Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, October 25, 2020 — 21st Sunday After Pentecost

 

The Daily Readings
SUNDAY, October 25, 2020 — 21st Sunday After Pentecost

At the Core
Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8;
Matthew 22:34-46

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

God cares for us, and we are called to show God’s love by caring for one another! That message comes through clearly in each scripture reading. Even in the poignant story of Moses’ death, we are reminded that it is God who sent Moses to rescue the Hebrews; it is God who delivered them to the Promised Land, and it is God who continues to provide after Moses is gone. Indeed, God’s love has been at work in the world since the beginning of time—from everlasting to everlasting says the psalmist. So how do we respond? The epistle illustrates mutual support and nurture changing lives within the community of faith. As Jesus shows us, the requirements are very simple: Love God fully, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Opening Prayer

God, you are God forever. This alone is cause for celebration, but we also know that we are your people! As we feel your love washing over us now, may we love you with every part of our being: heart, mind, body, and soul. We celebrate your love in our lives, and we ask for your help as we try our best to boldly share the good news of your love with others. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who models the way for us. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Merciful God, it isn’t easy for us to follow the commandments of loving. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and to love our neighbors. But we have allowed misunderstanding, fear, hatred, and prejudice to cloud our spirits, turning them away from those who need our love. We place a test before you, asking that you prove your love to us, or we threaten not to believe in you. Please forgive us for this foolishness and stubbornness. Give us the courage to be people who will care for others. Let us dedicate our lives in your service, always aware of your awesome love for us. This we ask in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Though our hearts were hardened to the needs of others, God has touched them with God’s compassionate care, healing our wounds and giving courage and strength to our souls. Be assured that God’s love is poured out for you and rejoice! Amen.


First Reading
Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Death of Moses

34:1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan,

2 And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea,

3 And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.

4 And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.

6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.

7 And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.

10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,

11 In all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land,

12 And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.
Commentary
Verses 1-4 — Moses seemed unwilling to leave his work; but that being finished, he manifested no unwillingness to die. God had declared that he should not enter Canaan. But the Lord also promised that Moses should have a view of it, and showed him all that good land. Such a sight believers now have, through grace, of the bliss and glory of their future state. Sometimes God reserves the brightest discoveries of his grace to his people to support their dying moments. Those may leave this world with cheerfulness, who die in the faith of Christ, and in the hope of heaven.

Verses 5-8 — Moses obeyed this command of God as willingly as any other, though it seemed harder. In this he resembled our Lord Jesus Christ. But he died in honor, in peace, and in the most easy manner; the Savior died upon the disgraceful and torturing cross. Moses died very easily; he died “at the mouth of the Lord,” according to the will of God. The servants of the Lord, when they have done all their other work, must die at last, and be willing to go home, whenever their Master sends for them, Acts 21:13. The place of his burial was not known. If the soul be at rest with God, it is of little consequence where the body rests. There was no decay in the strength of his body, nor in the vigor and activity of his mind; his understanding was as clear, and his memory as strong as ever. This was the reward of his services, the effect of his extraordinary meekness. There was solemn mourning for him. Yet how great soever our losses have been, we must not give ourselves up to sorrow. If we hope to go to heaven rejoicing, why should we go to the grave mourning?

Verses 9-12 — Moses brought Israel to the borders of Canaan, and then died and left them. This signifies that the law made nothing perfect, Hebrews 7:19 It brings men into a wilderness of conviction, but not into the Canaan of rest and settled peace. That honor was reserved for Joshua, our Lord Jesus, of whom Joshua was a type, (and the name is the same,) to do that for us which the law could not do, Romans 8:3. Through him we enter into the spiritual rest of conscience, and eternal rest in heaven. Moses was greater than any other prophet of the Old Testament. But our Lord Jesus went beyond him, far more than the other prophets came short of him. And see a strong resemblance between the redeemer of the children of Israel and the Redeemer of mankind. Moses was sent by God, to deliver the Israelites form a cruel bondage; he led them out, and conquered their enemies. He became not only their deliverer, but their lawgiver; not only their lawgiver, but their judge; and, finally, leads them to the border of the land of promise. Our blessed Savior came to rescue us out of the slavery of the devil, and to restore us to liberty and happiness. He came to confirm every moral precept of the first lawgiver; and to write them, not on tables of stone, but on fleshly tables of the heart. He came to be our Judge also, inasmuch as he hath appointed a day when he will judge all the secrets of men, and reward or punish accordingly. This greatness of Christ above Moses, is a reason why Christians should be obedient and faithful to the holy religion by which they profess to be Christ's followers. God, by his grace, make us all so!

Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
Show your servants your works

1 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.

2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

3 Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

5 Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.

6 In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.

13 Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.

14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.

16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.

17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
Commentary
Verses 1-6 — It is supposed that this psalm refers to the sentence passed on Israel in the wilderness, Numbers 14. God's favor and protection are the only sure rest and comfort of the soul in this evil world. Christ Jesus is the refuge and dwelling-place to which we may repair. We are dying creatures. All our comforts in the world are dying comforts, but God is an ever-living God, and believers find him so. When God, by sickness, or other afflictions, turns men to destruction, he thereby calls men to return unto him to repent of their sins and live a new life. A thousand years are nothing to God's eternity: between a minute and a million years, there is some proportion; between time and eternity, there is none. All the events of a thousand years, whether past or to come, are more present to the Eternal Mind than what was done in the last hour is to us. And in the resurrection, the body and soul shall both return and be united again. Time passes unobserved by us, as with men asleep, and when it is past, it is as nothing. It is a short and quickly-passing life, as the waters of a flood. Man flourish as the grass, which will wither when the winter of old age comes, but he may be mown down by disease or disaster.

Verses 12-17 — Those who would learn true wisdom must pray for Divine instruction, must beg to be taught by the Holy Spirit, and for comfort and joy in the returns of God's favor. They pray for the mercy of God, for they pretend not to plead any merit of their own. His favor would be a full fountain of future joys. It would be a sufficient balance to former griefs. Let the grace of God in us produce the light of good works. And let Divine consolations put gladness into our hearts and a luster upon our countenances. The work of our hands, establish thou it, and, to that, establish us in it. Instead of wasting our precious, fleeting days pursuing fancies, which leave the possessors for ever poor, let us seek the forgiveness of sins and an inheritance in heaven. Let us pray that the work of the Holy Spirit may appear in converting our hearts and that the beauty of holiness may be seen in our conduct.

Second Reading
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
The apostle’s concern

2:1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:

2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.

3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:

4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:

6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.

7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
Commentary
Verses 1-6 — The apostle had no wordly design in his preaching. Suffering in a good cause should sharpen holy resolution. The gospel of Christ at first met with much opposition; and it was preached with contention, with striving in preaching, and against opposition. And as the matter of the apostle's exhortation was true and pure, the manner of his speaking was without guile. The gospel of Christ is designed for mortifying corrupt affections, and that men may be brought under the power of faith. This is the great motive to sincerity, to consider that God not only sees all we do, but knows our thoughts afar off, and searches the heart. And it is from this God who trieth our hearts, that we must receive our reward. The evidences of the apostle's sincerity were, that he avoided flattery and covetousness. He avoided ambition and vain-glory.

The Gospel
Matthew 22:34-46
Loving God and neighbor


22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.

35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,

42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.

43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,

44 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?

46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
Commentary

Verses 34-40 — An interpreter of the law asked our Lord a question, to try, not so much his knowledge, as his judgment. The love of God is the first and great commandment, and the sum of all the commands of the first table. Our love of God must be sincere, not in word and tongue only. All our love is too little to bestow upon him, therefore all the powers of the soul must be engaged for him, and carried out toward him. To love our neighbor as ourselves, is the second great commandment. There is a self-love which is corrupt, and the root of the greatest sins, and it must be put off and mortified; but there is a self-love which is the rule of the greatest duty: we must have a due concern for the welfare of our own souls and bodies. And we must love our neighbor as truly and sincerely as we love ourselves; in many cases we must deny ourselves for the good of others. By these two commandments let our hearts be formed as by a mold.

Verses 41-46 — When Christ baffled his enemies, he asked what thoughts they had of the promised Messiah? How he could be the Son of David and yet his Lord? He quotes Psalm 110:1. If the Christ was to be a mere man, who would not exist till many ages after David's death, how could his forefather call him Lord? The Pharisees could not answer it. Nor can any solve the difficulty except he allows the Messiah to be the Son of God, and David's Lord equally with the Father. He took upon him human nature, and so became God manifested in the flesh; in this sense he is the Son of man and the Son of David. It behooves us above all things seriously to inquire, “What think we of Christ?” Is he altogether glorious in our eyes, and precious to our hearts? May Christ be our joy, our confidence, our all. May we daily be made more like to him, and more devoted to his service.

Here end the Readings


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
God’s love is sending us forth into the world in ministries of peace and justice. We have received forgiveness and been showered with God’s gracious love. Go in peace, bringing hope to this hurting and angry world. 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
God cares for us, and we are called to show God’s love by caring for one another! That message comes through clearly in each scripture reading. Even in the poignant story of Moses’ death, we are reminded that it is God who sent Moses to rescue the Hebrews; it is God who delivered them to the Promised Land, and it is God who continues to provide after Moses is gone. Indeed, God’s love has been at work in the world since the beginning of time—from everlasting to everlasting says the psalmist. So how do we respond? The epistle illustrates mutual support and nurture changing lives within the community of faith. As Jesus shows us, the requirements are very simple: Love God fully, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 22:34-46
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

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