Bible Readings for Week of Jan. 29

The First Reading, recorded in Micah 6:1-8, is a court case.  The LORD is bringing an indictment against His people because they have turned to other gods.  One might expect that the LORD would point out the sins of the people, and in other places that is what happens, but here suddenly the accuser, the prosecutor – God – seems to be the defendant.  Notice how God suddenly asks the people to point out how He has wronged them!  And in His questioning, in His putting Himself on trial, He points out all that He has done for them!  In defending Himself, He shows how He has rescued and redeemed them.

The prophet Micah is led to humility, asking what he should do to come before the LORD?  Should he bring sacrifices?  None would suffice.  What does Micah proclaim?  Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.
Let us approach the Lord realizing all He has done for us, and approaching with humility and service.
Righteous Lord, just God, forgive us when we doubt Your grace and mercy toward us.  Open our eyes to see again the many ways You bless us, and lead us to approach You in humbleness, giving You honor and glory, and serving others in Your Name.  Amen.
 
The psalm is another psalm of David, Psalm 15.  Notice that David asks: who may approach the LORD?  And answers by listing the characteristics of a person of good character and a good example of a follower of the Lord.  Keep in mind that we are not saved by our works, we cannot approach God by our good deeds, but rather that our relationship with the Lord causes a change in our lives where we do the things the Lord would want us to do because He has made us to be His people.  Let us show His presence in our lives by our words and actions.
Lord, thank You that we can approach Your presence, not because we are worthy, but because You are gracious and merciful toward us.  We thank You that Jesus has opened the way between us.  Draw us to You, and fill us with Your presence so that we are Your people in the world, being a blessing to those around us.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.
 
The Second Reading is a continuation of readings from 1 Corinthians, and is recorded in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.  In the passage the apostle Paul gets to the heart of his teaching, of his theology, of what is central to his life and ministry: the cross of Jesus, the means God uses to redeem us from sin, death, and the devil.  Notice how Paul contrasts the message of the cross from those who want signs of power to prove the existance of God, and also from those who seek worldly wisdom as their understanding of God.  Paul says we can only understand God through the cross of Christ, the cross that seems to be powerless to some and so illogical to others, but in the Lord’s hands the cross of Christ becomes the power and wisdom of God to redeem and sanctify.  Let us always glory in the cross of Christ, the means of our redemption, forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Lord Jesus, in Your cross we glory, Your cross which towers over the wrecks of time.  We thank and praise You that You willingly went to the cross to bring an end to all worldly power and wisdom, and an end to sin, death, and the devil.  Keep our eyes fixed on You, the One Who went to the cross, and then Who rose on the thrird day, for our redemption.  Thanks be to You.  Amen.
 
The Gospel is the Beatitudes from Matthew 5:1-12.  Again, in this passage we see that the power, wisdom, and actions of God go against the wisdom and values of the world.  Read throught the Beatitudes, notice how in need those Jesus calls blessed truly are; they are in desperate need.  The world would say they are not blessed, but in God’s hands they are blessed because He comes to all who are in need to bring His blessings, strength, and life.  When the world has ground us down, when we are faced with hopelessness and despair, look to the Lord, He will be there to bring blessings and life.
Blessing Lord, when we are in desperate need, open us up to You and to the blessings You bring into our lives.  Remind us that in Jesus You met our most desperate need, the need of being reconciled to You.  Keep us in faith that as You have met that need, so You meet our every need.  Let us see and give thanks for Your blessings.  Amen.
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