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 46
2nd Reading: Psalm 47
(Psalm 46:1-2) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,”
Throughout modern science fiction and fantasy, shields and fortresses are often found to protect the characters in the story. Throughout the many Star Trek shows and movies, the phrase “Shields at so and so percent!” are an Ensign’s countdown to almost certain doom. In many fantasy stories, castles or other man made stone structures are used as fortresses. Who could forget the spectacular Battle of Helm’s Deep that takes place in Peter Jackson’s Two Towers movie. But what do these shields and fortresses have in common? They all have weaknesses. Whether it be the electronic shield generator on the planet of Hoth (just sitting there, waiting to be blown up), or the drainage gate at the base of Helm’s Deep’s wall (also just sitting there, waiting to be blown up) these fictitious shields and fortresses have debilitating weaknesses.
Here in Psalm 46, we see that God is our refuge and strength. Not just sometimes, but continually. He’s a very present help, or as some translations put it, an “ever-present help.” Unlike the fictitious shields of Star Trek that seem to fail when they are needed most, God’s protection is continual and never fails. To emphasize this point, the authors of this psalm state that they “will not fear though the earth gives way!” What a striking image! And what’s even more amazing is the history behind these authors.
Quick history lesson: In Numbers 16 we read of a rebellion against God’s ordained servants, Moses and Aaron. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, ganged up and complained that Moses and Aaron, God’s appointed leaders, should not be leading the people of Israel. After a series of tests and calls to repentance, God ends up destroying these three men by having the earth open up and swallow them alive. At first it seems like this was the end of the line of Korah, but we can read in Numbers 26:11 “But the sons of Korah did not die.” God saved the Sons of Korah despite the rebellious sin that Korah himself committed. The descendents of these sons went on to write this psalm about God’s protection. What more gripping protection can they recall than from their own family history! They were protected by God from the earth giving way.
The description of the city of God in verse 4-5 causes this psalm to be referred to as a Zion Psalm. Though Zion is not mentioned by name, this “holy habitation” can certainly be interpreted as Zion, the heavenly city. God has promised in Revelation that he will come to judge the nations and that he will call his own to live in the eternal city where God is the source of light. This is all only possible because of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. He did not perish as a punishment for his own sins, as Korah, Dathan, and Abiram perished. He died for our sins so that we can live with Him. And on that day that he died, “the earth shook, and the rocks were split. (Matt 27:51b). Yet, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (David Bacon)
- Psalm 125 [recording] [sheet music]
MONDAY-LECTIO DIVINA | Psalm 125
We memorize things we value. The brain has an incredible ability to remove information that we don’t need. As we make an effort to memorize the Psalms, the beginning of each week seeks to establish the value of God's Word in our hearts before we view it as information to be remembered. Read more about the Lectio Divina HERE.
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.
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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.