Service for February 21, 2021 — Ordinary and Extraordinary
Old Testament Lesson: Genesis 22:1-18:
1Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
3Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
13Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
15The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Epistle Lesson: Romans 8:31-39:
31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 1:12-15:
12At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
14After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.15“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Sermon Text: Psalm 3:1-8:
O Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
But you are a shield around me, O Lord;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
To the Lord I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.
Arise, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
There are very few celebrity deaths that get to me, but one happened this week. I’d been listening to Rush Limbaugh almost every day since 1992. I appreciated his point of view (just to make it clear, this is said not to advocate his political point of view from the pulpit since that is not the purpose of gospel preaching), I enjoyed his sense of humor, and I marveled at his communication ability. Over the course of the last year, his story became more personal for me. I learned of his cancer diagnosis in the midst of our family dealing with cancer and right after I had performed the funeral of a member who had died of cancer. I marveled as he spoke simply and eloquently about his battle with cancer. Often, over the course of this past year, he would begin his program by saying something like: “Well, I woke up this morning and found myself alive. And I thanked God for that.” Those words tie in well with the words of King David in Psalm 3.
I Thank God that He Rescues Me…
I, In extraordinary circumstances
II. And in “ordinary” ones
I. In extraordinary circumstances
- “Ordinary” means something that follows every day, “extraordinary” beyond that
- David wrote this psalm right in the middle of a pretty extraordinary situation
- He was on the run because his son Absalom had rebelled against his rule as king
- David had seen a lot during this extraordinary time in his extraordinary life
- He saw his son win the hearts of the people by telling lies about him and his rule
- He saw his army desert him and go over to the side of his own son in rebellion
- He kept hearing how the people had acclaimed him as their ruler over him
- He saw how his best friend Ahithophel had become Absalom’s chief counsellor
- He was on the run with what remained of his army wondering what would come
- Yet, in all of this, he expressed his confidence that God would provide protection
- He refers to God as his shield – he would protect him from all physical attacks
- He says that God would bestow glory – he would show his greatness by doing it
- He says that God would lift up his head – he would give him future optimism
- As we hear his words, we are reminded that God helps us in extraordinary times
- There are times that we feel that 10,000’s are allied against us speaking against us
- When we are faced with extraordinary troubles we place them right at his feet
- We trust he will handle those things in the best way possible that brings him glory
- There is another thought in here that is something we need to consider as amazing
II. And in “ordinary” ones
- David speaks of the most ordinary of things you can think of: sleeping & rising
- These are things that just ordinarily happen to us each and every day of our lives
- We need to remember, Rush did, that every day we have is a gift of God’s grace
- Every day he sustains us physically, which is an “ordinary” great gift of our God
- David also knew about the Savior that God promised to be born through his line
- We rejoice that we have this gift of God as an “ordinary” gift of God every day.