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Thanksgiving and praise
In Psalm 100:4-5 we are encouraged to praise and give thanks to God:
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
We begin our service with a prayer of thanksgiving, followed by a song of praise.
Almighty God, creator and redeemer, we praise you for the beauty of the world around us and for every gift we enjoy.
Thank you for creating us to know you, to love you and to obey you. Most of all, we praise you for your amazing love in sending your Son to restore your world by dying for us and rising to give us new life. Accept our praise and thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
As we prepare to receive God’s word, let’s ask for God to be at work within us.
We thank you heavenly Father, for inspiring all Scripture by the Holy Spirit. Help us by your Spirit so to hear your holy word that we may be equipped for every good work, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Levite and His Concubine
19 In those days Israel had no king.
Now a Levite who lived in a remote area in the hill country of Ephraimtook a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. 2 But she was unfaithful to him. She left him and went back to her parents’ home in Bethlehem, Judah. After she had been there four months, 3 her husband went to her to persuade her to return. He had with him his servant and two donkeys. She took him into her parents’ home, and when her father saw him, he gladly welcomed him. 4 His father-in-law, the woman’s father, prevailed on him to stay; so he remained with him three days, eating and drinking,and sleeping there.
5 On the fourth day they got up early and he prepared to leave, but the woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Refresh yourself with something to eat; then you can go.” 6 So the two of them sat down to eat and drink together. Afterward the woman’s father said, “Please stay tonight and enjoy yourself.” 7 And when the man got up to go, his father-in-law persuaded him, so he stayed there that night. 8 On the morning of the fifth day, when he rose to go, the woman’s father said, “Refresh yourself. Wait till afternoon!” So the two of them ate together.
9 Then when the man, with his concubine and his servant, got up to leave, his father-in-law, the woman’s father, said, “Now look, it’s almost evening. Spend the night here; the day is nearly over. Stay and enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow morning you can get up and be on your way home.” 10 But, unwilling to stay another night, the man left and went toward Jebus (that is, Jerusalem), with his two saddled donkeys and his concubine.
11 When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the servant said to his master, “Come, let’s stop at this city of the Jebusites and spend the night.”
12 His master replied, “No. We won’t go into any city whose people are not Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah.” 13 He added, “Come, let’s try to reach Gibeah or Ramah and spend the night in one of those places.”14 So they went on, and the sun set as they neared Gibeah in Benjamin.15 There they stopped to spend the night. They went and sat in the city square, but no one took them in for the night.
16 That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who was living in Gibeah (the inhabitants of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields. 17 When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”
18 He answered, “We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the Lord. No one has taken me in for the night. 19 We have both straw and fodder for our donkeys and bread and wine for ourselves your servants—me, the woman and the young man with us. We don’t need anything.”
20 “You are welcome at my house,” the old man said. “Let me supply whatever you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.” 21 So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.
22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”
23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.”
25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused herthroughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.
27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold.28 He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.30 Everyone who saw it was saying to one another, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Just imagine! We must do something! So speak up!”
Penny Carpentier will now preach the sermon
We are the people of God, but Scripture reminds us that we still sin. We need to confess our failures, knowing that the Lord Jesus intercedes for us with the Father, who freely forgives us, through his infinite goodness and mercy.
So let us draw near to God with sincerity and confidence, and pray together.
Heavenly Father, you have loved us with an everlasting love, but we have gone our own way and rejected your will for our lives. We are sorry for our sins and turn away from them. For the sake of your Son who died for us, forgive us, cleanse us, and change us. By your Holy Spirit, enable us to live for you and to please you in every way; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In 1 John 1:9, those who confess their sins are assured with these words:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Allow Ben Carpentier to lead you in prayer. Finish with the Lord’s Prayer.
Let’s conclude our time of prayer with the Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
As we conclude our service, let’s be encouraged by these words from the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it! Amen.
Thanks for sharing with us! See you next week.