Saturday after Trinity 10

13The LORD looks down from | heaven;*
         he sees all the chil- | dren of man;

14from where he sits enthroned he | looks out*
         on all the inhabitants | of the earth,

15he who fashions the hearts | of them all*
         and observes | all their deeds.

16The king is not saved by his great | army;*
         a warrior is not delivered by his | great strength.

17The war horse is a false hopefor sal- | vation,*
         and by its great might it cannot | rescue.

18Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who | fear him,*
         on those who hope in his | steadfast love,

19that he may deliver their | soul from death*
         and keep them alive in | famine.

20Our soul waits | for the LORD;*
         he is our help | and our shield.

21For our heart is | glad in him,*
         because we trust in his | holy name.
               —Psalm 33:13–21

Additional Psalm: Psalm 33

Old Testament Reading: 2 Samuel 1:1–27
David Hears of Saul’s Death
1After the death of Saul, when David had returned from striking down the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag. 2And on the third day, behold, a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage. 3David said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” 4And David said to him, “How did it go? Tell me.” And he answered, “The people fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.” 5Then David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” 6And the young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear, and behold, the chariots and the horsemen were close upon him. 7And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 8And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ 9And he said to me ‘Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.’ 10So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.”

11Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. 12And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the LORD and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 13And David said to the young man who told him, “Where do you come from?” And he answered, “I am the son of a sojourner, an Amalekite.” 14David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to put out your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” 15Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go, execute him.” And he struck him down so that he died. 16And David said to him, “Your blood be on your head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the LORD’s anointed.’”

David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan
17And David lamented with this lamenta-tion over Saul and Jonathan his son, 18and he said it should be taught to the people of Judah; behold, it is written in the Book of Jashar. He said:

19“Your glory, O Israel, is slain on your high places!
         How the mighty have fallen!
20Tell it not in Gath,
         publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
         lest the daughters of the uncircumcised exult.

21“You mountains of Gilboa,
         let there be no dew or rain upon you,
         nor fields of offerings!
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
         the shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.

22“From the blood of the slain,
         from the fat of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan turned not back,
         and the sword of Saul returned not empty.

23“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
         In life and in death they were not divided;
they were swifter than eagles;
         they were stronger than lions.

24“You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul,
         who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet,
         who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.

25“How the mighty have fallen
         in the midst of the battle!

“Jonathan lies slain on your high places.
          26I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
very pleasant have you been to me;
         your love to me was extraordinary,
         surpassing the love of women.

27“How the mighty have fallen,
         and the weapons of war perished!”

New Testament Reading:
1 Corinthians 7:25–40
The Unmarried and the Widowed
25Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

36If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.

39A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

Complaints about unchaste priests are common. Platina writes that it is for this reason that Pope Pius is reported to have said that although there are reasons why marriage was taken away from priests, there are far more important reasons why it should be given back. Since our priests wanted to avoid these open scandals, they married wives and taught that it was lawful for them to enter into marriage. First, because Paul says, “Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife” and “It is better to marry than to be aflame with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:2, 9b).

Second, Christ says, “Not everyone can receive this saying” (Matthew 19:11), where He teaches that not everyone is able to lead a single life. God created human beings for procreation (Genesis 1:28). It is not within a person’s power, without God giving a unique gift, to change this creation. ‹For it is clear, as many have confessed, that no good, honest, chaste life, no Christian, sincere, upright conduct has resulted from the attempt to lead a single life. Instead, a horrible, fearful unrest and torment of conscience has been felt by many until the end.› Therefore, those who are not able to lead a single life ought to marry. No human law, no vow, can destroy God’s commandment and ordinance. For these reasons the priests teach that it is lawful for them to marry wives.
               —Augsburg Confession XXIII 1–9

Preserve the vow these two shall make,
         This circle round their life,
This golden ring that none may break
         Which makes them husband, wife.
               —Lord, When You Came as Welcome Guest (LSB 859:3)

Prayer of the Day
O Lord, keep Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because of our frailty we cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (H74)

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession V (III) 104–111 [225–232]

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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