Reflecting on the Twenty-Third
Sunday after Pentecost
Year A

Daily Readings for Wednesday
November 11, 2020

Prayer

You let us choose, O God, 

between you and the false gods of this world. 

In the midst of the night of sin and death, 

wake us from our slumber 

and call us forth to greet Christ, 

so that with eyes and hearts fixed on him, 

we may follow to eternal light. Amen.

 

Psalm 78

God settled the tribes of Israel

 

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;

incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

I will open my mouth in a parable;

I will utter dark sayings from of old,

things that we have heard and known,

that our ancestors have told us.

We will not hide them from their children;

we will tell to the coming generation

the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,

and the wonders that he has done.

He established a decree in Jacob,

and appointed a law in Israel,

which he commanded our ancestors

to teach to their children;

that the next generation might know them,

the children yet unborn,

and rise up and tell them to their children,

so that they should set their hope in God,

and not forget the works of God,

but keep his commandments;

and that they should not be like their ancestors,

a stubborn and rebellious generation,

a generation whose heart was not steadfast,

whose spirit was not faithful to God.

The Ephraimites, armed with the bow,

turned back on the day of battle.

They did not keep God’s covenant,

but refused to walk according to his law.

They forgot what he had done,

and the miracles that he had shown them.

In the sight of their ancestors he worked marvels

in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.

He divided the sea and let them pass through it,

and made the waters stand like a heap.

In the daytime he led them with a cloud,

and all night long with a fiery light.

He split rocks open in the wilderness,

and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.

He made streams come out of the rock,

and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

Yet they sinned still more against him,

rebelling against the Most High in the desert.

They tested God in their heart

by demanding the food they craved.

They spoke against God, saying,

“Can God spread a table in the wilderness?

Even though he struck the rock so that water gushed out

and torrents overflowed,

can he also give bread,

or provide meat for his people?”

Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of rage;

a fire was kindled against Jacob,

his anger mounted against Israel,

because they had no faith in God,

and did not trust his saving power.

Yet he commanded the skies above,

and opened the doors of heaven;

he rained down on them manna to eat,

and gave them the grain of heaven.

Mortals ate of the bread of angels;

he sent them food in abundance.

He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,

and by his power he led out the south wind;

he rained flesh upon them like dust,

winged birds like the sand of the seas;

he let them fall within their camp,

all around their dwellings.

And they ate and were well filled,

for he gave them what they craved.

But before they had satisfied their craving,

while the food was still in their mouths,

the anger of God rose against them

and he killed the strongest of them,

and laid low the flower of Israel.

In spite of all this they still sinned;

they did not believe in his wonders.

So he made their days vanish like a breath,

and their years in terror.

When he killed them, they sought for him;

they repented and sought God earnestly.

They remembered that God was their rock,

the Most High God their redeemer.

But they flattered him with their mouths;

they lied to him with their tongues.

Their heart was not steadfast toward him;

they were not true to his covenant.

Yet he, being compassionate,

forgave their iniquity,

and did not destroy them;

often he restrained his anger,

and did not stir up all his wrath.

He remembered that they were but flesh,

a wind that passes and does not come again.

How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness

and grieved him in the desert!

They tested God again and again,

and provoked the Holy One of Israel.

They did not keep in mind his power,

or the day when he redeemed them from the foe;

when he displayed his signs in Egypt,

and his miracles in the fields of Zoan.

He turned their rivers to blood,

so that they could not drink of their streams.

He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them,

and frogs, which destroyed them.

He gave their crops to the caterpillar,

and the fruit of their labor to the locust.

He destroyed their vines with hail,

and their sycamores with frost.

He gave over their cattle to the hail,

and their flocks to thunderbolts.

He let loose on them his fierce anger,

wrath, indignation, and distress,

a company of destroying angels.

He made a path for his anger;

he did not spare them from death,

but gave their lives over to the plague.

He struck all the firstborn in Egypt,

the first issue of their strength in the tents of Ham.

Then he led out his people like sheep,

and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.

He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid;

but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.

And he brought them to his holy hill,

to the mountain that his right hand had won.

He drove out nations before them;

he apportioned them for a possession

and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.

Yet they tested the Most High God,

and rebelled against him.

They did not observe his decrees,

but turned away and were faithless like their ancestors;

they twisted like a treacherous bow.

For they provoked him to anger with their high places;

they moved him to jealousy with their idols.

When God heard, he was full of wrath,

and he utterly rejected Israel.

He abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh,

the tent where he dwelt among mortals,

and delivered his power to captivity,

his glory to the hand of the foe.

He gave his people to the sword,

and vented his wrath on his heritage.

Fire devoured their young men,

and their girls had no marriage song.

Their priests fell by the sword,

and their widows made no lamentation.

Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,

like a warrior shouting because of wine.

He put his adversaries to rout;

he put them to everlasting disgrace.

He rejected the tent of Joseph,

he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;

but he chose the tribe of Judah,

Mount Zion, which he loves.

He built his sanctuary like the high heavens,

like the earth, which he has founded forever.

He chose his servant David,

and took him from the sheepfolds;

from tending the nursing ewes he brought him

to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,

of Israel, his inheritance.

With upright heart he tended them,

and guided them with skillful hand.

 

Jeremiah 31:31-34

A new covenant

 

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

 

Matthew 24:29-35

My words will not pass away

 

“Immediately after the suffering of those days

 

the sun will be darkened,

and the moon will not give its light;

the stars will fall from heaven,

and the powers of heaven will be shaken.

 

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

 

 

Prayer

Ever-living God, 

you inscribe our names in your book of life 

so that we may share in the firstfruits of salvation. 

Grant that we may acknowledge Christ as our redeemer 

and, trusting in him, 

be confident that none of your own will be lost or forgotten. 

We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

 

Psalm 63

God is a rich feast

 

O God, you are my God, I seek you,

my soul thirsts for you;

my flesh faints for you,

as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,

beholding your power and glory.

Because your steadfast love is better than life,

my lips will praise you.

So I will bless you as long as I live;

I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,

and my mouth praises you with joyful lips

when I think of you on my bed,

and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

for you have been my help,

and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.

My soul clings to you;

your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek to destroy my life

shall go down into the depths of the earth;

they shall be given over to the power of the sword,

they shall be prey for jackals.

But the king shall rejoice in God;

all who swear by him shall exult,

for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

 

Joel 3:9-21

Promise of a glorious future

 

Proclaim this among the nations:

 

Prepare war,

stir up the warriors.

Let all the soldiers draw near,

let them come up.

Beat your plowshares into swords,

and your pruning hooks into spears;

let the weakling say, “I am a warrior.”

Come quickly,

all you nations all around,

gather yourselves there.

Bring down your warriors, O Lord.

Let the nations rouse themselves,

and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat;

for there I will sit to judge

all the neighboring nations.

Put in the sickle,

for the harvest is ripe.

Go in, tread,

for the wine press is full.

The vats overflow,

for their wickedness is great.

Multitudes, multitudes,

in the valley of decision!

For the day of the Lord is near

in the valley of decision.

The sun and the moon are darkened,

and the stars withdraw their shining.

The Lord roars from Zion,

and utters his voice from Jerusalem,

and the heavens and the earth shake.

But the Lord is a refuge for his people,

a stronghold for the people of Israel.

So you shall know that I, the Lord your God,

dwell in Zion, my holy mountain.

And Jerusalem shall be holy,

and strangers shall never again pass through it.

In that day

the mountains shall drip sweet wine,

the hills shall flow with milk,

and all the stream beds of Judah

shall flow with water;

a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord

and water the Wadi Shittim.

Egypt shall become a desolation

and Edom a desolate wilderness,

because of the violence done to the people of Judah,

in whose land they have shed innocent blood.

But Judah shall be inhabited forever,

and Jerusalem to all generations.

I will avenge their blood, and I will not clear the guilty,

for the Lord dwells in Zion.

 

Matthew 24:29-35

My words will not pass away

 

“Immediately after the suffering of those days

 

the sun will be darkened,

and the moon will not give its light;

the stars will fall from heaven,

and the powers of heaven will be shaken.

 

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

 

 

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Prayer reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts. Reproduced by permission.

Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Reproduced by permission. No further reproduction allowed without the written permission of Augsburg Fortress.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.