Order, Words, & Voices 08.14.22

Order, Words, & Voices
08.14.22

Order

Pre Worship Music

Opening Song        Take My Life and Let It Be    Christian
Prayer                                Rick
Reading        Genesis 31:14-35                Musgroves online
Andrea inperson

Song                Here I Am Lord            Christian

Message            Stealing god            Rick

Song                Take My Life and Let It Be    Christian

Howdy/Community                        Dave
Musgroves online
Andrea inperson

Closing Peace                            Rick

Benediction                                Rick

Post Worship Music

Words and Voices

Music [4 slides]

Take My Life and Let It Be

Verse 1
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord to Thee
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise

Verse 2
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee

Verse 3
Take my voice and let me sing
Always only for my King
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee

Verse 4
Take my love my Lord I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
Ever only all for Thee

Prayer [5 Slides Midway through]

God, you are the God of change, you are the God of transformation. In your first recorded actions, you took destructive chaos and transformed it into productive order. You took darkness and transformed it with illuminating light. In death you bring life, in hopeless you bring hope, in fear you bring peace, and in defeat you bring victory. God, you take us when we have settled for less and transform us with your storehouses of more. God, we see ourselves as worthless and you give us hint after hint of our great value. God, may we willingly open our hearts to your change and transformation.

[Slides Begin] [Join me as we say the Lord’s Prayer]

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses, 
While we learn to forgive those who trespass against us.
And, God, lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the glory forever.

Reading [No Slides]

[Andrea] Jacob realized that Laban did not regard him as favorably as he did before. The Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was and said to them, “Your father does not regard me as favorably as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. You know that I have served your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me.”

[Mitch] Jacob told his wives that the angel of God had said to him, “Leave this land at once and return to the land of your birth.” Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house? Or, are we just are regarded by him as foreigners? He has sold us, and has used up the money given for us. All the property that God has taken away from our father Laban belongs to us and to our children; do whatever God has said to you.” 

[Duffy] Jacob did not tell Laban that he intended to flee. He arose and set his children and his wives on camels, and took all his livestock and property that he had gained to return home to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan. Before they left however, while Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her Laban’s household gods. 

[Andrea] Laban and his men pursued Jacob for seven days until they caught up with Jacob in the hill country of Gilead. But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream and said to him, “Take heed that you say not a word to Jacob, either good or bad.” Laban asked Jacob, “Why did you steal my gods?” 

[Mitch] Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods and said to Laban, “Anyone among us with whom you find your gods shall not live.”  Laban searched the tents of Leah and her servants, and Rachel and her servants, but did not find his gods. 

[Duffy] Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them. Laban searched the tent but did not find the gods. Rachel said to her father, “Do not be angry but I cannot rise before you, for I am in the womanly way.” So Laban searched but did not find the household gods. 
Genesis 31:1-35

Music [6 Slides]

​Here I am Lord

Verse 1
I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save

[Chorus]
Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go, Lord, if you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart

Verse 2
I, the Lord of snow and rain
I have borne my people’s pain
I have wept for love of them
They turn away

[Chorus]
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go, Lord, if you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart

Verse 3
I, the Lord of wind and flame
I will tend the poor and lame
I will set a feast for them
My hand will save

[Chorus]
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go, Lord, if you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart

Message – Stealing gods [14 Slides]
Genesis 31:14-35

[Slide 1]Today we begin with two women standing in a field. Sisters who generally would not be standing together anywhere, especially not in a field. Two humans known primarily by their titles daughter, mother, and wife. Both also bore a culturally expected demeanor and behavior – to be silent, their voices were not be heard. They would be passive, without their own opinions or preferences, life would be planned out without their input. This would all result in an accumulated bitterness and resentment that was to be silenced and stuffed deep inside. Two women, who, like all women in their time, were property, barely human, striving to survive this curse of gender inflicted on them long before their birth.

[Slide 2] In this field we also see a man, a man known by his name not his title – Jacob. A man of privilege, a man who was permitted to have a voice, a man who was allow to live with the expectation to be served. A man who was in charge of his own life, making his own decisions without the input of others, especially without the input of a wife, or wives. 

Jacob, however,  made the radical decision permitting God to change him, to transform him, to cleanse him of his own self-centeredness, his own arrogance, his priority of self presentation, and his own entitlement. Previously a man was defined as a deceptive scoundrel, but now, he had stepped, very conditionally (with conditions defined by Jacob) on the path set before him by God – the God of promise, who kept  all of the promises made to Jacob. We now see the new Jacob, walking on God’s path, a path of transformation and change, a path of the God of his father and grandfather.

[No Slide] Usually when we look at Jacob’s life, and, for that matter, the lives of Leah and Rachel, we focus in on the huge moments, moments when the woman are tucked safely away and Jacob becomes the center of the huge story. Huge moments such as Jacob’s wrestling match with God and surviving, Jacob’s frightening reunion with his brother Esau and surviving, and even Esau’s unexpected act of forgiveness which also ends with Jacob surviving. In limiting our focus, though, we miss the pillar moments of all Jacob’s huge moments. Moments such as today’s revelation of God’s ongoing transformation of these two women as they move beyond their titles of daughter, mother, and wife, and gain a name, they gain a voice, and, most powerfully, they gain control in the direction of their lives. These two women move from victims to participants, they move from an existence of survival, to an existence of choice. They even gain the opportunity to choose their own God.

So, we begin with these two women who now have a name, Leah and Rachel, standing in a field with their mutual husband Jacob. Jacob, who had worked for fourteen years to own these two women, now he stands with them, as equals, in a field willingly and jointly committing to take a risky step, all the while,  knowing that everything, including life itself, is on the line. Another aspect of Jacob’s transformation is that he is now making a decision for which he only holds one third of the vote.

This was the first moment that all three were on the same page and on the same path. Willing to do what had to be done. Saying yes to God’s plan to return to the land of Jacob, which would be yet another fulfillment of God’s promise made to Jacob. For Leah and Rachel, it was a moment of accepting the leadership of this God, the God of Jacob’s father and grandfather. A God, and ancestors, who neither woman knew.

Remember, Jacob did not have to be in that field listening to the opinions of his wives. He did not have to include them in his plan to leave Laban. Jacob didn’t even have to include them in the decision to leave their father.  But Jacob did include them, and it is in that small story detail we see God’s transformational process in action. 

This is why it is so important to take note of this story – it is a moment that screams God’s transformational process. A process that was taking place among each of these three even before they huddle up in the middle of the field. It is a huge process of personal and character change that had gone unnoticed for over fourteen years, and now here was the evidence – even in this moment of fear and doubt, God was present and at work in them and all around them, they had been changed. Evidence is a powerful tool in our faith and our faith walk.

[Slide 4] Josh Baldwin sings “Help me remember when I’m weak that fear may come, but fear will leave. You lead my heart to victory you are my strength and You always will be. I see the evidence of Your goodness all over my life, all over my life, I see Your promises in fulfillment all over my life, all over my life. So why should I fear? The evidence is here”
(Ed Cash / Ethan Hulse / Josh Baldwin)

[Slide 5]The Evidence.  

  • [Slide 6] Jacob realized the problems of his culture, he recognized that he did in fact need the input of his wives. 
  • Jacob recognized that he could not proceed without the strength of these two women. 
  • [Slide 8] Jacob came to the radical conclusion that this was their decision to make as as much as it was his decision.
  • [Slide 9] Rachel and Leah were no longer known by their gender, now they had a name, and, even more radical, they had a voice. They stood up for themselves, they recognized the injustice of their life, they said, “That’s enough!” Transformation had taken place all over their lives.

[No Slide] The prompt for this huddle in the field was that the brothers of Leah and Rachel had become jealous of Jacob. They feared that Jacob was stealing their father’s affection and would therefore steal their inheritance. If they knew anything of Jacob’s they would have recognized a patter. As the brothers voiced this concern to their father Laban. Jacob could sense the cooling in his relationship with Laban, and that he had fallen out of favor with his father in law.  God told Jacob that it was time for him and his family, to leave, to return to the home of Jacob’s father Isaac. To face the consequences of his former self and to truly trust God.

Upon hearing of this from Jacob, Leah and Rachel were in agreement with their husband using their voices they said. “Our father has treated us as property and taken that which belongs to us.? We must leave our home. We must join you in trusting the God of your father.”

The three stood in the field for an amazing moment of agreement – a moment that would empower them to say yes to God’s instruction, a moment that would enable them to step on the path leading away from their home and into the unknown. There was strength in this moment, a moment of unity. There is always strength in unity.

Before they left, however, Rachel steals the false idol statues of her father. The motivation for her actions are a mystery.  

  • Possibly she still felt the need to hang onto these gods for safety, maybe there was still a dependence on them. 
  • Possibly she knew the materials that made the gods was valuable. 
  • Maybe she did not want these gods to empower her father to force them to return home.  
  • Some Jewish scholars believe that Rachel’s actions were an attempt to turn her father away from these false gods.

Imagine, stealing someone’s gods. Imagine a god who can be stolen from you. Imagine a faith that is useless unless there is a tangible object defining that the god is present. What is a god that can be stolen, a god that must be seen, what is faith when it requires us to be able to touch or feel or see?

When Laban catches up with the fleeing three, he attempts to woo them back with kind words. Then, when this approach did not work, he hurled accusations upon Jacob – “You Stole My Gods!” An accusation that Jacob did not understand since he did not know about the actions of Rachel.

When a search of their belongings does not reveal the stolen gods, Laban proceeds to search his daughters. Almost comically, as the men approached Rachel, she said  “I would get off my camel except it is my period…” which caused Laban and his men to step back and terminate their search. 

It is a bit uncomfortable applauding Rachel’s deception. Lying to her own father. Something doesn’t seem right about it, but still Laban does not find the gods and gives up his fight to forcibly return Jacob, his daughters, and his grandchildren to his home. Yes, Rachel’s lies to her father are uncomfortable. However, it does bring a smile to the face when we consider that this formerly voiceless woman had now bested the master of deception himself.

As Laban left, Jacob turned his family and his possessions towards his own father’s house. The real struggle was ahead, a brother who had reason to kill Jacob was waiting. Death and total loss was a very real possibility. But Jacob, Leah, and Rachel were on the path, a path that required a total trust in the God of the path. Now, however, Jacob was not alone – he now had the support of these two wives; no longer could he live in a state of selfishness. He would soon wrestle with God, he would face his angry brother, and, if he survived all of that, he had to start all over back home. All of this now possible because of the transformation that had taken place within Jacob – Jacob was now ready to return to the promise passed down from God.

[Slide 10] There are four things we must understand from this passage – 

  1. [Slide 11] Transformation was already God’s work in process – God was showing himself in the ongoing transformation. Transformation is happening as long as we are allowing the change to take place. It doesn’t happen when we are guided by self, when our actions are controlled by our arrogance and self entitlement.  It only happens when we are changeable, when we say yes to correction from God through all types of persons and events in our lives.  If we are willing, God’s work of Transformation is a constant in our life.
  1. [Slide 12] Transformation is not complete in an instant, often life transformation is not even noticed until we experience the effects of it. Once we look, listen, and recognize God in our midst, we have our first real understanding of God’s mercy, compassion, and love. We do not have to be guided in being a person of justice, we just have to listen, we just have to look, we have to be ready for God’s to be in the voices, the person, the events, the moments, the choices that are all on our path. Our transformation takes place when we willingly submit ourself to God.
  1. [Slide 13] Justice is a natural outflow on God’s path – Rachel and Leah’s voice spoke of injustice, Jacob heard the cry of injustice through these two voices. The three were prompted to take heed to God’s call to leave. The prophet Micah would later affirm God’s displeasure that the reality of injustice in the lives of Rachel and Leah, “God has already told you over and over, what is good, and what God expects of you, live in justice and call out for justice, strive to love and to be kind, and, walk humbly with.” (Micah 6:8) Transformation changes our perspective of life, we begin to see things through filter of mercy, compassion, and love.
  1. [Slide 14] Rachel’s Deceit was not a reflection of Rachel’s character, it was a tragic indictment on the gods of Rachel’s father. Regardless of the reason for Rachels theft, the point is that she was taking something that could be taken, she was revealing the hopelessness of these gods. The strength of our God is evidence in the sacrificial actions of our God.

[No Slide] This story, and the lives of these three is a story of faith. Faith to step on an unknown path, faith to be led by an unknown God leaving all that is known and understood. Faith is risky, faith is dangerous, fatih costs something, it requires sacrifice. Faith is only possible when it is built on the faithful God. 

We stand on God’s path, we struggle on God’s path, we fear on God’s path…but still, we look for good, we look for holy, we look for the workings of God. We trust God. 

God’s holy path leads to the person of Jesus. The only one who can bring transformation, the only one who can prove us righteous before God. Are you permitting God to change and transform you, are you looking for God’s transformational actions, are you looking for good, holy, and God?

Is it time for you to stand in the middle of the field as evidence of God’s transformation?
Let’s Pray

Music [2 slides]

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord to Thee
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise

Take my voice and let me sing
Always only for my King
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee
Community/Howdy [Slides]

  • [Zoom Spotlight] Howdy…. [No slides]

“We continue our Howdy Moment today connecting our online participants and our in person participants. On the 2n and 4th Sundays we are interviewing our online and inperson readers, today we are meeting Mitch & Duffy Musgrove and Andrea Anthony of Norman OK.”

  • What is the temperature outside where you are right now?
  • What is your current profession, or, if you are retired, what was your profession?
  • Please share 3 Quick facts about you that will help us know you better?

Community Announcements

  • [Slide] Next Sunday, Vengeful Forgetfulness, Genesis 34:1-29
  • [Slide] Miserable Endings, Wednesday Lunch and Bible Study, One time day and time change, Tuesday, August 16 @ 11:45am, schedule at gfnorman.com, bring your own lunch. Judges 6-8 (Gideon)
  • [Slide] Kentucky Flooding Relief, Red Cross banner link at GFNorman.com
  • [Slide] Today following worship – short business gathering for bylaws amendment affirmation.

Closing Peace [1Slide]
May the Peace of the Lord go with you.
And also with you.

Benediction [1 Slide]

“Depart now in the fellowship of God the Father and as you go, remember: By the goodness of God you were born into this world. And by the grace of God you have been kept you even until this very hour. And by the love of God, fully revealed in the face of Jesus, you have been redeemed and you are being redeemed. So go in peace.”

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

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