Wednesday after Trinity 6

Psalmody
1Blessèd are those whose way is | blameless,*
         who walk in the law | of the LORD!

2Blessèd are those who keep his testi- | monies,*
         who seek him with their | whole heart,

3who also | do no wrong,*
         but walk | in his ways!

4You have commanded your | precepts*
         to be kept dil- | igently.

5Oh that my ways may be | steadfast*
         in keeping your | statutes!

6Then I shall not be | put to shame,*
         having my eyes fixed on all your com- | mandments.

7I will praise you with an | upright heart,*
         when I learn your just and righ- | teous decrees.

8I will keep your | statutes;*
         do not utterly for- | sake me!
               —Psalm 119:1–8

Additional Psalm: Psalm 1

Old Testament Reading: Judges 14:1–20
Samson’s Marriage
1Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.” 3But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”

4His father and mother did not know that it was from the LORD, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.

5Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came toward him roaring. 6Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she was right in Samson’s eyes.

8After some days he returned to take her. And he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. 9He scraped it out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. And he came to his father and mother and gave some to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion.

10His father went down to the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, for so the young men used to do. 11As soon as the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12And Samson said to them, “Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes, 13but if you cannot tell me what it is, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Put your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14And he said to them,

“Out of the eater came something to eat.
Out of the strong came something sweet.”

And in three days they could not solve the riddle.

15On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?” 16And Samson’s wife wept over him and said, “You only hate me; you do not love me. You have put a riddle to my people, and you have not told me what it is.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told my father nor my mother, and shall I tell you?” 17She wept before him the seven days that their feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her, because she pressed him hard. Then she told the riddle to her people. 18And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,

“What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?”

And he said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
you would not have found out my riddle.”

19And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father’s house. 20And Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.

New Testament Reading:
Galatians 3:1–22
By Faith, or by Works of the Law?
1O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—6just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

7Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
10For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—14so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

The Law and the Promise
15To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

19Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Writing
Therefore Christ not only was crucified and died, but by divine love sin was laid upon Him. When sin was laid upon Him, the Law came and said: “Let every sinner die! And therefore, Christ, if You want to reply that You are guilty and that You bear the punishment, you must bear the sin and the curse as well.” Therefore Paul correctly applies to Christ this general Law from Moses: “Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree.” Christ hung on a tree; therefore Christ is a curse of God.

And this is our highest comfort, to clothe and wrap Christ this way in my sins, your sins, and the sins of the entire world, and in this way to behold Him bearing all our sins. When He is beheld this way, He easily removes all the fanatical opinions of our opponents about justification by works. For the papists dream about a kind of faith “formed by love.” Through this they want to remove sins and be justified. This is clearly to unwrap Christ and to unclothe Him from our sins, to make Him innocent, to burden and overwhelm ourselves with our own sins, and to behold them, not in Christ but in ourselves. This is to abolish Christ and make Him useless. For if it is true that we abolish sins by the works of the Law and by love, then Christ does not take them away, but we do. But if He is truly the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, who became a curse for us, and who was wrapped in our sins, it necessarily follows that we cannot be justified and take away sins through love. For God has laid our sins, not upon us but upon Christ, His Son. If they are taken away by Him, then they cannot be taken away by us. All Scripture says this, and we confess and pray the same thing in the Creed when we say: “I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who suffered, was crucified, and died for us.”
               —Martin Luther

Hymnody
Salvation unto us has come
         By God’s free grace and favor;
Good works cannot avert our doom,
         They help and save us never.
Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone,
Who did for all the world atone;
         He is our one Redeemer.
               —Salvation unto Us Has Come
(LSB 555:1)

Prayer of the Day
Almighty and merciful God, by Your gift alone Your faithful people render true and laudable service. Help us steadfastly to live in this life according to Your promises and finally attain Your heavenly glory; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (H72)

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession Greeting 1–19

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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