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Wrestling with the Word, episode 83: Lectionary 17 (9 Pentecost), Year C (July 25, 2010) July 11, 2010

Posted by fostermccurley in Wrestling With The Word podcast.
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Lectionary 17 (9 Pentecost)

Like Liza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, “I’m so sick of words,” especially my own, I admit. We hear thousands of words every day—words about the weather, the economy, the local and worldwide sports events, politics. We listen to words that range from brilliant to stupid. We stress over some words and laugh over others. We “get words all day,” says Liza. So does God! Yet God does not seem to get sick of our words. In fact, the biblical records indicate that God keeps inviting words. God seems particularly pleased when we use our words for the sake of others. The strange thing is that God keeps responding to our words and so keeps getting more of them. That response we call God’s Word, and if we would stop listening to all the people talk, then we might miss out on what God is saying to us even in the midst of the superabundance of their words.

Download or listen to Wrestling with the Word, episode 83: Lectionary 17 (9 Pentecost), Year C.


Psalm 138
The psalm of thanksgiving celebrates the realization that God answers prayers.  In doing so God enables the worshiper to see that his/her salvation is part of the ongoing work of God that reaches out to the lowly.  The recognition of this saving work causes even the kings of the earth to acknowledge the power and glory of God.  The experience of answered prayer leads the worshiper to plead that God’s work never cease.


Genesis 18:20-32
Because of the divine promise given to Abraham, God revealed the purpose for the visit to Sodom and Gomorrah, allowing Abraham to advocate for those cities so that God remembers the promises about a nation.

Genesis 12:1-3 announced to the Israel of the Davidic-Solomonic period both God’s promises to Abraham and Sarah and God’s use of them to be the source of blessing for the families of the land.  In 18:16-19 God deliberates over that call and responsibility.

Key Words
V. 18.  we’abrāhām hāyô yihyeh legôy gādôl we‘ātsûm wenibrekû bô kōl gôyê hā’ārets = “and Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed by him”:  Note the repetition of the promise at Gen. 12:3; 22:17, 18; 26:4; 28:14; Gal. 3:8.

V. 19.  kî yeda‘tîw = “for I have known him”:  For Hebrew yd‘ as entering into an intimate relationship, see Gen. 4:1; 19:8; then see Amos 3:2.

Vv. 20-21. za‘aqat sedōm wa‘amōrâ = “cry for help of Sodom and Gomorrah”:  za‘aqâ/tsa‘a is a technical term designating a cry for help in the face of injustice or oppression; cf. Exod. 3:7; Deut. 22:23-27; Judg. 3:9; Job 19:7; Ps. 72:12; Isa. 30:18-19.  It is a cry from the oppressed rather than indignation against sexual immorality.  The nature of Sodom’s sin in prophetic memory and tradition seems to have been injustice against the poor in the courts, failure to care for the poor and needy, and infidelity to YHWH (see Isa. 1:10-17; 3:9; Jer. 23:14; Ezek. 16:49).

Vv. 22-32.  The entire negotiation on Abraham’s part for the benefit of Sodom and Gomorrah needs to be seen in light of a verse that is not included in our pericope, i.e., v. 18.

V. 25.  hašōphēt kol-hā’ārets lô’ ya‘asê mišpāt = “shall the one who is responsible for justice (in) all the earth not do what is just?”:  For the close connection between YHWH and mišpāt (justice) see Isa. 30:18; Deut. 32:4; Ps. 89:14; 97:2; 111:7; Job 8:3; 34:12; 37:23, and often.


Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19)
Against all human attempts to inject foreign influences into the gospel of Jesus Christ, the author argues that in Christ we already have the fullness of life and the source of nourishment for growth that is from God.

These verses indicate that the motive for writing this letter was to combat the enticements of heresies that were creeping into the gospel which brought the church at Colossae into being.


Luke 11:1-13
Jesus provides to those who would pray the privilege to call God Father, so that they can ask for and expect the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Somewhere between Galilee and Jerusalem, after Jesus had visited the home of Mary and Martha, Jesus spoke these words.

Key Words
V. 1.  en topō tini = “in a certain place”:  In Luke’s Gospel, topos is not so much a description of a locale as a space in which Jesus can be interrupted; cf. Luke 4:42; 9:12; 22:40; 23:33.

V. 1.  proseuchomenon = “praying”:  The act of prayer is an emphasis throughout Luke’s Gospel: cf. 3:21; 6:12; 9:28-29; 22:41-46.

V. 2.  Pater = “Father”:  In the OT God is called “Father” both in terms of the people of Israel (Exod. 4:22-23; Jer. 31:9 [cf. 3:19]) and of the Davidic king (2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 89:26).

V. 3.  to kath’ hēmeran = “daily”; cf. Matt. 6:11:  sēmeron = “today.” Luke saves the word sēmeron for eschatological purposes (2:11; 4:21; 19:9; 23:43).

V. 4.  tas hamartias hēmōn = “our sins”:  cf. Matt. 6:12:  ta opheilēmata hēmōn = “our trespasses.”

V. 13.  ho patēr ex ouranou = “the Father from heaven”:  Note connection with v. 2, now with the addition of “from heaven” (cf. Matt. 6:9).

V. 13.  pneuma hagion = “Holy Spirit”:  The gift of the Holy Spirit now is held out to all who pray to God.  Thus far in Luke, the Holy Spirit was granted to a select few:  Mary (1:35), Zechariah (1:67), Simeon (2:26), Jesus (3:22; 4:1, 14, 18).  Now Luke anticipates the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).


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