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David knew he had enemies. Yet he had experienced God’s protection from these enemies. He wrote Psalm 59 when, the heading tells us, “Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.” For our purposes, it is noteworthy how the different the speech of unbelievers differs from that of believers. Throughout the Psalm, David contrasts his words as a man who feared the Lord with that of his enemies. In verse 6, he describes the wicked “howling like dogs,” (cf v 14) and then “bellowing with their mouths, with swords in their lips” (v 7). With their words, they deny the judgment of God upon the wicked: “’Who,’ they think, ‘will hear us?’” He speaks of “the sin of their mouths, the word of their lips” in v 12, and their “cursing and lies.” But David uses his words much differently, as he makes plain in v 16-17, which also serves as our call to worship for this Lord’s Day’s worship service. Instead of such blasphemy and evil words, David three times says, “I will sing,” speaking of his praise to God: But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love. What a difference knowing God makes! It affects all of us, including our speech. In some respects, we will see this in stark relief in the passage for our sermon, Exod 4:17-5:4 as well. This Lord’s Day, we have an opportunity once again to gather together and audibly confess and glorify God with a sacrifice of praise, “that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” (Heb 13:16).
In the prayer service, we will begin by singing “The Son of God Goes Forth to War” (Red 282). The instruction will once again come from Paul’s prayer in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3.
This Sunday’s sermon considers two different responses to the word of God from the end of Exod 4 and beginning of Exod 5. On the one hand, we see the believing response of God’s people to the word of God declared by Moses in Aaron. So affecting upon the Israelites is the message that Yahweh, the God of Abraham, had come down and visited them to deliver them from their affliction, they believe and bow their heads in worship. Yet, the Word of God does not have the same success with Pharaoh. He demeans and blasphemes God, and exposes his rebellion against God’s precepts. From these two responses, I hope to use the Word as a mirror for our own lives, to consider how we respond to God’s Word.
Call to Worship: Psalm 59:16-17
Hymn 321 [Red] O Worship the King
Congregational Reading: Psalm 59:1-5, 8-10
Doxology: Doxology, Red 437
Hymn 264 [Red] O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
Hymn 304 [Red] Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken
Scripture Reading: Exodus 7 & John 4:1-15
Hymn 116 [Red] O Israel’s Shepherd, Hear Our Pleading
Sermon: Let My People Go from Exodus 4:27-5:4
Hymn 31 [Red] Be Not Far Off, for Grief 2424is Near We will close our service with a hymn of response to God’s Word. The sermon sees up close and personal the wicked unbelief of Pharaoh against God and his people. It’s easy to get discouraged at the unbelief all around us today. We even feel the oppression of these unbelievers against us in differing ways from time to time. Psalm 22 (the basis of this selection from our hymnal) is especially helpful for us then, for it both tells of David’s suffering from unbelievers and foretells the future suffering of our Savior, the Christ, at the hands of wicked men. In stanza 1 we sing, crying to God for help, For bulls of Bashan in their strength now circle me around. Their lion-jaws they open wide, and roar to tear the prey. And yet, as we sing this, we remember that our Savior endured death because of our own sins and transgressions. He too suffered, and he did it when he was sinless and without any fault. Indeed, Jesus suffered to death, and even the death of the cross (Phil 2). What sustained Jesus will sustain us as well, as we sing in v 3: Now hurry, O my strength, to help! Do not be far, O LORD!
In Sunday School, I will teach on Article 14 of the Conservative Christian Declaration.