Reflecting on the Twenty-Fourth
Sunday after Pentecost
Year A

Daily Readings for Wednesday
November 18, 2020

Prayer

God of the covenant, 

even when we fall into sin, 

your Spirit invites us to remember 

that you chose us to be your servant people. 

Awaken us to the power and gifts 

you pour into us for the good of creation, 

and grant that we may be trustworthy in all things, 

producing abundantly as we work to build your realm. Amen.

 

Psalm 83:1-4, 9-10, 17-18

Do not be silent, O God

 

O God, do not keep silence;

do not hold your peace or be still, O God!

Even now your enemies are in tumult;

those who hate you have raised their heads.

They lay crafty plans against your people;

they consult together against those you protect.

They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;

let the name of Israel be remembered no more.”

Do to them as you did to Midian,

as to Sisera and Jabin at the Wadi Kishon,

who were destroyed at En-dor,

who became dung for the ground.

Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever;

let them perish in disgrace.

Let them know that you alone,

whose name is the Lord,

are the Most High over all the earth.

 

Esther 7:1-10

Esther’s victory

 

So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me—that is my petition—and the lives of my people—that is my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has presumed to do this?” Esther said, “A foe and enemy, this wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen. The king rose from the feast in wrath and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that the king had determined to destroy him. When the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman had thrown himself on the couch where Esther was reclining; and the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?” As the words left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Look, the very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, stands at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the anger of the king abated.

 

Matthew 24:45-51

Parable of the unfaithful slave

 

“Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that wicked slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

 

 

Prayer

You, O God, are our dwelling-place 

from generation to generation, 

our shield from anguish and distress. 

You arm us as children of light 

with the hope of salvation, 

and you protect us by your love. 

Give us grace to build up 

and encourage one another, 

as we seek wisdom and abundant life 

in the strength of your Word 

and the assurance of your Spirit. Amen.

 

Psalm 9:1-14

God’s reward for the righteous

 

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;

I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

I will be glad and exult in you;

I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

When my enemies turned back,

they stumbled and perished before you.

For you have maintained my just cause;

you have sat on the throne giving righteous judgment.

You have rebuked the nations, you have destroyed the wicked;

you have blotted out their name forever and ever.

The enemies have vanished in everlasting ruins;

their cities you have rooted out;

the very memory of them has perished.

But the Lord sits enthroned forever,

he has established his throne for judgment.

He judges the world with righteousness;

he judges the peoples with equity.

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,

a stronghold in times of trouble.

And those who know your name put their trust in you,

for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion.

Declare his deeds among the peoples.

For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;

he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

Be gracious to me, O Lord.

See what I suffer from those who hate me;

you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death,

so that I may recount all your praises,

and, in the gates of daughter Zion,

rejoice in your deliverance.

 

Job 16:1-21

A lament about unjust punishment

 

Then Job answered:

 

“I have heard many such things;

miserable comforters are you all.

Have windy words no limit?

Or what provokes you that you keep on talking?

I also could talk as you do,

if you were in my place;

I could join words together against you,

and shake my head at you.

I could encourage you with my mouth,

and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.

“If I speak, my pain is not assuaged,

and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?

Surely now God has worn me out;

he has made desolate all my company.

And he has shriveled me up,

which is a witness against me;

my leanness has risen up against me,

and it testifies to my face.

He has torn me in his wrath, and hated me;

he has gnashed his teeth at me;

my adversary sharpens his eyes against me.

They have gaped at me with their mouths;

they have struck me insolently on the cheek;

they mass themselves together against me.

God gives me up to the ungodly,

and casts me into the hands of the wicked.

I was at ease, and he broke me in two;

he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces;

he set me up as his target;

his archers surround me.

He slashes open my kidneys, and shows no mercy;

he pours out my gall on the ground.

He bursts upon me again and again;

he rushes at me like a warrior.

I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin,

and have laid my strength in the dust.

My face is red with weeping,

and deep darkness is on my eyelids,

though there is no violence in my hands,

and my prayer is pure.

“O earth, do not cover my blood;

let my outcry find no resting place.

Even now, in fact, my witness is in heaven,

and he that vouches for me is on high.

My friends scorn me;

my eye pours out tears to God,

that he would maintain the right of a mortal with God,

as one does for a neighbor.

 

Matthew 24:45-51

Parable of the unfaithful slave

 

“Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that wicked slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

 

 

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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.