Preparing for Worship // October 23, 2016

Preparing for Worship // October 23, 2016

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There have been lots of really bad Bible movies recently (think Noah or Exodus: Gods and Kings), but one movie from almost twenty years ago that I personally think is fantastic is Prince of Egypt. There are few animated movies with a better opening number (You can watch it here). It depicts God’s people in slavery in Egypt, crying out to God for deliverance. While I doubt they were singing as they did so, Exodus 2:23-25 tells us that in Egypt God’s people were crying out to Him for help. This is a common theme in Scripture: God’s people crying out and God bringing them deliverance, and the Exodus account is the one that all of them look back to in one way or another.

This story teaches us two things about God’s deliverance. The first is that when God’s people cry to Him, God cares. Exodus 2:25 says that after Israel cried out to God, “God saw the people of Israel–and God knew.” While the English translation leaves us with an ominous feeling, with a vague impression that God is about to act, the primary thrust of this verse is God’s loving care for His people. The word “knew” here is the same word that is used when a husband knows his wife and has the connotation of affection and intimacy. God sees His people, His bride, being oppressed, and He cares about them. The second thing that the Exodus story teaches about the deliverance of God’s people is that God acts when His people cry to Him. He doesn’t just say, “O my poor people, I wish there were something I could do for them.” He takes His affection for His people and turns it into action on their behalf.

This should warn us against two false ways of thinking about God. Our first sinful tendency is to think that God doesn’t care about us. Maybe we don’t actually believe this intellectually, but often our actions show that we don’t understand God’s care for us. When something goes wrong at home or at work is your first thought to pray? Or do you think about how you can fix the situation on your own first? I Peter 5:7 says to cast “your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”  This also teaches us that when we cry to God, He acts. God really does listen to our cries; He also does what we ask. Not always in the way that we would want or at the time that we would choose, but if we ask for deliverance, He always delivers us. So lift your requests up to Him; ask Him to deliver you; ask Him to deliver His people. He delights when you do.

THE WORD

Scripture: Esther 7:1-10
Sermon: Petition God for Deliverance From Enemies

SONGS

Mighty to Save (Hillsong United)
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Psalm 130 (From the Depths of Woe) (Indelible Grace)
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Pass Me Not (Red Mountain Music)
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Jesus With Thy Church Abide  (Indelible Grace)
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Song of Preparation: Lord, Hear My Prayer
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Song of Response: What a Friend We Have In Jesus (Traditional)
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