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 stringed instruments.
Listen to my prayer, O God.
Do not ignore my cry for help!
Please listen and answer me,
for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.
My enemies shout at me,
making loud and wicked threats.
They bring trouble on me
and angrily hunt me down.
My heart pounds in my chest.
The terror of death assaults me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me,
and I can’t stop shaking.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove;
then I would fly away and rest!
I would fly far away
to the quiet of the wilderness. Interlude
How quickly I would escape—
far from this wild storm of hatred.
Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans,
for I see violence and conflict in the city.
Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders,
but the real danger is wickedness within the city.
Everything is falling apart;
threats and cheating are rampant in the streets.
It is not an enemy who taunts me—
I could bear that.
It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—
I could have hidden from them.
Instead, it is you—my equal,
my companion and close friend.
What good fellowship we once enjoyed
as we walked together to the house of God.
Let death stalk my enemies;
let the grave swallow them alive,
for evil makes its home within them.
But I will call on God,
and the Lord will rescue me.
Morning, noon, and night
I cry out in my distress,
and the Lord hears my voice.
He ransoms me and keeps me safe
from the battle waged against me,
though many still oppose me.
God, who has ruled forever,
will hear me and humble them. Interlude
For my enemies refuse to change their ways;
they do not fear God.
As for my companion, he betrayed his friends;
he broke his promises.
His words are as smooth as butter,
but in his heart is war.
His words are as soothing as lotion,
but underneath are daggers!
Give your burdens to the Lord,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
But you, O God, will send the wicked
down to the pit of destruction.
Murderers and liars will die young,
but I am trusting you to save 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 short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)
OLD TESTAMENT READING
Israel Wanders in the Desert
Then we turned around, and we travelled on the desert road toward the Red Sea, as the Lord had told me to do. We travelled through the mountains of Edom for many days.
Then the Lord said to me, “You have travelled through these mountains long enough. Turn north and give the people this command: ‘You will soon go through the land that belongs to your relatives, the descendants of Esau who live in Edom. They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. Do not go to war against them. I will not give you any of their land—not even a foot of it, because I have given the mountains of Edom to Esau as his own. You must pay them in silver for any food you eat or water you drink.’”
The Lord your God has blessed everything you have done; he has protected you while you travelled through this great desert. The Lord your God has been with you for the past forty years, and you have had everything you needed.
So we passed by our relatives, the descendants of Esau who lived in Edom. We turned off the Jordan Valley road that comes from the towns of Elath and Ezion Geber and travelled along the desert road to Moab.
The Land of Ar
Then the Lord said to me, “Don’t bother the people of Moab. Don’t go to war against them, because I will not give you any of their land as your own; I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as their own.” (The Emites, who lived in Ar before, were strong people, and there were many of them. They were very tall, like the Anakites. The Emites were thought to be Rephaites, like the Anakites, but the Moabite people called them Emites. The Horites also lived in Edom before, but the descendants of Esau forced them out and destroyed them, taking their place as Israel did in the land the Lord gave them as their own.)
And the Lord said to me, “Now get up and cross the Zered Valley.” So we crossed the valley. It had been thirty-eight years from the time we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed the Zered Valley. By then, all the fighting men from that time had died, as the Lord had promised would happen. The Lord continued to work against them to remove them from the camp until they were all dead.
When the last of those fighting men had died, the Lord said to me, “Today you will pass by Ar, on the border of Moab. When you come near the people of Ammon, don’t bother them or go to war against them, because I will not give you any of their land as your own. I have given it to the descendants of Lot for their own.”
(That land was also thought to be a land of the Rephaites, because those people used to live there, but the Ammonites called them Zamzummites. They were strong people, and there were many of them; they were very tall, like the Anakites. The Lord destroyed the Zamzummites, and the Ammonites forced them out of the land and took their place. The Lord did the same thing for the descendants of Esau, who lived in Edom, when he destroyed the Horites. The Edomites forced them out of the land and took their place, and they live there to this day. The Cretan people came from Crete and destroyed the Avvites, who lived in towns all the way to Gaza; the Cretans destroyed them and took their place.)
Fighting the Amorites
The Lord said, “Get up and cross the Arnon Ravine. See, I am giving you the power to defeat Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and I am giving you his land. So fight against him and begin taking his land. Today I will begin to make all the people in the world afraid of you. When they hear reports about you, they will shake with fear, and they will be terrified of you.”
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…)
Holy Spirit, guide us through the rest of our day.
May we know your wisdom in our hearts,
Your strength in our bodies,
And your peace in our lives. 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.