May 7, 2017
Preparing for the Lord’s Day Worship
Why does God do nothing when we need him to act? Why does he say nothing when we need him to say something? We have all had to wrestle with these questions at some point. Perhaps you are wrestling with them now. We are unfortunately all too familiar with the situation.
In Psalm 74 Asaph is wrestling with just such a question. Psalm 74 was written likely after Israel’s exile when the foreigners destroyed the nation and desecrated God’s Temple. Asaph writes out of a deep frustration: “O God, why do you cast us off forever?” “They set your sanctuary to fire; they profaned the dwelling place of your name, bringing it down to the ground.” Meanwhile, what is God doing? Nothing, apparently. “Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the fold of your garment and destroy them!” Why is God standing aloof with his hands in his pocket?
But is God really silent? Is he really doing nothing? The answer depends on our perspective. If life is meant to be one smooth stretch from the cradle to the grave, then any hazards along the way, the mere fact that they are there when God could have prevented them, seem to suggest God is standing idle. But what if God is doing his best work when he calls us to suffer? After all, it was our Lord himself who said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) Christian life is not glorious because it lacks pain. Rather, the glory comes from the fact that we are participating in the sufferings of the Lord. God is not standing with his arms folded. Nor is he silent when we need to hear from him. He is actively taking us in his hand and leading us through the valley of the shadow death. He is speaking, “Take up your cross.” God is not silent. We just do not like what he says.
That is why Psalm 74:12 is very important. Hebrew poetry often places at its center the focal point of the poem. In verse 12 we read “Yet God my king is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” Without this confession, our complaints would be sinful. But if we know he is “working salvation in the midst of the earth,” that is, in the midst of the earth where we wrestle with grief, disappointment, and injustice, then our complaints are humble prayers for God’s will to be done.
Pray, then, not so much for God to act and speak. For he is acting and speaking. Pray, instead, that we might submit to his shepherding and call.
Call to Worship
Psalm 74 (reading responsively from TH p. 812)
“My Faith Has Found a Resting Place” (Bulletin p. 4)
Trinity Hymnal 731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
James 1:22–25 (p. 1011)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22 ESV)
“My God My Father Blissful Name” (Bulletin p. 10)
Confession of Faith - The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Exodus 20:8–11 (p. 61)
The Fourth Commandment: Free to Rest (Part 1)
Rev. Ken Han
The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper
We participate in the Lord’s Supper weekly. We welcome to the Lord’s Table all baptized believers who have sincere faith in Jesus Christ, and regularly worship in a Reformed or evangelical church.
The Lord’s Supper is a sign and a seal of the new covenant blessings. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper with faith, it strengthens our bond with our covenant Lord, Jesus Christ. Thus we participate properly when we come to our Savior with faith and repentance as we renew our resolve to forsake sin and live for his glory.
The Lord’s Supper also renews our bonds with God’s covenant community, the body of believers in the local church. As we receive the Lord’s Supper, we renew our pledge to give ourselves away in loving service.
During the distribution of the bread we will sing Trinity Hymnal #622 “I Waited for the Lord Most High” stanzas 1–3, and stanzas 4–6 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #188 “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting”
Family Devotion for the Week
We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check them out!
Upcoming Events and Notices
Every Lord’s Day 10:15 AM: Please join us for Hymnsing, a time of preparing our hearts for worship in praise, and for learning new hymns for worship.
May 7 (Lord’s Day): The Children’s Bible lesson (First Catechism Qs. 29–31). and adult Shorter Catechism (Q. 7) lessons will meet after the worship service.
May 14 (Lord’s Day): Please note there will be no potluck lunch due to Mother’s Day.
May 21 (Lord’s Day): Please join us for the monthly fellowship potluck lunch.
May 7: Kelly Rogers
May 14: Liza Beede