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Here was the Order of Worship at Union Hill Baptist Church:
Order of Service—Revelation and Response
Welcome and Pastoral Prayer
(The scripture readings will follow the story of Joseph because the plot to kill Jesus follows this similar story. Who would have thought that the evil plot of Joseph’s brothers would end up saving them? What the brothers [or religious leaders in our story] meant for evil, God meant for good.)
(This first reading and song acknowledge that God was at work long beforehand in the birth of Joseph and that He most often works in ways that we would never expect. Rachel was barren but the Lord heard the pleas of Rachel and opened her womb.)
Scripture Reading—(Gen. 30:1-2) When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” 2 Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Gen. 30:22-24 22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. 23 She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” 24 And she called his name Joseph, saying, “May the LORD add to me another son!”
Song—Hymn # 56 “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”
(This song responds to the scripture reading in a way that says, no matter how things seem and though God is invisible, He is at work behind the scenes and God only wise is at work in His perfect wisdom for good.)
Prayer of Confession and Hope
12 [We] thank him who has given [us] strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged [us] faithful, appointing [us] to his service, 13 though formerly [we] were a blasphemers, persecutors, and insolent opponents. But [we] received mercy because [we] had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for [us] with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom [we] am the foremost. 16 But [we] received mercy for this reason, that in [us], as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Tim. 1:12-17)
(This next reading continues the story of Joseph. We hear the brothers’ [compared to the chief priests in our story] hatred of Joseph. He had this dream or vision that he would rule over them. So, coupled with their father loving Joseph more than all his brothers and this vision that he would someday rule over them, they plotted to kill him [it will sound very similar to our story]. As the story continues, we see an opportunity for the brothers to get rid of Joseph. So, they throw him into a pit but end up selling him off as a slave.)
Scripture Reading—(Gen. 37:4-8) 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. 5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
(Gen. 37:17-27) So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan. 18 They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20 Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.” 21 But when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”– that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. 24 And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. 25 Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him.
(The next song affirms, that just like Joseph’s brothers, we are wretches in need of amazing grace. His brothers were blind but now they see. Their fear, we hope, was grounded in this amazing grace that taught them to fear. God’s good promises always come to pass no matter how crazy it looks. He used the plot to kill Joseph which turned into selling him as a slave to save those who got rid of him. They were responsible for their evil deed but God used their evil deed to save them. In the next reading, Joseph comforts and provides for his brothers which ties into the line “He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.”)
Song—Hymn # 104 “Amazing Grace”
(This finishes the story. We finally hear those famous words, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive.”)
Scripture Reading—(Gen. 50:17-21) 7 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”‘ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
(This next song most closely fits the outcome of our text. It asks the obvious question, “And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood? Died he for me who caused his pain? And concludes that it was “amazing love, how can it be, that Thou, my God should die for me?” After seeing the story of Joseph and we compare that to our story this morning, we see very well why we should be asking this question and rejoicing that we have gained salvation like this.)
Song—Hymn #250 “And Can It Be”
(We end with the clear understanding that this plot to kill Jesus ends up, like Joseph’s story, saving we children of weakness and changing our leprous spots and melting our stone hearts. Indeed, Jesus paid it all and all to him I owe.)
Song—Hymn #249 “Jesus Paid it All”
Benediction: (1 Pet. 2:24-25) 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
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