Bible Readings for Week of Feb. 5

The First Reading is recorded in Isaiah 58:3-9a. The passage begins with the people complaining to the LORD that He doesn’t pay attention to their fasting, to their religious piety. The LORD responds that their fasting is hollow, it is self-centered; what the LORD wants is that the people have a change of heart and care for those in need around them. This is a call to all of us: do we do religious duties and then expect God to bless us, or do we let the love of God change our hearts and reach out in loving service to those around us?
Loving God, move us to turn from ourselves to You and to expressing Your love for all people through us. Move us to help our neighbor in need, sharing Your love and compassion with them. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Psalm is recorded in Psalm 112:1-9. This psalm continues the idea of the First Reading. Notice in this psalm that the person who fears/honors/respects the LORD is blessed. Notice the trust the person has in the LORD, and this trust leads the person to help others in need. This trust and sharing of God’s blessings come from the blessings the LORD has given. Let us recognize that all we have are blessings from God’s gracious hands, let us praise God and trust Him for our well-being, and let us share His blessings with others.
Lord God, open our eyes to see all the blessings You shower upon us because of Your grace and mercy. Move us to always give thanks for Your blessings, and lead us to share Your blessings with others, being a blessing to them as You have blessed us. Through Jesus Christ, the source of all blessings, we pray. Amen.

The Second Reading continues reading through parts of 1 Corinthians, and is recorded in 1 Corinthians 2:1-16. In last week’s reading the apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians that human wisdom and power are nothing compared to God, and that God, in His wisdom and power, destroys human wisdom and power. For the apostle Paul, God’s wisdom and power are centered in the cross of Jesus, and Paul will proclaim no other message than the cross of Jesus. All pious talk, devoid of the cross of Jesus, is not of Jesus. Let our words and actions be centered in God’s actions in and through the cross of Jesus.
All wise and all powerful Lord, keep our eyes fixed on You, not on the deceptive wisdom and power of sin, the world, and evil. Keep our eyes fixed on the redemption You have accomplished for us through Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection on the third day. Keep our eyes on Jesus. Amen.

The Gospel is recorded in Matthew 5:13-20. Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He says that He has come to fulfill the Law, keeping it perfectly. In His grace and mercy Jesus has made us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world by Him keeping the Law perfectly, and making us to be His people by Baptism into His death and resurrection. He has made us be who He wants us to be. So, be the salt and the light that the world needs, pointing to Jesus by our words and actions.
Lord Jesus, we thank and praise You that You have kept the Law perfectly, and we thank and praise You that You have turned away our guilt and punishment for not keeping the Law perfectly by Your death and resurrection. In Your grace You have made us to be new people in You. Enable us to be Your salt and light in the world, pointing to You in our words and actions so that others are led to You. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

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