Home Service 36

Home Service: Sunday 15 November 2020

Call to worship
When Paul was writing his letter to the church in Rome and explaining
God’s will for His people, he suddenly broke into this outburst of praise

Reading Romans 11: 33-36
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?’
‘Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.

Prayer
Loving Father you deserve all our praise and thanks. May we too be amazed and uplifted as we worship you. May we know more of the depths of your knowledge, power and love. May we open our minds and hearts to you and know the peace that only comes when we rest in you. Amen.

Let’s celebrate our God and all that He has done for us in Christ Jesus.
God is Lord of all, and Christ triumphant has opened the way for us to
enter into life with Him.

Praise

Christ triumphant, ever reigning, Saviour, Master, King!
Lord of heaven, our lives sustaining, hear us as we sing:
Yours the glory and the crown, the high renown,
the eternal name.
Word incarnate, truth revealing, Son of Man on earth!
power and majesty concealing by your humble birth:
Yours the glory and the crown, the high renown,
the eternal name.
Suffering servant, scorned, ill – treated, victim crucified!
death is through the cross defeated, sinners justified:
Yours the glory and the crown, the high renown,
the eternal name.
Priestly king, enthroned for ever high in heaven above!
sin and death and hell shall never stifle hymns of love:
Yours the glory and the crown, the high renown,
the eternal name.
So, our hearts and voices raising through the ages long,
ceaselessly upon you gazing, this shall be our song:
Yours the glory and the crown, the high renown,
the eternal name.

There is joy and safety to be found through God’s grace, but our lives are
not without trials and sorrows. The great servants of God we read about
in the Bible also knew highs and lows all too well.
Here is part of Elijah’s story. He has just experienced a remarkable and
amazing demonstration of God’s power, but he has incurred the wrath of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.

Reading 1 Kings 19:1-9a
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had
killed all the prophets (of Baal) with the sword. So Jezebel sent a
messenger to Elijah to say, ‘May the gods deal with me, be it ever so
severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of
one of them.’ Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s
journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down
under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, LORD,’ he
said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’ So he
got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

Elijah’s feeling ‘I have had enough, LORD,’ is one we may know and
encounter from time to time. His experience was that at such times God
did not abandon him and unexpected things happened. We too must trust and wait upon Him with hope and expectation. The composer Felix Mendelssohn set the story of Elijah to music in an oratorio. At another point in Elijah’s story when he was downcast, God’s word of hope came to him. Here’s how Mendelssohn sets the words of encouragement.

Song:

Lift thine eyes,
O lift thine eyes to the mountains,
whence cometh help.
Thy help cometh from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth
He hath said, thy foot shall not be moved.
Thy Keeper will never slumber

Prayer
Lord God, our Father, Receive our thanks for all that you have given and
continue to give us. For the people, events and experiences that make life joyful and rewarding. For your grace when we wandered from the path we should have followed and the times we let our desires come before obedience to your word. Thank you for your help in times of need. Thank you for the promise that you will not forsake us that we need to know when we lose sight of you. Thank you Father. Amen

Praise

Over all the earth, You reign on high
Every mountain stream, every sunset sky
But my one request, Lord, my only aim
Is that You’d reign in me again
Lord, reign in me, reign in Your power
Over all my dreams, in my darkest hour
‘Cause You are the Lord of all I am
So won’t You reign in me again
And over every thought, over every word
May my life reflect the beauty of my Lord
‘Cause You mean more to me than any earthly thing
So won’t You reign in me again
Lord, reign in me…

Prayer
Father, we don’t just pray that you will reign in us, but that day by day, in every place, many will know and respond to your love. Please encourage your people and, in Your mercy, hear our prayers. We ask for your grace and peace to touch our loved ones… our community… our nation… the troubled places in the world… for the sake of Jesus our Saviour. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

Song Spirit of God

Spirit of God, unseen as the wind, gentle as is the dove:
teach us the truth and help us believe, show us the Saviour’s love!
You spoke to us – long, long ago – gave us the written word;
we read it still, needing its truth, through it God’s voice is heard.
Without your help we fail our Lord, we cannot live his way;
we need your power, we need your strength,
following Christ each day.
Spirit of God, unseen as the wind, gentle as is the dove:
teach us the truth and help us believe, show us the Saviour’s love!

The story of Elijah continues with a remarkable conversation
Reading: 1 Kings 19: 9b-18
And the word of the LORD came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’
He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.’ The LORD said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face
and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the
only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.’ The LORD said to him, ‘Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of
Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.’

Thoughts
Perhaps we should just let the story speak for itself, or rather let God speak to us through it. Here, though, are just a few points to ponder.
• Elijah could not see the big picture. Neither can we.
• Elijah got the wrong idea and felt sorry for himself. So can we.
• God did not abandon him. Nor us.
• Elijah needed to listen for the gentle whisper of God. So do we
• God’s word to Elijah might have been “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
It’s the same for us.

We conclude with a song reminding us that God is not locked in the
past or only associated with the great characters of faith. He offers
life to all and His will shall be made known.

Praise

These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the word of the Lord,
And these are the days of Your servant, Moses
Righteousness being restored
And though these are days of great trial
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are a voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!
Behold He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun, at the trumpet’s call
Lift your voice, it’s the year of Jubilee
Out of Zion’s hill, salvation comes
And these are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming as flesh
And these are the days of Your servant, David
Rebuilding the temple of praise
These are the days of the harvest
The fields are all white in the world
And we are the labourers in Your vineyard
Declaring the Word of the Lord
Behold He comes…

A blessing
May the love of God enfold us. May the strength of God uphold us. May the peace of God fill our hearts. And the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with us today and every step of our way. Amen