The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost July 19, 2020
Text: Exodus 33:12-23 CW Three Year Series A 20:2204
Theme: The Lord’s Presence Goes With Us
Can you believe it? Racial fights erupt in Springfield, just a couple of miles from Zion! Yes, violence is sweeping across the cities in our country, but in Springfield? Now we can’t shrug off such destructive behavior as happening only somewhere else. It’s in our backyard. Does that make you feel uncertain for your safety?
The virus count is still mounting. Some of our friends have it. The authorities have stipulated that we wear masks in public settings. I am not an alarmist, but I also don’t hide my head in the sand. The repercussions of the disease are here, and it adds greatly to the uncertainty of the times.
I think the economy is doing better, but what lies ahead? The political scene? It’s a mess. Public safety is threatened. Society boils in turmoil. All things add to the uncertainty of the moment.
I. Uncertainty is an awful thing. It paralyzes people, Christians too. Even Moses, God’s greatest prophet outside of Jesus, felt it.
In order to calm his heart during uncertain times and give him new courage to carry on, the Lord said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Literally, God said in the Hebrew language, “My face(s) will walk with you.”
That’s quite a picture, isn’t it? Picture a face walking with Moses. Sometimes the face is turned forward, watching out for dangers that could lie ahead. Sometimes it’s turned backward, making sure where Moses is. At times it’s turning from side to side, looking to see what’s happening all around. But the face is there, walking with him. The reason? God said, “to give you rest.” God’s face looking at him and looking all around gave Moses the assurance He needed to confidently move forward as the leader of God’s people, because Moses was living in uncertain times also.
The children of Israel had become violent too. They rebelled against God and turned to wickedness. They had worshiped the Golden Calf while Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. God saw what they did and became so angry that He destroyed those who continued their rebellion against Him. Then He told Moses, “Depart. Go up from here, you and the people that you have brought up out of the land of Egypt. Go up to the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…I will send an angel before you….But I myself will not go up among you, because you are a stiff-necked people.”
God had it with the Children of Israel. They disregarded Him for too long. When they gave the glory that they owed Him to an idol made by their own hands, it was enough. They forfeited His presence with them. He would not totally abandon them, but He would not go with them. He would send an angel in His place.
Now, an angel is a powerful being with capabilities beyond ours. But an angel is not God, the Almighty; an angel is not all-knowing; an angel is never omnipresent; he is a created being, not the Creator. Moses understood the limitations all too well. These were uncertain times without God at their side.
So, Moses poured out his concern and begged, “Look, you yourself have been telling me, ‘Lead this people up,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ So now if I have found favor in your sight, please show me your ways, so that I may know you, so that I may find favor in your sight. Consider that this nation is your people… If your Presence (lit., “Your face”) will not go with me, do not send us up from here.”
If the Lord’s Presence does not go with us in life, if God is not watching out for us, what will happen? What can we expect in the long run? Apart from Him, life is merely a process to go through with no guarantees for the future. Then what? Uncertainty, dear friends, is an awful thing.
II. But God will not leave His people alone to fend for themselves.
This was a time of testing. So, Moses prayed, “Please show me your ways, so that I may know you, so that I may find favor in your sight. Consider that this nation is your people…If your Presence will not go with me…how would people know that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Isn’t it in this way: that you go with us, so that we are distinguished, I and your people, from all the people who are on the face of the earth?”
Moses had questions. But they were not the frantic questions of an unbeliever. They were the words of a believer who understands his own weakness, looks to God for forgiveness and strength, then clings to God’s words and promises in uncertain times. They are like the words of the psalmist: “My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the rock of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps.73:25f).
The Lord replied, “My Presence (face) will go with you; I will give you rest.” God won’t leave His people alone to fend for themselves. He goes with them.
The Psalmist rejoiced, “Where can I flee from Your Presence? If I go up to heaven, You are there. If I make my bed in hell (Sheol) – there You are!…Your right hand holds me….Your thoughts to me are so precious!….I awake, and I am still with You” (139:7f).
Still with Him; and He with us, no matter the uncertainty of the moment. What a precious thought for the Christian – in health or in sickness, in joy or in sorrow, in life or in death, the Lord and His people will be together. He will not leave them alone to fend for themselves. His companionship is constant and unbroken.
Every night when the toils of the day are done and the lights are turned out, as you lay your head on your pillow, you can close your eyes in confident rest with the assurance that “when I awake, I am still with You” – whether here or there. There is nothing in life or death that can harm you permanently if you entrust yourself for time and eternity into His hands. The Lord’s Presence will go with you and in His presence no evil dares to draw near.
III. And He assures us by showing us His goodness.
Moses was happy with the promise. But he was not yet fully satisfied. As the leader of God’s people, he needed more. So, Moses made a second request: “Please show me Your glory.” The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD in your presence…. But you cannot see my face, for no human may see me and live.”
“I want to see You, Lord.” It’s not such a strange request. I wouldn’t doubt that many of us have desired to see the Lord too.
Wouldn’t it be good to see God, too see His face watching over us? Then there would be no uncertainty. Then we would be certain that things will come out okay. Wouldn’t it be great to see God face to face in all His glory!
Why is it that we think such a sight would bring us closer to Him and give us greater benefits? Israel had things they could see about God that gave them absolute proof of Him – the parting of the Red Sea, manna falling from heaven daily, water springing from a rock, the awesome sight of Mt. Sinai. Yet, in the midst of it all they bowed their knees to the golden calf, not to God.
You see, dear friends, seeing is not necessarily believing. So it is that the Apostle Paul wrote, “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Co.5:7). What’s more important sight or faith? With God – faith!
Still, Moses needed help. Moses wanted to see God’s glory. God would show him His goodness, His gracious and merciful Presence. And in that God revealed much more to Moses than giving Him sight of His physical presence, for God reveals more to us in His character than He does in His physical appearance.
Which would you rather know – what a person looks like, or how a person is and acts towards you? Would you rather see His facial features which don’t really tell you anything about the person inside, or would you rather see how he acts in love, mercy, and kindness towards people? It’s more important that we know what a person is like than to see what he looks like. Looks can deceive; character doesn’t. So, God showed Moses His goodness.
You and I know what that character is like in an even greater way than Moses did. For you and I know the account of God’s Son, Christ Jesus. Only He can show us what God is really like (Mt.11:27). In the darkness of our sin and disobedience, God loved and sent His Son to win forgiveness and eternal life for us that we might be at rest – all by grace, His doing, not ours.
So, in our uncertain times we live without a visual display of God. We don’t even get to see God’s backside like Moses did. But we “see” the fulfillment of His precious promises flowing to us through His Son. He invites, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt.11:28).
Therein is found the height of God’s goodness. One day when this all ends here, we will see Him face to face above. But till then it is enough to know that when our lives become entangled and our minds weighed down with the uncertainties of the day, The Lord will not leave us alone to fend for ourselves, but He will assure us by showing us His goodness. His Presence will go with us, and we shall find rest. God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
You can also find us on facebook
The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost July 19, 2020
“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion Lutheran Church or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“I will exalt you, my God, the King. I will bless your name forever. The Lord is faithful to all his words and merciful toward all he has made. The Lord lifts up all who fall, and he supports all who are bowed down (Ps.145).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Rest for the Weary. “Come unto me, ye weary, and I will give you rest” is the opening line of our first hymn today. It strikes a joyous chord in the believer’s heart. And well it might! It comes to those whose hearts are oppressed and promises them “pardon, grace, and peace – of joy that has no ending, of love that cannot cease.”
To all whose hearts are filled with sadness, it promises “gladness and songs at break of day.” To those whose hearts are “fainting,” it promises “life.” And to those who are engaged in a fierce struggle against Satan, it promises strength to win the victory.
To all who look to Christ, the invitation goes out: “Come to me and I will give you rest.” That is eternal rest for the weary.
To that end we pray: God of all grace and power, You are the giver of all that is good. Help us love You with our whole heart. Strengthen us in faith, provide us with all we need, and keep us safe in Your care; through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Exodus 33:12-23
As Moses intervened for Israel at Mt. Sinai after the people had bowed their knees to the Golden Calf, God threatened to not go with them. Yet, at Moses intercession God promised that His Presence would remain with them. Only with Him at our side can we find real rest and direction.
The Epistle Lesson: Romans 7:15-25
Although sin no longer has its death hold on the Christian, it still wages war against him daily. Often, we fall to its temptations. Such weakness frustrates the believer who wants to follow in God’s ways. We cry for help and Christ is there to give us rest and the final victory.
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 11:25-30
The mysteries of Christ’s Kingdom are hidden from those who think themselves the wise and learned. But the weary believer finds rest as he looks to Christ. In Jesus those who are weary and burdened by sin and the war that rages within find rest for their souls.
O u r P r a c t i c e o f H o l y C o m m u n i o n
The Lord’s Supper is a wonderful gift in which we receive Jesus’ own body and blood to forgive our sins and strengthen us in faith. It is a gift given with certain responsibilities. The Sacrament is intended for those who have been instructed, understand, and confess as one what they are receiving and doing. Through it we express our unity of faith (1 Cor.10:17). Therefore, we ask that only confirmed members of Zion Lutheran Church or our sister congregations of the WELS or ELS approach to receive Communion. If you would like to become a communicant member of Zion or have any questions about our practice, the pastor would be happy to meet with you after the service.
Today’s Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “Don’t send me if You are not at my side!” might have been the thought that ran through Moses’ heart as he began to lead the children of Israel through the desert. “Who knows what could happen to us without You there!” Isn’t that the way we, who know God through Christ, feel at times? When we are overwhelmed by life, how comforting it is to know God’s gracious promise and to hear Him respond, “Don’t be afraid. My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #336
Order of Worship: Service of Word and Sacrament Hymnal page 26
The Ministry of the Word
Duet: Shelter Me
The Gospel Response: pg.30
Sermon Hymn: #409
Sermon: Exodus 33:12-23 The Lord’s Presence Goes with Us
Our Response to the Word
The Nicene Creed: page 31
Prayer & Lord’s Prayer: Hymnal page 32
The Lord Blesses Us
The Closing Hymn: #551 st.1-3
Because of rising health concerns in our community, we will celebrate Holy Communion after the close of the worship service today.
Communion Hymn: #309
Institution & Distribution
Close of Communion Service
The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost – Series A
Old Testament Lesson: Exodus 33:12-23 -God Will Go with Israel
12Moses said to the Lord, “Look, you yourself have been telling me, ‘Lead this people up,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ 13So now if I have found favor in your sight, please show me your ways, so that I may know you, so that I may find favor in your sight. Consider that this nation is your people.”
14The Lord said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
15Moses said, “If your Presence will not go with me, do not send us up from here. 16After all, how would people know that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Isn’t it in this way: that you go with us, so that we are distinguished, I and your people, from all the people who are on the face of the earth?”
17The Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have said, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”
18Then Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”
19The Lord said, “I will make all my goodness pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord in your presence. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy.” 20He said, “You cannot see my face, for no human may see me and live.”
21The Lord also said, “Look, there is a place next to me, where you shall stand on the rock. 22It will happen that, while my glory passes by, I will put you in a crevice in the rock. I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back. But my face will not be seen.”
Epistle Lesson: Romans 7:15-25 – Unrest through the Law and Sin
15For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not keep doing what I want. Instead, I do what I hate. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17But now it is no longer I who am doing it, but it is sin living in me. 18Indeed, I know that good does not live in me, that is, in my sinful flesh. The desire to do good is present with me, but I am not able to carry it out. 19So I fail to do the good I want to do. Instead, the evil I do not want to do, that is what I keep doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who am doing it, but it is sin living in me.
21I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is present with me. 22I certainly delight in God’s law according to my inner self, 23but I see a different law at work in my members, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me captive to the law of sin, which is present in my members. 24What a miserable wretch I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 11:25-30 – “I Will Give You Rest.”
25At that time, Jesus continued, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from clever and learned people and have revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, because this was pleasing to you. 27Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wants to reveal him.
28“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2017 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Holy Communion afterwards
Voters Meeting postponed
| Some weekly activities are still curtailed.
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
How do you strike up friendships or relationships with other people? Most people attempt to find something that they have in common with another person, and they try to develop a friendship based on those common interests. But how do we strike up a relationship with God? We don’t. Our relationship with God depends on His good pleasure. God is “out of our league” and really shouldn’t have anything to do with us. But miraculously He does! Amazingly He loves us and cares for us. He desires to be our dearest friend! But He always makes “the first move” through the gospel.
The Old Testament Lesson: Exodus 33:12-23 (answers are found on the back side)
- What condition did Moses put upon his leading God’s Old Testament people?
- How did Moses want God to “seal the deal”?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Barbara Long; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Angela Meek; Roger & Liz Lisenby’s brother & sister-in-law and granddaughter Jackie; Dave Ballou, at home; Laurie Moon’s father; Greg Miller; Casey Milam & family, Jodie’s son, under quarantine; the Brucks, Dee at home under quarantine & Chris at Cox South.
Daily Devotions If you would like a hard copy of pastor’s daily devotions for the week past, you will find a few on the credenza in the narthex. If you would like to receive them through text on your cell phone or by email, let him know.
New Virus Restrictions This past week Springfield/Greene County passed ordinances requiring face masks in public settings, especially when 6 feet distancing cannot be observed. There are masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use should you want them. Please, watch your physical distancing in the service today, not only side to side but also front to back! Wearing a face mask during the service is totally acceptable. We are not passing the offering plate during the service, but it will be found at the door upon leaving.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 8; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: no classes at this time; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: no class this past week; Offering: $655
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 8 Series A: Isaiah 55:10,11; Romans 8:18-25; Matthew 13:1-9,18-23
Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:
- God must go with His people, otherwise Moses was not willing to lead them. Moses recognized the importance of having a close relationship with the Lord and that such a relationship depended on God’s good pleasure.
- He wanted the Lord to show him His glory as a seal of God’s Presence. The Lord conceded to show Moses His “back side” and proclaim His name (Ex 34:5-7).
This week I am praying for……