Wednesday after Trinity 22

1O LORD, who shall sojourn | in your tent?*
         Who shall dwell on your | holy hill?

2He who walks blamelessly and does | what is right*
         and speaks truth | in his heart;

3who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his | neighbor,*
         nor takes up a reproach a- | gainst his friend;

4in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who | fear the LORD;*
         who swears to his own hurt and | does not change;

5who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the | innocent.*
         He who does these things shall nev- | er be moved.
               —Psalm 15

Additional Psalm: Psalm 26

Old Testament Reading:
Jeremiah 3:6–4:2
Faithless Israel Called to Repentance
6The LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? 7And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. 9Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. 10Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD.”

11And the LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say,

“‘Return, faithless Israel,
         declares the LORD.
I will not look on you in anger,
         for I am merciful,
         declares the LORD;
I will not be angry forever.
13Only acknowledge your guilt,
         that you rebelled against the LORD your God
and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree,
         and that you have not obeyed my voice,
         declares the LORD.
14Return, O faithless children,
         declares the Lord;
         for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
         and I will bring you to Zion.

15“‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, declares the LORD, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. 17At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the LORD, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. 18In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.

19“‘I said,
         How I would set you among my sons,
and give you a pleasant land,
         a heritage most beautiful of all nations.
And I thought you would call me, My Father,
         and would not turn from following me.
20Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband,
         so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the LORD.’”

21A voice on the bare heights is heard,
         the weeping and pleading of Israel’s sons
because they have perverted their way;
         they have forgotten the LORD their God.
22“Return, O faithless sons;
         I will heal your faithlessness.”
“Behold, we come to you,
         for you are the LORD our God.
23Truly the hills are a delusion,
         the orgies on the mountains.
Truly in the LORD our God
         is the salvation of Israel.

24“But from our youth the shameful thing has devoured all for which our fathers labored, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.”

4:1“If you return, O Israel,
         declares the LORD,
         to me you should return.
If you remove your detestable things from my presence,
         and do not waver,
2and if you swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’
         in truth, in justice,
and in righteousness,
then nations shall bless themselves in him,
         and in him shall they glory.”

New Testament Reading:
Matthew 22:1–22
The Parable of the Wedding Feast
1And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ 5But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Paying Taxes to Caesar
15Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

Children should be constantly urged and moved to honor God’s name and to have it always upon their lips for everything that may happen to them or come to their notice [Psalm 8:2; 34:1; Matthew 21:16; Hebrews 13:15]. For that is the true honor of His name, to look to it and call upon it for all consolation [Psalm 66:2; 105:1]. Then—as we have heard in the First Commandment—the heart by faith gives God the honor due Him first. Afterward, the lips give Him honor by confession.

This is also a blessed and useful habit and very effective against the devil. He is ever around us and lies in wait to bring us into sin and shame, disaster and trouble [2 Timothy 2:26]. But he hates to hear God’s name and cannot remain long where it is spoken and called upon from the heart. Indeed, many terrible and shocking disasters would fall upon us if God did not preserve us by our calling upon His name. I have tried it myself. I learned by experience that often sudden great suffering was immediately averted and removed by calling on God. To confuse the devil, I say, we should always have this holy name in our mouth, so that the devil may not be able to injure us as he wishes.

It is also useful that we form the habit of daily commending ourselves to God [Psalm 31:5], with soul and body, wife, children, servants, and all that we have, against every need that may arise. So also the blessing and thanksgiving at meals [Mark 8:6] and other prayers, morning and evening, have begun and remained in use [Exodus 29:38–43]. Likewise, children should continue to cross themselves when anything monstrous or terrible is seen or heard. They can shout, “Lord God, protect us!” “Help, dear Lord Jesus!” and such. Also, if anyone meets with unexpected good fortune, however trivial, he says, “God be praised and thanked!” or “God has bestowed this on me!”
               —Large Catechism I 70–74

You see my sin yet seat me at Your table;
         Lord, as a guest, I surely am the least:
Unclean, unfit, of worthy deeds unable—
         My heart prepare for this most holy feast,
         My heart prepare for this most holy feast.
               —O Gracious Lord, I Firmly Am Believing (LSB 635:3)

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, You invite us to trust in You for our salvation. Deal with us not in the severity of Your judgment but by the greatness of Your mercy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (A81)

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXIV (XII) 35–40

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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