1God has taken his place in the divine | council;*
in the midst of the gods he holds | judgment:
2“How long will you judge un- | justly*
and show partiality to the | wicked?
3Give justice to the weak and the | fatherless;*
maintain the right of the afflicted and the | destitute.
4Rescue the weak and the | needy;*
deliver them from the hand of the | wicked.”
5They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in | darkness;*
all the foundations of the earth are | shaken.
6I said, | “You are gods,*
sons of the Most High, | all of you;
7nevertheless, like men | you shall die,*
and fall like | any prince.”
8Arise, O God, | judge the earth;*
for you shall inherit all the | nations!
Additional Psalm: Psalm 136
Old Testament Reading:
1 Samuel 2:18–36
[Eli’s Worthless Sons]
18Samuel was ministering before the LORD, a boy clothed with a linen ephod. 19And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the LORD give you children by this woman for the petition she asked of the LORD.” So then they would return to their home.
21Indeed the LORD visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the young man Samuel grew in the presence of the LORD.
Eli Rebukes His Sons
22Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. 24No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the LORD spreading abroad. 25If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the LORD to put them to death.
26Now the young man Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the LORD and also with man.
The LORD Rejects Eli’s Household
27And there came a man of God to Eli and said to him, “Thus the LORD has said, ‘Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? 28Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. 29Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons above me by fattening your-selves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’ 30Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men. 34And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. 35And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever. 36And everyone who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and shall say, “Please put me in one of the priests’ places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”’”
New Testament Reading: Acts 15:22–41
The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers
22Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, al-though we gave them no instructions, 25it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
30So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. 33And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 35But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
Paul and Barnabas Separate
36And after some days Paul said to Bar-nabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
[Christ’s wonderful purpose] was nothing less than the unification of mankind in one common brotherhood of life and salvation. When He came, there was no common bond of union among men. The populations of the earth were widely separated and estranged by endless differences of race, nationality, interest, and civilization… The world was a babel of notions, beliefs, and unbeliefs, and all attempts to reach any settled truth had proved so futile that many only sneered at talk about it and contemptuously asked, “What is truth?” … But when Christ came as the embodied truth of God and set Himself to work among men, it was to lay a sure foundation for all humanity to rest on and to create a common center of unity for the whole race. “One Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all,” were the principles He enunciated for the acceptance of all the children of men and which, in all reason and conscience, should command every heart. By the acceptance of these immutable truths He meant to create a bond of common interest, fellowship, and hope between Jew and Greek, bond and free, male and female, uniting all nationalities, races, and classes in one grand commonwealth with one Head and Spirit.
—Joseph A. Seiss
Spread the reign of God the Lord,
Spoken, written, mighty Word;
Ev’rywhere His creatures call
To His heav’nly banquet hall.
—Spread the Reign of God the Lord (LSB 830:1)
Prayer of the Day
Our Lord Jesus, Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. Keep us from becoming burdened by laws fulfilled in You, and help us to live lives sanctified by Your Spirit that we might bear witness that in You all things have been made new; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (1060)
Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession III–IV (II) 1–11