Bible Readings for Sunday August 13, 2017

Today’s First Reading, Job 38:4-18, is set in the context of a righteous man, Job, who experiences incredible suffering. As the book of Job opens, we read that Satan, the accuser of God’s people, has challenged Job’s devotion to God, saying that Job is devoted to God only because God has been good to Job. God allows Satan to afflict Job with terrible hardship and heartache.
Three friends show up to comfort Job, but end up accusing him of having committed sins, and that is why he is suffering. Job continues to protest his innocence. Near the end of the book, Job calls on God to come and explain his suffering. In the First Reading God does show up, but instead of explaining Job’s suffering, God challenges Job with a series of questions, basically letting Job know that there are some things we humans simply will not know, including the reason for suffering.
In the end, Job humbly submits to God, and God blesses him again.
We don’t always, or ever, know the reasons for suffering, but let us trust in God’s faithfulness to be with us and lead us through suffering. Remember Jesus’ suffering on our behalf.
Comforting Lord, in the midst of suffering enable us to keep our eyes on Jesus, the One Who suffered for us in His cross and resurrection, and Who has won salvation for us. Keep us in faith in Jesus. Amen.

Today’s Psalm 18:1-16, is a psalm of praise written by David after the Lord rescued him from all his enemies. Notice that David gives God all the credit for rescuing him. Notice also the extent to which God will go to rescue David, even to powerful signs and actions in nature. As you read this psalm, remember the powerful signs and actions God will go to to rescue us – He will send His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and then to break the power of death in Jesus’ resurrection on the third day. Through Christ, even death is defeated.
Rescuing God, thanks and praise to You for rescuing David from all his enemies. Thanks and praise to You for rescuing us from all our enemies, especially sin, death, and the devil, in Your Son Jesus. Amen.

The Second Reading, Romans 10:5-17, again picks up the theme of faith in the book of Romans. The apostle Paul again reminds us that we are saved by faith, not by our works. This faith is based on Christ, and Christ alone. As Paul reminds us, people cannot believe unless they hear about Christ. Let us be faithful in our proclamation of Jesus so that people can be led to Him in faith.
Holy Spirit, thanks be to You for enabling us to hear and believe the Gospel of Jesus, the good news that in His life, death, and resurrection we have eternal life. Empower us to proclaim Jesus to others and bring them to faith in Him. Amen.

Today’s Gospel, Matthew 14:22-33, is a miracle in which we see the power of Jesus over nature (remember in the First Reading God’s power over nature). In this miracle Jesus is walking on the water. Notice the terror of the disciples when they see Him, but also hear again His calming words: “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” At times life terrifies us; when it does, remember Jesus’ words: take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid. In His death and resurrection Jesus has defeated all those things in life which cause us fear, and now He is with us every moment of every day – take heart, He is with us, do not be afraid.
Lord Jesus, keep our eyes focused on You, and our ears open to Your words, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” Lord, take away our fears and give us confident faith in You today and always. Amen.

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