17Deal bountifully with your | servant,*
that I may live and | keep your word.
18Open my eyes, that I | may behold*
wondrous things out | of your law.
19I am a sojourner | on the earth;*
hide not your command- | ments from me!
20My soul is consumed with | longing*
for your just decrees at | all times.
21You rebuke the insolent, ac- | cursèd ones,*
who wander from your com- | mandments.
22Take away from me scorn | and contempt,*
for I have kept your testi- | monies.
23Even though princes sit plottinga- | gainst me,*
your servant will meditate on your | statutes.
24Your testimonies are | my delight;*
they are my | counselors.
Additional Psalm: Psalm 141
Old Testament Reading:
1 Samuel 12:1–25
Samuel’s Farewell Address
1And Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have obeyed your voice in all that you have said to me and have made a king over you. 2And now, behold, the king walks before you, and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day. 3Here I am; testify against me before the LORD and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” 4They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” 5And he said to them, “The LORD is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.”
6And Samuel said to the people, “The LORD is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt. 7Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the LORD concerning all the righteous deeds of the LORD that he performed for you and for your fathers. 8When Jacob went into Egypt, and the Egyptians oppressed them, then your fathers cried out to the LORD and the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place. 9But they forgot the LORD their God. And he sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab. And they fought against them. 10And they cried out to the LORD and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. But now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, that we may serve you.’ 11And the LORD sent Jerubbaal and Barak and Jephthah and Samuel and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and you lived in safety. 12And when you saw that Nahash the king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the LORD your God was your king. 13And now behold the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; behold, the LORD has set a king over you. 14If you will fear the LORD and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well. 15But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you and your king. 16Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the LORD will do before your eyes. 17Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the LORD, that he may send thunder and rain. And you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking for yourselves a king.” 18So Samuel called upon the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.
19And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.” 20And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. 21And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. 22For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself. 23Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. 24Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 25But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”
New Testament Reading:
Paul Before the Council
30But on the next day, desiring to know the real reason why he was being accused by the Jews, he unbound him and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.
23:1And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” 2And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” 4Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” 5And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
6Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” 7And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” 10And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks.
11The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”
This is the first commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and your soul and with your might,” according as you are able to do. The sign that you love God is this: that you love your fellow man; and if you hate your fellow man, your hatred is toward God. For it is blasphemy if you pray before God while you are wrathful. For your heart also convicts you, that vainly you multiply words; your conscience rightly judges that in your prayers you profit nothing. Christ interceded for His murderers while hanging on the height of the tree; but rage fills you, who are dust, son of the clay, at its will. You remain angry at your brother, yet you dare to pray? Even the one standing at your side, though he is not a neighbor to your sins, the taint of iniquity extends to him, and his petition is unheard. Leave off rage and then pray; and unless you would provoke further, restrain anger and then you shall offer supplications. And so the other will not encounter you in fury, banish rages from that body, because it is held by lusts.
You have a spiritual nature; the soul is the image of the Creator. Honor the image of God by being in agreement with all men. Remember death, and do not be angry, so that your peace may not be of constraint. As long as your life remains in you, cleanse your soul from wrath. For if wrath should go to Sheol with you, your road will be straight to Gehenna. Do not keep anger in your heart; do not hold fury in your soul. You have no power over your soul, except to do that which is good. You have been bought with the blood of God; you are redeemed by the Passion of Christ. For your sake He suffered death, that you might die to your sins. His face endured spitting, that you might not shrink from scorn. He drank vinegar and gall, that you might be set apart from wrath. He received stripes on His body, that you might not fear suffering. If you are truly His servant, fear your holy Lord. If you are truly His disciple, walk in your Master’s footsteps. Endure scorn from your brother, that you may be the companion of Christ. Show no anger against man, that you are not separated from your Redeemer.
Preserve Your Word and preaching,
The truth that makes us whole,
The mirror of Your glory,
The pow’r that saves the soul.
Oh, may this living water,
This dew of heav’nly grace,
Sustain us while here living
Until we see Your face.
—Preserve Your Word, O Savior
Prayer of the Day
Christ, our risen Lord, Your resurrection showed us what we will someday be and what we already are now through our Baptism into Your holy name. Give us courage to bear in our bodies Your resurrected life as we live out the fruit of Your victory over death through works of charity and mercy; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (1065)
Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession IV (II) 88–97