Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Bible Readings and Prayers for Sunday, July 18, 2021

 

The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers
Sunday, July 18, 2021
2 Samuel 7:1-14a; Psalm 89:20-37; Ephesians 2:11-22;
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

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.

Introduction & Theme

This Sunday, our scriptures abound with the need to rest in the Lord, grateful for all the blessings, and to find some time when we can quietly reflect on the needs of the world.

Opening Prayer

Lord, we gather this morning with lives that are filled with activity and movement. We rush from one thing to another as though we are going to run out of time to accomplish everything. Help us to let go of the hectic times and the stresses and find our rest in you. Relax our spirits and refresh our souls. Remind us that there will always be things to do and places to go, but that we need the rest of spirit that you provide. Amen.

Call to Confession

Patient God, we wait all year for the summer months when we can rest and relax. Our schedules change from the demands of weekly living, to times which are supposed to be devoted to leisure. But we have redefined leisure to mean a flurry of activities. We need some time to rest, to sit quietly and listen to the beautiful sounds of the world. Forgive us when we are determined to crowd every moment of our lives with activity. Help us to find a quiet center with you where we can just relax and not try to get everything done as though life was some sort of a contest. Give us peace for a little while. Refresh our souls so that we can truly serve you, not out of exhaustion but out of enthusiasm. Be with us this day, for we ask these things in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

God’s love awaits you. It has been lavished upon you as a gentle summer rain, refreshing your souls, opening your hearts, healing your wounds. Rest in God’s eternal love. Amen.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Psalm 119:7

I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.
Life Lessons:
The Lord gave Joshua the same command He issued to future Israelite kings in Deuteronomy 17:19—he was to meditate on the Word of God every day. He instructs us to do so as well (Ps. 1:1–3; 4:4; 63:5, 6; 119; Acts 17:11). Meditation means that we study the Bible, think about what we’ve read, and ask the Lord to help us understand His principles and apply them to our lives. This is absolutely essential if you want to know God and do His will.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Historical books of the Old Testament

2 Samuel 7:1-14a
God’s Promise to David


7:1 After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”

3 Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”

4 But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:

5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. 7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you:
12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14a I will be his father, and he will be my son.

Commentary
Verses 1-3: David being at rest in his palace, considered how he might best employ his leisure and prosperity in the service of God. He formed a design to build a temple for the ark. Nathan here did not speak as a prophet, but as a godly man, encouraging David by his private judgment. We ought to do all we can to encourage and promote the good purposes and designs of others, and, as we have opportunity, to forward a good work.

Verses 4-14: Blessings are promised to the family and posterity of David. These promises relate to Solomon, David's immediate successor, and the royal line of Judah. But they also relate to Christ, who is often called David and the Son of David. To him God gave all power in heaven and earth, with authority to execute judgment. He was to build the gospel temple, a house for God's name; the spiritual temple of true believers, to be a habitation of God through the Spirit. The establishing of his house, his throne, and his kingdom for ever, can be applied to no other than to Christ and his kingdom: David's house and kingdom long since came to an end. The committing iniquity cannot be applied to the Messiah himself, but to his spiritual seed; true believers have infirmities, for which they must expect to be corrected, though they are not cast off.


From the Psalter
Psalm 89:20-37
God’s Steadfast Love


20 I have found David my servant;
      with my sacred oil I have anointed him.
21 My hand will sustain him;
      surely my arm will strengthen him.
22 The enemy will not get the better of him;
      the wicked will not oppress him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
      and strike down his adversaries.
24 My faithful love will be with him,
      and through my name his horn will be exalted.
25 I will set his hand over the sea,
      his right hand over the rivers.
26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
      my God, the Rock my Savior.’
27 And I will appoint him to be my firstborn,
      the most exalted of the kings of the earth.
28 I will maintain my love to him forever,
      and my covenant with him will never fail.
29 I will establish his line forever,
      his throne as long as the heavens endure.

30 “If his sons forsake my law
      and do not follow my statutes,
31 if they violate my decrees
      and fail to keep my commands,
32 I will punish their sin with the rod,
      their iniquity with flogging;
33 but I will not take my love from him,
      nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.
34 I will not violate my covenant
      or alter what my lips have uttered.
35 Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness—
      and I will not lie to David—
36 that his line will continue forever
      and his throne endure before me like the sun;
37 it will be established forever like the moon,
      the faithful witness in the sky.”


Commentary
The Lord anointed David with the holy oil, not only as an emblem of the graces and gifts he received, but as a type of Christ, the King Priest, and Prophet, anointed with the Holy Ghost without measure. David after his anointing, was persecuted, but none could gain advantage against him. Yet all this was a faint shadow of the Redeemer's sufferings, deliverance, glory, and authority, in whom alone these predictions and promises are fully brought to pass. He is the mighty God. This is the Redeemer appointed for us, who alone is able to complete the work of our salvation. Let us seek an interest in these blessings, by the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. As the Lord corrected the posterity of David for their transgressions, so his people shall be corrected for their sins. Yet it is but a rod, not a sword; it is to correct, not to destroy. It is a rod in the hand of God, who is wise, and knows what he does; gracious, and will do what is best. It is a rod which they shall never feel, but when there is need. As the sun and moon remain in heaven, whatever changes there seem to be in them, and again appear in due season; so the covenant of grace made in Christ, whatever alteration seems to come to it, should not be questioned.

From the Epistles of the New Testament
Ephesians 2:11-22
Reconciled to God Through Christ


2:11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Commentary
Verses 11-13: Christ and his covenant are the foundation of all the Christian's hopes. A sad and terrible description is here; but who is able to remove himself out of it? Would that this were not a true description of many baptized in the name of Christ. Who can, without trembling, reflect upon the misery of a person, separated for ever from the people of God, cut off from the body of Christ, fallen from the covenant of promise, having no hope, no Savior, and without any God but a God of vengeance, to all eternity? To have no part in Christ! What true Christian can hear this without horror? Salvation is far from the wicked; but God is a help at hand to his people; and this is by the sufferings and death of Christ.

Verses 14-18: Jesus Christ made peace by the sacrifice of himself; in every sense Christ was their Peace, the author, center, and substance of their being at peace with God, and of their union with the Jewish believers in one church. Through the person, sacrifice, and mediation of Christ, sinners are allowed to draw near to God as a Father, and are brought with acceptance into his presence, with their worship and services, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, as one with the Father and the Son. Christ purchased leave for us to come to God; and the Spirit gives a heart to come, and strength to come, and then grace to serve God acceptably.

Verses 19-22: The church is compared to a city, and every converted sinner is free of it. It is also compared to a house, and every converted sinner is one of the family; a servant, and a child in God's house. The church is also compared to a building, founded on the doctrine of Christ; delivered by the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New. God dwells in all believers now; they become the temple of God through the working of the blessed Spirit. Let us then ask if our hopes are fixed on Christ, according to the doctrine of his word? Have we devoted ourselves as holy temples to God through him? Are we habitations of God by the Spirit, are we spiritually-minded, and do we bring forth the fruits of the Spirit? Let us take heed not to grieve the holy Comforter. Let us desire his gracious presence, and his influences upon our hearts. Let us seek to discharge the duties allotted to us, to the glory of God.


Today’s Gospel Reading
Mark 6:30-34,[35-52], 53-56
Christ Healing the Multitudes

Mark 6:30-56

6:30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

[35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.]

53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Commentary
Verses 30-44: Let not ministers do any thing or teach any thing, but what they are willing should be told to their Lord. Christ notices the frights of some, and the toils of others of his disciples, and provides rest for those that are tired, and refuge for those that are terrified. The people sought the spiritual food of Christ's word, and then he took care that they should not want bodily food. If Christ and his disciples put up with mean things, surely we may. And this miracle shows that Christ came into the world, not only to restore, but to preserve and nourish spiritual life; in him there is enough for all that come. None are sent empty away from Christ but those who come to him full of themselves. Though Christ had bread enough at command, he teaches us not to waste any of God's bounties, remembering how many are in want. We may, some time, need the fragments that we now throw away.

Verses 45-56: The church is often like a ship at sea, tossed with tempests, and not comforted: we may have Christ for us, yet wind and tide against us; but it is a comfort to Christ's disciples in a storm, that their Master is in the heavenly mount, interceding for them. And no difficulties can hinder Christ's appearance for his people, when the set time is come. He silenced their fears, by making himself known to them. Our fears are soon satisfied, if our mistakes are set right, especially our mistakes as to Christ. Let the disciples have their Master with them, and all is well. It is for want of rightly understanding Christ's former works, that we view his present works as if there never were the like before. If Christ's ministers now could cure people's bodily diseases, what multitudes would flock after them! It is sad to think how much more most care about their bodies than about their souls.


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

Benediction

O God, who longs to continue in us the work begun in Jesus, let us who have been reconciled by Christ become reconcilers for Christ. Send us who have found peace in God's house to make peace in God's world. Amen.

The Work
Look around you, there is so much to do. This world is in no condition for us to simply sit back and watch. There is a tangible desperate need for Jesus, a glimpse of hope in the midst of hopelessness. Jesus experienced this need first hand and filled him with compassion. He turned to His disciples and said…“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” This alone…should stir our hearts. We have a calling to make a difference. To share the truth of the Gospel and be a light in the darkness. This is the mission of The Church. It’s time for us to look beyond ourselves, to turn our focus to the field and passionately share the love of Jesus. Look around you, there is so much to do…Are you ready to do the work?


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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