(If you are gathered in a group, you could begin with the following call and response.)
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts!
We lift them up to the Lord!
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give Him thanks and praise!
THE CALL | Matthew 16:24-26 [ESV]
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Lord, we think on the unjust wounds you suffered at the hands of evil men. Like plowers making long their furrows (Psalm 129:3), they afflicted you with scars. That you, the Son of God, suffered such wounds is awful enough, but what is worse is they were brought about by our willful wrongs. Forgive us, Lord, of our sins that required such a payment. And yet you took this payment on willingly – what a humbling thought. You suffered this affliction from your foes that you might triumph over them (Psalm 129:2), not for your own sake, but for the sake of your people. We praise you that our adversary, and even death, will soon wither like the grass on the housetop (Psalm 129:6), and that, in you, they will not prevail over us.
ASSURANCE | Isaiah 53:2-3,5 [ESV]
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
Day 55: Psalm 87
“Indeed, of Zion it will be said, ‘This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High will establish her.’ The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: ‘This one was born in Zion.’”
At this very moment, there are hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Ukraine—and Russia—in hopes of crossing a border and entering a safer and more secure country. Imagine being one of those people. You left in a panic with just your proverbial shirt on your back. You arrive at your new country and the immigration officer asks you for your passport. In your haste to leave, you left your passport behind. Your heart sinks. But then you hear the officer say, “Don’t worry. We’ll treat you like you were born here. Welcome!”
Psalm 87 is a Zion psalm, and this psalm sets before us the place that every human ought most deeply to want to belong to. Zion is God’s glorious, impregnable city that is fulfilled in the church of Jesus Christ, and ultimately in the New Jerusalem. The central theme of this psalm is that outsiders will be given citizenship, better yet, an honorary birth certificate, to gain entry and enjoy all the privileges that a natural born citizen would have. These new birth certificates will be written personally by the covenanting God even for the most unsuspecting people: people from enemy nations, such as Egypt (nicknamed ‘Rahab’, the sea monster) and Babylon. And, from the safety of their new country, these new citizens will shout ‘All my fountains are in you!’
What a beautiful picture of the universal church that Christ himself is gathering, even now! Remember that we gather together to worship, we are united with our fellow citizens all around the world (Heb. 12:22). And one daywe will meet with our fellow citizens in the New Heavens with new birth certificates in hand, and what a day that will be!
Praying Psalm 129:1-2
This week, we will use Psalm 129 as a prayer template that we move through progressively each day.
“‘Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth’
let Israel now say.
‘Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth,
yet they have not prevailed against me.’” (Psalm 129:1-2)
How do you see the Church afflicted and persecuted? Let this verse lead you into a time of lament for the persecuted church. Pray that God would cause his Church to prevail.
I believe in the God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary;
suffered under Pontius Pilate;
was crucified, dead, and buried;
he descended into hell;
the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the resurrection of the dead;
and the life everlasting. Amen.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 [ESV]
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
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.