Bible Readings and Devotion for March 20, 2020
You are encouraged to read these passages from this page or from your personal Bible. After the readings is a devotion based on one or more of the readings.
28 “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
1 Corinthians 3:1-15
1 And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? 4 For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human?
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. 9 For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. 14 If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.
1 Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy.
2 For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth.
3 He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.
4 He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves.
5 God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm.
8 God is king over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.
9 The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted.
1 Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.
3 Within its citadels God has shown himself a sure defense.
4 Then the kings assembled, they came on together.
5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic, they took to flight;
6 trembling took hold of them there, pains as of a woman in labor,
7 as when an east wind shatters the ships of Tarshish.
8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God, which God establishes forever.
9 We ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.
10 Your name, O God, like your praise, reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with victory.
11 Let Mount Zion be glad, let the towns of Judah rejoice because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, go all around it, count its towers, 13 consider well its ramparts; go through its citadels, that you may tell the next generation
14 that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will be our guide forever.
1 Hear this, all you peoples; give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
2 both low and high, rich and poor together.
3 My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
4 I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.
5 Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
6 those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches?
7 Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life, there is no price one can give to God for it.
8 For the ransom of life is costly, and can never suffice,
9 that one should live on forever and never see the grave.
10 When we look at the wise, they die; fool and dolt perish together and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they named lands their own.
12 Mortals cannot abide in their pomp; they are like the animals that perish.
13 Such is the fate of the foolhardy, the end of those who are pleased with their lot.
14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; straight to the grave they descend, and their form shall waste away; Sheol shall be their home.
15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.
16 Do not be afraid when some become rich, when the wealth of their houses increases.
17 For when they die they will carry nothing away; their wealth will not go down after them.
18 Though in their lifetime they count themselves happy—for you are praised when you do well for yourself—
19 they will go to the company of their ancestors, who will never again see the light.
20 Mortals cannot abide in their pomp; they are like the animals that perish.
1 The word of the Lord that came to the prophet Jeremiah concerning the nations.
2 Concerning Egypt, about the army of Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates at Carchemish and which King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah:
3 Prepare buckler and shield, and advance for battle! 4 Harness the horses; mount the steeds! Take your stations with your helmets, whet your lances, put on your coats of mail! 5 Why do I see them terrified? They have fallen back; their warriors are beaten down, and have fled in haste. They do not look back—terror is all around! says the Lord.
6 The swift cannot flee away, nor can the warrior escape; in the north by the river Euphrates they have stumbled and fallen. 7 Who is this, rising like the Nile, like rivers whose waters surge?
8 Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers whose waters surge. It said, Let me rise, let me cover the earth, let me destroy cities and their inhabitants. 9 Advance, O horses, and dash madly, O chariots! Let the warriors go forth: Ethiopia and Put who carry the shield, the Ludim, who draw the bow. 10 That day is the day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of retribution, to gain vindication from his foes. The sword shall devour and be sated, and drink its fill of their blood. For the Lord God of hosts holds a sacrifice in the land of the north by the river Euphrates.
11 Go up to Gilead, and take balm, O virgin daughter Egypt! In vain you have used many medicines; there is no healing for you.
12 The nations have heard of your shame, and the earth is full of your cry; for warrior has stumbled against warrior; both have fallen together. Babylonia Will Strike Egypt
13 The word that the Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah about the coming of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon to attack the land of Egypt: 14 Declare in Egypt, and proclaim in Migdol; proclaim in Memphis and Tahpanhes; Say, “Take your stations and be ready, for the sword shall devour those around you.”
15 Why has Apis fled? Why did your bull not stand? —because the Lord thrust him down. 16 Your multitude stumbled and fell, and one said to another, “Come, let us go back to our own people and to the land of our birth, because of the destroying sword.”
17 Give Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the name “Braggart who missed his chance.” 18 As I live, says the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts, one is coming like Tabor among the mountains, and like Carmel by the sea. 19 Pack your bags for exile, sheltered daughter Egypt! For Memphis shall become a waste, a ruin, without inhabitant. 20 A beautiful heifer is Egypt—a gadfly from the north lights upon her. 21 Even her mercenaries in her midst are like fatted calves; they too have turned and fled together, they did not stand; for the day of their calamity has come upon them, the time of their punishment. 22 She makes a sound like a snake gliding away; for her enemies march in force, and come against her with axes, like those who fell trees. 23 They shall cut down her forest, says the Lord, though it is impenetrable, because they are more numerous than locusts; they are without number. 24 Daughter Egypt shall be put to shame; she shall be handed over to a people from the north.
25 The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, said: See, I am bringing punishment upon Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh, and Egypt and her gods and her kings, upon Pharaoh and those who trust in him. 26 I will hand them over to those who seek their life, to King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon and his officers. Afterward Egypt shall be inhabited as in the days of old, says the Lord.
27 But as for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob, and do not be dismayed, O Israel; for I am going to save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and no one shall make him afraid.
28 As for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob, says the Lord, for I am with you. I will make an end of all the nations among which I have banished you, but I will not make an end of you! I will chastise you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
Devotion for March 20, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
We have been given many instructions in these days regarding how to stay healthy, how not to spread illness, and related matters. At first, some of us told ourselves that we would follow these instructions. Some of us did, and some of us didn’t. Other of us refused the advice, but now have started following it.
This is similar to the parable Jesus tells us in Matthew 21:28-32. In this parable, one son affirms that he will follow his father’s instructions, but he ignores the instructions. The other son rejects the instruction, but later follows his father’s will. For us in our faith, we often struggle with one or the other of these results. Sometimes we tell the Lord we will do his will, but then ignore it. Other times we openly disregard his will yet are led by the Spirit to end up doing the right thing.
We are called to love one another and to love our neighbor as ourselves. These callings of God are much more than a call to have warm feelings about one another. Rather, we are called to action and care which builds up the life of others. As we work through how to love our neighbors and one another in the time of the COVID19 pandemic, we are given nudges by the Spirit to take action which builds up life for our church and our community. Our church councils’ decisions at Waldeck and Carmine to suspend worship is founded in love for our fellow believers and for our neighbors. When we reduce the spread of dangerous disease, we are helping each other have life, and to have it abundantly.
One of the foundational pieces for keeping one another healthy is to wash our hands. This is a good idea every day or every year for all people. It is suggested that we use soap and warm water, and that we wash our hands for about 20 seconds. Instead of setting up a stop watch or cell phone timer, many have suggested that a person sing a short song which lasts 20 seconds. The song, “Happy Birthday to You,” lasts about 20 seconds, and most people know this.
In a conversation with a member of one of our churches this week I heard about two things for our faith when we do this. One, is to remember our baptism when we wash, as Martin Luther reminds us. Another suggestion from our conversation is to find another song than “Happy Birthday to You” for hand washing. Two songs come to mind, but there are many others.
One is the song, “Jesus Paid it All”. Here is a YouTube link for that song with lyrics: Click Link
The other song I thought of is one which is known by young and old alike. “Jesus Loves Me” is about 20 seconds long. I think I timed my singing at about 22 seconds, but 2 extra seconds of hand washing will not harm any of us.
Singing a song of faith, remembering one’s baptism, celebrating God’s love, and helping to love one’s neighbor all in one action. We may not want to do it at first, but, with God’s help, we can do it in the end. All this is for love of neighbor, and for the glory and love of the Lord.
Loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we give you thanks for your abundant mercy. You call us to love our neighbor as ourselves, but we often fail to do so. By your Spirit help us to return to you, and help us to live out our love for our neighbors in both word and deed. Grant us peace in these days, and lead us to abundant life in you. We pray this in the holy name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen