To have God as enemy
Welcome and announcements
Doxology Hymn 271:1-3
Call to worship and Greeting
Hymn no 317: “O Praise now the Lord”
Bible Reading: New Testament: Matthew 7:24-29
Prayer of adoration and Confession of sins
The Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, But the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him; Strength and joy are in His place. I will ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. I will ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name and worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Tremble before him, all the earth. The world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
Save me from bloodguilt, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth will declare Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or I would bring it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
You have loved me with an everlasting love; You have drawn me with lovingkindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)You led Your people with cords of human kindness, With bands of love; You lifted the yoke from their neck And bent down to feed them.
Declaration of pardoning
Those who obey Christ’s commandments abide in Him, and He in them. And this is how I know that He abides in me: by the Spirit whom He has given me. (1 John 3:24)
Hymn no 497: “How blest is he”
Offering and Dedication
While the Offering is taken up, all (remaining seated) sing Hymn no 432 “I am yours O Lord”
Hymn 423:1, 2
Prayer of Intercession
The poor and hungry
The oppressed and persecuted
Those in authority
Peace among nations
Current events and concerns
Old Testament: Isaiah 3:1-11
Beloved brother and sister in the Lord, Jesus Christ
If we lived in Jerusalem some 2600 years ago to witness what was going on then, and if we would endeavour to interpret what is going on thne, we would probably write headlines in the newspaper that would sound something like this:
“Living under the breadline: food is getting in short supply.” In an article under this heading we would write about poor supplies from an ever moaning farming community which cannot get enough subsidies from the government. We would also include something about a very negative trade balance because of all the supplies that need to be imported.
In the next day’s paper we would write about services. “Government fails to meet expectations” would be the headline. Utility companies like telephone services and electricity suppliers and also water suppliers would be criticised for poor service.
Not only would we write and read about these things. The newspaper headings would continue: “Concern for Defence Force: not enough soldiers to protect borders.” And maybe: “Security Services reach a dangerous low-water mark.” Under these headings articles would elaborate on how the government could have put plans into plans to prevent this sort of thing. Undertones in these articles would suggest that we are living in dangerous times and that perhaps people should think of installing alarms or putting bars on their windows. Reports of the escalating break-ins, robberies and violence will start making headlines. Discussions would be going on TV, but no-one would really come up with a solution.
Then we read another paper: “Brain drain: Academics migrate for better opportunities.” With all of this we will argue about jobs, employment, unemployment, economic forecasts. Endless talks on TV about how these problems can be fixed. Everyone will have solution, but the unemployment will go up, violence will go up.
We would read about politicians leaving the country. Some will die violent deaths. Some wise leaders will keep talking about the situation to calm people down: “It is not as bad as we think. Look at the silver lining, forget the dark clouds’ they will advise.
In place of wise and mature leaders, some others will be elected. They are the leaders of the new age. Their ideas would be accepted, but it would plunge society even deeper into the mess they are in. By now the economy would be bad. The rain would stay away, making life for the farmers really bad. Violence would reign in the streets. More discussion groups. “We must be more progressive”, they say. New ideas. Lets be open in our society. Lets forget about the chains that kept us in bondage for too long. So, we read about the City council of Jerusalem which made and historic decision. This is heralded as one of the high marks of development of this new progressive society. This decision will bring in millions of dollars as the people will stream in from all over the place to spend their tourist dollar. The Concil of Jerusalem has decided to give the green light to a gay and lesbian mardi grass through the streets of Jerusalem. This will be the biggest and best ever.
In the meantime politicians can’t find wise and willing people to make themselves available for election. The electorate has to put up with about anyone. Administration is bad. Violence is bad. The economy is bad. The agriculture is bad. The education is bad. The defence Force is hopeless. We are going down the gurglar. The only thing that keeps the economy going is the amount of money put into setting up investigating committees to come up with some sort of solution to the problem. And of course night clubs and place of entertainment are doing not too badly, because people resorted into doing evil – in fact they glorify evil – while every else around them is falling apart.
Then, one day, in the correspondence columns of the Jerusalem Times of 2,600 B.C. we read a letter. Not too long, because the editor cut away more than half of it. He actually published the letter merely because he wanted to put the writer in a bad light and also because he thinks it will prompt the column readers to keep the debate alive – all good business for the paper. In this letter some dared to write the following lines: “Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence. The look on their faces testifies against them, they parade their sin like Sodom, they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves.”
Of course al hell breaks lose. How dare this insignificant prophet write something like that! Some clergy take up the pen to reprimand this arrogant correspondent. How would you know. This is not our problem. You try to simplify things. You are naïve. Ask us if you want to know something. Let us tell you: In a progressive society like our, your ideas are outdated. That’s not how we think these days. Gone are the days of female oppression. They are equal and should be treated as such. They can become ministers, they can become prime ministers. Give them their human rights. They can become all these things even if they are lesbians and promote promiscuous lifestyles. Make them ministers of the word of God just to show them that we are sorry about all the things we did wrong over os many centuries.
You can imagine how the papers started selling. And the poor old correspondent, who happen to be a man called by God, but who didn’t have all the degrees of the smart universities in Jerusalem, was crushed.
The argument goes like this: what has the braindrain of the day to do with rebellion against God? What has a blow-out deficit on the trade balance to do with God? What has violence to do with God? What has the drought to do with God? What has the economy to do with God? And what would having a mardi grass have a bearing on violence and a hopeless Defense Force?
And our prophet, which happens to be Isaiah the son of Amoz, stuck to his claims. You see, Isaiah said, all these things your talking about happens in God’s world. You have rejected Him, you have rebelled against Him. And now this God, this One who brought you up like a father, this One who knows you by name, this One who is your God of the covenant, just does as He said and told through his prophets and his law. Listen again:
If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 1:19-20)
Hosea, his contemporary, said the same thing:
Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying. (Hosea 4:1-3)
And Micah, another contemporary said:
“Do not prophesy,” their prophets say. “Do not prophesy about these things; disgrace will not overtake us.” Should it be said, O house of Jacob: “Is the Spirit of the LORD angry? Does he do such things?” “Do not my words do good to him whose ways are upright? Lately my people have risen up like an enemy. You strip off the rich robe from those who pass by without a care, like men returning from battle. You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes. You take away my blessing from their children forever. Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy. If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ he would be just the prophet for this people! (Micah 2:6-11)
Let’s look once again a the verse we have read.
Support: goods which provide basic needs of life or are a help in some way.
Supply: Those services that makes it possible for a society to be supported so it can run smoothly.
Bread and water:
“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. (Amos 8:11)
Hero: Those who are strong (physically) and strong (maybe military and otherwise)
Warrior: Military soldier. One who is equipped to defend the people.
Judge: as a leader or ruler over a people with a special focus on the authority to punish and fairness of the leader, as an extension of being a courtroom judge.
Prophet: The one chosen by God to proclaim his message. In this case probably those who were appointed by the godless king to proclaim a message to tickle the ear of the people.
Soothsayer: seek an omen, i.e., to state or determine the future (or hidden knowledge) through signs, omens, and supernatural powers. Prophets became soothsayers:
My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of the house of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 13:9)
Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them. Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they lean upon the LORD and say, “Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us.” (Micah 3:6, 11)
Elders: a leader in the community that makes religious, social, and leadership decisions.
Captain: a leader of government and society, with a focus on their family and clan relationships.
Counsellor: One who gives expert advice.
He carried into exile all Jerusalem: all the officers and fighting men, and all the craftsmen and artisans—a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left. Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. He also took from Jerusalem to Babylon the king’s mother, his wives, his officials and the leading men of the land. The king of Babylon also deported to Babylon the entire force of seven thousand fighting men, strong and fit for war, and a thousand craftsmen and artisans. (2 Kings 24:14-16)
Skilful enchanter: one who charms deadly snakes through soothing sounds of some kind, possibly music, or whispering.
Stumble: fail, have no success, i.e., a lack of obtaining a desirable state.
Defy: be openly defiant of an authority, implying hostility, including not obeying a command.
Presence: The eyes – it expresses the omnipresence of the Lord.
The more the priests increased, the more they sinned against me; they exchanged their Glory for something disgraceful. (Hosea 4:7)
Expression, look, i.e., the appearance of the face as a non-verbal communication.
When we would read the Jerusalem paper back then, we would have understood it has all to do with the wrong worldview. If we look at what is going on around us from a humanistic worldview, we would react in the same way. There would be no place for Christian ministers of the Word there. It a matter of a Biblical worldview: What has violence on the streets got to do with serving God? Everything! What has a bas economy to do with serving God? Everything! What has the state of our education to do with serving God? Everything! What has an ineffective Defense Force or Ineffective law enforcement to do with serving God? Everything. What has a drought to do with serving God? Everything!
And not before we understand this principle, will we ever understand the world we live in. We will never understand the mind of God. We will never find remedies for what is going wrong. We will patch one wrong with the next, but the solution will keep escaping us. In the end, God’s wrath will consume us.
Verses 10 and 11.