CALL TO WORSHIP
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.
Lord, remember David
and all that he suffered.
He made a solemn promise to the Lord.
He vowed to the Mighty One of Israel,
“I will not go home;
I will not let myself rest.
I will not let my eyes sleep
nor close my eyelids in slumber
until I find a place to build a house for the Lord,
a sanctuary for the Mighty One of Israel.”
We heard that the Ark was in Ephrathah;
then we found it in the distant countryside of Jaar.
Let us go to the sanctuary of the Lord;
let us worship at the footstool of his throne.
Arise, O Lord, and enter your resting place,
along with the Ark, the symbol of your power.
May your priests be clothed in godliness;
may your loyal servants sing for joy.
For the sake of your servant David,
do not reject the king you have anointed.
The Lord swore an oath to David
with a promise he will never take back:
“I will place one of your descendants
on your throne.
If your descendants obey the terms of my covenant
and the laws that I teach them,
then your royal line
will continue forever and ever.”
For the Lord has chosen Jerusalem;
he has desired it for his home.
“This is my resting place forever,” he said.
“I will live here, for this is the home I desired.
I will bless this city and make it prosperous;
I will satisfy its poor with food.
I will clothe its priests with godliness;
its faithful servants will sing for joy.
Here I will increase the power of David;
my anointed one will be a light for my people.
I will clothe his enemies with shame,
but he will be a glorious king.”
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)
OLD TESTAMENT READING
Punishment for Not Obeying God
“‘But if you do not obey me and keep all my commands, and if you turn away from my rules and hate my laws, refusing to obey all my commands, you have broken our agreement. As a result, I will do this to you: I will cause terrible things to happen to you. I will cause you to have disease and fever that will destroy your eyes and slowly kill you. You will not have success when you plant your seed, and your enemy will eat your crops. I will be against you, and your enemies will defeat you. These people who hate you will rule over you, and you will run away even when no one is chasing you.
“‘If after all this you still do not obey me, I will punish you seven times more for your sins. I will break your great pride, and I will make the sky like iron and the earth like bronze. You will work hard, but it will not help. Your land will not grow any crops, and your trees will not give their fruit.
“‘If you still turn against me and refuse to obey me, I will beat you seven times harder. The more you sin, the more you will be punished. I will send wild animals to attack you, and they will take your children away from you and destroy your cattle. They will make you so few in number the roads will be empty.
“‘If you don’t learn your lesson after all these things, and if you still turn against me, I will also turn against you. I will punish you seven more times for your sins. You broke my agreement, and I will punish you. I will bring armies against you, and if you go into your cities for safety, I will cause diseases to spread among you so that your enemy will defeat you. There will be very little bread to eat; ten women will be able to cook all your bread in one oven. They will measure each piece of bread, and you will eat, but you will still be hungry.
“‘If you still refuse to listen to me and still turn against me, I will show my great anger; I will punish you seven more times for your sins. You will eat the bodies of your sons and daughters. I will destroy your places where gods are worshiped and cut down your incense altars. I will pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols. I will hate you. I will destroy your cities and make your holy places empty, and I will not smell the pleasing smell of your offerings. I will make the land empty so that your enemies who come to live in it will be shocked at it. I will scatter you among the nations, and I will pull out my sword and destroy you. Your land will become empty, your cities a waste. When you are taken to your enemy’s country, your land will finally get its rest. It will enjoy its time of rest all the time it lies empty. During the time the land is empty, it will have the rest you should have given it while you lived in it.
“‘Those of you who are left alive will lose their courage in the land of their enemies. They will be frightened by the sound of a leaf being blown by the wind. They will run as if someone were chasing them with a sword, and they will fall even when no one is chasing them. They will fall over each other, as if someone were chasing them with a sword, even though no one is chasing them. You will not be strong enough to stand up against your enemies. You will die among other nations and disappear in your enemies’ countries. So those who are left alive will rot away in their enemies’ countries because of their sins. They will also rot away because of their ancestors’ sins.
There Is Always Hope
“‘But maybe the people will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors; maybe they will admit they turned against me and sinned against me, which made me turn against them and send them into the land of their enemies. If these disobedient people are sorry for what they did and accept punishment for their sin, I will remember my agreement with Jacob, my agreement with Isaac, and my agreement with Abraham, and I will remember the land. The land will be left empty by its people, and it will enjoy its time of rest as it lies bare without them. Then those who are left alive will accept the punishment for their sins. They will learn that they were punished because they hated my laws and refused to obey my rules. But even though this is true, I will not turn away from them when they are in the land of their enemies. I will not hate them so much that I completely destroy them and break my agreement with them, because I am the Lord their God. For their good I will remember the agreement with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt so I could become their God; the other nations saw these things. I am the Lord.’”
These are the laws, rules, and teachings the Lord made between himself and the Israelites through Moses at Mount Sinai.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Pause for Reflection……
(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)
Lord Jesus we thank you for the many blessings of this day,
Give us eyes to see the path ahead,
And faith to reach towards the prize. Amen
Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.
May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.
May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.
Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life. Amen
Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved
All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.