August 9, 2020
We'll continue our overview of Ezra this week with a look at chapters 3-6. Our liturgical theme for the morning will be God as Father. We'll sing about that relationship and of what it is like to be in a very real sense children of God, redeemed by his blood.
"O Father, You Are Sovereign"
This fits well for opening the theme for the morning as well as tying back to the idea of God's sovereignty that we were taught last week from the opening chapters of Ezra. The second verse speaks of our sovereign Father as well as us as his dependent children: "O Father, you are sovereign in all affairs of man; no powers of death or darkness can thwart your perfect plan. All chance and change transcending, supreme in time and space, you hold your trusting children secure in your embrace."
While this song doesn't explicitly mention God as Father or us as children, it does build off that relationship from our last song. It does so through the idea of us as dependent on our Father for all his provision to us in times of trouble. This song is full of our needs and of his willingness to provide for us in abundant goodness. "When darkness seems to hide his face, I rest on his unchanging grace; in every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil, my anchor holds within the veil. Christ alone, cornerstone, weak made strong through the Savior's love, through the storm, he is Lord, Lord of all."
"How Deep the Father's Love for Us"
We'll tie a bow on the set by wrapping up those ideas all together. Explicitly, by singing of God as our Father who loves and provides for us, even by giving of himself unto death. Implicitly, as his children who receive the provision of salvation with the empty and open hands of faith. Make no mistake, this is the provision of our loving Father to us in our greatest point of need – our redemption from sin. "How deep the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure? That he should give his only Son to make a wretch his treasure. How great the pain of searing loss, the Father turns his face away. As wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many sons to glory."
Response – "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"
We'll respond to the word preached and be sent back into the world with the truth that God's faithful love to his people is steadfast and endures forever. Note how the first verse ties in our theme of God as Father and the last verse touches on his provision to his children through the redemption of sin. May this truth send us into the world with great confidence to proclaim the gospel in word and deed! "Great is thy faithfulness, O God, my Father. There is no shadow of turning with thee. Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not. As thou hast been, thou forever will be. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth. Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide. Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside!"