Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Bible Readings and Prayers for Sunday, August 15, 2021

 
 
The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers
Sunday, August 15, 2021
1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14; Psalm 111; Ephesians 5:15-20;
John 6:51-58
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible


To be blessed, is to recover your true identity and calling. To be broken, is to be opened up to the grace of God. To be given, is to discover your mission for the life of the world.

Introduction & Theme
The primary theme of these texts is the myriad ways God provides for our needs. The psalm highlights the provision of food and the covenant by recalling manna in the wilderness and the giving of the law at Sinai. The narrative of David’s death indicates God’s provision for an heir. In the Gospel of John, Christ provides his own flesh and blood as the gift of eternal life. Paul’s letter to Ephesus reminds us that the provision of the Holy Spirit is from God. The secondary theme of these texts is our response to the provision of God through praise and thanksgiving.

Opening Prayer
Lord of life and hope, we gather this day seeking nourishment for our souls and healing for our spirits. Give to us your living bread, that having been nourished in soul and spirit, we may be witnesses to your transforming love. Through the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, we offer this prayer. Amen.

Call to Confession
Gracious and Merciful Lord, you have offered to us food for the journey. You remind us that your very life will sustain us as we witness to your love. But sometimes we let those reminders slip from our consciousness. We wallow in our difficulty; make excuses for not living the kind of life that you would have us life; treat others in ways which are not healthy or loving. Please forgive us, Lord. Stop us in our tracks and help us to examine the many ways in which we have not served you well and the callous things we have done to others. Cleanse our spirits and our souls from these unrighteous acts, and cause us to follow you more closely. Remind us again that you are the Bread of Life, having given yourself for us. Sustain us and encourage us in our service. These things we ask in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
Even though we turn our backs on God, God is ready to forgive and heal our spirits. God’s love never fails, and we can rejoice in the power of that eternal love. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are healed and forgiven. Amen.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Romans 14:8

If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Everything we do should reflect well on and be in submission to the Savior who bought us with His own blood. Even the way we die should witness to the goodness of Jesus Christ. Every moment of every day we belong to Him.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Books of the Prophets

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14
Solomon’s Prayer for Wisdom


2:10 Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. 11 He had reigned forty years over Israel—seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 12 So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established.

3:
3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.

4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

Commentary
"Solomon showed his love for the Lord." Where God sows plentifully, he expects to reap accordingly; and those that truly love God and his worship, will not grudge the expenses of their religion. We must never think that wasted which is laid out in the service of God. Solomon's dream was not a common one. While his bodily powers were locked up in sleep, the powers of his soul were strengthened; he was enabled to receive the Divine vision, and to make a suitable choice. God, in like manner, puts us in the ready way to be happy, by assuring us we shall have what we need, and pray for. Solomon's making such a choice when asleep, and the powers of reason least active, showed it came from the grace of God. Having a humble sense of his own wants and weakness, he pleads, Lord, I am but a little child. The more wise and considerate men are, the better acquainted they are with their own weakness, and the more jealous of themselves. Solomon begs of God to give him wisdom. We must pray for it, James 1:5, that it may help us in our particular calling, and the various occasions we have. Those are accepted of God, who prefer spiritual blessings to earthly good. It was a prevailing prayer, and prevailed for more than he asked. God gave him wisdom, such as no other prince was ever blessed with; and also gave him riches and honor. If we make sure of wisdom and grace, these will bring outward prosperity with them, or sweeten the want of it. The way to get spiritual blessings, is to wrestle with God in prayer for them. The way to get earthly blessings, is to refer ourselves to God concerning them. Solomon has wisdom given him, because he did ask it, and wealth, because he did not.

From the Psalter
Psalm 111
The Beginning of Wisdom


1 Praise the Lord.

  I will extol the Lord with all my heart
     in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

2 Great are the works of the Lord;
     they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
     and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
     the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
     he remembers his covenant forever.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
     giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
     all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
     enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
     he ordained his covenant forever—
     holy and awesome is his name.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
      all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
      To him belongs eternal praise.


Commentary
This psalm is closely connected with Psalm 112. In this the subject is the greatness and graciousness of Jehovah. In the Hebrew there are ten verses, the first eight having two lines in each, and the last two three lines in each. That makes a total of twenty-two lines. The first letters of these lines constitute the alphabet. Thus it is a song of praise constructed as an alphabetical acrostic.

Another division is that of taking the first seven lines which tell of His greatness; the next twelve which proclaim His graciousness; and the last three which declare the wisdom of such as fear Him and act accordingly. This last division prepares the way for the next psalm. The greatness of Jehovah is manifest in His works, the supreme characteristics of which are honor, majesty, and righteousness. The graciousness is evident in all His dealings with His people. These are characterized by compassion and constancy; by uprightness and redemption. In view of such greatness and graciousness, how true it is that to fear Him is wisdom, and to do His will is evidence of good understanding.

From the Epistles
Ephesians 5:15-20
Filled with the Spirit


5:15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Commentary
Another remedy against sin, is care, or caution, it being impossible else to maintain purity of heart and life. Time is a talent given us by God, and it is misspent and lost when not employed according to his design. If we have lost our time heretofore, we must double our diligence for the future. Of that time which thousands on a dying bed would gladly redeem at the price of the whole world, how little do men think, and to what trifles they daily sacrifice it! People are very apt to complain of bad times; it were well if that stirred them more to redeem time. Be not unwise. Ignorance of our duty, and neglect of our souls, show the greatest folly. Drunkenness is a sin that never goes alone, but carries men into other evils; it is a sin very provoking to God. The drunkard holds out to his family and to the world the sad spectacle of a sinner hardened beyond what is common, and hastening to perdition. When afflicted or weary, let us not seek to raise our spirits by strong drink, which is hateful and hurtful, and only ends in making sorrows more felt. But by fervent prayer let us seek to be filled with the Spirit, and to avoid whatever may grieve our gracious Comforter. All God's people have reason to sing for joy. Though we are not always singing, we should be always giving thanks; we should never want disposition for this duty, as we never want matter for it, through the whole course of our lives. Always, even in trials and afflictions, and for all things; being satisfied of their loving intent, and good tendency.

Today’s Gospel Reading
John 6:51-58
Christ the True Food and Drink

LUMO-GOSPEL OF JOHN CHAPTER 6:51-58

6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

Commentary
Verse 51: The advantage of the manna was small, it only referred to this life; but the living Bread is so excellent, that the man who feedeth on it shall never die. This bread is Christ's human nature, which he took to present to the Father, as a sacrifice for the sins of the world; to purchase all things pertaining to life and godliness, for sinners of every nation, who repent and believe in him.

Verses 52-58: The flesh and blood of the Son of man, denote the Redeemer in the nature of man; Christ and him crucified, and the redemption wrought out by him, with all the precious benefits of redemption; pardon of sin, acceptance with God, the way to the throne of grace, the promises of the covenant, and eternal life. These are called the flesh and blood of Christ, because they are purchased by the breaking his body, and the shedding of his blood. Also, because they are meat and drink to our souls. Eating this flesh and drinking this blood mean believing in Christ. We partake of Christ and his benefits by faith. The soul that rightly knows its state and wants, finds whatever can calm the conscience, and promote true holiness, in the redeemer, God manifest in the flesh. Meditating upon the cross of Christ gives life to our repentance, love, and gratitude. We live by him, as our bodies live by our food. We live by him, as the members by the head, the branches by the root: because he lives we shall live also.


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
Filled to the brim with the goodness of God; the nourishment of Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, and the power of the Holy Spirit, go now in peace to serve God in all that you think, do and say. God’s peace will always be with you. Amen.

What He Did For You
We are a broken and sinful people. People in need of a Savior. Jesus became that for us by allowing His body to be broken and His blood to be poured out on the cross. He gave His life for ours.


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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