This Week in Worship

September 18, 2018

Looking back on weekend worship (September 15 & 16)
This past week, as we continued our worship series on the Book of Judges, we came across a most unexpected leader.  In chapter 3 of the Book of Judges, we were introduced to a judge named Ehud.  The people of Israel had been under that oppressive hand of the Moabites for 18 years.  They cried out to the Lord and he sent Ehud to be their leader.  Ehud went to Eglon, the king of Moab, to present Israel’s tribute (their annual payment to the Moabites as a tax).  Ehud was from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe of the Israelites.  He was left-handed, perhaps due to a disability.  He wasn’t a warrior, but was entrusted with the task of bringing the tribute to the king of the Moabites.  In other words, he was an ancient version of an accountant.  As Ehud presented the tribute to the King, he is able to remove his dagger with his left hand, something that would be completely unexpected by the king.  Ehud stabs the king, escapes the fortress and returns to the Israelites, where he gathered an army and defeated the Moabites. We were reminded that Jesus was a most unexpected Savior.  Who would ever have expected the God of the universe to come take upon Himself our humanity, carry our sins to the cross and die our death?  Who would ever have expected the Savior to come as a baby in a stable?   Who would ever have expected the Savior to dine with sinners?  Who would ever have expected the Savior to invite the outcast to join Him?  But this unexpected Savior has given to us forgiveness and life through His death and heaven through His resurrection. We are called to live our lives in a most unexpected manner.  When others hate us, let us love them in return.  When others curse us, let us bless them.  When we are treated with contempt, let us respond with mercy.  When we have been harmed, let us offer forgiveness.  Because the Lord saved us by His compassion and mercy, let us do the unexpected—let us be merciful and compassionate.
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Looking forward to weekend worship (September 22 & 23)
As we move into chapter 4 of the Book of Judges, we meet two important people in the life of Israel at this time in history.  Deborah is a “prophetess.”  She is also mentioned in Scripture as one who led Israel.  At the time, the Canaanites had oppressed Israel, having conquered them twenty years earlier.  Deborah summoned Barak and explained to him that the Lord called him to raise up an army and fight against Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army.  In chapter 4, verse 8, Barak responds to the command by saying to Deborah, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.”  So, was Barak, the man the Lord called to lead His army, afraid?  We’ll find out this week in worship.
To prepare for worship, read Psalm 144:1-2; Judges 4:4-16; I Corinthians 15:50-58 and Mark 8:31-38. For a fuller understanding read chapters 4 and 5 of the Book of Judges.