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Why do people scoff at musicals? For one, critics find it unrealistic that people ordinarily going about their life will suddenly break into song. I get that. There aren’t many (!) times where I have unexpectedly waltzed into my home to begin serenading my lovely bride. (My lack of song—and dance!—probably tells us more about the untrue portrayal of romantic love presented to drama goers rather against the nature of real conjugal love, but I digress.) Yet there is a sense in which the Christian should be one who from time breaks into otherwise unexpected song. Such outbursts of song, it seems to me, is the kind of singing mentioned in Psa 147:7, our call to worship for this Lord’s Day. Psalm 147 is filled with praise and admiration for the works of the Lord. Peppered along the way are shouts of praise, of which v 7 is an example: Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God with the lyre! Such worship is not truly “spontaneous,” for the worship is not without premeditation. On the contrary, such worship happens because the believer has in mind the great perfections and goodness of his God. We should be filled with such knowledge. And, as we are, there will be occasions where we cannot hold in our adoration any longer; we will break forth in praise to God, and we will even do it with song and melody!
In the prayer service, we’ll begin by learning a setting of Psalm 138, “With All My Heart My Thanks I’ll Bring” (Red 182). Then we’ll look at 1 Thess 1:2-3 again.
The sermon on Sunday looks at the heightened affliction that Pharaoh brings upon the Israelites in Egypt. The LORD had promised deliverance, and yet, before he in his wisdom decided to act, he allowed the Hebrews’ trial in Egypt to become even worse. As the circumstances get darker, the Israelites lose hope. They doubt Moses and Aaron and their message that Yahweh really will deliver them. This passage then teaches God’s people the treatment they can expect receive from this world in its opposition to Yahweh. It awakens us to the kinds of trials God brings upon us and calls us to have an unmoving hope in God through them all.
Call to Worship: Psalm 147:7
Hymn [Insert] Safely through Another Week
Congregational Reading: Psalm 60:1, 4-5, 9-12
Doxology: Doxology, Red 283
Hymn 256 [Red] A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth
Hymn 285 [Red] We Gather Together
Scripture Reading: Exodus 8:1-19 & John 4:16-45
Hymn 327 [Red] The Church’s One Foundation
Sermon: From Bad to Worse from Exodus 5:5-21
Hymn [Insert] Jerusalem the Golden One of the ways Pharaoh and the Egyptians afflict the Israelites is to drive them to endless work. We see the Israelites busy gathering stubble so that they can make bricks, and then their leaders beaten when the people are unable to make the same amount of bricks they did when the Egyptians gave them the required straw. Ironically, amidst this endless labor, Pharaoh calls the Israelites “lazy” for wanting to worship God. And yet it is God who tells us to set aside a time for worship each week on the day our Lord Jesus Christ rose again. And this is our rest. Our rest is to set aside our labors and praise. This rest points to our future eternal life in the presence of God, the subject of this hymn. We sing in stanza four, O sweet and blessed country, the home of God’s elect! O sweet and blessed country that eager hearts expect! In mercy, Jesus, bring us to that dear land of rest, who are, with God the Father, and Spirit, ever blest. There is a coming a land of true rest for those of us who have believed in Jesus Christ. Where Pharaoh was so greedy and sinister he returned the Israelite’s desire to worship God with perpetual labor and toil, God is a much better Lord. He gives us the joy of worshipping him and sacred rest.
The Sunday School hour will be given to a Quodlibet. I will be answering your questions. (Remember to email them to me!)