March 7, 2018
Out of Egypt: Through the Water
How does one escape from a bad situation? Where does one turn when surrounded by brutality, slavery, and death? We desire to flee, to find refuge. We need to begin a journey that will set us free, but the result of our efforts is nothing more than going in circles. We seek freedom; we receive greater slavery. We journey toward light; we end up in deeper darkness. How do we escape? It is God who leads us on the journey out of this slavery to sin and death. Where does He take us? To the water—to the banks of the Red Sea, or the River Jordan, or to the baptismal font; here, we are set free. The bondage of sin and death, the claws of Satan, no longer hold us, for we have been through the water. These are the waters of death for our enemies, and they are the waters of life for us. The enemy of our old Adam is drowned in these waters, but the New Adam comes through to new life. We have been rescued from the enemy by the waters and made the children of God.
Vespers normally does not have an opening hymn. After the bells ring, we begin with the Opening Versicles.
1Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
2sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
3Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
4All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name.”
5Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
6He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
7who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves.
8Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
10For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
13I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will perform my vows to you,
14that which my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats.
16Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
17I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
18If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20Blesséd be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!
We Are Exiles from the Garden
© 2017 Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission.
Old Testament Reading
13And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
15The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
19Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, 20coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.
21Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24And in the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, 25clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”
26Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” 27So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the Lord threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. 28The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained. 29But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
30Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.
12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15As it is said,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
16For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
1Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Because standing for the reading of the Gospel has historically been connected with the presence of Christ in the Eucharist (Holy Communion), the traditional rubric for the Vespers is to remain seated during all of the readings, even those from the Gospels.
9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opening and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
12The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
(Click on link above to hear the sermon.)
The Offering, gathered at the entrace to the service, is now presented to the Lord.
C Our Father who art in heaven,
Thy kingdom come,
Collect of the Day
P O Almighty God, our Redeemer, be with us when we pass through the waters and walk through fire, that we may be brought to the place of Your ultimate goodness and eternal gifts; for You are one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever.
P Father and Lord of life, even as the parents of Moses refused to throw their baby boy into the drowning waters of the Nile River, and even as they refused to obey the false gods and authorities of their time, give courage to us and all people in our time to protect the lives of all babies, both those outside their mothers’ wombs, and those on the inside; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
P O God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, just as You equipped Moses for the task of leading Your people out of slavery and into freedom, so use the stammering and bumbling words and efforts of pastors to bring the liberating news of Jesus to all; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.
P Lord God, our Deliverer, You have brought us through the waters of Baptism as on dry ground; grant that we, who have risen with Christ to walk in newness of life may bring glory to Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Collect for Peace
L O God, from whom come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works, give to us, Your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey Your commandments and also that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It
© 1991 Robert E. Voelker. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License .NET, no. 100011256.
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Created by Lutheran Service Builder © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.