September 13, 2020
We'll cover the book of Esther this week with a focus on God's providential care. We've seen what God is calling us to as we stand at the verge of returning to "normal." Now, we'll look at the God who goes with us into that unknown. The great take away is that God's providence is always at work for the good of his people!
Prelude – "Not In Me"
This is a good reminder of our complete dependence on the Lord. Nothing we can do can earn God's favor. That is ours already in Christ. We simply must rest in his work by faith and respond with thankful hearts. "No list of sins I have not done, no list of virtues I pursue, no list of those I am not like can earn myself a place with you. O God! Be merciful to me. I am a sinner through and through. My only hope of righteousness is not in me but only you."
"How Firm A Foundation"
If there is a better song to cover the heart of Esther, I haven't seen it. So much of the verse material here speaks directly to the situation of the Jews in that book and the deliverance of the Lord on their behalf. I'll highlight two verses because it's so good: "Fear not, I am with you, O be not dismayed; for I am your God, and will still give you aid; I'll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand, upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand...when through the deep waters I call you to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overthrow; for I will be with you, your troubles to bless, and sanctify to you your deepest distress."
"Made Me Glad"
Having just sung those words and with the background of Esther in mind, we may then continue to worship the God who is always with and at work for his people. "I will bless the Lord forever, I will trust him at all times. He has delivered me from all fear, he has set my feet upon a Rock. I will not be moved and I'll say of the Lord, 'You are my shield, my strength, my portion, deliverer, my shelter, strong tower, my very present help in time of need."
"Our Great God"
We'll reach a climax in our corporate singing with a simple "hallelujah" to the God who reigns above all. Again, with the story and conclusion of Esther in our minds, we can rejoice over the God who reigns over all things. "Lord, we are weak and frail, helpless in the storm. Surround us with your angels, hold us in your arms. Our cold and ruthless enemy, his pleasure is our harm. Rise up, O Lord, and he will flee before our sovereign God! Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!"
Response – "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"
We'll respond to the word preached and the Lord's Supper by singing about the great faithfulness of our God. May this be a great reminder from Esther, even when we can't see the Lord at work, he is working. He is always turning things for the good of his people even when we don't understand. All we need, indeed, our greatest need is found in knowing and being known by him. The God that delivered his people in Esther is the same God at work now for his people. He doesn't change and he doesn't fail! "Great is thy faithfulness, O God, my Father. There is no shadow or turning with thee. Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not. As thou hast been, thou forever will be. Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me."