It’s almost Sunday!
I have a passage on my mind that is going to seem odd considering how excited I am. It’s going to seem a bit sad though I am full of joy reading it. But, then again, that is what hope in Christ does – it flips the sad realities of this earth upside down through the hope of what He has done, is doing, and has promised to do in the future.
Here’s the passage:
When these words were written, nearly all of Israel was in exile. The punishment God had promised for the idolatry of their kings and the hearts of His people who were supposed to love Him above all had come into fruition. The temple lay in ruins. Jerusalem’s walls were in shambles. And God’s people were far from His promised land and seemed farther away from the covenant promises they had forsaken.
Those who led Israel in worship now found themselves in the crosshairs of mocking and shame. Where there had once been loud singing and music in their hearts, there was only shame. They hung up their lyres. They traded worship for weeping. All the while, their captors tormented them by asking them to sing some of their beloved “songs of Zion” – basically, sing some of those songs about how much you love the Lord and what all He has done for you….
They had no song or desire to sing, only tears.
Their memories of former glory and worship did nothing to satisfy their longing for rescue in their present. The rubble of the temple and reverence for past faithfulness had no effect on their current weeping.
Those feelings are not exclusive to Babylon.
There was a time in my life that I wanted nothing more than to hang up my guitar and sing no more of the Lord. In fact, I sold my guitar to pay the moving expenses to leave ministry behind to move back home ashamed of quitting and being burned out, afraid of the future.
I had barely been home twenty-four hours when a tormentor ridiculed, asking how dare I quit on the Lord and reminding, almost gleefully, of the shame I felt. And tears fell in my car the same as they had once fell by the waters of Babylon.
The joy I had once felt in leading in worship and preaching the Word were not enough to combat the present sorrow I felt during that time. In fact, all of my efforts were wrapped up in the past – past righteousness, past success, past calling, past motivation, past personal worship of Jesus. But, just as with those worship leaders in Babylon with lyres hung on trees and hopes hung up in their past, I found that the past was not enough to sustain my present, much less my future.
Thankfully, God brought repentance and, little-by-little, joy back into my life following after Him. Just as He did for Israel, He healed the pain of my exile, helped me follow Him more closely than I ever did in the past, and held out His mighty hand to me because “He cares” for me (1 Peter 5:7). I remembered that Jesus is alive and well, seated on the throne, and found myself rejoicing in the pains of my past because they highlight Him and how He was with me every step of the way.
And that’s how we will “sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land” tomorrow. That may seem odd since we will be in our homeland, so-to-speak, but this world is not our home because “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20)! We will gather together, not because of our past faithfulness but HIS! We will remember what He has done, but we will rejoice because our resurrected King is doing things – working for our good and His glory – NOW! And we will rejoice that our exile in this old world is not permanent and He has promised us future eternity with Him where the last of the tears from Babylon will be wiped away by His own hand (Revelation 21:4)!
So, I hope you will join us tomorrow as we make much of Jesus. You can’t do anything about your past, but – PRAISE GOD – He already has! And He has given hope for a better future than we could ever earn on our own.
Here are our Scriptures & songs:
- Romans 6:1-5 —
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
- Holy Water —
Scripture References/Inspiration for the Song: Romans 10:9-10, Romans 5:12-15, John 8:34, John 3:3-21, Matthew 3:11, Romans 6:1-11, Galatians 2:19-20, Proverbs 16:24, 1 Corinthians 13:1, Numbers 19:17, Romans 6:1-7, Matthew 11:28-30, Acts 3:19-21
- Mighty to Save —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Micah 7:9, Matthew 9:36, 1 Corinthians 13:8, Lamentations 3:22-24, Romans 5:5, Luke 24:47, Titus 3:4-5, Isaiah 11:10, Matthew 12:21, Titus 2:13, Job 9:4-5, Isaiah 63:1, Revelation 1:8, Hebrews 12:2, 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, 2 Timothy 1:10, Matthew 11:28-30, Ephesians 5:18, Luke 9:23-25, Romans 10:9, Matthew 5:14-16, Philippians 2:15-16
- Romans 6:6-11 —
6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
- Who You Say I Am —
Scripture References/Inspiration for the Song: Psalm 8:4, Luke 15:3-7, John 8:36, John 1:12-13, Romans 8:23, Colossians 2:14, John 8:34-35, John 14:1-3, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 Thessalonians 1:4, Hebrews 13:5, Romans 8:31-32
- Way Maker —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Matthew 1:23, 2 Timothy 1:14, Philippians 1:6, Psalm 25:1, Psalm 86:4, Psalm 5:7, Psalm 63:1, Isaiah 43:15-16, Matthew 19:26, John 14:6, Job 5:8-9, Numbers 23:19, Joshua 21:45, 1 Kings 8:56, Romans 4:21, Hebrews 10:23, John 1:4-5, John 8:12, John 12:46, Colossians 1:13, 1 Peter 2:9, John 3:15-17, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Ephesians 2:4-5, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Psalm 51:10, Romans 12:2, Romans 10:9-10, Philippians 4:19, 1 Peter 1:8, Romans 8:26, Lamentations 3:22-23, Psalm 68:19, John 5:17, Zephaniah 3:5, Philippians 2:13
- (invitation) The Well —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: John 4, Revelation 22:17, John 8:7-11, Isaiah 55:1, Matthew 11:28-30
- (offertory) Come Jesus Come —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Revelation 22:20, 1 Thessalonians 4:18, Romans 13:11-12, John 17:24, Romans 6:9, John 10:18, Colossians 2:13-15, Matthew 28:18-20, Titus 2:13, Matthew 25:31, Revelation 1:7, Hebrews 9:28
We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!
We have Sunday School classes for all ages at 9:30a and worship – everyone is welcome – at 11:00a!
If you are concerned about social distancing or are at-risk, consider gathering with us at 10:00a for a small group Bible study in our worship center. There is plenty of room to spread out, but there is also opportunity to gather with others at the same time! No one will crowd you, and you can exit out of our side door and avoid the crowd coming in to worship after the Bible study!