FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection:Lament is missional because it keeps the world before God, and it draws God into the world – with the longing that God should act, and the faith that he ultimately will. – Christopher J.H. Wright
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Genesis 31:1-55
Come, Christians Join to Sing - Adoration
God of My Life, to Thee I Call - Confession
There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy - Grace
The Lord’s Prayer
The Church’s One Foundation - Response
Fountain of Grace - Communion
Doxology - Tallis Canon
The Bible Project:
As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos.
This week check out The Prophets.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful.
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Come Ye Souls By Sin Afflicted
Sweet as home to, pilgrims weary,
Light to newly, opened eyes,
Like full springs in, deserts dreary,
Is the rest, the cross supplies;
All who taste it, All who taste it, All who taste it
Shall to rest immortal rise.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Merciful Father, forgive us the sins of our tongues—for deception and untruthfulness in our dealings with others; for resentment, coldness, impatience, and ill temper. Forgive us for the sins of our eyes—for impurity in our glances and imagination; for pining after more beauty, comfort, status, and wealth than you have given us. Forgive us the sins of our hearts—for hard-heartedness toward you and our neighbors; for pride, self-absorption, self-pity; and above all for rebelling against you and doubting your love. Father, transform us by your grace to live wholly for your glory, for it is in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Words of Grace
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - Genesis 30:25-43
A just plea (v. 25-36)
A resilient faith (v. 27-43)
The Heart of the Message
The central issue raised by this passage is how can we live under an unjust master? How do we put one foot in front of the other when in God’s providence we are called to live under the authority and power of someone who is unjust and unfair? Having completed 14 years of service to Laban as a bride price for Leah and Rachel, Jacob asks Laban to let him return to his own home and country (v. 25-26). In response Laban acknowledges how valuable Jacob has been to his prosperity and doesn’t want him to leave. He tells Jacob to name his price. But Jacob wants out. He wants to provide for his family. He wants to go home. So, he agrees to tend Laban’s flock again in exchange for the colored sheep and goats. Laban agrees but makes it next to impossible for Jacob to secure any of the rarer animals of the flock (v. 35-36). Over the next six years Jacob shrewdly takes care of Laban’s flock in a such a way that he secures a large flock for himself. Verse 25 and 43 are crucial to orienting ourselves in the midst of an unjust situation. Both verse 25 and 43 reflect God’s covenant promise to Jacob back in 28:13-15. We are watching God fulfill his word in Jacob’s life in the midst of trial and injustice. God has provided Jacob with offspring (29:31-30:24) and resources (30:43). All that remains is the promise of land, which is why Jacob wants to go home. Jacob’s resilient faith is evident in the echo of God’s promise to him when he said, “I am with you, I will keep you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this place.” (28:15) What about us who live on other side of the resurrection. How big is your gospel? Do you see in the gospel not only forgiveness, justification, and sanctification but also an innocent, silent sufferer who knows the hurt and helplessness of being sinned against? The gospel is not only good news for the guilty but also for the wronged. The cross proves that no amount of wrong endured can undermine God’s commitment to bless and restore in Christ. Jacob’s story teaches us that wrapped up in God’s promises is the gift of a resilient faith ministered to us by a faithful savior!
What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
If you feel comfortable sharing, share an experience when you’ve been unfairly treated and how you responded?
What do you think sustains Jacob for twenty years living a long way from home under an unjust boss?
The gospel not only covers sin it also sustains those unfairly treated by others. How does the unjust suffering of Jesus at the hands of wicked men (Acts 2:23) help us who are wounded by the choices and sin of others?
Confession of Faith: The Westminster Shorter Catechism, c. 1648
Q. 13: Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
A. Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God.