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 49
2nd Reading: Psalm 48
(Psalm 49:15) “But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.”
Do you ever feel that this life is unfair? Do you see injustices around you? Do you ever wonder if God will punish sinners? This psalm has answers for us and we can see two wonderful Gospel gems at the heart of this psalm.
First, this psalm addresses who the audience should be. The writer is very clear that this psalm is for the whole world to listen to. “Hear this, all peoples! Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,” (Ps 49:1). The words in this psalm are so important that everyone should heed them. This psalm is for the rich and poor to find wisdom (verses 2-3). In mentioning the rich and poor, the psalm writer also gives a hint as to where they are going next.
Why should I fear those who cheat me (verse 5)? This could be interpreted a few ways. It might be referring to those who cheat us out of happiness, or out of safety. Other psalms address these injustices. But this time, the focus is on those who cheat us out of our money. Verse 6 clues us into this; “those who trust in their riches.” Is that a fear that you struggle with? Fearing that the rich will cheat you out of money? It certainly happens frequently in this life. Why then should we not fear the schemes of the rich?
Before we continue looking at why we should not fear the rich, we get to the first gospel gem I mentioned earlier. See verses 7-9. “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life.” As Christians one of the fundamental truths we cling to is that no good deed, or riches, or power that any human could ever obtain can save their soul from the judgment to come. The Westminster Confession, Chapter XVI puts it this way, “We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God...” If we cannot save even ourselves with our own abilities, how much less can we save others from their own sin? “For the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice.” (Verse 8). This is why we need a savior. Death is coming for us all, and we are unable to save ourselves or others from it.
So, even the rich will die and “leave their wealth to others” (Vs 10). It has been said that death is the great equalizer. This is the fact that the psalmist now fleshes out. All will die. No one can escape death. Vs 14 goes so far as to say that “Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; death shall be their shepherd.” What a striking image, death is personified here as the foolish person’s caretaker! So, if death is coming for us all, why is this a hope for us to cling to?
Another gospel gem is found in verse 15. The psalmist doesn’t put stock in how poor they are, or how wise they are to save them from death; it is God alone who saves them. “But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.” The Old Testament believers knew that they could not save themselves. The sacrifices and prayers that they prayed at the tabernacle were not works that saved them, but pointed them to the ultimate sacrifice that was to come. God himself would come down as a man and save us all from our sins. Throughout the New Testament we can read over and over again that it is not our good works, but our faith in Christ alone that saves us from the power of death.
The final verse of this psalm lays the mic-dropping smackdown with this simile, “Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.” This was also similarly stated in verse 12. We need to hold fast to the wisdom from above, God’s wisdom, and the salvation that He offers freely. Otherwise our life is as meaningless as an animal that is slain on the side of the road. (David Bacon)
- Psalm 125 [recording] [sheet music]
TUESDAY-READ | Psalm 125
Spend time understanding and memorizing the outline of the Psalm, taking special note of the flow or transition points. If you are in a group, discuss the main themes and emphasis together.
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.