Readings for Nov. 17, 2019

The First Reading is at the end of the Old Testament, recorded in Malachi 4:1-6. Notice that the LORD with return some day, and judgment will be exacted on all arrogant and evildoers, but for the people of the LORD, the Day of the Lord will be a day of hope and healing. Notice also the promise that Elijah will be sent to prepare the way of the Lord. In the New Testament John the Baptist was correlated with Elijah, and it is John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus.
Just and righteous Lord, through Your Holy Spirit work repentance in the hearts of all people, turning us from sin and to You. Let the return of Jesus be hope and healing for all who are Yours. Keep us firm in Jesus. Amen.

The psalm is 98. This is a psalm filled with praise! What a wonderful psalm calling on all of creation to praise the Lord. Notice that the psalmist praised the LORD because He will judge the world and the people of the world with righteousness and equity. The LORD alone is the One Who judges with complete righteousness because He knows what is in the heart of each of us. For we who follow Jesus, our judgment has taken place when Jesus took our sin upon Himself on the cross, died and rose again for our justification. Let us trust in His redemption for our salvation.
Just and righteous Lord, we praise You that You judge with righteousness and equity. You alone know the whole truth. We thank and praise You that our judgment has been turned away through Jesus, and that through Him we receive forgiveness and renewal of life. To You we give praise for Your mercy in Jesus. Amen.

The Second Reading is recorded in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-13. The opening paragraph is filled with hope that the Lord will bless the proclamation of His Word, and that the Lord will protect His people from the evil one. This does not mean that the people of God will always have an easy life, nor that hardship and heartache won’t come our way, but it is the assurance that we are safe in the Lord’s hands now and into eternity.
In the second paragraph the apostle Paul warns those who thought that the Day of the Lord had already come, and that they could just sit around and do nothing. Paul warns them that the Day of the Lord is yet to come, and that they need to be involved with productive work.
Protecting Lord, keep us safe in You throughout our lives and into eternal life. When we face hardship, heartache, or resistance because we are Your children, keep us firm in faith, knowing we are safe in Your loving hands. And keep us active in daily life, doing those things to which You have called us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Gospel is recorded in Luke 21:5-36. Notice how the people surrounding Jesus were marveling and bragging about the beauty and magnificence of the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus brought them us short, telling them the day will soon come when the Temple will be destroyed. This happened in 70 A.D. Jesus went on to warn about the coming end of the world, giving signs that will precede the end. No one knows when the world will come to an end, but we know Who is there already waiting for us, and Who will keep us safe into eternal life. Let us walk in faith each day, trusting in God’s faithfulness.
Faithful Lord, You have promised to return to put an end to this world, and to take us to Yourself forever. Lord, we do not know when this will be, but we know that we are safe in Your hands. Embolden our witness for You, raise up our heads as we see our redemption drawing near, keep us in faith. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

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