THE CALL | Matthew 5:10–12 [ESV]
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The way that leads to life is narrow and hard, but we love the easy road. We wander from your presence and we seek the crooked paths of the wicked. Turn our eyes to you and to your kingdom; let us see you as our ultimate good and teach us to bear the reproach of others. Plant our feet in your presence, where we will abide forever. Amen.
ASSURANCE | Isaiah 54:10 [ESV]
For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
SING | Doxology [sheet music]
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen
Read Psalm 50
2nd Reading: Romans 1:18 - 2:11
(Psalm 50:6) “The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge!”
Are you a fan of television procedurals? For those who aren’t familiar, procedurals are the genre of television show where the protagonists are meant to solve a crime (most often murder) and make sure the guilty party is identified by the end of the 45 minute show. Law and Order, NCIS, CSI, Bones, and yes Psych, all fall into this genre. These shows value the American justice system and exude the premise that crime doesn’t pay.
But what about real life? Are guilty parties always identified? When they are, do the victims get the justice they deserve? I think one reason these shows are so popular is because humans crave justice. When someone is wronged, they desperately desire the guilty to be punished; swiftly and severely. This is not something that just adults desire, but can be clearly seen in children when they cry out for justice when they have been injured, insulted, or emotionally traumatized.
This psalm, the first of the Psalms of Asaph, points us to “The Mighty One, God the LORD” and the justice that he will bring upon the world. Unlike how we may desire, though, he first calls his people, the chosen ones of Israel, to be judged first. He calls the Israelites as His “faithful ones” (vs 5) but it is not their faithfulness that he addresses in the next section. In verses 7 - 15 he admonishes His people because they have not shown God thanksgiving. Yes, they have been faithful to offer the proper sacrifices for their sins, but God desires so much more than this. He desires us to give of our whole selves; our thoughts and our attitudes should be ones of worship towards Him. The cattle on a thousand hills are already God’s. He wants our hearts that we have kept to ourselves.
The next section, verses 16-21, displays God’s judgment on the wicked. The psalmist describes the injustices that God sees. Thievery, adultery, deceit, malice, and slander are all listed here. God despises these sins, yet we can see that even his judgment is held back. Verse 21 says, “These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself.” Sometimes our world can view God’s silence and long suffering with the wicked to be a sign of approval. But just as the “iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16) in the time of Abram, God is waiting to punish the wicked in the present time as well. And with the description of His coming with “a devouring fire,” and “a mighty tempest,” He is not one to be trifled with. He will bring justice.
So, as you go about your day, afternoon, or night, think of ways that you can bring your thanksgiving to God. This is what God desires of us today. This isn’t to say that he doesn’t desire righteousness and upright living, but that he desires more than just us going through the motions. He desires a relationship and communion with us. He wants your prayers, your energy, and your heart. Thank Him today for the righteous judgment that He will bring, and for the gift of salvation that allows us to come before him with Christ’s righteousness.
- Psalm 125 [recording] [sheet music]
WEDNESDAY-CONTEXTUALIZE | Psalm 125
Consider ways that you can let the Psalm form your imagination, that you might share it with others. Perhaps you can journal about it, write poetry or prose, learn a song, create visual art, or reexpress it in ways that speak to your context. If you are planning to fellowship with other people this weekend, consider how you might share these imaginations with your community.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.
City Reformed Presbyterian Church
The 90 Days project is a collaborative effort of many church leaders. Matt Koerber and Daniel Snoke have taken lead roles, with others helping to write daily devotionals.