SERMON BY THE REVEREND AMOS GEORGE MCCARTHY
Pastor, Newton First, Newton East Side, & Walton U.M.C
Sixth Sunday After Pentecost, 9th July 2017
Title: “Marvels in the House of God!”
Text: Genesis 28: 16-17
“16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place: and I knew it not. 17. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
I am grateful to God first for another chance to minister His word. I am privileged to be His child. God bless you all.
Every Sunday, Christians gathered in their various places of worship to be in the presence of God. On this Second Sunday of July, we gathered here in this unique place of worship to render praise, to give thanks, make supplications or request, in the presence of God. As we gather here, I want us to reflect on the essence of congregating in the presence of God and the many wonders that can be experience in the house of the Lord. Are we here for God’s favor? To receive healing for a specific illness? To make a vows? To praise His holy Name? To give thanks? If there is any obvious reason at all for coming into the house of God, What is it one wish to glean from this experience? Let us reflect for a moment on what could possibly take place, when one comes to the house of God, the sanctuary of God, the chapel of God. Whatever the urge that drives us to the house of God, God is always here to meet us at the point of our need and show us His wonders. I want to accentuate the fact that no one ever leaves the house of God the same. If there is any time a person enters God’s presence, or in His sanctuary, broken, hurt, lonely, feels neglected, and leaves the same, there is something wrong not with God, but the person. Or if there is anytime a person comes to the house of God happy, joyous, grateful, and leaves broken, then there is something wrong with person. No wonder the Psalmist asserted in Psalms 84:10, that he would prefer to be a door keeper in the house of the Lord, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. I want to share with you this morning on the theme: “Marvels in the House of God.”
The passage of Scriptures read points to a time when Jacob a descendant of Abraham experienced God’s presence while at sleep. God met him at the place he tarried that night. When Jacob grasped the reality of the events in his dream, he concluded that God was present in the place. He reason that that place was the house of God: A place where God meets His people; and a place where God’s people have access to Him. Like Jacob, God met his forefathers before him and after him in peculiar places. Even the Psalter in verse 16 of Psalm 73 cried that everything outside is oppressive, ”…till he enters the sanctuary of God.” What really occurs in the sanctuary of God? At the end of that chapter, the Psalmist informs us that he would always want to be near God and tell of all His deeds. WOW!!
Jesus makes mention of Jacob’s meeting God in the latter part of John Gospel. What are the wonders of meeting God in His House?
The House of God Is Where Heaven Meets Earth
In verse 12 of the passage read, Jacob dreams of a ladder with angels ascending and descending. Verse 13 informs us that the Lord stood above the ladder and makes His presence known, “I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac:” Talking about wonders in God’s House, it is important to first state that in the house of God, God makes His presence felt. There are many similar instances in scriptures(Old and New Testament) that God has made His presence felt in His House. In 2 Chronicles chapter seven verses 1-3, Solomon completed prayers. The record tells us that immediately he finished, fire consumed the burnt offerings and God’s Splendor filled the the House of God. The glory of the Lord filled the place. In the second chapter of the book of Acts, when the believers gathered to pray, the Holy Spirit came upon them. The presence of God was felt and many wonders were wrought: the believers spoke in tongues. What I want you to know is that in the house of God, God reveals himself to everyone regardless of our economic or social status, our race, gender, or creed, righteous or sinful. In the House of God there gossipers, back bitings, fornicators, adulterers, and all kinds of flaws. Like us, Jacob was with flaws when it came to his family: He store his brother’s birthright. He was flawed. But in the house of God, God made His presence felt to Jacob. He said, I am God. Isn’t that a marvel? When Isaiah met God in the temple in chapter 6 of Isaiah, Isaiah acknowledged his sinfulness, “Woe is me for I am a man of sinful lips.” But God still assured Isaiah that he was useful. God ask for someone to send. Isaiah said, “Here I am Lord, sent Me!” The weeping prophet Jeremiah made excuses to God that he was too young. But God told Jeremiah that even before He was born he God already knew him and set him apart to be a prophet (Jeremiah 1:4-9) God will always make His presence felt. God will display His glory through His presence when He used weak men to carry out His purpose. In the process, God will rekindle our hope.
The House of God Rekindles our Hope.
Each time one comes into the house of God, into God’s presence, one comes with an intention or an expectation, or an obligation. That intention could be to offer to God praise, to ask for favor from God. One comes into the house of God to expect a miracle, a healing, a revelation. Also, a person could come to the house of God with an obligation or a duty to pray, to worship, to give, or to sing a joyous song. In the passage, Jacob had come to this place with anticipation of a rest to continue the journey to find himself a wife. Jacob was filled with uncertainty. But Jacob met God at an uncertain time and experienced God’s wonder. In 1 Samuel 1-2, the story is told of Hannah, the wife of Elkanah. She was barren. In Jewish culture, children were a blessing. Hannah had no children and was a subject of ridicule of Elkanah’s wife Peninnah, who despised Hannah out of jealousy. Hannah in her grief, hurt, bareness, and hopelessness, Hannah decided to meet God in His House to put forth her petition. This is often the case with most of us, we come to God with hopes. Perhaps it is hope to repair a broken marriage, pray for a troubled teenage son or daughter, hope to alleviate our financial crisis(credit card debts, student loan, or mounting bills), hope for God to heal us or a relative or friend from an illness. I want you to understand that God always has a wonder, when you come to the house of God with these hopes: God gives the ASSURANCE THAT REKINDLES YOUR HOPE. God assured Jacob and rekindles his hope. In Genesis 28 verse 12 through 14, God rekindles Jacob’s hope in a time of uncertainty that He would bless him.
In the House of God, there Is Assurance of God’s Providence.
God assures Jacob of His providence and tells Jacob, “And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all the places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” God is Jehovah Jireh, a God who provides for us in due time. Often time we come to the house of God bitter, despondent, hurt, broken in spirit, suicidal, unforgiven. We come to the house of God like that because the world can be an unkind place where our very own abuse us or rejects us. In other instances we come to the house of God needy of many things. We come with the need for a child, the ability to speak, needy of love and a sense of belonging, or needy of financial breakthroughs. We come running into God’s House and God’s presence because that’s the right thing to do. Jacob needed hope and comfort in a time of uncertainty. Hannah came because of the unkindness of a marital mate, public ridicule, the hurt and shame of not having a child. There are times when our coming will be met
with scorn or rejection from the very people or leaders in the house of God. Hannah faced false accusation of “praying under the influence” in the house of God. A place where she had ran for refuge. Isn’t it sad to see Hannah in all her anguish and hurt being ridicule in the house of God. Church, the world would be unkind to us even the very place of worship. I urge you all that when you feel down and out, overwhelmed by the harsh realities of life, open your hearts to Jehovah and speak freely to the Hearer of Prayers(Psalm 65:2), Jehovah Jireh. Jehovah Jireh will make provision for you right here in His house. Jacob was present in God’s House and God assured him of His providence: That He will be with Jacob and never leaves Him.
I do not know about you, but there is never a time in my life that I have gone in the presence of God in His House and made a request, and God did not answer me. During the heights of my country civil war, I had a gun pointed at me and asked to step six feet back by a rebel soldiers so that he end my life and sent me back to my creator, God made provision and my life was saved. When I didn’t have a dime to my name to pursue graduate degree, God made His provision in full scholarship and I got a masters of divinity degree. When my mother died, I didn’t have a dime to bury her, but God made provision.
God’s provisions are countless. Let not come to the house of worship and linger in His house, in God’s presence, going through the act of worshipping God, and yet holding doubts and bitterness in our hearts. Lets us enter into God’s house with thanksgiving, ready to be blessed. Like Jacob, God will meet us here on earth in His House. God will rekindle our hopes, and Jehovah Jireh our Great Provider will make provisions for Us.
God bless you all.