Wednesday after Trinity 19

1Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my | whole heart,*
         in the company of the upright, in the congre- | gation.

2Great are the works | of the LORD,*
         studied by all who de- | light in them.

3Full of splendor and majesty | is his work,*
         and his righteousness endures for- | ever.

4He has caused his wondrous works to be re- | membered;*
         the LORD is gracious and | merciful.

5He provides food for those who | fear him;*
         he remembers his covenant for- | ever.

6He has shown his people thepower | of his works,*
         in giving them the inheritance of the | nations.

7The works of his hands are faith- | ful and just;*
         all his precepts are | trustworthy;

8they are established forever and | ever,*
         to be performed with faithfulness and up- | rightness.

9He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant for- | ever.*
         Holy and awesome | is his name!

10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good under- | standing.*
         His praise endures for- | ever!
               —Psalm 111

Additional Psalm: Psalm 115

Old Testament Reading:
Deuteronomy 11:26–12:12
[Love and Serve the LORD]
26“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, 28and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known. 29And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, you shall set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30Are they not beyond the Jordan, west of the road, toward the going down of the sun, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oak of Moreh? 31For you are to cross over the Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving you. And when you possess it and live in it, 32you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the rules that I am setting before you today.

The LORD’s Chosen Place of Worship
12:1“These are the statutes and rules that you shall be careful to do in the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. 2You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. 4You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way. 5But you shall seek the place that the LORD your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go, 6and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the LORD your God has blessed you.

8“You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing what-ever is right in his own eyes, 9for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the LORD your God is giving you. 10But when you go over the Jordan and live in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies around, so that you live in safety, 11then to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the LORD. 12And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male servants and your female servants, and the Levite that is within your towns, since he has no portion or inheritance with you.”

New Testament Reading:
Matthew 12:22–37
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
22Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. 23And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” 25Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. 30Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

A Tree Is Known by Its Fruit
33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

“If we cannot do anything, what is the point of so many laws, so many precepts, so many threatenings and promises?” Paul here replies: “Through the law comes knowledge of sin.” He replies to this question very differently from the way man or free choice thinks. He denies that free choice is proved by the law and cooperates with it to produce righteousness; for what comes through the law is not righteousness but knowledge of sin. It is the task, function, and effect of the law to be a light to the ignorant and blind, but such a light as reveals sickness, sin, evil, death, hell, the wrath of God, though it affords no help and brings no deliverance from these, but is content to have revealed them. Then, when a man becomes aware of the disease of sin, he is troubled, distressed, even in despair. The law is no help, much less can he help himself. There is need of another light to reveal the remedy. This is the voice of the gospel, revealing Christ as the deliverer from all these things. It is not reason or free choice that reveals Christ; how should it when it is itself darkness and needs the light of the law to reveal its disease, which by its own light it does not see, but believes to be health? … When sins are unrecognized, there is no room for a remedy and no hope of a cure, because men will not submit to the touch of a healer when they imagine themselves well and in no need of a physician. Therefore, the law is necessary to make sin known so that when its gravity and magnitude are recognized, man in his pride who imagines himself well may be humbled and may sigh and gasp for the grace that is offered in Christ.
               —Martin Luther

Though Satan’s wrath
         Beset our path
And worldly scorn assail us,
         While You are near,
         We shall not fear;
Your strength will never fail us.
         Your rod and staff
         Will keep us safe
And guide our steps forever;
         Nor shades of death
         Nor hell beneath
Our lives from You will sever.
               —Who Trusts in God a Strong Abode (LSB 714:2)

Prayer of the Day
O God, the protector of all who trust in You, without whom nothing is strong and nothing is holy, multiply Your mercy on us that, with You as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (H63)

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession XX 86–92

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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