Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is His work,
and His righteousness endures forever.
He has caused His wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear Him;
He remembers His covenant forever.
He has shown His people the power of His works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of His hands are faithful and just;
all His precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to His people;
He has commanded His covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is His name!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!
When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
Judah became His sanctuary,
Israel His dominion.
The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.
What ails you, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water. Psalm 111; 114
“You shall therefore love the Lord your God and keep His charge, His statutes, His rules, and His commandments always. And consider today (since I am not speaking to your children who have not known or seen it), consider the discipline of the Lord your God, His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm, His signs and His deeds that He did in Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to all his land, and what He did to the army of Egypt, to their horses and to their chariots, how He made the water of the Red Sea flow over them as they pursued after you, . . . [Y]our eyes have seen all the great work of the Lord that He did.
“You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, and that you may live long in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey. . . .
“And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. And He will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the Lord is giving you.
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth. . . .
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known. . . . For you are to cross over the Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you. And when you possess it and live in it, you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the rules that I am setting before you today.
“These are the statutes and rules that you shall be careful to do in the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, . . . You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way. . . .
“You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes, for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the Lord your God is giving you. . . . Deuteronomy 11:1-4, 7-9, 13-21, 26-28, 31-12:2a, 4, 8-9
At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, how to destroy Him.
Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed Him, and He healed them all and ordered them not to make Him known. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon Him,
and He will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets;
a bruised reed He will not break,
and a smoldering wick He will not quench,
until He brings justice to victory;
and in His name the Gentiles will hope.”
Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to Him, and He healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Knowing their thoughts, He said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? . . . Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. . . .” Matthew 12:1-26, 30-34
78] You shall sanctify the holy day. [Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.]
79] The word holiday is used for the Hebrew word Sabbath, which properly means “to rest,” that is, to cease from labor. . . . 80] Now, in the Old Testament, God set apart the seventh day and appointed it for rest [Genesis 2:3]. He commanded that it should be regarded as holy above all other days. This commandment was given only to the Jewish people for this outward obedience, that they should abstain from toilsome work and rest. In that way both man and beast might recover and not be weakened by endless labor [Exodus 20:8-11]. Later, the Jewish people restricted the Sabbath too closely and greatly abused it. They defamed Christ and could not endure in Him the same works that they themselves would do on that day, as we read in the Gospel [Matthew 12:11]. They acted as though the commandment were fulfilled by doing the no manual work whatsoever. This, however, was not the meaning. But, as we shall hear, they were supposed to sanctify the holy day or day of rest.
82] This commandment, therefore, in its literal sense, does not apply to us Christians. It is entirely an outward matter, like other ordinances of the Old Testament. The ordinances were attached to particular customs, persons, times, and places, but now they have been made matters of freedom through Christ [Colossians 2:16-1].
83] [But] to grasp a Christian meaning . . . as to what God requires in this commandment, [note that] we keep [holy days] first of all for bodily causes and necessities, which nature teaches and requires. We keep them for the common people, manservants and maidservants, who have been attending to their work and trade the whole week. In this way they may withdraw in order to rest for a day and be refreshed.
84] Second, and most especially, on this day of rest (since we get no other chance), we have the freedom and time to attend divine service. We come together to hear and use [that is, practice] God’s Word, and then to praise God, to sing and to pray. [Luther’s LARGE CATECHISM Part I.78-84: THE SECOND COMMANDMENT]
“If we cannot do anything, what is the point of so many laws, so many precepts, so many threatening and promises?” Paul here replies: “Through the law comes knowledge of sin.” He replies to this question very differently from the way man or free choice thinks. He denies that free choice is proved by the law and cooperates to produce righteousness; for what comes through the law is not righteousness but knowledge of sin. It is the task, function, and effect of the law to be a light to the ignorant and blind, but such a light as reveals sickness, sin, evil, death, hell, the wrath of God, though it affords no help and brings no deliverance from these, but is content to have revealed them. Then, when a man becomes aware of the disease of sin, he is troubled, distressed, even in despair. The law is no help, much less can he help himself. There is need of another light to reveal the remedy. This is the voice of the gospel, revealing Christa as the deliverer from all these things. It is not reason or free choice that reveals Christ; how should it when it is itself darkness and needs the light of the law to reveal its disease, which by its own light it does not see, but believes to be health? . . . When sins are unrecognized, there is no room for a remedy and no hope of a cure, because men will not submit to the touch of a healer when they imagine themselves well and in no need of a physician. Therefore, the law is necessary to make sin known so that when its gravity and magnitude are recognized, man in his pride who imagines himself well may be humbled and may sigh and gasp for the grace that is offered in Christ. [The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther, pastor, theologian, reformer 1483-1546]
DAILY PRAYER for SATURDAY
Lord God, heavenly Father, once again a week comes to its end. Forgive
us for having sinned again this week. We pray You not to look upon our
guilt: forgive us every sin of thought, word, and deed; forgive our
inner blindness, disbelief, doubt , feeblemindedness, impatience,
arrogance, evil desires, lust, secret envy, hate, resentment, and our
Redeem us by Your mercy. We know that a single sin eternally destroys
our fellowship with You. We know that we have eternally earned Your
wrath. We know that by our sin we are not worthy to be named Your
children. But our hope is not in our works; our hope is found in Your
grace alone, O God. We pray You to forgive us for the sake of Jesus
Christ, Your beloved Son. Through Him, grant us the power to hate our
sins, so that we may lead a life well-pleasing to You in true humility
and in the knowledge of Your holy will. O Lord, teach us to number our
days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Let the coming Sunday be a blessing for all Christians and for me.
Waken in us a hunger for Your Word and Sacrament. Prepare our hearts
that we may take part in the eternal liturgy sung before Your throne,
and grant that in the Sacrament we may join the never-ending feast,
until that final day comes. Hear our prayer for the sake of the Lamb,
Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.