For you, O LORD, are most high over | all the earth;*
you are exalted far a- | bove all gods.
10O you who love the LORD, hate | evil!*
He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the | wicked.
11Light is sown for the | righteous,*
and joy for the up- | right in heart.
12Rejoice in the LORD, O you | righteous,*
and give thanks to his | holy name!
Additional Psalm: Psalm 115
Old Testament Reading: Ecclesiastes 9:1–17
Death Comes to All
1But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. 2It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. 3This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 6Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.
Enjoy Life with the One You Love
7Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.
8Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.
9Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
Wisdom Better than Folly
11Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. 12For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.
13I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. 14There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. 15But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.
17The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.
New Testament Reading: John 9:24–41
[Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind]
24So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.
35Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”
There remains the oft-repeated statement in Eccl. 9:1–2: “The righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God, and man does not know if he is worthy of love or hatred, but all things are kept uncertain in the future.” Therefore [they say] in this life believers are uncertain whether they are under God’s love or His hatred, but this will only be made manifest in the coming age.
But this passage does not read this way in the Hebrew, the Greek, in Jerome’s translation, nor among the ancient writers who commented on the Book of Ecclesiastes. The sense is entirely clear. For the author adds this because things turn out equally for the righteous and the ungodly, for the good and the evil, that is, we must not and cannot determine on the basis of the outcome whether we are pleasing to God. But it does not follow, because we cannot make a determination from the outcome, that therefore faith on the basis of the Word of God must remain uncertain.
In another place in the same book [3:19] there is this statement: “The spirit of man is mortal, just as the spirit of beasts.” He is saying that on the basis of external events it is impossible to know whether the spirit of man differs from that of an animal, because the death of both is the same. Bernard explains: Reason of itself cannot know this, but faith, the truth of the Word of God, and the Spirit help us. And so in the same chapter Solomon soon says: “Your works are pleasing to God” [9:7].
It was grace in Christ that called me,
Taught my darkened heart and mind;
Else the world had yet enthralled me,
To Thy heav—nly glories blind.
Now I worship none above Thee;
For Thy grace alone I thirst,
Knowing well that, if I love Thee,
Thou, O Lord, didst love me first. (LSB 573:2)
Prayer of the Day
Almighty and everlasting God, You found Your martyr Justin wandering from teacher to teacher, searching for the true God. Grant that all who seek for a deeper knowledge of the sublime wisdom of Your eternal Word may be found by You, who sent Your Son to seek and to save the lost; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (1034)
Born at the beginning of the second century, Justin was raised in a pagan family. He was a student of philosophy who converted to the Christian faith and became a teacher in Ephesus and Rome. After refusing to make pagan sacrifices, he was arrested, tried, and executed, along with six other believers. The official Roman court proceedings of his trial before Rusticius, a Roman prelate, document his confession of faith. The account of his martyrdom became a source of great encouragement to the early Christian community. Much of what we know of early liturgical practice comes from Justin.
Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 68–82