The Forty-Fourth Psalm
WE have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us * what thou hast done in their time of old:
How thou hast driven out the heathen with thy hand, and planted our fathers in; * how thou hast destroyed the nations, and made thy people to flourish.
For they gat not the land in possession through their own sword, * neither was it their own arm that helped them;
But thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance; * because thou hadst a favour unto them.
Thou art my King, O God; * send help unto Jacob.
Through thee will we overthrow our enemies, * and in thy Name will we tread them under that rise up against us.
For I will not trust in my bow, * it is not my sword that shall help me;
But it is thou that savest us from our enemies, * and puttest them to confusion that hate us.
We make our boast of God all day long, * and will praise thy Name for ever.
But now thou art far off, and puttest us to confusion, * and goest not forth with our armies.
Thou makest us to turn our backs upon our enemies, * so that they which hate us spoil our goods.
Thou lettest us be eaten up like sheep, * and hast scattered us among the heathen.
Thou sellest thy people for nought, * and takest no money for them.
Thou makest us to be rebuked of our neighbours, * to be laughed to scorn, and had in derision of them that are round about us.
Thou makest us to be a by-word among the nations, * and that the peoples shake their heads at us.
My confusion is daily before me, * and the shame of my face hath covered me;
For the voice of the slanderer and blasphemer, * for the enemy and avenger.
And though all this be come upon us, yet do we not forget thee, * nor behave ourselves frowardly in thy covenant.
Our heart is not turned back, * neither our steps gone out of thy way;
No, not when thou hast smitten us into the place of dragons, * and covered us with the shadow of death.
If we have forgotten the Name of our God, and holden up our hands to any strange god, * shall not God search it out? for he knoweth the very secrets of the heart.
For thy sake also are we killed all the day long, * and are counted as sheep appointed to be slain.
Up, Lord, why sleepest thou? * awake, and be not absent from us for ever.
Wherefore hidest thou thy face, * and forgettest our misery and trouble?
For our soul is brought low, even unto the dust; * our belly cleaveth unto the ground.
Arise, and help us, * and deliver us, for thy mercy's sake.
The First Lesson
I Kings 18:25-30, 36-46
And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded. And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
The Second Lesson
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.