Thursday after Trinity 20

1With my voice I cry out | to the LORD;*
         with my voice I plead for mercy | to the LORD.

2I pour out my complaint be- | fore him;*
         I tell my trouble be- | fore him.

3When my spirit faints within me, you | know my way!*
         In the path where I walk they have hidden a | trap for me.

4Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice | of me;*
         no refuge remains to me; no one cares | for my soul.

5I cry to you, | O LORD;*
         I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the | living.”

6Attend to my cry, for I am brought | very low!*
         Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too | strong for me!

7Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks | to your name!*
         The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully | with me.
               —Psalm 142

Additional Psalm: Psalm 91

Old Testament Reading:
Deuteronomy 20:1–20
Laws Concerning Warfare
1“When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 2And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people 3and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, 4for the LORD your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’ 5Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it. 6And is there any man who has planted a vineyard and has not enjoyed its fruit? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man enjoy its fruit. 7And is there any man who has betrothed a wife and has not taken her? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her.’ 8And the officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘Is there any man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house, lest he make the heart of his fellows melt like his own.’ 9And when the officers have finished speaking to the people, then commanders shall be appointed at the head of the people.

10“When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. 11And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. 12But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. 13And when the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword, 14but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as plunder for yourselves. And you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the LORD your God has given you. 15Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here. 16But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, 17but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the LORD your God has commanded, 18that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the LORD your God.

19“When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? 20Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.”

New Testament Reading:
Matthew 15:21–39
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
21And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

Jesus Heals Many
29Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
32Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” 33And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” 34And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” 35And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, 36he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 37And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 38Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. 39And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.

Yesterday you were a Canaanite soul bent together by sin; today you have been made straight by the Word. Do not be bent again and condemned to the earth, as if weighed down by the devil with a wooden collar, nor get an incurable curvature. Yesterday you were being dried up by an abundant hemorrhage, for you were pouring out crimson sin; today [you are] stanched and flourishing again, for you have touched the hem of Christ and your issue has been stayed. Guard, I pray you, the cleansing lest you should again have a hemorrhage and not be able to lay hold of Christ to steal salvation; for Christ does not like to be stolen from often, though He is very merciful. Yesterday you were flung upon a bed, exhausted and paralyzed, and you had no one when the water should be troubled to put you into the pool. Today you have Him who is in one person Man and God, or rather God and Man. You were raised up from your bed, or rather you took up your bed, and publicly acknowledged the benefit. Do not again be thrown upon your bed by sinning, in the evil rest of a body paralyzed by its pleasures. But as you now are, so walk, mindful of the command, “Behold, you are made whole; sin no more lest a worse thing happen to you if you prove to be bad after the blessing you have received.” You have heard the loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth,” as you lay in the tomb—not, however, after four days, but after many days—and you were loosed from the bonds of your grave clothes. Do not again become dead nor live with those who dwell in the tombs nor bind yourself with the bonds of your own sins. For it is uncertain whether you will rise again from the tomb till the last and universal resurrection, which will bring every work into judgment, not to be healed but to be judged and to give account of all that for good or evil it has treasured up.
               —Gregory of Nazianzus

To pastures green, Lord, safely guide,
         To restful waters lead me;
Your table well for me provide,
         Your wounded hand now feed me.
Though weary, sinful, sick, and weak,
Refuge in You alone I seek,
         To share Your cup of healing.
               —Lord Jesus Christ, Life-Giving Bread (LSB 625:2)

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, whom to know is everlasting life, grant us to know Your Son, Jesus, to be the way, the truth, and the life that we may boldly confess Him to be the Christ and steadfastly walk in the way that leads to life eternal; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (A74)

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXIII (XI) 1–6

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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