Thursday after Trinity 5

5The LORD is my chosen portion | and my cup;*
         you | hold my lot.

6The lines have fallen for me in pleasant | places;*
         indeed, I have a beautiful in- | heritance.

7I bless the LORD who gives me | counsel;*
         in the night also my heart in- | structs me.

8I have set the LORD always be- | fore me;*
         because he is at my right hand, I shall not be | shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being re- | joices;*
         my flesh also | dwells secure.

10For you will not abandon my soul | to Sheol,*
         or let your holy one see cor- | ruption.

11You make known to me the | path of life;*
         in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures for- | evermore.
               —Psalm 16:5–11

Additional Psalm: Psalm 139:12–18

Old Testament Reading: Judges 3:7–31
7And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. 8Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia. And the people of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. 9But when the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10The Spirit of the LORD was upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11So the land had rest forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

12And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the LORD. 13He gathered to himself the Ammonites and the Amalekites, and went and defeated Israel. And they took possession of the city of palms. 14And the people of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

15Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, and the LORD raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. The people of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. 16And Ehud made for himself a sword with two edges, a cubit in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his clothes. 17And he presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. 18And when Ehud had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who carried the tribute. 19But he himself turned back at the idols near Gilgal and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he commanded, “Silence.” And all his attendants went out from his presence. 20And Ehud came to him as he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. 21And Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. 22And the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and the dung came out. 23Then Ehud went out into the porch and closed the doors of the roof chamber behind him and locked them.

24When he had gone, the servants came, and when they saw that the doors of the roof chamber were locked, they thought, “Surely he is relieving himself in the closet of the cool chamber.” 25And they waited till they were embarrassed. But when he still did not open the doors of the roof chamber, they took the key and opened them, and there lay their lord dead on the floor.

26Ehud escaped while they delayed, and he passed beyond the idols and escaped to Seirah. 27When he arrived, he sounded the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim. Then the people of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was their leader. 28And he said to them, “Follow after me, for the LORD has given your enemies the Moabites into your hand.” So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan against the Moabites and did not allow anyone to pass over. 29And they killed at that time about 10,000 of the Moabites, all strong, able-bodied men; not a man escaped. 30So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years.

31After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel.

New Testament Reading: Acts 13:42–52
[Paul and Barnabas at Antioch in Pisidia]
42As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

44The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
         that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

The preaching and hearing of God’s Word are the Holy Spirit’s instruments. By, with, and through these instruments the Spirit desires to work effectively, to convert people to God, and to work in them both to will and to do [Philippians 2:13].…

God works through this means (i.e., the preaching and hearing of His Word). He breaks our hearts [Jeremiah 4:3–4] and draws us to Him [John 6:44]. Through the preaching of the Law, a person comes to know his sins and God’s wrath. He experiences in his heart true terrors, contrition, and sorrow. Through the preaching of, and reflection on, the Holy Gospel about the gracious forgiveness of sins in Christ, a spark of faith is kindled in him. This faith accepts the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake and comforts itself with the Gospel promise. So the Holy Spirit (who does all this) is sent into the heart [Galatians 4:6].

… No conversion would follow [this preaching and hearing] if the power and effectiveness of the Holy Spirit were not added [1 Corinthians 3:6–7]. The Spirit enlightens and converts hearts through the Word preached and heard. So people believe this Word and agree with it… [The preacher and the hearer] should be certain that when God’s Word is preached purely and truly, according to God’s command and will, and people listen attentively and seriously and meditate on it, God is certainly present with His grace. He grants, as has been said, what otherwise a person can neither accept nor give by his own powers. For we should not and cannot always judge from feeling about the presence, work, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, as to how and when they are experienced in the heart. They are often covered and happen in great weakness. Therefore, we should be certain about and agree with the promise that God’s Word preached and heard is ‹truly› an office and work of the Holy Spirit. He is certainly effective and works in our hearts by them (2 Corinthians 2:14–17; 3:5–6).
               —Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord II 52, 54–56

The Lord who, born of Mary,
         Came down as man and died,
Who preached to all who listened,
         For us was crucified—
This Lord, our living brother,
         In pow’r at God’s right hand,
Has chosen us to carry
         His truth to ev’ry land.
               —On Galilee’s High Mountain
(LSB 835:2)

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, You brought joy to Gentiles and persecution to Paul and Barnabas through their proclamation that Jesus is a light to all nations to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. Give us courage to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world, even in the face of opposition, knowing that it is through suffering that we enter the kingdom of God; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. (1051)

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Augsburg Confession XXVIII 1–18

By Rev. Michael Mayer

Lutheran Pastor of two small Lutheran Churches in rural SW Ontario.