Order of Worship March 29, 2020

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PROVIDENCE CHURCH

LORD’S DAY WORSHIP   March 29, 2020

Welcome

Passing of the Peace: Though we are separated by distance our hearts are one in Christ.

The peace of Christ be with you!

Doxology: The words of this well-known hymn speak volumes of our Triune God. Our faith looks up to Thee!

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow,

Praise Him all creatures here below,

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts,

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Call to worship:   Psalm 91

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.  For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.    Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.  Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.  Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.  For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.  You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!  The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.  I will protect those who trust in my name.  When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble.  I will rescue and honor them.   I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

Song of Praise: God invites us to sing praise with songs and hymns, and spiritual songs.

Like A River Glorious (Frances Havergal, 1874) (#699)

Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,

over all victorious in its bright increase;
perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,

perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way.

    Chorus:          Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed,
finding, as he promised, perfect peace and rest.

Hidden in the hollow of his blessed hand,
never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
not a blast of hurry, touch the spirit there. (Chorus)

Every joy or trial falleth from above,

traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love.

We may trust him fully all for us to do;

they who trust him wholly find him wholly true. (Chorus)

Confession:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.  For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways,

to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Hear the Gospel Assurance:   If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

Respond in Praise:   You Are My Hiding Place (Michael Ledner, 1981)

 

You are my hiding place,
You always fill my heart
With songs of deliverance;
Whenever I am afraid

I will trust in You, I will trust in You
Let the weak say I am strong
In the strength of the Lord (Optional, Ladies: I will trust in You…)

(Optional, Men): You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart
With songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid

I will trust in You, I will trust in You
Let the weak say I am strong
In the strength of the Lord
I will trust in You…

 

Scripture Reading:       Psalm 91  NLT

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.   Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.  Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. 11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. 12 They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! 14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.  I will protect those who trust in my name.15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”     This is the Word of the Lord.

Reflection:

Taken as a whole Psalm 91 is an affirmation of God’s care for those who abide and dwell in His love. The righteous have a claim to the loving protection of The Almighty while the wicked can expect no such assurance. Those who are in relationship with Yahweh are shadowed by His protective love, sheltered in the dwelling of His fortress of Love. We find rest and protection in Him. The psalmist begins to describe the various threats that we are protected from: the fowler’s snare and deadly pestilence. Those who trust in God are likened to little birds that are threatened by snares, prone to death by disease. Arrows that fly in the darkness, night terrors and plague–none of these will overcome us. We read these words today and are reminded that we live in a quarantine time of concern for the spread of a pandemic. Covid 19 is scaring the living daylights out of people across the globe. And realistically speaking thousands yeah even tens of thousands may die before this is over–so the words in verse 7 ring especially true: a 1000 may fall at your side, 10,000 at your right hand….but it will not come near you.

Is this an iron clad promise that we are guaranteed a certain “immunity” from plague simply because we are God’s people? Yes and no. It is absolutely true that we may pray for protection and God in His loving mercy may indeed put a hedge of protection around us. But at what cost? And to what degree does this immunity hold? We are all going to die eventually–of something. Mortality rate for humans is still running at 100%. But the bigger picture here is actually the gospel. In Matthew 4 the Devil tempts Jesus by quoting this Psalm! He says, go ahead Jesus, if you’re really the Son of God, jump! and test God because His angels will protect you.” To which Jesus responds “Do not put the Lord your God to the test”. We are never to act presumptuously! If we handle rattle snakes, we should expect to get bitten–not divinely protected! (So, wash your hands and stay at home if you have the flu!) That’s out of love for others and using your God given brains to self-protect. But what I really want to get at here is the Gospel. It is precisely because Jesus took the arrow for us, because Jesus fell and the hand of God did not rescue him, that we have access to protection. Jesus died so that we would have relationship with God–immunity from eternal spiritual death. Jesus said “don’t fear people who only have the power to kill the body–fear and reverence God Who has ultimate authority of life and death!” My brothers and sisters, because of God’s great Rescue plan in the Incarnation, Immanuel God with us, he speaks these words over you and me today: I will rescue him, I will protect him, those who call upon God He will answer and he will give them salvation.

Prayers of the people: Pray for yourself, family and community, nation and the world.

Hymn of Thanksgiving:   Our God, Our Help in Ages Past (Isaac Watts, 1719) (#30)

Our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,

our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home:

 

Under the shadow of thy throne your saints have dwelt secure;

sufficient is your arm alone, and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood, or earth received her frame,

from everlasting you are God, to endless years the same.

A thousand ages in your sight are like an evening gone;

short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away;

they fly forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day.

Our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come:

O be our guard while troubles last, and our eternal home.

Benediction: (The Lord speaks this blessing over you)

 And now may the Lord bless you and keep you

The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you,

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,

As He has in Christ Jesus,

And may you live and abide in His peace!