February 3, 2022
- Psalm 138, I will bow toward your holy temple
- Lesson: Give thanks to the LORD
- Numbers 20:22-29, Eleazar succeeds Aaron
- Lesson: “Gathered unto his people”
- Acts 9:19b-25, Saul’s call is questioned
- Lesson: From persecutor to persecuted
O Lord open thou my lips
And my mouth shall declare thy praise.
O God + come to my assistance;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, *
and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
“My song is love unknown”
By Samuel Crossman
My song is love unknown,
my Savior’s love to me,
love to the loveless shown
that they might lovely be.
O who am I
that for my sake
my Lord should take
frail flesh, and die?
In life no house, no home
my Lord on earth might have;
in death no friendly tomb
but what a stranger gave.
What may I say?
Heaven was his home;
but mine the tomb
wherein he lay.
Here might I stay and sing,
no story so divine:
never was love, dear King,
never was grief like thine.
This is my friend,
in whose sweet praise
I all my days
could gladly spend. 
Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
Psalm 138, I will bow toward your holy temple
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 your name and your word
On the day I called, you answered me,
you increased my strength of soul.[b]
All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth.
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 perceives from far away.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
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.
Give Thanks to the LORD
“God’s name and Word are above everything, including all of the claims of the false gods. He cares for His children, the work of His hands, and His hands will protect them and bring His plans for them to completion. God’s hand is against His enemies. David’s victories prefigure the victories of David’s Son, Jesus Christ, and the victories of those who have been baptized into Him. Salvation is not only for David or for the Israelites but for all nations who will come to faith through God’s Word. • O Lord, we thank You that in Your Word You extend to us such great promises. Grant us full assurance of Your grace, protection, and spiritual care. Fulfill Your purpose in our lives through Jesus Christ. Amen.” 
Let us pray:
Lord our God, supreme over all things,
look upon the humble and lowly
and put new strength into our souls
to complete your purpose for us
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Commentary from the Early Church
Psalm 138:6, St. Augustine
“[I]t is clear; we had gone outside, we have been sent within. “O would that I had found,” you said, “some high and lonely mountain! For, I believe, because God is on high, he hears me from a high place.” Because you are on a mountain, do you think that you are near God and that you are heard quickly, as if shouting from nearby? He dwells on high, but “he looks on the lowly.” “The Lord is near” [Ps 145:18]. To whom? Perhaps to the high? “To those who are . . . contrite of heart” [see Ps 51:17]. It is a wondrous thing: he both lives on high and draws near to the lowly. “He looks on the lowly, but the high he knows from afar.” He sees the proud from afar; the higher they seem to themselves, so much of the less does he approach them.”(Tractates on the Gospel of John 15.25.1) 
Lord Jesus, Master Carpenter of Nazareth, on the Cross through wood and nails you wrought our full salvation: Wield well your tools in this, your workshop, that we who come to you rough-hewn may be fashioned into a truer beauty by your hand; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, world without end. Amen. 
Numbers 20:22-29, Eleazar succeeds Aaron
22 They set out from Kadesh, and the Israelites, the whole congregation, came to Mount Hor. 23 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor, on the border of the land of Edom, 24 “Let Aaron be gathered to his people. For he shall not enter the land that I have given to the Israelites, because you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and his son Eleazar, and bring them up Mount Hor; 26 strip Aaron of his vestments, and put them on his son Eleazar. But Aaron shall be gathered to his people,[a] and shall die there.” 27 Moses did as the Lord had commanded; they went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole congregation. 28 Moses stripped Aaron of his vestments, and put them on his son Eleazar; and Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 When all the congregation saw that Aaron had died, all the house of Israel mourned for Aaron thirty days.
“Gathered unto his people”
“The death of Aaron, the high priest, stands in sharp contrast to the eternal priesthood of Christ (cf. Heb. 7:23, 24). Gathered unto his people is the usual phrase to describe the death of a righteous man (Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses in Gen. 25:8, 17; 35:29; 49:33). It was a fearful mark of divine judgment to be left unburied and not “be gathered” (Jer. 8:2; 25:33; Ezek. 29:5). Some take the phrase to indicate the belief in a continued existence in the realm of the dead, and that people will be reunited with other members of their family. Moses and Aaron died outside of the Promised Land, but in death they are on a par with the patriarchs and other saints of the Old Covenant.” 
“Aaron died just before entering the Promised Land, as punishment for his sin of rebellion (Exod 32; Num 12:1-9). This was the first time that a new high priest was appointed. The priestly clothing was removed from Aaron and placed on his son Eleazar, following the commands recorded in the book of Leviticus.” 
As the time of day is turning
and the night is coming over us,
let us pray for the mercy of God,
that we may increase in our divine knowledge
and renounce the works of darkness;
you reign as one God, now and forever.
- Antiphonary of Bangor 
Acts 9:19b-25, Saul’s call is questioned
19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 All who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” 22 Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus[a] was the Messiah.[b]
23 After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall,[c] lowering him in a basket.
From persecutor to persecuted
In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the once persecutor becomes the persecuted. “The Lord often calls those considered least likely to serve His plan of salvation. Recall how the Lord directed Samuel in anointing David as Saul’s successor (1Sm 16)… Christ instructed His disciples regarding the cost of discipleship. The disciple is not above the teacher (Mt 10:24), and His disciples would be condemned by religious and civil authorities for His sake (Mt 10:17).”  “All Christendom is a small group that must submit to, suffer, and bear more than all other people whatever grief the devil and the world can inflict on it. Now who, in view of what they appear to be and are subjected to, will recognize and learn that they are genuine Christians? Reason will surely not show this. The Holy Spirit must do so. He is called ‘the Spirit of truth ’ because in spite of what they appear to be and are subjected to . . . He strengthens and preserves hearts in the faith” (Martin Luther). 
“Jesus confronts Saul and converts him through the Gospel and Baptism. Though Saul was convinced of his righteous mission of persecution, he learned that true righteousness comes only through Christ. All we are and all we do depends on His blessing and calling. • ‘Praise for the light from heaven And for the voice of awe; Praise for the glorious vision The persecutor saw. O Lord, for Paul’s conversion, We bless Your name today; Come shine within our darkness, And guide us on our way.’ Amen.” 
Father, in your mercy dispel the darkness of this night, and let your servant sleep in peace, that at the dawn of a new day I may wake with joy in your Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen. 
 Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 25). New York, NY: Image Books.
 A., E. E. (2016). Psalms. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 4188). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.
 Church House Publishing. (2005). Psalter. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 1014).
 Augustine. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1778). Nashville: Holman Bible.
 Numbers. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 857). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.
 Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Numbers. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5405). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.
 Stratman, P. (2001). Evening Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 18). Crossway.
 A., E. E. (2016). Acts. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7497). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.
 Ibid. 10
 Ibid. 10
 Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Eleazar [Profile]. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 260). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.