THE CALL | John 15:4-5 [ESV]
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Lord Jesus, you have called us to abide in you, but we confess that we are prone to wander astray. We could be fruitful branches, but instead we walk proudly in our own ways and wither. Forgive us for our wandering hearts and take and seal them for your courts above. Thank you that you are the true blessed man who walked in the way of righteousness (Psalm 128:1), even the way that led to the Cross. May we the Church, your beloved Bride, not wither, but be like fruitful branches of your vine, and may her spiritual children be many, like olive shoots around the table you have prepared for us (Psalm 128:3).
ASSURANCE | Isaiah 53:10-11 [ESV]
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
SING: Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father
And to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
As it was in the beginning
Is now and ever shall be world without end
Read: Psalm 82
2nd Reading: Psalm 81
(Psalm 82:8) "Arise, O God, judge the earth;"
Psalm 82 the basis for a song that we sing often in church. The song takes a posture that is typical of the Bible, but often quite foreign to our modern ears. We ask God, "How long until your justice reigns?"
I am writing this devotional after a week of war in Ukraine. It is hard breaking to watch cities shelled as people flee for refuge. After initial indifference, the world community was inspired by the Ukranian courage and respond with public outcry and economic sanctions. But I suspect that the heavy shelling of the last two days is a sign that Putin will not be easily dissuaded. Unlike many situations that we are familiar with, a public outcry will not sway the appetite of a brutal dictator who can control the local news and jail dissidents. I imagine that as this reality begins to sink in, many of us will feel a renewed sense of powerlessness.
Psalm 82 reminds us that God has entrusted certain individuals with outsized power. They are given the responsibility of judging others, and it seems that the psalmist describes them as (lower case) "gods (v.6)." They are "gods" that will die (v.7), but they have the ability to really affect other people. This is a reality of our world. Like it or not, everyone does not have the same influence. Sometimes, a singular dictator with cruel intentions can wreak havoc on millions. And it is very hard to stop them.
This psalm (like many others) directs our attention back God's judgment. He is the judge above all, and one day he will bring perfect justice. We should strive to pursue justice on earth, as much as it is in our power (v.3-4.) But there are limits to that justice, here and now. We look with hope to the return of Christ and the final judgment. Evildoers will get what they deserve. Those who cling to God for help with be finally vindicated. This attitude allows us to walk through the pain of this evil world without being consumed by it. God will have the last word. Arise, O God and judge the earth!
THURSDAY-MEMORIZE | Psalm 128
- 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,
Revelation 7:9-10 [ESV]
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
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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.