Bible Readings for Sunday, July 28, 2019

The First Reading is recorded in Genesis 18:17-33. This is the lead-up to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Notice the role of Abraham in this passage: the LORD begins by noting the importance that Abraham and his descendants will have in human history (see vs. 17-19), then the LORD informs Abraham of His intentions – to see if Sodom and Gomorrah are as bad as reported, and if not, the LORD will find it out.

How would you respond if you were Abraham, would you say, “Go ahead, LORD, they are a bad bunch deserving of punishment?”, or would you intercede, urging the LORD to consider the few righteous people, and to spare the place for the sake of the few righteous who might be there? Remember the introduction, where the LORD notes the importance that Abraham and his descendants will have in human history, then notice the role of Abraham in the rest of the passage – to intercede and appeal to God’s mercy on behalf of the righteous.

Jesus is our ultimate intercessor, interceding on our behalf through His death and resurrection, and bringing us to the heavenly Father by grace through faith.

Let us follow the example of Abraham and the sacrifice of Jesus and intercede for others, that they will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Just and merciful God, we thank and praise You for Your justice, knowing that You will make all things right in the end. And we thank and praise You for Your mercy, giving us undeserved mercy through Your Son Jesus. We thank and praise You that He intercedes for us, and through Him we have forgiveness. Move us to intercede for others, praying for their salvation in Jesus. Amen.

Today’s psalm is 138. This is a wonderful psalm of praise. Notice that David, the psalmist, gives thanks with his whole being, and that he thanks the LORD God, not false gods; David knows that his only hope and rescue is in the LORD. Notice that David lists the actions of God for which he gives thanks: the LORD listens to and rescues the lowly, those overlooked by the rest of the world. Let us see the many ways the LORD does care for the lowly and helpless, especially through Jesus, and let us give Him thanks and praise.

Holy God, we give You thanks and praise for Your care and compassion toward those who are in great need. Move us to help them in Your Name. Amen.

The Second Reading is a continuation of reading through parts of Colossians, and is recorded in Colossians 2:6-19. Paul urges the Colossians, and us, to continue in Christ and not to be distracted by the siren call of the world; the world cannot redeem us. Then Paul lists some of the things the Lord does for us, burying and raising us with Christ in Baptism, being made alive with Christ, forgiving our sins, and defeating the forces and powers of evil. Paul closes by again urging the Colossians, and us, to remain in Christ.

Holy Lord Jesus, we thank and praise You for all that You have done to redeem us, and for the ways You make us new each day. Keep us in You so that we are not trapped and led away by sin and evil around us. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

The Gospel is recorded in Luke 11:1-13. This is a powerful passage about prayer. Notice that it begins with Jesus in prayer. Jesus prayed often, and at various times during His earthly life. As He concluded His prayers, He was asked to teach His disciples to pray; that request in itself is a great prayer – Lord, teach us to pray. When asked, Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer. This is a great prayer to pray, and has been prayed by the Church since Jesus gave it to us, and it is a great model of prayer; pray this prayer, and pray the types of petitions that Jesus included in the Lord’s Prayer. Be people of prayer, giving glory to God as we adore Him, confessing our sins and need of a Savior, giving Him thanks and praise, and lifting up our supplications to Him. Pray.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are humbled that You give us the privilege of coming before You in prayer. Your love for us is seen in Your willingness to call us to You in prayer, to hear our prayers, to teach us how to pray, and to show us our need of You in prayer. Thank You for this wonderful gift. Enable us to be people of prayer more and more. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

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