Sunday, June 6, 2021

The Bible Readings and Prayers for Sunday, June 6, 2021

 

The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers
Sunday, June 6, 2021
1 Samuel 8:4-20 [11:14-15]; Psalm 138; 2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1;
Mark 3:20-35 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Bridge Builders
 
With all the reasons we can find to divide and distance from one another, it is more important than ever that we build bridges through our common love of Jesus Christ.

Opening Prayer

We turn to you, O Lord, for we have learned the folly of putting our trust in earthly rulers. They promise peace with justice for our children, yet they take them from us and make them run before war's chariots. Now, O Lord, we put our trust in you, assured that, if we seek your justice, we will receive it; that, if we seek your peace, we shall find it—a peace other rulers can neither give nor take away. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Lord, forgive us when we see your miracles all around us and still doubt your power, presence and love. Forgive us when we treat this world and each other with careless indifference or with malice. You, who have created the most wondrous things from the smallest of particles, can create in our hearts confidence and hope. From our lives you can fashion the most delightful miracles that can serve you through acts of mercy and kindness. Free us, Lord, to receive your blessings and , having received them, to find the numerous ways in which we can serve you. Heal our wounded hearts. Hear our cries. Come to us and bring us home. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance

Do not doubt God’s power and might! It is God who has created all that is! It is God who has called to your hearts and spirits. God is with you. Praise be to God. Amen.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Most of us feel distraught at some point in our lives. When stress in daily living becomes unbearable, we want to escape. We may want out of jobs, relationships, a church, a neighborhood, or some other difficult situation. We think we can’t handle things the way they are because they cause us too much stress, so we decide to walk away. Move on. Head for anywhere but where we are.

What does the Bible have to tell us about how to handle stress? How are we to respond when our fallen human nature cries out for us to stop and run?

God has a powerful truth for us. We do not handle stressful situations by fighting against them; instead, God calls us to be at rest in Him. To the psalmist, this meant being still and knowing God (Ps. 46:10). To the apostle Peter, it meant refusing to carry burdens not meant for him: “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). Jesus described it as a peacefulness that we both find and receive as we spend time learning from Him (Matt. 11:28–30). Our human instinct clamors for us to escape—but God calls us to draw near and absorb the truths of Scripture.

Most of all, the Lord wants us to know Him. As we believe in His sovereignty (1 Chr. 29:11) and accept both the absolute goodness of His plans (Jer. 29:11) and His deep, abiding love for us (Eph. 3:17–19), we will grow in trust. Then we will find it easier to “be still” and not to respond like the world, which says, “I’m out of here!”

Our stress need not become distress. When we feel stress, we do not have to feel defeated and give in to the temptation to give up and run. With an accurate understanding of our heavenly Father and a firm belief in His care, we will be able to walk through the worst of circumstances with inner quietness (Gal. 5:22) and genuine confidence (Heb. 13:6).

That is our privilege as God’s children.


Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Historical books of the Old Testament
1 Samuel 8:4-20 [11:14-15]
Israel Desires a King


8:4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.

12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.

16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

[
11:14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal and made Saul king in the presence of the Lord. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration.]

Commentary
Verses 4-9 — Samuel was displeased; he could patiently bear what reflected on himself, and his own family; but it displeased him when they said, Give us a king to judge us, because that reflected upon God. It drove him to his knees. When any thing disturbs us, it is our interest, as well as our duty, to show our trouble before God. Samuel is to tell them that they shall have a king. Not that God was pleased with their request, but as sometimes he opposes us from loving-kindness, so at other times he gratifies us in wrath; he did so here. God knows how to bring glory to himself, and serves his own wise purposes, even by men's foolish counsels.

Verses 10-20 — If they would have a king to rule them, as the eastern kings ruled their subjects, they would find the yoke exceedingly heavy. Those that submit to the government of the world and the flesh, are told plainly, what hard masters they are, and what tyranny the dominion of sin is. The law of God and the manner of men widely differ from each other; the former should be our rule in the several relations of life; the latter should be the measure of our expectations from others. These would be their grievances, and, when they complained to God, he would not hear them. When we bring ourselves into distress by our own wrong desires and projects, we justly forfeit the comfort of prayer, and the benefit of Divine aid. The people were obstinate and urgent in their demand. Sudden resolves and hasty desires make work for long and leisurely repentance. Our wisdom is, to be thankful for the advantages, and patient under the disadvantages of the government we may live under; and to pray continually for our rulers, that they may govern us in the fear of God, and that we may live under them in all godliness and honesty. And it is a hopeful symptom when our desires of worldly objects can brook delay; and when we can refer the time and manner of their being granted to God's providence.

[Verses 14-15 — They now honored Saul whom they had despised; and if an enemy be made a friend, that is more to our advantage than to have him slain. The once despised Savior will at length be acknowledged by all as the Lord's own anointed king. As yet, upon his mercy-seat, he receives the submission of rebels, and even pleads their cause; but shortly, from his righteous tribunal, he will condemn all who persist in opposing him.]


From the Psalter
Psalm 138
Your Love Endures Forever


1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
     before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
     and will praise your name
     for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
  for you have so exalted your solemn decree
     that it surpasses your fame.
3 When I called, you answered me;
     you greatly emboldened me.

4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
     when they hear what you have decreed.
5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
     for the glory of the Lord is great.

6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
     though lofty, he sees them from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
     you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
     with your right hand you save me.
8 The Lord will vindicate me;
     your love, Lord, endures forever—
     do not abandon the works of your hands.


Commentary
Verses 1-5 — When we can praise God with our whole heart, we need not be unwilling for the whole world to witness our gratitude and joy in him. Those who rely on his loving-kindness and truth through Jesus Christ, will ever find him faithful to his word. If he spared not his own Son, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? If God gives us strength in our souls, to bear the burdens, resist the temptations, and to do the duties of an afflicted state, if he strengthens us to keep hold of himself by faith, and to wait with patience for the event, we are bound to be thankful.

Verses 6-8 — Though the Lord is high, yet he has respect to every lowly, humbled sinner; but the proud and unbelieving will be banished far from his blissful presence. Divine consolations have enough in them to revive us, even when we walk in the midst of troubles. And God will save his own people that they may be revived by the Holy Spirit, the Giver of life and holiness. If we give to God the glory of his mercy, we may take to ourselves the comfort. This confidence will not do away, but quicken prayer. Whatever good there is in us, it is God works in us both to will and to do. The Lord will perfect the salvation of every true believer, and he will never forsake those whom he has created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works.


From Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians
2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1
Renewed in the Inner Nature


4:13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

Commentary
Verses 13-18 — The grace of faith is an effectual remedy against fainting in times of trouble. They knew that Christ was raised, and that his resurrection was an earnest and assurance of theirs. The hope of this resurrection will encourage in a suffering day, and set us above the fear of death. Also, their sufferings were for the advantage of the church, and to God's glory. The sufferings of Christ's ministers, as well as their preaching and conversation, are for the good of the church and the glory of God. The prospect of eternal life and happiness was their support and comfort. What sense was ready to pronounce heavy and long, grievous and tedious, faith perceived to be light and short, and but for a moment. The weight of all temporal afflictions was lightness itself, while the glory to come was a substance, weighty, and lasting beyond description. If the apostle could call his heavy and long-continued trials light, and but for a moment, what must our trifling difficulties be! Faith enables to make this right judgment of things. There are unseen things, as well as things that are seen. And there is this vast difference between them; unseen things are eternal, seen things but temporal, or temporary only. Let us then look off from the things which are seen; let us cease to seek for worldly advantages, or to fear present distresses. Let us give diligence to make our future happiness sure.

Verse 1 — The believer not only is well assured by faith that there is another and a happy life after this is ended, but he has good hope, through grace, of heaven as a dwelling-place, a resting-place, a hiding-place. In our Father's house there are many mansions, whose Builder and Maker is God. The happiness of the future state is what God has prepared for those that love him: everlasting habitations, not like the earthly tabernacles, the poor cottages of clay, in which our souls now dwell; that are mouldering and decaying, whose foundations are in the dust.


Today’s Gospel Reading
Mark 3:20-35
Entering the Reign of God

Mark 3:20-35

3:20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”

31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Commentary
Verses 20-30 — Those whose hearts are enlarged in the work of God, can easily bear with what is inconvenient to themselves, and will rather lose a meal than an opportunity of doing good. Those who go on with zeal in the work of God, must expect hindrances, both from the hatred of enemies, and mistaken affections of friends, and need to guard against both. It was plain that the doctrine of Christ had a direct tendency to break the devil's power; and it was as plain, that casting of him out of the bodies of people, confirmed that doctrine; therefore Satan could not support such a design. Christ gave an awful warning against speaking such dangerous words. It is true the gospel promises, because Christ has purchased, forgiveness for the greatest sins and sinners; but by this sin, they would oppose the gifts of the Holy Ghost after Christ's ascension. Such is the enmity of the heart, that unconverted men pretend believers are doing Satan's work, when sinners are brought to repentance and newness of life.

Verses 31-35 — It is a great comfort to all true Christians, that they are dearer to Christ than mother, brother, or sister as such, merely as relations in the flesh would have been, even had they been holy. Blessed be God, this great and gracious privilege is ours even now; for though Christ's bodily presence cannot be enjoyed by us, his spiritual presence is not denied us.


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.

Benediction

Do not lose heart, for there is the abode of God. If your heart be troubled, God will share your agony; if your heart be triumphant, God will share your gladness. Do not lose heart, for there is the shelter for your neighbors. May you share their agony and gladness, as you trek, arm-in-arm, to the mountaintop. Amen.

This Is The Day

There is no better time than this very moment to reflect in awe on the greatness of God. Now is the time to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Now is the time to worship a faithful God whose love endures forever.



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.

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