worshipmatters.com
A Corporate Confession on Grumbling - Worship Matters
Photo by Ismael Paramo on Unsplash My church is currently 25 sermons into a series on Exodus. It’s been amazing. Each week we’ve been reminded what a mighty deliverer God is for his people. No situation, however dire, comes close to challenging his ability to rescue. Enslaved by the most powerful ruler in the world? No problem. Fearing the angel of death? Just put some blood on your doorpost. Trapped between an approaching army and a shoreline? Watch God work. Uncertain about what path to take? God’s got a cloud and a pillar of fire. Every step of the way God’s people saw that God was powerful, caring, and faithful. That is, until the end of Exodus 15, when the Israelites arrived at a place called Marah, or “bitter.” The only water they found was undrinkable. And they assumed God had met his match. So rather than trusting in God’s steadfast love and waiting on the Lord to provide for them, The people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” (Ex. 15:24) Are you kidding me? Were they sleeping up to that point? Were they deaf, dumb, and blind to God’s mercy? Hadn’t they seen God take care of their every need? Apparently not. Just Like Us As my pastor C.J. preached this passage, he pointed out how much like the Israelites we can be. Evidence of God’s lavish faithfulness and mercy abounds in our lives, but we fail to notice. We withhold trust in God pending evidence from God. Instead of realizing that God tests us to show us what we’ve learned (or not), we assume difficulties prove God doesn’t care. Rather than seeing God is testing us, we test him. As I experienced conviction that morning, it struck me that most of the church probably felt something similar. That’s when I thought about writing a corporate confession for the following week. I typically build the first half of a Sunday liturgy around what we heard the previous week. Our tendency to complain was a lesson that was too important to hear about one Sunday and then move on. So the following week, the call to worship was Lamentations 3:22-23: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. We then sang Our Song From Age to Age, which speaks of God’s faithfulness, and A Christian’s Daily Prayer, a song that reminds us of our dependence on God. Acknowledging Sin Together At that point, one of our pastors, Jeff Purswell, introduced and led us in a time of confession. Here’s what we said together: Father, we gladly acknowledge That you are the giver of every good and perfect gift. When you open your hand, You satisfy the desire of every living thing. You are righteous in all Your ways and kind in all Your works. But too often we fail to acknowledge your abundant goodness, Lavish generosity, and loving faithfulness. Instead of being grateful, we grumble. Instead of thanking you, we test you. We confess we have sinned in all our complaining and selfishness. Jesus, thank you that your entire life on earth was one of gratefulness.Thank you for bearing our sins, Receiving our punishment on the cross, And paying the debt we owed to a holy God.Because of you, we can now walk in forgiveness and freedom. Holy Spirit, enable us by your power to live lives of thanksgiving.May we be humbled by all the riches we’ve received in Christ.And may our lives be increasingly marked By trust, awe, and gratefulness for the mercy we’ve received. We pray in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. What’s the Purpose We use a confession like this about twice a year. As I’m writing this, I’m motivated to do it more often. In Psalm 32, God details numerous ways confession serves our souls. We …