Thursday after Trinity 9

1O LORD, in your strength the king re- | joices,*
         and in your salvation how greatly | he exults!

2You have given him his | heart’s desire*
         and have not withheld the request | of his lips.

3For you meet him with rich | blessings;*
         you set a crown of fine gold up- | on his head.

4He asked life of you; you gave | it to him,*
         length of days forever and | ever.

5His glory is great through your sal- | vation;*
         splendor and majesty you be- | stow on him.

6For you make him most blessed for- | ever;*
         you make him glad with the joy of your | presence.

7For the king trusts | in the LORD,*
         and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall | not be moved.
               —Psalm 21:1–7

Additional Psalm: Psalm 21

Old Testament Reading:
1 Samuel 19:1–24
Saul Tries to Kill David
1And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. 2And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you. And if I learn anything I will tell you.” 4And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you. 5For he took his life in his hand and he struck down the Philistine, and the LORD worked a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?” 6And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan. Saul swore, “As the LORD lives, he shall not be put to death.” 7And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan reported to him all these things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.

8And there was war again. And David went out and fought with the Philistines and struck them with a great blow, so that they fled before him. 9Then a harmful spirit from the LORD came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing the lyre. 10And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.

11Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, “If you do not escape with your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” 12So Michal let David down through the window, and he fled away and escaped. 13Michal took an image and laid it on the bed and put a pillow of goats’ hair at its head and covered it with the clothes. 14And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 15Then Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.” 16And when the messengers came in, behold, the image was in the bed, with the pillow of goats’ hair at its head. 17Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me thus and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” And Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go. Why should I kill you?’”

18Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth. 19And it was told Saul, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. 21When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. 22Then he himself went to Ramah and came to the great well that is in Secu. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” And one said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 23And he went there to Naioth in Ramah. And the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night. Thus it is said, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

New Testament Reading: Acts 28:1–15
Paul on Malta
1After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. 2The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. 3When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. 4When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

7Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. 9And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. 10They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.

Paul Arrives at Rome
11After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead. 12Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. 14There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. 15And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage.

Faith places man before God. Man knows that God is calling to him. The hearing of the divine call is incompatible with the psychologizing “explanation” that man, by the power of his intellect, has lifted himself up from the conception of an angry God to the conception of a merciful, loving Father. For just as he is unable to free himself from the powers of the world and of death that surround and restrain him … so he is unable to escape the “Thou shalt” of the Law, the annihilating verdict of his conscience, the baneful conflict between “shall” and “must.” But that call cannot be mere information concerning a new “concept” of God. For the mere statement that God forgives sin would, in connection with the “primal experience” (Urerlebnis), have to make God appear as an inconsistent Lawgiver and a softhearted Judge. To believe this would amount to substituting a sure experience of the divine wrath for a wish that is founded on nothing at all.

Actually, however, the concept of forgiveness of sins was a paraphrase of the Lutheran concept of the “righteousness of God” (justitia Dei), insofar as Luther himself understood this righteousness to be the righteousness given to man as a gift. Thus the concept moves at once into a greater continuity of ideas. Here, first of all, it is stated in a much more elementary manner than in the concept of forgiveness of sins alone that God, even though He forgives man for transgressing, still does not cease to demand righteousness, in any case does not desist from demanding that man must be righteous. On the one hand, of course, this intensifies the feeling that there is a contradiction. On the other hand, however, it states that the same God pronounces judgment and bestows grace.
               —Werner Elert

Direct, control, suggest this day
All I design or do or say
That all my pow’rs with all their might
In Thy sole glory may unite.
               —Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun
(LSB 868:5)

Prayer of the Day
Lord God, heavenly Father, You delivered us from the enemy through the death of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, with whom we are united in Holy Baptism. Continue to deliver us, we pray, from our diseases and afflictions by Your merciful gift of healing as You feed us holy food and give us the cup of everlasting life to drink; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. (1072)

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession V (III) 45–50 [166–171]

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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