Mid-Week Worship - Our God Goes Before Us
Words by David Hollows
Our God goes before us
'Make a joyful noise unto God, all the earth; sing forth the honour and glory of His name; make His praise glorious.'
(Psalm 66 verses 1 and 2)
May none of God’s wonderful works keep silence, night and morning; bright stars, high mountains, the depths of the seas, sources of rushing rivers. May all of these, break into song as we sing to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May all the angels in heaven reply Amen, Amen, Amen! Power, praise, honour and eternal glory to God, the only giver of grace. Amen! Amen! Amen!
As you come into the presence of God, bring to Him your songs and hymns of praise. You may want to sing your favourites and perhaps use CDs or YouTube to assist you. You may wish to include the following golden-oldie hymn;
Immortal, invisible, God only wise (Mission Praise 327)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spE-BE23qxA&t=3s - Songs of Praise
Photo by Lili Popper via Unsplash
As you have sung your praises to God, now bring to Him your prayers of gratitude for all the many blessings and gifts you have received from His hand in the past few days. You may wish to include the following prayer:
The General Thanksgiving: Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we are your unworthy servants and we give you our most humble and sincere thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us all. We bless you for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life; but, above all, for your awesome love shown in the redemption of this world by our Lord Jesus Christ and for the grace and hope of your glory. We ask you to give us the full understanding of your mercies that we may be truly thankful and praise your name, not only with our lips but in our lives. Assist us every day to give you all of ourselves to your service and to walk before you in holiness and righteousness all of our days. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit is all honour and glory and praise.
The Bible reading; Esther chapter 4
Key idea: Mordecai said to Esther; ‘And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion.’ (Esther chapter 4 verse 14)
If you are prone to occasionally reflect upon your life; the purpose-driven times, the meanderings, the times of being very still and those of great activity. Doubtless you will remember those times of coincidence; a chance encounter, being in the right place at the right time, good times and hard times.
Within the Christian church, we often refer to such events as God-incidents when we perceive that God is overtly or covertly at work intervening on our behalf or in our lives.
In the story of Esther, the name of God is never mentioned. God does not overtly feature in this dramatic narrative. However, this does not mean that God does not have a part to play. In order to save His people from total extinction, God goes before the drama of the events and puts in the right place, Esther, in order to fulfil His will. If you have never read the story, please do so as it is a very good read.
This story is a great example of God going before and the Bible is full of such stories; Within the space of an hour, Joseph is transformed from prisoner to Prime Minister in Egypt in order to safeguard God’s people from the famine (Genesis chapter 41 verse 40)
God goes before the Israelites as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night in order to lead them out of Egypt (Exodus chapter 13 verse 21)
God clearly informs Jeremiah the prophet about his future;
‘For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you; thoughts and plans for your welfare and peace not for evil, to give you a hope and a future.’
(Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11)
The angel is sent to Mary in Nazareth to prepare her for the amazing birth of Jesus and to Zachariah to prepare him and Elizabeth for the birth of John the Baptist (Luke chapter 1)
The boy with the picnic basket of bread and fish is in God’s timing and place in order for Jesus to provide a miracle for the many hungry thousands (Mark chapter 8) Philip meets the Ethiopian official is a God-incidence as the official talks with Philip and becomes a Christian as a result (Acts chapter 8)
On his way to Rome, Paul is involved in a massive storm and the boat is shipwrecked but Paul is able to console the ship’s captain that all will be well with these words;
‘For this very night there stood by my side an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve and worship. And the angel said; Do not be frightened, Paul. It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar and God has given you all those who are sailing with you.’ (Acts chapter 27 verses 23 and 24)
In Psalm 139 we read these words; ‘Where could I go from your Spirit? Or where could I flee from your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, you are there. If I descend into hell, you are there also. If I take the wings of the morning or live in the farthest parts of the earth and the deepest parts of the seas, even there your hand will lead me and your right hand will provide for me.’ (Psalm 139 verses 7 to 10)
Are you able to recognise when God is gone before you?
Is God going before you now?
Are you willing to follow?
Photo by Julia Weihe via Unsplash
A prayer of response:
Through every minute of this day, go with me, Lord. Through every day of all this week, go with me, Lord. Through every week of all this year, go with me, Lord. Through all the years of my life, go with me, Lord. So shall all the days and weeks and years be threaded on a golden cord so that, when time is past, I may, at last, be with you, my Lord.
Prayers for others: please continue in the presence of God and talk with Him about those people you know in need either because you live with them or love them or you have learned of them in the media. You may wish to include the following prayer:
Lord, we pray for those who struggle to find food on a daily basis, for those in areas of famine and shortage. We pray for those who live with despair and guilt and for those with no control over their lives. We pray for those who suffer injustice, conflict and prejudice, for those who are outcasts because of race or religion. We pray for those in leadership who have the means to set people free from economic or health issues and for the saints who serve alongside those in great need. In the name of Jesus we pray.
The Lord’s Prayer
The hymn of St. Patrick;
Christ be with me, Christ within me. Christ behind me. Christ before me. Christ beside me. Christ to win me. Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me. Christ above me. Christ in quiet. Christ in danger. Christ in hearts of all that love me. Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Please spend time now singing your praises to God. You may wish to include the following hymn;
O praise ye the Lord (Mission Praise 518)
Photo by Austin Johnson via Unsplash
The Blessing: As you continue on your way, may you know that God goes before you. By the strength of his Spirit, share your faith with the uncertain, share your love with the unlovely, share your presence with the lonely and share God with everyone.
If you have access to YouTube either on-line or TV, please try this new worship song:
You are great – Darlene Zschech
Thank you for sharing your worship with us.
God bless you