Sermon by Pastor Josh Van Leeuwen
Introduction by Phyllis Yearick
In the summer of 1970, Stevie Wonder released a song that would spend six weeks at number one on the R&B charts: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.” On a TV show in 2008, Wonder credited the song title and chorus to his mother, Lula, who exclaimed the words after listening to her son experimenting with the melody. Although the song wasn’t intended as a spiritual hymn, some of its words ring true for the Israelites in Nehemiah’s account in scripture and for us: “I’ve done a lot of foolish things that I didn’t really mean; You got my future in your hands; I could be a broken man, but signed, sealed, delivered I’m yours.”
Nehemiah relates in the previous passage how the Hebrew people confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They were specific about their failures and their deliberate transgressions, all the foolish things that they sometimes didn’t mean and sometimes did, and they acknowledged that their current state was directly correlated to their disobedience. Now, under the leadership of Ezra the priest, they were prepared to make a covenant with God, a binding agreement, which would be witnessed by the Levites and priests, who would affix their official seals to it. Humbly grateful for God’s faithfulness to them, the Israelites renewed their pledge to be faithful to the God who had over and over again rescued and redeemed them. Signed, sealed, and delivered, they were his.
As sinners ourselves, we could be broken people if we choose to remain in our sin. But if we confess our sins and return to God, he will rescue and redeem us through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Faithful and full of mercy and grace, he will give us a fresh start. When we invite Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and savior, we are forever sealed against the intrusion of the enemy. No matter what, we are God’s. However hard we try to be good people, we will fail, we will disobey, and we will fall short of his perfection and holiness, but we can never drive him away. He has our future in his hands. Signed, sealed, delivered, we are his.
You are welcome at Westview Church! Join us this Sunday morning for worship at 9:30. (Discovery Hour is on summer break but will return soon; Children’s Worship is offered during the service for those age four through second grade, and nursery care is available for littlest ones.)