Waiting for the Morning of Christ’s Resurrection
At Jesus’ death on the Cross, the disciples wondered and doubted how this could have been part of God’s plan of salvation. While Jesus rested in the tomb, they anxiously awaited some answer from God. Finally, at the dawn of the third day, God proved himself faithful when Christ was raised from the dead. Consider spending some time, either Saturday night or Sunday morning, reflecting on God’s promised salvation (such as Ezekiel 36:22-38), as we prepare for Sunday morning service. Prepare your heart for Sunday to be eager to come to worship and celebrate God’s faithfulness, the culmination of which is Christ’s Resurrection, which we celebrate each Sunday when we gather. When you rise from your time of prayer, you could end with Simeon’s praise in Luke 2:
Luke 2:29-32 [ESV] (The Song of Simeon)
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
Day #66 “Bless the Lord, O My Soul!”
First reading - Psalm 103
Second reading - Psalm 104
So a cursory reading of these two psalms leads an attentive reader to see an evident connection in both the openings and closing of each psalm: “Bless the Lord, O my soul” (Psalm 103:1 and 104:1, 103:22c and 104:35b) is the refrain. In between those bookended calls we have two different emphases, however. Psalm 103, which is ascribed to David (the second and last Davidic psalm in Book Four of the psalter, Psalms 90-106), celebrates the Lord’s work of redemption, praising God for “all His benefits”(v.2): forgiveness of sins, healing, redemption and provision. The rest of the psalm fleshes out these benefits with rich description of the Lord’s character and man’s finite and fallen nature. The lens of the psalm grows ever wider, from the psalmist himself (v1) to the angels and “all his works” (v. 20-22).
Psalm 104, on the other hand, is a celebration primarily of the Lord’s work of creation and providence. The poetry is beautiful and exalted (spoken as one who is largely not given to read or enjoy poetry) as it recounts the power of the Creator and his sovereignty over the Flood (v.6-9) and His care for His creation (v.10-30). We sing a paraphrase of this psalm in our corporate worship at CRPC with Wendell Kimbrough’s “O Rejoice in All Your Works”. The psalm
ends with the psalmist’s testimony and warning (v.33-35).
The more I read the psalter, the more I am convinced of the thoughtful and deliberate human editing of the psalter, under the ultimate guidance of the Holy Spirit, by which we can see connections between selections (like the “Bless the Lord, O My Soul” refrain mentioned above) and a movement of thought through the entire book. Such an approach to reading these psalms, advocated by OT scholar Gordon Wenham in chapter 3 of his book “The Psalter
Reclaimed” , is termed “canonical reading”, and is a fascinating alternative to reading the psalms as “individual poems or worship songs and pay little attention to the collection as a whole and to its arrangement”. Check it out if you find these concepts intriguing.
May our souls indeed bless the Lord as we encounter His beauty in all His works! (Jim Partridge)
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.