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August 28

Pastor’s Note

Today we read what may have been sung as an antiphonal song, with one group of singers answering the other. Imagine the power of this kind of refrain sounding out from God’s people—“for his steadfast love endures forever.” After yesterday’s call in 1 Corinthians 8 to lay down our rights, Paul testifies to the way he modeled this kind of sacrifice in his missionary work among the Corinthians. We should remember how important a good role model is, not only to look to them, but also to be one in our everyday lives.

— Pastor Mike

Psalms 136-138

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who alone does great wonders,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who by understanding made the heavens,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who made the great lights,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew [1] Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;

17 to him who struck down great kings,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to Israel his servant,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.

23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.

How Shall We Sing the Lord‘s Song?

137:1 By the waters of Babylon,
 there we sat down and wept,
 when we remembered Zion.
On the willows [2] there
 we hung up our lyres.
For there our captors
 required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
 “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How shall we sing the Lord‘s song
 in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
 let my right hand forget its skill!
Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
 if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
 above my highest joy!

Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
 the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
 down to its foundations!”
O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
 blessed shall he be who repays you
 with what you have done to us!
Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
 and dashes them against the rock!

Give Thanks to the Lord

Of David.

138:1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
 before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
 and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
 for you have exalted above all things
 your name and your word. [3]
On the day I called, you answered me;
 my strength of soul you increased. [4]

All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
 for they have heard the words of your mouth,
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
 for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
 but the haughty he knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
 you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
 and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
 your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
 Do not forsake the work of your hands.

1 Corinthians 9

Paul Surrenders His Rights

9:1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, [5] as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. 16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, [6] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Footnotes

[1] 136:15 Hebrew shook off
[2] 137:2 Or poplars
[3] 138:2 Or you have exalted your word above all your name
[4] 138:3 Hebrew you made me bold in my soul with strength
[5] 9:5 Greek a sister as wife
[6] 9:27 Greek I pummel my body and make it a slave

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