Trinity 16

1Give thanks to the LORD, for | he is good,*
         for his steadfast love endures for- | ever.

2Give thanks to the | God of gods,*
         for his steadfast love endures for- | ever.

3Give thanks to the | Lord of lords,*
         for his steadfast love endures for- | ever;

4to him who alone does great | wonders,*
         for his steadfast love endures for- | ever;

5to him who by understanding made the | heavens,*
         for his steadfast love endures for- | ever;

6to him who spread out the earth above the | waters,*
         for his steadfast love endures for- | ever;

7to him who made the | great lights,*
         for his steadfast love endures for- | ever;

8the sun to rule o- | ver the day,*
         for his steadfast love endures for- | ever;

9the moon and stars to rule o- | ver the night,*
         for his steadfast love endures for- | ever;
               —Psalm 136:1–9

Additional Psalm: Psalm 136

Old Testament Reading:
Nehemiah 2:11–20; 4:1–6
[Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem’s Walls]
11So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. 13I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 14Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal that was under me to pass. 15Then I went up in the night by the valley and inspected the wall, and I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 16And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, and I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were to do the work.

17Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” 18And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. 19But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 20Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.”…

Opposition to the Work
4:1Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. 2And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?” 3Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!” 4Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. 5Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders.

6So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.

New Testament Reading:
1 Timothy 2:1–15
Pray for All People
1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

8I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

I do not know how to change in the least what I have previously and constantly taught about justification. Namely, that through faith, as St. Peter says, we have a new and clean heart [Acts 15:9–11], and God will and does account us entirely righteous and holy for the sake of Christ, our Mediator [1 Timothy 2:5]. Although sin in the flesh has not yet been completely removed or become dead [Romans 7:18], yet He will not punish or remember it.

Such faith, renewal, and forgiveness of sins are followed by good works [Ephesians 2:8–9]. What is still sinful or imperfect in them will not be counted as sin or defect, for Christ’s sake [Psalm 32:1–2; Romans 4:7–8]. The entire individual, both his person and his works, is declared to be righteous and holy from pure grace and mercy, shed upon us and spread over us in Christ. Therefore, we cannot boast of many merits and works, if they are viewed apart from grace and mercy. As it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31); namely, that he has a gracious God. For with that, all is well. We say, besides, that if good works do not follow, the faith is false and not true.
               —Smalcald Articles III XIII 1–4

Come, Thou precious Ransom, come,
         Only hope for sinful mortals!
Come, O Savior of the world!
         Open are to Thee all portals.
Come, Thy beauty let us see;
Anxiously we wait for Thee.
               —Come, Thou Precious Ransom, Come (LSB 350:1)

Prayer of the Day
O Lord, grant that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by Your governance that Your Church may joyfully serve You in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (H64)

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession XIIa (V) 59–67