THE CALL | Daniel 3:17b–18 [ESV]
"Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Father, we long to have the courage to worship you in the face of danger, neglect, or public shame, but we confess that we often fall short. Our small daily compromises corrode the foundation of our faith and when trials come, we crumble. Teach us to trust you even when we do not face the fire furnace, and in doing so, lead us to greater trust and confidence in you. Teach us to recognize your presence with us in any circumstance.
ASSURANCE | Isaiah 41:10 [ESV]
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
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.
Read Psalm 42 & 43
"Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!" (Ps 43:3)
When my children were young, I was eager to take them on camping trips. Perhaps I was "over-eager." Sometimes I planned hikes that were too long and I ended up carrying not only the backpacks but a child as well. When they reached the end of their strength, I would hoist them up and carry them home. While, I needed to learn how to tailor the hike to the strength of little legs, I never minded carrying them. It was just a joy to share those moments with family. Now that I am older, I often look to the Lord to perform this same feat for me. These two psalms have helped me learn to ask God to carry me home when my strength has failed.
Psalms 42 and 43 both speak to the weariness that can accompany periods of discouragement. They both containing the refrain, "Why are you downcast, oh my soul?" They are examples of "self talk" where the psalmist explores his emotions and essentially counsels himself in the midst of a discouraging time. From these psalms we learn that expressing your discouragement and longing is part of healthy spirituality. The psalmist includes these feelings in this prayer. This can help give words to say in prayer when we feel this way. But the part that I find most helpful is found in Psalm 43:3 where the prayer asks God to intervene and do three things. "Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me."
When the darkness seems to overwhelm us and when our soul seems "downcast", we often feel like we can't go any further. We need more than guidance or strength. We need God to come and get us. That is what this prayer asks God to do. "Send you light...lead me... bring me." It's like the psalmist is asking God to carry him home. And because God gave us these words to say in our prayers, through the inspired Scripture, we can be confident that he not only wants us to ask, but we delights to carry us home.
Optional Meditation: Psalm 124 | Responsorial Chant [demo recording] [chant setting pdf]
If we could tour history and listen to how God's people have sung the Psalms throughout the centuries, it would probably sound like chant to our ears. Common meter and western melodic structures did not exist for most of human history. While our hearts engage more naturally with western sounds, chanting the Psalms can still be an excellent way to let God's Word minister to you. There are many modern forms of chant, but here is an example of Responsorial Chant, where the cantor (chanter) uses a tone to sing through the bulk of the text. The refrain is sung by the congregation as a way of reflecting and responding to the Psalm text. The red dots signify to the cantor where to go to the next tone phrase. There are many chant resources if you want to investigate more, or you can create your own chant tone as well!
THURSDAY-MEMORIZE | Psalm 124
- Spend time memorizing the words of the Psalm as best you can -
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,
Isaiah 40:31 [ESV]
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint
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.