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 to 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.
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
O Lord, why do you stand so far away?
Why do you hide when I am in trouble?
The wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor.
Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others.
For they brag about their evil desires;
they praise the greedy and curse the Lord.
The wicked are too proud to seek God.
They seem to think that God is dead.
Yet they succeed in everything they do.
They do not see your punishment awaiting them.
They sneer at all their enemies.
They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us!
We will be free of trouble forever!”
Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats.
Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues.
They lurk in ambush in the villages,
waiting to murder innocent people.
They are always searching for helpless victims.
Like lions crouched in hiding,
they wait to pounce on the helpless.
Like hunters they capture the helpless
and drag them away in nets.
Their helpless victims are crushed;
they fall beneath the strength of the wicked.
The wicked think, “God isn’t watching us!
He has closed his eyes and won’t even see what we do!”
Arise, O Lord!
Punish the wicked, O God!
Do not ignore the helpless!
Why do the wicked get away with despising God?
They think, “God will never call us to account.”
But you see the trouble and grief they cause.
You take note of it and punish them.
The helpless put their trust in you.
You defend the orphans.
Break the arms of these wicked, evil people!
Go after them until the last one is destroyed.
The Lord is king forever and ever!
The godless nations will vanish from the land.
Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless.
Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.
You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed,
so mere people can no longer terrify them.
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
Balaam’s First Message
Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven male sheep for me.” Balak did what Balaam asked, and they offered a bull and a male sheep on each of the altars.
Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your burnt offering and I will go. If the Lord comes to me, I will tell you whatever he shows me.” Then Balaam went to a higher place.
God came to Balaam there, and Balaam said to him, “I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered a bull and a male sheep on each altar.”
The Lord told Balaam what he should say. Then the Lord said, “Go back to Balak and give him this message.”
So Balaam went back to Balak. Balak and all the leaders of Moab were still standing beside his burnt offering when Balaam gave them this message:
“Balak brought me here from Aram;
the king of Moab brought me from the eastern mountains.
Balak said, ‘Come, put a curse on the people of Jacob for me.
Come, call down evil on the people of Israel.’
But God has not cursed them,
so I cannot curse them.
The Lord has not called down evil on them,
so I cannot call down evil on them.
I see them from the top of the mountains;
I see them from the hills.
I see a people who live alone,
who think they are different from other nations.
No one can number the many people of Jacob,
and no one can count a fourth of Israel.
Let me die like good men,
and let me end up like them!”
Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you here to curse my enemies, but you have only blessed them!”
But Balaam answered, “I must say what the Lord tells me to say.”
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, you worked with your hands as a carpenter.
May we who labour upon the earth never cease to give you praise,
And know your loving presence with us.
We ask this for your glory. 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.