Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, October 11, 2020 — 19th Sunday After Pentecost

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The Daily Readings
SUNDAY, October 11, 2020 — 19th Sunday After Pentecost

Standing in the Gap
Exodus 32:1-14; Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23; Philippians 4:1-9;
Matthew 22:1-14
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)


These are challenging times. The division and frustration are palpable. The balance is constantly shifting. The lines, consistently blurred. Truths, half truths, lies, mixed messages, confusing headlines…all in the middle of a Nation whose back has been broken. Finding God in the midst of this moment is difficult. As the election draws closer, countless voices will try to sway you one way or the other. Yet your responsibility is simple. Pray earnestly, seek God passionately, listen carefully and vote how He leads you. God’s is sovereign, He always has been. He is faithful and always will be. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens outside of His providence. This is where we find peace in this moment.

Opening Sentences
Today's encouragement to be humble and to focus on good things is especially apt in the heat of a political season. What if politicians, and all of us, would stand firm, but be gentle and thankful, thinking on what is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8)? What if seekers of justice and righteousness would first confess that "we and our ancestors have sinned" (Psalm 106:6), acknowledging the fallibility of people and nations as seen in the incident at Mount Sinai (Exodus 32:1-14)? Scholar Dennis Duling notes that even the harsh allegorical parables in Matthew 21 and 22, while illustrating the rejection of certain leaders, warn the newly included against self-righteous arrogance.

Opening Prayer
Gracious God, when the world's political noise is turned up high, we come not to escape, but to seek wisdom, and to focus on things that are worthy. Dial down the distractions in our minds. Tune our senses to your word and our hearts to your praise. In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
God of mercy, in our impatience for answers, we sometimes turn to idols of our own making and forget our covenant with you. Passionate for what is right, we wrong those with whom we differ. Pleased at the invitation to your banquet, we fail to arrive with humility and thanksgiving. Forgive us when our faith is weak and our zeal too strong. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
Do not worry; the Lord is near. God hears our prayers with compassion and with abundant, steadfast love. Rejoice, for in the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

First Reading
Exodus 32:1-14
The golden calf

32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.

3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.

4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord.

6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

7 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:

8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

9 And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:

10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

11 And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?

12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.

13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.

14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
Commentary

While Moses was in the mount, receiving God's law, the people made a tumultuous address to Aaron. This giddy multitude was weary of waiting for the return of Moses. Weariness in waiting betrays to many temptations. The Lord must be waited for till he comes, and waited for though he tarry. Let their readiness to part with their ear-rings to make an idol, shame our niggardliness in the service of the true God. They did not draw back on account of the cost of their idolatry; and shall we grudge the expenses of religion? Aaron produced the shape of an ox or calf, giving it some finish with a graving tool. They offered sacrifice to this idol. Having set up an image before them and so changed God's truth into a lie, their sacrifices were an abomination. Had they not, only a few days before, in this very place, heard the voice of the Lord God speaking to them out of the midst of the fire, Thou shalt not make thyself any graven image? Had they not themselves solemnly entered into a covenant with God, that they would do all he had said to them and would be obedient? Exodus 24:7. Yet before they stirred from the place where this covenant had been solemnly made, they brake an express command, in defiance of an express threatening. It plainly shows that the law was no more able to make holy than it was to justify; by it is the knowledge of sin, but not the cure of sin. Aaron was set apart by the Divine appointment to the office of the priesthood. Still, he, who had once shamed himself so far as to build an altar to a golden calf, must own himself unworthy of the honor of attending at the altar of God, and indebted to free grace alone for it. Thus pride and boasting were silenced.

God says to Moses that the Israelites had corrupted themselves. Sin is the corruption of the sinner, and it is a self-corruption; every man is tempted when he is drawn aside of his own lust. They had turned aside out of the way. Sin is a departing from the way of duty into a by-path. They soon forgot God's works. He sees what they cannot discover, nor is any wickedness of the world hid from him. We could not bear to see the thousandth part of that evil that God sees every day. God expresses the greatness of his just displeasure, after the manner of men who would have the prayer of Moses could save them from ruin; thus he was a type of Christ, by whose mediation alone, God would reconcile the world to himself. Moses pleads God's glory. The glorifying God's name, as it ought to be our first petition, and it is so in the Lord's prayer, so it ought to be our great plea. And God's promises are to be our pleas in prayer; for what he has promised, he can perform. See the power of prayer. In answer to Moses's prayers, God showed his purpose of sparing the people, as he had before seemed determined on their destruction, which changed his purpose's outward discovery called repenting of the evil.


Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23
God’s favor for the people

1 Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

2 Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his praise?

3 Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.

4 Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;

5 That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.

6 We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.

19 They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.

20 Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.

21 They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;

22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.

23 Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.
Commentary

None of our sins or sufferings should prevent our ascribing glory and praise to the Lord. The more unworthy we are, the more is his kindness to be admired. And those who depend on the Redeemer's righteousness will endeavor to copy his example, and by word and deed to show forth his praise. God's people have reason to be cheerful people and need not envy the children of men their pleasure or pride. Here begins a confession of sin, for we must acknowledge that the Lord has done right, and we have done wickedly. Often have we set up idols in our hearts, cleaved to some forbidden object; so that if a greater than Moses had not stood to turn away the anger of the Lord, we should have been destroyed.


Second Reading
Philippians 4:1-9
Nothing surpasses knowing Christ

4:1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Commentary

The believing hope and prospect of eternal life should make us steady and constant in our Christian course. There is a difference of gifts and graces, yet, being renewed by the same Spirit, we are brethren. To stand fast in the Lord is to stand fast in his strength, and by his grace.

Let believers be of one mind and ready to help each other. As the apostle had found the benefit of their assistance, he knew how comfortable it would be to his fellow-laborers to have the help of others. Let us seek to give assurance that our names are written in the book of life. Joy in God is of great consequence in the Christian life, and Christians need to be again and again called to it. It more than outweighs all causes for sorrow. Let their enemies perceive how moderate they were to outward things, and how they composedly suffered loss and hardships. The day of judgment will soon arrive, with full redemption to believers, and destruction to ungodly men.

There is a care of diligence, which is our duty and agrees with a wise forecast and due concern, but there is a care of fear and distrust, which is sin and folly, and only perplexes and distracts the mind. As a remedy against perplexing care, constant prayer is recommended. Not only stated times for prayer but in everything by prayer. We must join thanksgivings with prayers and supplications; not only seek supplies of good, but for own the mercies we have received. God needs not to be told our wants or desires; he knows them better than we do, but he will have us show that we value the mercy and feel our dependence on him. The peace of God, the comfortable sense of being reconciled to God, and having a part in his favor, and the hope of the heavenly blessedness, are a greater good than can be fully expressed. This peace will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; it will keep us from sinning under troubles, and from sinking under them; keep us calm and with inward satisfaction. Believers are to get and keep a good name, a name for good things with God and good men. We should walk in all the ways of virtue, and abide therein; then, whether our praise is of men or not, it will be of God. The apostle is for an example. His doctrine and life agreed together. The way to have the God of peace with us is to keep close to our duty. All our privileges and salvation arise in the free mercy of God, yet the enjoyment of them depends on our sincere and holy conduct. These are works of God, pertaining to God, and to him only are they to be ascribed, and to no other, neither men, words, nor deeds.


The Gospel
Matthew 22:1-14
The parable of the unwelcome guest


22:1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,

2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
Commentary
The provision made for perishing souls in the gospel is represented by a royal feast made by a king, with eastern liberality, on his son's marriage. Our merciful God has not only provided food but a royal feast for the perishing souls of his rebellious creatures. There is enough and to spare, of everything that can add to our present comfort and everlasting happiness, in the salvation of his Son Jesus Christ. The guests first invited were the Jews. When the prophets of the Old Testament prevailed not, nor John the Baptist, nor Christ himself, who told them the kingdom of God was at hand, the apostles and ministers of the gospel were sent, after Christ's resurrection, to say to them it has come, and to persuade them to accept the offer. The reason why sinners come not to Christ and salvation by him is not that they cannot, but because they will not. Making light of Christ and the great salvation wrought out by him is the damning sin of the world. They were careless. Multitudes perish for ever through mere carelessness, who show no direct aversion but are careless about their souls. Also, the business and profit of worldly employments hinder many in closing with the Savior. Both farmers and merchants must be diligent, but whatever we have of the world in our hands, our care must be to keep it out of our hearts, lest it comes between Christ and us.

The utter ruin coming upon the Jewish church and nation is here represented. Persecution of Christ's faithful ministers fills up the measure of the guilt of any people. The offer of Christ and salvation to the Gentiles was not expected; it was such a surprise as it would be to wayfaring men to be invited to a royal wedding-feast. The gospel's design is to gather souls to Christ; all the children of God scattered abroad, John 10:16; John 11:52. The case of hypocrites is represented by the guest that had not on a wedding-garment. It concerns all to prepare for the scrutiny, and those only, who put on the Lord Jesus, who have a Christian temper of mind, who live by faith in Christ, and to whom he is, all in all, have the wedding-garment. The imputed righteousness of Christ, and the sanctification of the Spirit, are both alike necessary.

No man has the wedding-garment by nature or can form it for himself. When hypocrites are called to account for all their presumptuous intruding into gospel ordinances, the day is coming, and usurpation of gospel privileges. Take him away. Those that walk unworthy of Christianity forfeit all the happiness they presumptuously claimed. Our Savior here passes out of the parable into that which it teaches. Hypocrites go by the light of the gospel itself down to utter darkness. Many are called to the wedding-feast, that is, to salvation, but few have the wedding-garment, Christ's righteousness, and the sanctification of the Spirit. Let us examine whether we are in the faith and seek to be approved by the King.


Here end the Readings

Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Apostles’ Creed

  • I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
  • I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
  • I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

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
A nondenominational serving of bread and wine
Many churches around the world are working hard to adapt to online worship, and one challenge is how our members can celebrate communion from home. 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.

Sending
Do what you have learned and received and seen and heard in Christ, and the peace of God will be with you. And may that peace, which passes all understanding, guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Be Transformed

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

Commentary from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year A. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2020, we will be in Year B. The year which ended at Advent 2019 was Year C. 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
Today's encouragement to be humble and to focus on good things is especially apt in the heat of a political season. What if politicians, and all of us, would stand firm, but be gentle and thankful, thinking on what is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8)? What if seekers of justice and righteousness would first confess that "we and our ancestors have sinned" (Psalm 106:6), acknowledging the fallibility of people and nations as seen in the incident at Mount Sinai (Exodus 32:1-14)? Scholar Dennis Duling notes that even the harsh allegorical parables in Matthew 21 and 22, while illustrating the rejection of certain leaders, warn the newly included against self-righteous arrogance.
Exodus 32:1-14; Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23; Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

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