Getting Ready for Sunday :: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 12

(You can download last week’s bulletin here, and previous sermons here.)

 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (Jeremiah 29:10-14)

What words of comfort these must have been! Israel has been told over and over that her sins have brought about the discipline of the Lord, and his wrath and hot displeasure must have seemed to them a sign of utter abandonment. But the Lord, through his prophet, is delivering to them a message of hope. God does not abandon the people he loves. In fact, his patient discipline and deliverance of them is evidence of the fact that he has a plan for them “for welfare, and not for evil.” And what God says to Israel, he says to us. So let us hear the call of the Lord, beckoning us to come as children to worship him.

THE WORD

Scripture: Jeremiah 27:1-29:32

 Sermon: “Trust in the Trials”

SONGS

O Worship the King
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I Asked the Lord

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Jesus, Lover of My Soul

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Offering: In the Hour of Trial (arr. Jeremy D. Goodwyne)

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Song of Response: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

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Comments

  1. “Blasted my gourds”?

    I took note of this phrase in the linked lyrics for “I Asked the Lord”, mainly because I had absolutely no idea what it meant. It’s replaced in verse 3 of the Indelible Grace version with “cast out my feelings”, but this didn’t seem like an attempt to express the same idea.

    So I turned to Google and a blogger or two, and they led me to chapter 4 of Jonah – the King James Version in particular. There, Jonah has left the city and is stewing over Ninevah’s avoidance of the disaster which had been due them. Jonah is exposed to the elements, an affliction he has brought on himself in his failure to have compassion. God graciously provides shelter for Jonah in the form of a “gourd” over his booth – apparently, a broad-leafed vine that grows quickly over his hut. This makes Jonah “exceedingly glad.” But then the next day God provides a worm which “smote” (blasted, destroyed) the plant.

    The blasting of Jonah’s gourd is necessary for him to be instructed by the Lord. Or, to turn back to John Newton’s lyrics, to “grow in faith, and love, and every grace.”

    It’s important to praise God as our Shield and Defender (“O Worship the King”, v1; “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah”, v2); to recognize that rains are not of the devil but that storms are actually God’s storms (“Jesus, Lover of My Soul”, v1) and to look to Him to cover us in our defenselessness (“Jesus, Lover of My Soul”, v2) as he did Jonah; and to acknowledge that all we acquire is from God’s hand (Chuck’s pastoral prayer).

    It’s harder to be ready for God to “blast our gourds” – to take away the things He has graciously provided. In His goodness and perhaps even in answer to our prayers, He may determine that we should no longer have them.

    • Excellent thoughts as usual, and such a good catch Eric. It may be worth rethinking the line IG altered. “Blasted my gourds” probably won’t do, but that moment with Jonah is such a compelling image of a difficult truth, and really so central to the text of “I Asked the Lord.” Might call for another shot at rendering, trying to get closer to that idea.

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