Sunday, 21st August 10.30 am Order of Service

Urquhart & Glenmoriston Church

Sunday 21st August 2022 10.30am

Live stream Link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUXqSPpmvi0FrIfSLUqiCEA

This week we are delighted to welcome Rev Dr Hugh Watt back to the pulpit.

WELCOME

SONG (MP 182) God has spoken

God has spoken to his people, alleluia.

And his words are words of wisdom, alleluia.

1 Open your ears, O Christian people,

open your ears and hear Good News.

Open your hearts, O royal priesthood,

God has come to you.

God has spoken to his people, alleluia.

And his words are words of wisdom, alleluia.

2 Israel comes to greet the Saviour,

Judah is glad to see his day.

From East and West the people travel,

he will show the way.

Chorus

3 Those who have ears to hear his message;

those who have ears, then let them hear.

Those who would learn the way of wisdom,

let them hear God’s words.

Chorus

PRAYER

Children’s Address

Good morning children – it’s great to see you after such a long time. Now that we are back together I want to speak to you about something really important.

If you could ask for anything in the world, what do you think you would want? Let’s say you were given one wish (and no wishing for more wishes!)…what would you ask for? Toys? Talent? Money? A big fancy house? How about…wisdom? Do you think you’d want to ask for that?

Well, what is wisdom, anyway? How can we become wise? If I look or act smart, and I know important things, does that make me wise? Like, let’s say I have thick glasses, and a lot of books (use props if you have them, putting on glasses and pulling over a stack of textbooks), and maybe I read some very fancy-sounding facts and information. Is that wisdom? Well, not really…you see, wisdom is not about what you know, but Who you know. Wisdom is about our ability to use our minds in ways that help us serve God and make good decisions.

How do we do that? How do we make positive choices? For instance, let’s say that I need to decide between a bar of chocolate or a piece of fruit. Which choice might be wise? The chocolate sounds very appealing and fun in the moment…but we probably know that it would not be the most healthful choice in the long run. Wisdom could help me see that the fruit is a better option. But there are much harder and more important decisions that will come our way in life. Wisdom is about what we call “discernment,” being able to tell what might be a better or worse choice for us.

God wants us to be wise. The Old Testament tells us of a man named Solomon. Solomon was King David’s son, and he took over as king after David died. One night, God came to Solomon in a dream. He offered Solomon anything he wanted. Now, the king could have requested treasure, or a herd of llamas, or a room full of candy. But do you know what he requested? He told God that he wanted wisdom. He knew being king would be challenging and he wanted to make good choices to rule the people well. So he asked God for wisdom. God liked that answer. In fact, He told Solomon that he would get wisdom, and also have riches and beautiful things. God wanted Solomon to want wisdom. Unfortunately, Solomon made some mistakes later on down the line.

And we can ask God for wisdom, too! True wisdom does not come from a textbook, but from the good book, THE book, the Bible. It contains the very words of God. He gives us wisdom through the pages of Scripture, and through what Jesus taught and did. He gives us wisdom when we are willing to pray and to listen. We have a lot of challenges and choices in life, but we can rely on God for strength and for discernment!

Song The best Book to read is the Bible

The best Book to read is the Bible

The best Book to read is the Bible

If you read it every day, it will help you on your way

Oh… The best Book to read is the Bible

The best Book to read is the Bible

The best Book to read is the Bible

If you read it once a year, it won’t help you much, I fear

Oh… The best Book to read is the Bible

INTRODUCTION

1 Kings 4: 29-34

29 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 He was wiser than anyone else… 32 He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. 33 He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 34 From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.

Of these three thousand proverbs, we know that they are not all listed here – but God in His infinite wisdom has given us what is useful for our lives.

What the book of Psalms is to prayer and devotional life – the book of Proverbs is to everyday life. Proverbs gives practical suggestions for effective living. This Book is NOT: How to become a Christian in 3 easy steps. HOWEVER, it is God’s way to live as members of His family.

READING Purpose and Theme

1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;

for understanding words of insight;

3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,

doing what is right and just and fair;

4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,

knowledge and discretion to the young—

5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,

and let the discerning get guidance—

6 for understanding proverbs and parables,

the sayings and riddles of the wise.

7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,

but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Psalm 19:7-10 & 14 (St Andrew?)

God’s law is perfect, and converts

The soul in sin that lies;

God’s testimony is most sure,

And makes the simple wise.

2 The statutes of the Lord are right,

And do rejoice the heart:

The Lord’s command is pure, and doth

Light to the eyes impart.

3 Unspotted is the fear of God,

And doth endure for ever:

The judgments of the Lord are true

And righteous altogether.

4 They more than gold, yea, much fine gold,

To be desirèd are:

Than honey, honey from the comb

That droppeth, sweeter far.

5 The words which from my mouth proceed,

The thoughts sent from my heart,

Accept, O Lord, for thou my strength

And my Redeemer art.

PRAYER

HYMN

1 Father, I know that all my life

is portioned out for me,

the changes that are sure to come

I do not fear to see;

I ask thee for a present mind

intent on pleasing thee.

2 I ask thee for a thoughtful love,

through constant watching wise,

to meet the glad with joyful smiles,

to wipe the weeping eyes;

a heart at leisure from itself,

to soothe and sympathize.

3 I ask thee for the daily strength

to none that ask denied;

a mind to blend with outward life,

while keeping at thy side;

content to fill a little space,

if thou be glorified.

4 I would not have the restless will

that hurries to and fro,

seeking for some great thing to do,

or secret thing to know;

I would be treated as a child,

and guided where I go.

5 Wherever in the world I am,

in whatsoe’er estate,

I have a fellowship with hearts

to keep and cultivate,

a work of lowly love to do

for him on whom I wait.

6 In service which thy will appoints

there are no bonds for me;

my inmost heart is taught the truth

that makes thy children free;

a life of self-renouncing love

is one of liberty.

SERMON – INTRODUCTION to PROVERBS

First Question: Who wrote the book?

Proverbs, like Psalms, names multiple individuals as the authors of its various sections. Solomon was uniquely qualified to serve as the principal author for this book of wise sayings. First Kings 3:5–9 recounts Solomon asking God for wisdom in his reign over Israel, a request God eventually granted (1 Kings 4:29–31). In fact, Solomon identified himself as the source of most of the book. His name appears at the beginning of three distinct sections—Proverbs 1:1, 10:1, and 25:1—covering almost all of the first twenty-nine chapters of the book.

A short section consisting of Proverbs 22:17–24:34 expresses “the words of the wise” (Proverbs 22:17), which Solomon may have compiled from various sources. Evidence that Solomon drew on multiple sources appears in Proverbs 24:23, where Solomon used the plural noun for “wise” (also translated sages) to describe the authors of this section. Also, due to the book’s similarities with Mesopotamian and Egyptian collections of proverbs such as “The Instruction of Amenemope,” it’s possible that God inspired Solomon to record this section based on wise sayings he had been exposed to throughout his life.1

The final two chapters identify Agur (30:1) and Lemuel (31:1) as their authors, though the identities of these men remain mysterious in history.

Where are we?

The composition of Proverbs remains one of the most difficult questions about the book. Its strong association with Solomon means most of its contents were completed prior to his death in 931 BC. Clearly the book stayed in the southern kingdom of Judah, as Hezekiah’s men compiled more of Solomon’s proverbs in Proverbs 25–29. This indicates that the book was likely in its final form sometime before the end of Hezekiah’s reign in 686 BC.

Why is Proverbs so important?

Proverbs accomplishes something no other biblical book does: it simply compiles numerous short instructions for living an effective life on earth. While other books articulate profound theological truths, lengthy narratives of triumph and failure, or prophetic preaching to a disobedient people, Proverbs concerns itself completely with instructing people in the path of wisdom. The writers of the book recognised the varied circumstances of a person’s life and provided principles to apply in a variety of situations rather than instructions to follow in only a few specific instances.

What’s the big idea?

Proverbs states its theme explicitly very early in the book: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). The fear of the Lord refers to our viewing Him with the respect He deserves. It means living our lives in light of what we know of Him, holding Him in the highest estimation, and depending on Him with humble trust. Only then, Proverbs teaches, will we discover knowledge and wisdom (see also 9:10).

In writing the Proverbs, Solomon hoped that his readers would attain practical righteousness in all things and that we would do this by living our lives under the authority and direction of God. He specifically explained the book’s purpose in 1:2–6, focusing on imparting understanding that would impact every facet of our lives. Much of the book emphasises listening to others so that we might learn from them and apply the combined knowledge of those who have gone before us—such as parents and elders—to the unique circumstances of our own lives (1:5, 8). Wisdom then involves appropriating a measure of humility, first before God and then before others. If instead, we decide to speak rashly rather than listen attentively . . . well, Proverbs deals with that too (12:15; 13:3).

How do I apply this?

Read it! Then live it! Proverbs contains some of the most applicable nuggets of truth in all of the Bible. Most of the proverbs are pithy statements brimming over with imagery from the real world. This approach allows us to see very clearly how any particular proverb might be applied to any number of everyday situations we encounter—from getting out of bed in the morning to building a strong foundation in our relationships with others. Proverbs reminds us that God concerns Himself not just with the big, cataclysmic events of life but even those mundane, “invisible” moments in our lives as well.

Are you following God, even in those seemingly “small” circumstances? Allow Proverbs to refocus your attention on all the hidden moments of your life.

Hymn Spirit of holiness

Spirit of holiness, wisdom and faithfulness,

wind of the Lord, blowing strongly and free:

strength of our serving and joy of our worshipping—

Spirit of God, bring your fulness to me!

1 You came to interpret and teach us effectively

all that the Saviour has spoken and done;

to glorify Jesus is all your activity—

promise and gift of the Father and Son:

Chorus

2 You came with your gifts to supply all our poverty,

pouring your love on the church in her need;

you came with your fruit for our growth to maturity,

richly refreshing the souls that you feed:

Chorus

3 You came to the world in its pride and futility,

warning of dangers, directing us home;

now with us and in us, we welcome your company;

Spirit of Christ, in his name you have come:

Chorus

Benediction

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