In the church calendar the long stretch of time between Pentecost and the beginning of Advent is known as ‘Ordinary Time.’ Inasmuch as we have celebrated the birth, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the subsequent descent of the Holy Spirit; so this time is often seen as representative of the long ‘Church Age’ when the gospel is preached to all creation. Because of that, our intercessions during this period will include prayers for every single nation of the world by name.
CALL TO WORSHIP
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
All glory to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
As it has been from the beginning, is today and forever! Amen
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by an eight-stringed instrument.
O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your rage.
Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
I am sick at heart.
How long, O Lord, until you restore me?
Return, O Lord, and rescue me.
Save me because of your unfailing love.
For the dead do not remember you.
Who can praise you from the grave?
I am worn out from sobbing.
All night I flood my bed with weeping,
drenching it with my tears.
My vision is blurred by grief;
my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.
Go away, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord will answer my prayer.
May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified.
May they suddenly turn back in shame.
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
Balak Sends for Balaam
Then the people of Israel went to the plains of Moab, and they camped near the Jordan River across from Jericho.
Balak son of Zippor saw everything the Israelites had done to the Amorites. And Moab was scared of so many Israelites; truly, Moab was terrified by them.
The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “These people will take everything around us like an ox eating grass.”
Balak son of Zippor was the king of Moab at this time. He sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor at Pethor, near the Euphrates River in his native land. Balak said, “A nation has come out of Egypt that covers the land. They have camped next to me, and they are too powerful for me. So come and put a curse on them. Maybe then I can defeat them and make them leave the area. I know that if you bless someone, the blessings happen, and if you put a curse on someone, it happens.”
The elders of Moab and Midian went with payment in their hands. When they found Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.
Balaam said to them, “Stay here for the night, and I will tell you what the Lord tells me.” So the Moabite leaders stayed with him.
God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”
Balaam said to God, “The king of Moab, Balak son of Zippor, sent them to me with this message: ‘A nation has come out of Egypt that covers the land. So come and put a curse on them, and maybe I can fight them and force them out of my land.’”
But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. Don’t put a curse on those people, because I have blessed them.”
The next morning Balaam awoke and said to Balak’s leaders, “Go back to your own country; the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”
So the Moabite leaders went back to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
So Balak sent other leaders—this time there were more of them, and they were more important. They went to Balaam and said, “Balak son of Zippor says this: Please don’t let anything stop you from coming to me. I will pay you very well, and I will do what you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”
But Balaam answered Balak’s servants, “King Balak could give me his palace full of silver and gold, but I cannot disobey the Lord my God in anything, great or small. You stay here tonight as the other men did, and I will find out what more the Lord tells me.”
That night God came to Balaam and said, “These men have come to ask you to go with them. Go, but only do what I tell you.”
Balaam’s Donkey Speaks
Balaam got up the next morning and put a saddle on his donkey. Then he went with the Moabite leaders.
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 another morning in Your House,
For the Word as pronounced to your people,
For the Worship as presented by your people,
For the Witness as proclaimed through your people,
And for the gathering of your Bride all over the world.
We ask your blessings upon the rest of this day,
May we enjoy Sabbath rest, renewed strength and a firmer hope,
As we run the race and stretch forth 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.