Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

 Sermon Text: Exodus 34:5-9

 Other Readings: Romans 10:5-13 and Matthew 16:13-20


  1. Why is there a difference between the way God’s name is capitalized in verses 5 and 6 and the way it is spelled when Moses prays to God in verse 9?
  2. How could you use these verses to speak to a friend who sees so much wickedness in the world and then wonders where God is and what he’s going to do about it?
  3. How could you use these verses to speak to a friend who feels guilt for a particular sin and is wondering if God really can forgive her?
  4. What does it mean that God “punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation” (v. 7 NIV)?
  5. In our Gospel Reading, Peter declared Jesus to be the Son of the living God. This means that Jesus is God himself and, therefore, everything that is proclaimed in Exodus 34:5-9. Where do you see Jesus’ compassion, grace, love, faithfulness, and forgiveness in our Gospel Reading from Matthew 16:13-20?


  1. The Jews, going back to at least the third century B.C., substituted “Adonai” (“LORD”) for Yahweh. Respect for God led the Jews not to pronounce “Yahweh” or “Yahveh.” Because of that, we do not know with certainty what vowels were tied to the four consonants of that name. Many Bible translations have continued that practice of substituting LORD for Yahweh/Yahveh (from WELS Q&A). “LORD” in all caps in the Old Testament is a name that God associates with his one-sided covenant of free and faithful love. “Lord” is a name used in the same way that we refer to royalty as “lord;” this word emphasizes that God is our master and ruler–a loving one at that!
  2. You could assure that friend that God is not ignorant of it; he knows what’s going on. More than that, God will punish that guilt on the last day, if a person remains in wickedness. Additionally, God sets up ways for the wicked to experience temporal punishment in this life. That’s one of the reasons God has set up government as his representatives (cf. Romans chapter 13).
  3. At the risk of sounding redundant, God repeats his mercy in seven different ways. He also emphasizes how many people he forgives (thousands upon thousands, cf. v. 7) and what he forgives – “wickedness, rebellion, and sin” (v. 7). The bottom line is that each and every person can know confidently that God is all of these things for them.
  4. It does NOT mean that God punishes our ancestors for specific sins we commit in our lives. It does mean that if we persist in our wickedness, rebellion, and sin, our children will end up thinking that this behavior is okay before God. Thus, they will repeat it. Then, the same sins for which we got punished by God will also be the kinds of sins our ancestors make and receive punishment for.
  5. In his compassion and grace, Jesus builds his church for us because we need a sure defense against the gates of Hades, that is, against hell itself. Secondly, Jesus gives us Christians the power and right to give his forgiveness to other people. We call this “the use of the keys,” and it will be the focus of the readings in a couple weeks.