Bible readings for Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021

The First Reading, 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20), is the account of the call of Samuel into the LORD’s service.  Notice how persistent the LORD is in calling Samuel (He called Samuel four times before Samuel answered).  The LORD had specific plans for Samuel, and Samuel faithfully followed the leading of the LORD.  Samuel is the last of the group of the Old Testament judges, and the first of the group of the classic prophets.  Samuel spoke the words of the LORD.  Samuel also anointed the first two kings of Israel – Saul and David.

As you read the account of the call of Samuel, consider how and where the Lord is calling you to go.  Will you respond with Samuel: “speak, for your servant hears”?

Holy Spirit, open our hearts and minds to Your call, and lead us to follow You as You lead us to Jesus, and then send us out into service in the world.  Empower us to share the love of Jesus by our words and deeds.  Amen.

Today’s psalm, 139:1-10, is a beautiful psalm of God’s all-knowing presence with us; God knows all about us.  I would encourage you to read the whole psalm and be moved at how no matter where we go, no matter what happens in life, the Lord is always with us.  In Jesus we know this to be true; because we have been joined to Jesus’ death and resurrection in Baptism we have been redeemed in Jesus by grace through faith, and given His Holy Spirit Who dwells in us and gives us the life of Christ.  Take comfort, be hopeful, you are never away from the Lord.

Oh Lord, to You be all praise, glory, honor, and thanks: You know us so well, from the moment of conception to our last breath in this life, You know us and are with us no matter where we are or what happens in life.  Let this insight give us comfort, hope, strength and assurance every moment of every day.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.

Sexual immorality is rampant in our world today, and immorality is accepted in so many circles, even to inundating us through our entertainment (one of the faults the followers of Islam find with the Western world is how immoral our cultures are). In today’s Second Reading, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, the apostle Paul reminds us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God dwells in us – and so Paul tells his readers, and us, to avoid sexual immorality.  When we are sexually immoral, we sin against God because we take His temple and corrupt it.  When we are sexually immoral, we also sin against the gift of God of our bodies.  Like all sins, this sin is forgivable, but we are best to avoid sexual immorality.  Paul’s words are just as true and valid today as they were 2,000 years ago.

Holy Spirit, so work in our hearts and lives to turn us away from sin.  Enable us to keep our bodies as the temples of the Lord, honoring and glorifying the Lord in and through the gift of our bodies.  Amen.

Who do you follow?  What ideologies, philosophies, theologies do you follow?  At the beginning of His public ministry, a part of which is recorded in John 1:43-51, Jesus began to call disciples to follow Him, and they did.  Notice that those who followed Him called others to come and see Him also, so that they could become followers of Jesus.  

Jesus calls us through Word and Sacrament to follow Him, and to invite others to follow as well.  What will we see?  We will see Jesus as the only Lord and Savior, and we will hear His call to follow, calling others to follow Him as well.  Will we?

Lord Jesus, each day lead us heed Your call to follow You alone because You alone are our Lord and Savior.  And, as we follow You, move us to invite others to come and see You, and as they do, call them to follow You as Lord and Savior.  Amen.

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