Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers for Sunday, October 24, 2021

 

The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers
Sunday, October 24, 2021
Job 42:1-6, 10-17; Psalm 34:1-8 [19-22];
Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Without Prayer
Without prayer we can't see and understand life clearly.

Introduction & Theme

Job and Psalm 34 present problems for preachers and worship leaders alike. While the psalmist insists that God spares and protects the righteous, Job is a chilling example of the devastation that God can bring upon anyone. The author paints Job’s vindication and the restoration of Job’s fortunes as of greater value than what Job lost in God’s test of his faithfulness. But can anything remotely make up for the loss of one’s family— much less to such a test of faith? If these texts are used, they must not be sugarcoated; their full cognitive dissonance must be allowed to play out—for such is the experience of real life. The Gospel reading adds a wonderful avenue for reflection. Blind Bartimaeus is offered the brass ring—Jesus offers him anything he asks for. Not surprisingly, Bartimaeus asks for the return of his physical sight. What would Job or we ask for: our children back, our physical sight returned? Or would we ask to see with God’s eyes or to have God’s salvation? What do we seek, and how well do we really see?

Opening Prayer
(Job 42, Mark 10)

God our healer, source of everlasting mercy, give us the courage to cry out in our need when the crowd seeks to silence us, as did blind Bartimaeus outside Jericho; give us the wisdom to admit our limitations and accept our limited understanding, as did Job before us; give us the confidence to sing your praises in the midst of fear and doubt, as the psalmist did in David’s court. Grant us your healing balm, O God, that we may be truly made well and whole and follow you all the days of our lives. Amen.

Call to Confession
(Job 42, Ps 34, Mark 10)

God of mystery and blessing, we long to be counted among the wise, and not among the foolish who speak without knowledge; we yearn to be found among the righteous, and not among those who boast without cause; we desire to be sincere agents of your grace, and not be as those who speak empty words without true compassion. Give us eyes to truly see when we only see what others have, and not what they have lost. Give us hearts of flesh when we are absorbed in our own desires, and ignore the needs of others. As blind Bartimaeus before us, grant us the courage to cry out our need, for you are ever drawing near. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
(Heb 7)

Christ intercedes for us, and saves everyone who comes to God in his name. Draw near to God through Christ, and God will draw near to you.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
The wisdom of God is astounding. Even the teachers of the Law and temple scholars were completely amazed at Christ’s spiritual insight—especially at such a young age. Yet remember, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). The Lord’s remarkable knowledge and understanding are available to all who truly believe in Him (Jer. 33:3; 1 Cor. 1:18—2:16; James 1:5, 6). Do you need God’s wisdom for your situation? Then trust and obey Him, because He will surely reveal Himself to you as you seek Him (Luke 11:9, 10).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Books of Wisdom
Job 42:1-6, 10-17
Job’s Restoration

42:1 Then Job replied to the Lord:

2 “I know that you can do all things;
     no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
     Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
     things too wonderful for me to know.

4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
     I will question you,
     and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you
     but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
     and repent in dust and ashes.”

10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.

12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so Job died, an old man and full of years.

Commentary

Verses 1-6: Job was now sensible of his guilt; he would no longer speak in his own excuse; he abhorred himself as a sinner in heart and life, especially for murmuring against God, and took shame to himself. When the understanding is enlightened by the Spirit of grace, our knowledge of Divine things as far exceeds what we had before, as the sight of the eyes excels report and common fame. By the teachings of men, God reveals his Son to us; but by the teachings of his Spirit he reveals his Son in us, Galatians 1:16, and changes us into the same image, 2 Corinthians 3:18. It concerns us to be deeply humbled for the sins of which we are convinced. Self-loathing is ever the companion of true repentance. The Lord will bring those whom he loves, to adore him in self-abasement; while true grace will always lead them to confess their sins without self-justifying.

Verses 10-17: In the beginning of this book we had Job's patience under his troubles, for an example; here, for our encouragement to follow that example, we have his happy end. His troubles began in Satan's malice, which God restrained; his restoration began in God's mercy, which Satan could not oppose. Mercy did not return when Job was disputing with his friends, but when he was praying for them. God is served and pleased with our warm devotions, not with our warm disputes. God doubled Job's possessions. We may lose much for the Lord, but we shall not lose any thing by him. Whether the Lord gives us health and temporal blessings or not, if we patiently suffer according to his will, in the end we shall be happy. Job's estate increased. The blessing of the Lord makes rich; it is he that gives us power to get wealth, and gives success in honest endeavors. The last days of a good man sometimes prove his best, his last works his best works, his last comforts his best comforts; for his path, like that of the morning light, shines more and more unto the perfect day.


From the Psalter
Psalm 34:1-8 [19-22]
Taste and See

1 I will extol the Lord at all times;
     his praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will glory in the Lord;
     let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the Lord with me;
     let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
     he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
     their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
     he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
     and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
     blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

[
19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
       but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
      not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
      the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord will rescue his servants;
      no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.]


Commentary

Verses 1-8: If we hope to spend eternity in praising God, it is fit that we should spend much of our time here in this work. He never said to any one, Seek ye me in vain. David's prayers helped to silence his fears; many besides him have looked unto the Lord by faith and prayer, and it has wonderfully revived and comforted them. When we look to the world, we are perplexed, and at a loss. But on looking to Christ depends our whole salvation, and all things needful thereunto do so also. This poor man, whom no man looked upon with any respect, or looked after with any concern, was yet welcome to the throne of grace; the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The holy angels minister to the saints, and stand for them against the powers of darkness. All the glory be to the Lord of the angels. By taste and sight we both make discoveries, and have enjoyment; Taste and see God's goodness; take notice of it, and take the comfort of it. He makes all truly blessed that trust in him. As to the things of the other world, they shall have grace sufficient for the support of spiritual life. And as to this life, they shall have what is necessary from the hand of God. Paul had all, and abounded, because he was content, Philippians 4:11-18. Those who trust to themselves, and think their own efforts sufficient for them, shall want; but they shall be fed who trust in the Lord. Those shall not want, who with quietness work, and mind their own business.

Verses 19-22: The righteous are taken under the special protection of the Lord, yet they have their share of crosses in this world, and there are those that hate them. Both from the mercy of Heaven, and the malice of hell, the afflictions of the righteous must be many. But whatever troubles befall them, shall not hurt their souls, for God keeps them from sinning in troubles. No man is desolate, but he whom God has forsaken.


From the Epistles
Hebrews 7:23-28
Christ the Merciful High Priest

7:23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

Commentary

Verses 23-25: The priesthood and law by which perfection could not come, are done away; a Priest is risen, and a dispensation now set up, by which true believers may be made perfect. That there is such a change is plain. The law which made the Levitical priesthood, showed that the priests were frail, dying creatures, not able to save their own lives, much less could they save the souls of those who came to them. But the High Priest of our profession holds his office by the power of endless life in himself; not only to keep himself alive, but to give spiritual and eternal life to all who rely upon his sacrifice and intercession. The better covenant, of which Jesus was the Surety, is not here contrasted with the covenant of works, by which every transgressor is shut up under the curse. It is distinguished from the Sinai covenant with Israel, and the legal dispensation under which the church so long remained. The better covenant brought the church and every believer into clearer light, more perfect liberty, and more abundant privileges. In the order of Aaron there was a multitude of priests, of high priests one after another; but in the priesthood of Christ there is only one and the same. This is the believer's safety and happiness, that this everlasting High Priest is able to save to the uttermost, in all times, in all cases. Surely then it becomes us to desire a spirituality and holiness, as much beyond those of the Old Testament believers, as our advantages exceed theirs.

Verses 26-28: Observe the description of the personal holiness of Christ. He is free from all habits or principles of sin, not having the least disposition to it in his nature. No sin dwells in him, not the least sinful inclination, though such dwells in the best of Christians. He is harmless, free from all actual transgression; he did no violence, nor was there any deceit in his mouth. He is undefiled. It is hard to keep ourselves pure, so as not to partake the guilt of other men's sins. But none need be dismayed who come to God in the name of his beloved Son. Let them be assured that he will deliver them in the time of trial and suffering, in the time of prosperity, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment.


Today’s Gospel Reading
Mark 10:46-52
Christ Heals Blind Bartimaeus

MARK 10:46-45

10:46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Commentary

Bartimeus had heard of Jesus and his miracles, and learning that he was passing by, hoped to recover his eyesight. In coming to Christ for help and healing, we should look to him as the promised Messiah. The gracious calls Christ gives us to come to him, encourage our hope, that if we come to him we shall have what we come for. Those who would come to Jesus, must cast away the garment of their own sufficiency, must free themselves from every weight, and the sin that, like long garments, most easily besets them, Hebrews 12:1. He begged that his eyes might be opened. It is very desirable to be able to earn our bread; and where God has given men limbs and senses, it is a shame, by foolishness and slothfulness, to make themselves, in effect, blind and lame. His eyes were opened. Thy faith has made thee whole: faith in Christ as the Son of David, and in his pity and power; not thy repeated words, but thy faith; Christ setting thy faith to work. Let sinners be exhorted to imitate blind Bartimeus. Where the gospel is preached, or the written words of truth circulated, Jesus is passing by, and this is the opportunity. It is not enough to come to Christ for spiritual healing, but, when we are healed, we must continue to follow him; that we may honor him, and receive instruction from him. Those who have spiritual eyesight, see that beauty in Christ which will draw them to run after him.

Here end the Readings

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed
  • We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
  • And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end.
  • And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord's Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Communion

Holy Communion
A nondenominational serving of bread and wine

Though no video can truly replace the experience of celebrating together in our places of worship, we know that where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present. This table is open to all who recognize Jesus Christ as healer and redeemer. This table is open to all who work to bring God’s Kingdom here on earth. No one is turned away because of life circumstances. No one is barred from this table. No one seeking God’s abundant grace and mercy is turned aside. We see before us the abundance that a life of faith offers as we respond to God’s everlasting mercy in prayer and deed.

Benediction
(Mark 10)

Darkness has been banished. Sight has been restored. Your lives are reformed in Christ’s love. Go now in peace to serve with great joy. Bring the love of God with you so that the light which has brightened your life may shine for others. Go now, beloved, to serve. Amen.

Christ Our Healer
Christ is our Healer. You and I were sick, and in desperate need of healing. We were dying to our sin and without hope, walking on a path of destruction leading straight to death. But through grace, we have a healer. Jesus, through His mercy, saved us from our wayward ways. Through His blood, we are healed and we are a new creation. We have received life in abundance, with our Healer.


Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets].

Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Sunday, October 24, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Sunday, October 24, 2021


For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father.
John 16:27, RSV


Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that with our poor, faulty, sinful, and death-ridden lives we may find shelter in your love. We thank you that we are your children. We thank you that whatever we are, however depressed we are about ourselves and the inadequacy of our own nature, we are still your children. Give us your Spirit, we pray. Give us your Holy Spirit, penetrating our whole nature, our flesh and blood, keeping us firm in faith under all temptation and distress. Give us your Spirit to fill us with hope as we look to the future, to fill us with certainty in our Lord Jesus Christ, who was, and is, and is to come, whose victory is before our eyes so that we never waver or become afraid. Give us your Spirit so that we may live in this certainty and prepare ourselves more and more for your coming into the world. May we come to know that your loving-kindness is at work today, that in the end your deliverance will come quickly, to the glory of your name. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Sunday, October 24, 2021

 

Verse of the Day
Sunday, October 24, 2021


Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
The wisdom of God is astounding. Even the teachers of the Law and temple scholars were completely amazed at Christ’s spiritual insight—especially at such a young age. Yet remember, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). The Lord’s remarkable knowledge and understanding are available to all who truly believe in Him (Jer. 33:3; 1 Cor. 1:18—2:16; James 1:5, 6). Do you need God’s wisdom for your situation? Then trust and obey Him, because He will surely reveal Himself to you as you seek Him (Luke 11:9, 10).

Read all of Proverbs Chapter 9

Listen to Proverbs Chapter 9


Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.

Our Daily Bread — Talk, Trust, Feel

 

Talk, Trust, Feel

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear. Romans 8:15

READ Romans 8:14–21

“Don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel was the law we lived by,” says Frederick Buechner in his powerful memoir Telling Secrets, “and woe to the one who broke it.” Buechner is describing his experience of what he calls the “unwritten law of families who for one reason or another have gone out of whack.” In his own family, that “law” meant Buechner was not allowed to talk about or grieve his father’s suicide, leaving him with no one he could trust with his pain.

Can you relate? Many of us in one way or another have learned to live with a warped version of love, one that demands dishonesty or silence about what’s harmed us. That kind of “love” relies on fear for control—and is a kind of slavery.

We can’t afford to forget just how different Jesus’ invitation to love is from the kind of conditional love we often experience—a kind of love we’re always afraid we could lose. As Paul explains, through Christ’s love we can finally understand what it means to not live in fear (Romans 8:15) and start to understand the kind of glorious freedom (v. 21) that’s possible when we know we’re deeply, truly, and unconditionally loved. We’re free to talk, to trust, and to feel once more—to learn what it means to live unafraid.

By Monica La Rose

REFLECT & PRAY

Are there any unspoken “rules” you’ve learned as conditions for acceptance and love? How might you live differently if you believed you didn’t have to follow those rules to be loved?

Loving God, at times I’m afraid to live honestly with myself and with others—thinking that by doing so I’ll no longer be loved. Heal my heart, and help me believe in and live for the glory, freedom, and joy Your love makes possible.

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Romans 7 deals with the conflict we face with sin and concludes by Paul saying, “I myself . . . am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin” (v. 25). In contrast, Romans 8 begins with this magnificent assurance: “Therefore, there is no now condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (v. 1). Believers in Jesus are now free to live out the joyous victory found by following Him. Verse 5 provides the key: “Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is absolutely crucial. And so verse 14 appropriately says, “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” It’s this Spirit that “testifies with our spirit that we’re God’s children” (v. 16).

Tim Gustafson