By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament text for this Sunday, July 22, 2018, the ninth Sunday after Pentecost, is from the book of the prophet Jeremiah. The text is Jeremiah 23:1-6 and contains the very familiar Messianic reference of “The Righteous Branch” and the title, “The Lord is our Righteousness.” However, the pericope begins with a common prophetic condemnation of false and evil shepherds who have been charged to care for the LORD’s sheep. Like Ezekiel 34, the shepherds have neglected the sheep for their own needs. In some cases, they are guilty of abusing the flock causing them to scatter and run away. Thus, the LORD promises that He Himself will gather up the remnants and they will prosper under His shepherding. At that time He will appoint new shepherds—obviously shepherds who are “undershepherds” to Him and properly care and provide for His flock.

 By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament text for this Sunday, July 8, 2018, the seventh Sunday after Pentecost, is from the book of the prophet Ezekiel. The text is Ezekiel 2:1-5 and is usually entitled the “Call of Ezekiel,” although the language of the Hebrew more indicates the “Sending of Ezekiel.” We see this language also in the “Call” of other prophets as well (Isaiah; Jeremiah). Horace Hummel, whose Commentary on Ezekiel 1-20 in the Concordia Commentary series we will point to on occasion, titles this section as “The Prophetic Commissioning of Ezekiel: Part 1.” Part 2 of this commissioning would begin then in chapter three.

By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament text for this Sunday, July 1, 2018, the sixth Sunday after Pentecost, is from Jeremiah’s book of Lamentations. The text is Lamentations 3:22-33 and is one of the few texts in the pericopal system from this writing. Lamentations, as the name indicates, is full of laments and woes. However, our text for this Sunday has a strong message of hope and confidence in the LORD. In the overall context of Lamentation, this text stands out as a breath of fresh air, or perhaps more accurately as words of relief after so much dismal lamenting!

By Jeff Pulse

Our text is from the book of Job. The text is Job 38:1-11 and begins the section in Job frequently called Yahweh’s first speech. In truth, this is the moment that Job and even his friends have been waiting for. They have been hoping that the LORD will break His silence and set things straight, answer the questions, and reveal the “why” of what is going on in Job’s miserable life. However, it is important to note that the LORD does NOT answer the questions that Job and his friends have been wrestling with. He ignores Job’s complaints and claims of innocence and refuses to support the accusations of Job’s friend—He just does not go there! This disappoints the readers of Job even today.

By Jeff Pulse

Our text for this Sunday is from the book of the prophet Ezekiel. The text, Ezekiel 17:22-24, is quite short, only three verses, but it is quite interesting in the larger context of chapter 17. The chapter begins with a riddle, an allegory, which is introduced by, “The Word of Yahweh came to me.” Note also that this phrase is repeated in verse 11, which begins the second major portion of the chapter and contains our pericope. As we go through these three verses it is interesting and important to see them in the larger context of the allegory in the opening portion of chapter 17.

By Jeff Pulse

Our text for this Sunday, is from the first book of the Torah, Genesis. The text is a familiar one, Genesis 3:8-15, and describes separation of God and man as a result of the Fall into sin in the Garden of Eden. Obviously, the Fall is a tragic event on every level. Adam and Eve have disobeyed God, not trusting in His promises, and they find themselves hiding from God in their shame. There is no way this can work out for them, and they know it.