1In you, O LORD, do I take | refuge;*
let me never be | put to shame!
2In your righteousness deliver meand | rescue me;*
incline your ear to me, and | save me!
3Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may contin- | ually come;*
you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my | fortress.
4Rescue me, O my God, from the handof the | wicked,*
from the grasp of the unjust and | cruel man.
5For you, O Lord, | are my hope,*
my trust, O LORD, | from my youth.
6Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my | mother’s womb.*
My praise is continually | of you.
7I have been as a portent to | many,*
but you are my strong | refuge.
8My mouth is filled | with your praise,*
and with your glory | all the day.
Additional Psalm: Psalm 98
Old Testament Reading:
1 Samuel 17:20–47
[David and Goliath]
20And David rose early in the morning and left the sheep with a keeper and took the provisions and went, as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the encampment as the host was going out to the battle line, shouting the war cry. 21And Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army. 22And David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage and ran to the ranks and went and greeted his brothers. 23As he talked with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.
24All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid. 25And the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel. And the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.” 26And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 27And the people answered him in the same way, “So shall it be done to the man who kills him.”
28Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 29And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” 30And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before.
31When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. 32And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”
38Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.
41And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.”
New Testament Reading: Acts 26:24–27:8
[Paul Tells of His Conversion]
24And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” 29And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”
30Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. 31And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” 32And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
Paul Sails for Rome
27:1And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius. 2And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. 3The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for. 4And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. 5And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. 6There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. 8Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.
In spiritual and divine things, which apply to the salvation of the soul, a person … is like a lifeless statue, which uses neither eyes nor mouth, neither sense nor heart. For a person neither sees nor perceives God’s terrible and fierce wrath resulting from sin and death. He always continues in his security, even knowingly and willingly. In this way he falls into a thousand dangers, and finally into eternal death and damnation. No prayers, no supplications, no warnings, indeed, also no threats, no chiding, are of any help. Indeed, all teaching and preaching is lost on him until he is enlightened, con-verted, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. For only mankind … was created for re-newal by the Holy Spirit. According to God’s just, strict sentence, He has utterly cast away the fallen evil spirits forever. Nevertheless, out of special, pure mercy, He has willed that poor fallen human nature might again become and be capable of and be a participant in conversion, God’s grace and eternal life. This comes not from its own natural, active skill, ability, or capacity (for a person’s nature is stubbornly hostile against God). It comes only from pure grace, through the gracious effective working of the Holy Spirit.
Before a person is enlightened, convert-ed, regenerated, renewed, and drawn by the Holy Spirit, he can by himself and by his own natural powers begin, work, or agree to work in spiritual things and in his own conversion or regeneration as little as a stone, a block, or a lump of clay. He can control the outward members of his body and hear the Gospel. To a certain extent he can meditate on it and discuss it, as is to be seen in the Pharisees and hypocrites [Matthew 23:25–28]. Never-theless, he regards it as foolishness and cannot believe it. In this respect he acts even worse than a block. For he is rebellious and hostile to God’s will, unless the Holy Spirit is effective on him and kindles and works in him faith and other abilities pleasing to God, and obedience.
—Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord II 20–22, 24
Father, hear my prayer,
Keep me safe today;
Sanctify my thoughts,
All I do and say:
As I teach the young
And esteem the old,
May Your bounteous grace
By my life be told.
—Greet the Rising Sun (LSB 871:2)
Prayer of the Day
Lord Jesus Christ, before whom all in heaven and earth shall bow, grant courage that Your children may confess Your saving name in the face of any opposition from a world hostile to the Gospel. Help them to remember Your faithful people who sacrificed much and even faced death rather than dishonor You when called upon to deny the faith. By Your Spirit, strengthen them to be faithful and to confess You boldly, knowing that You will confess Your own before the Father in heaven, with whom You and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, now and forever. (111)
Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession V (III) 15–25 [136–146]