97Oh how I | love your law!*
It is my meditation | all the day.
98Your commandment makes me wiser than my | enemies,*
for it is ever | with me.
99I have more understanding thanall my | teachers,*
for your testimonies are my medi- | tation.
100I understand more than the | agèd,*
for I keep your | precepts.
101I hold back my feet from every | evil way,*
in order to | keep your word.
102I do not turn aside from your | just decrees,*
for you have | taught me.
103How sweet are your words | to my taste,*
sweeter than honey | to my mouth!
104Through your precepts I getunder- | standing;*
therefore I hate every | false way.
Additional Psalm: Psalm 146
Old Testament Reading:
Love and Serve the LORD
1“You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always. 2And consider today (since I am not speaking to your children who have not known or seen it), consider the discipline of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand and his outstretched arm, 3his signs and his deeds that he did in Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to all his land, 4and what he did to the army of Egypt, to their horses and to their chariots, how he made the water of the Red Sea flow over them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD has destroyed them to this day, 5and what he did to you in the wilderness, until you came to this place, 6and what he did to Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, son of Reuben, how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households, their tents, and every living thing that followed them, in the midst of all Israel. 7For your eyes have seen all the great work of the LORD that he did.
8“You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, 9and that you may live long in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give to them and to their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10For the land that you are entering to take possession of it is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and irrigated it, like a garden of vegetables. 11But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven, 12a land that the LORD your God cares for. The eyes of the LORD your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
13“And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. 15And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. 16Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; 17then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the LORD is giving you.
18“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21that your days and the days of your children may be mul-tiplied in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the hea-vens are above the earth. 22For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the LORD your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him, 23then the LORD will drive out all
these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than your-selves. 24Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours. Your territory shall be from the wilderness to the Lebanon and from the River, the river Euphrates, to the western sea. 25No one shall be able to stand against you. The LORD your God will lay the fear of you and the dread of you on all the land that you shall tread, as he promised you.”
New Testament Reading:
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
1At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” 3He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: 4how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? 6I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
A Man with a Withered Hand
9He went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. 11He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. 14But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
God’s Chosen Servant
15Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all 16and ordered them not to make him known. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
18“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
20a bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
21and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
You shall sanctify the holy day.
The word holiday is used for the Hebrew word sabbath, which properly means “to rest,” that is, to cease from labor… Now, in the Old Testament, God set apart the seventh day and appointed it for rest [Genesis 2:3]. He commanded that it should be regarded as holy above all other days. This commandment was given only to the Jewish people for this outward obedience, that they should stop toilsome work and rest. In that way both man and beast might recover and not be weakened by endless labor [Exodus 20:8–11]. Later, the Jewish people restricted the Sabbath too closely and greatly abused it. They defamed Christ and could not endure in Him the same works that they themselves would do on that day, as we read in the Gospel [Matthew 12:11]. They acted as though the commandment were fulfilled by doing no manual work whatsoever. This, however, was not the meaning. But, as we shall hear, they were supposed to sanctify the holy day or day of rest.
This commandment, therefore, in its literal sense, does not apply to us Christians. It is entirely an outward matter, like other ordinances of the Old Testament. The ordinances were attached to particular customs, persons, times, and places, but now they have been made matters of freedom through Christ [Colossians 2:16–17].
The simpleminded need to grasp a Christian meaning about what God requires in this commandment… We keep [holy days] first of all for bodily causes and necessities, which nature teaches and requires. We keep them for the common people, manservants and maidservants, who have been attending to their work and trade the whole week. In this way they may withdraw in order to rest for a day and be refreshed.
Second, and most especially, on this day of rest (since we can get no other chance), we have the freedom and time to attend divine service. We come together to hear and use God’s Word, and then to praise God, to sing and to pray [Colossians 3:16].
—Large Catechism I 78–84
O God of mercy, God of might,
In love and pity infinite,
Teach us, as ever in Thy sight,
To live our lives in Thee.
—O God of Mercy, God of Might
Prayer of the Day
Lord of the Sabbath, You gave Your servant David the bread of the Presence on the Sabbath to teach him that You desire mercy and not sacrifice. Be merciful to us by healing us from all our sins and diseases, that we may be merciful to others as You have been merciful to us; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (1099)
Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession XX 78–85