Year B – Proper 17 – Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9

To the leader: according to Lilies. Of the Korahites.  A Maskil.  A love song.

1 My heart overflows with a goodly theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
2 You are the most handsome of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you for ever.

6 Your throne, O God,* endures for ever and ever.
Your royal sceptre is a sceptre of equity;
7 you love righteousness and hate wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honour;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

Summary Psalm 45 is a “love song”—a song of exultant admiration—addressed to a Davidic king.  But which Davidic king?  The only one whose majesty might be described as this psalm describes it is Solomon; however, we know that the king admired in this psalm must not be Solomon for several reasons—for instance, the king admired in this psalm is a warrior (v.4-5), and Solomon was not.  No, the one admired in this psalm is not only a Davidic king, but God, and His throne endures for ever and ever (v.6).  The psalm simply does not make sense unless it refers to Jesus. 

Insight A surprising portion of psalm 45 is spent, not on the King, but on His bride (v.9-16).  This is certainly the Church.  But why would so much of this psalm be devoted to the beauty of the bride (v. 9, 13-14)?  Isn’t that a distraction from the King?  No, we think that only because our culture practices and promotes bride-centered weddings, whereas the weddings of the ancient Near East—the weddings of the Bible—were radically groom-centered.  The bride’s beauty glorified, not herself, but her husband.  To marry a woman was to crown your head (Prov. 12:4).  So, in psalm 45, praising the beauty of the bride is just another way of praising the King. 

Child Catechism
Q:  For how long does King Jesus’ throne endure?
A:  For ever and ever.

DiscussionIf the king in psalm 45 is Jesus, and the bride is the Church, then what is the bride’s beauty?  In what sense is the Church beautiful for her Husband?  How do you contribute to that beauty which crowns King Jesus?

Prayer King Jesus, Your throne endures for ever and ever.  Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity; You love righteousness and hate wickedness.  Therefore, God, Your God has anointed you with the oil of gladness.  Your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.  From ivory palaces, stringed instrument make You glad.  Grant we who stand at Your right hand—Your Church: Your Bride—might crown Your glory with the beauty of holiness.  AMEN.

Contributed by Scott Cline

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Year B – Proper 17 – The Day is Past and Gone

The Day is Past and Gone is beautiful traditional song. It is set as an “evening hymn” which is usually a kind of prayer for safety through the night, remembering that the “night of death draws near.” Even so, “may we in thy bosom rest, Thy bosom of thy love.”

The author was a Baptist Pastor named John Leland (1754-1841). Note the dates of his ministry in the midst of important times for America. In the autumn of 1774, he united with the Bellingham Baptist church, from which he received a license to preach. In October, 1775, he went to Virginia, where he was ordained. By the end of his life he had preached more than 3000 sermons and baptized more than 1352 people!

This hymn made its way into the hearts of many people. A woman in Vicksburg, Miss.recorded this in a diary kept during the siege of Vicksburg (June 5, 1863) when [Yankee] cannon fire struck her house. “The candles were useless in the dense smoke, and it was many minutes before we could see. . . I think this house, so large and prominent from the river, is perhaps taken for headquarters, and specially shelled. As we descend at night to the lower regions, I think of the evening hymn that grandmother taught me when a child: ‘Lord, keep us safe this night,  Secure from all our fears;  May angels guard us while we sleep,  Till morning light appears.'”

The day is past and gone
The evening shade appears
Oh, may we all remember well
The night of death draws near

We’ll lay our garments by
And on our beds we rest
So death will soon disrobe us all
Of what we here posess

Lord, keep us safe this night
Secure from all our fears
May angels guard us while we sleep
Till morning light appears

And when the early light
In view they onwards home
May we press on to reach thee, Christ
And after glory run

And when our days are past
And we from time remove
Oh, may we in thy bosom rest
Thy bosom of thy love

Here are some New St. Andrews College students singing this:

Year B – Proper 17 – James 1:17–27

James 1:17–27 NRSV –    Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 1:18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures. 1:19 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 1:20 for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 1:21 Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 1:23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 1:24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 1:25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing. 1:26 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Summary – Though there are different views, I think James (the brother of John) wrote this Epistle very early prior to his martyrdom (Acts 12:2) in the context of the church in Jerusalem prior to the expansion into the Gentile world. This is a time when Jewish persecution is rising against the followers of Jesus. [For more information on the background see my paper here.] In this passage we see that James exhorts his followers that since they were given new spiritual birth by the word of truth, they should receive this word and walk according to it. One of the temptations when there is adversity is to be quick to anger, but James urges, “for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.”

Insight – In getting angry, some of us are like coal which takes a whole other fire to even get our ire up at all. And some of us are like gasoline. The slightest spark creates an explosion robbing the atmosphere of oxygen temporarily.  Some of us suppress our anger impulses and have a nice 500 degree, grey charcoal fire which is good for grilling for several hours. Others of us have a five minute solar flare which ends in domestic abuse charges. What are you like? To this challenge James gives us very practical advice. If we listened righteously and spoke effectively, that would eliminate most wrath before it caught on fire.

Catechism – What does our anger not produce? Our anger does not produce God’s righteousness.

Discussion – What gets you the  most angry? What happens when you get angry?

Prayer – Father in heaven, your are gracious and kind, your wrath is always just but our wrath is always unjust. Grant to us the grace to be slow to anger and to be quick to hear. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Year B – Proper 17 – Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

 

Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them.  (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.)  So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands/”  He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’  You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”  Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand:  there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”  For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come:  fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.

 

Summary — This passage recounts verbal interplay between Jesus and the Pharisees, as well as other people who were listening to His teachings.  When Jesus’ disciples didn’t wash before eating, the Pharisees got upset.  This leads to some of Jesus’ foundational teaching.  a)  Human tradition, when it does not coincide–or even goes beyond–what God has commanded, is not worship, b)  things outside the body–food and other items, as well as things that can be experienced with the senses, unless otherwise prohibited by God–do not make a person unclean, and c)  the things that defile a person come from within, from the heart.

 

Insight —  Imagine you got some new, white tennis shoes.  They were so white and bright that you didn’t want them ever to get dirty.  Then your parents told you that if you wanted to keep them clean you should avoid stepping in mud.  That’s good advice right?  But then instead of being careful with them, you always scuffled your feet when you walked and also played basketball on nice, clean, mudless courts.  What would you say, then, if your parents said to you, “Hey, why are your shoes dirty?”  Would you say, “I guess I wasn’t thinking about protecting them,” or would you say, “At least I didn’t walk in mud, just like you said!”?  Many times when we are told to do something, we focus too much on just that one thing, and not the big picture that’s really at the heart.  Or maybe we even make up a new rule that doesn’t quite fit with the first one, thinking we will be better people that way.  Jesus says though, that our hearts and souls and truly all of our strength should be set to loving God and obeying him.  But when we follow other rules that either we or other people made up, thinking that following them will make us look better to God, we really are not pleasing Him.  What we need to constantly ask God for is a clean heart that desires things that God desires, rather than things that humans came up with.

 

Child Catechism —  Where do the things that defile a person come from?  My heart.

 

Discussion —  What are some things that you or other people do that they think makes them a better Christian but is really not what God has commanded us?  If someone asked you, “Is money an evil thing?” or “Are Mcdonald’s cheeseburgers evil?” or “Is rock & roll music evil?” what would you say?  How would you use this passage to make your point?

 

Prayer —  Lord forgive us for adding rules of our own to your holy Law, thinking that we can in any way merit your favor.  Cause us to cling to and rest in your Son’s perfect work, that we may be fit to serve you better.  Amen

Year B – Proper 16 – Psalm 84

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
4 Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise. 
Selah
5 Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
*
6 As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!
Selah
9 Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.
10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favour and honour.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.

SummaryThe psalmist loved God, and loved engaging with God, and so he loved the place of God’s special presence, where he (with the worshipping community) engaged with God.  God’s courts were dear to him—he longed for them—his soul yearned to encounter God there.  In verse 6, he mentions that, leading up to the time of corporate worship, there may be times of “Baca” (tears), but the joy of worshipping God in His Temple turns those tears to refreshing springs.  The psalmist’s delight in God’s House—the place of God where he engaged in the worship of God—climaxes in verse 10, where he proclaims that he’d rather spend one day there than a thousand days anywhere else.  In fact, he’d rather be a doorkeeper at the place of God’s worship than live luxuriously in any other place.

Insight Are there any places special to you because of what has happened there, or who you’ve been with there?  One such place, for me, is a certain spot by a certain river in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan: the girl whom I’d marry and I spent time there on our first date, and (later!) I proposed to her there.  To me, that place means my wife, and means those events.  Maybe, for you, there’s a kitchen where your grandmother always bakes cookies, or a tree branch on which you always write stories, or a park to which your dad always takes you.  A place can take on special meaning for you.  The psalmist felt that way about the tents and Temple in which God made Himself specially present for corporate worship.  Today, we are God’s Temple—we are the place of His indwelling presence—so, we no longer worship in Jerusalem, but anywhere we gather together, in spirit and in truth.  On Sunday mornings, when we come together at any place, we ascend to the Heavenly Temple and engage with God, and He makes Himself specially present with us at His Table.  Do you long for this time of corporate worship in God’s presence?  Does your heart yearn to be engaging with God among other worshipers?

Child Catechism
Q:  One day in God’s courts is better than what?
A:  One day in God’s courts is better than a thousand days anywhere else!

DiscussionIs there anything that we can do to engage with God more intentionally, and to enjoy Him more deeply, during Sunday worship, so that that time would grow more dear to us?

Prayer O Lord of hosts, how dear to us is your dwelling place!  One day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.  Grant that our souls might long for Your courts, and that our hearts might sing to You for joy, O living God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose presence is fullness of joy.  AMEN.

Contributed by Scott Cline

Year B – Proper 16 – John 6:56-69

 

“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.  Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died.  But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”  He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.  When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?  But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you?  Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?  It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless.  The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  But among you there are some who do not believe.”  For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him.  And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”  Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.  So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”  Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve?  Yet one of you is a devil.”  He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

Summary – Jesus continues his discourse on the necessity of partaking His body and blood.  Here we see good evidence for the Reformed doctrine, articulated so valiantly by Ursinus in the Heidelberg Catechism, of the “Real Presence” (or “spiritual presence”) of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.  In the first place, those who partake of His body and blood (I am taking it for granted that He means the Supper) “abide in Christ.”  Secondly, in the same way Christ lived on Earth because of the Father, those who eats of Christ will live eternally because of Him (vss 57-58).  Participation in the Supper imparts life to the participants.  Thirdly, however, it is not physically Jesus’ body which has ascended to heaven that joins to the bread and wine in the Supper (vs 62), but rather the spirit gives the life (vs 63).  Though grace is given through the sacrament, the bread and wine merely signify the reality of grace and salvation accomplished by Christ and applied to believers.  Jesus goes on to point out that some among the crowds don’t believe and that belief is granted by the Father, which turned some away.  The disciples, however, truly believe, realizing that these words just spoken about the true Bread from Heaven are the words of eternal life (vs 68).

Insight – The very fact that you believe that Jesus is the Holy One of God, the promised Messiah, Son of Man and Son of God, is a gift.  No one can believe that, unless the Father gives it.  How often do you thank God for allowing you to believe in His Son?  Jesus’ words are THE words of eternal life.  When we stand on this truth, we can be confident when we talk to people who don’t believe in Jesus.  Instead of trying to convince them with clever arguments, we must rest on the truth of His Word, trusting Him to grant belief to these people as He wills.

 Child Catechism – What are the words of Jesus Christ?  Eternal life.

Discussion – Jesus teaches here that eating and drinking of Him gives eternal life.  Can you just eat the bread and drink the wine at Communion and be saved?  How does Simon Peter’s acknowledgement in verses 68-69 relate to this question?  What then is the proper mindset to have when taking Communion?

Prayer –  Loving Father, you have poured your mercy on us by sending us true Heavenly Bread, your Son.  Grant to us that, eating of Christ by faith, we might attain that eternal life you have promised.  Through your Spirit, who gives life, Amen.

Year B – Proper 16 – Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken

Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken is a familiar traditional hymn. The Text is from John Newton, 1725-1807 and the Music is from Croatian folk song; arr. by Franz Joseph Haydn. Haydn orig­in­al­ly adapt­ed this tune (Austria) as something like a “national anthem” and it was first per­formed for the em­per­or’s birth­day, February 12, 1797. The text is actually a paraphrase of Psalm 87: “On the holy mount stands the city he founded; 87:2 the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. 87:3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.”

1.    Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
God, whose word cannot be broken,
formed thee for his own abode.
On the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
thou mayst smile at all thy foes.

2.    See, the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply thy sons and daughters,
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint while such a river
ever will their thirst assuage?
Grace which like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.

3.    Round each habitation hovering,
see the cloud and fire appear
for a glory and a covering,
showing that the Lord is near!
Thus deriving from our banner
light by night and shade by day,
safe we feed upon the manna
which God gives us when we pray.

4.    Blest inhabitants of Zion,
washed in our Redeemer’s blood;
Jesus, whom our souls rely on,
makes us monarchs, priests to God.
Us, by his great love, he raises,
rulers over self to reign,
and as priests his solemn praises
we for thankful offering bring.

Year B – Proper 16 – Ephesians 6:10-20

Ephesians 6:10–20 NRSV –    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 6:12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 6:14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 6:15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 6:16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 6:17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 6:18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. 6:19 Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

Summary – In this final passage of Ephesians Paul exhorts believers to live in faith. He uses a creative metaphor of being fully dressed in the armor of a warrior or soldier. He teaches that our true battle is not against other human beings but against the dark spiritual forces that lurk behind the actions of people, “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” In order to stand and do battle in this way, we need weapons that are spiritual and so we must put on the “armor of God.”

Insight – Dress for success . . .  In some sports you get suited up and when you put on the shoulder pads, a helmet and knee pads you feel a lot more secure. Even putting on a nice leather jacket, boots and gloves on a motorcycle gives you much more security. In the spiritual realm we can also get suited up and dress for spiritual success. He leads us through a sequence of spiritual armor: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Each of these is another way of saying stand firm in your faith in the Word of God. Just like putting on the right uniform for a sport, we have greater confidence when we remember the protection given by the armor which armor is simply knowing who we are in Christ and believing the Word. As a result we can “pray in the Spirit,” which is praying according to the Spirit’s leading and according to the Word of God. This is a major way we overcome the darkness.

Catechism – What is the sword of the Spirit? The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.

Discussion – What are some ways the spiritual forces of darkness are at work in the world today? In what ways can we fight them?

Prayer – Father and God, we thank you that through Christ Jesus we have the victory over the spiritual forces of wickedness since you disarmed these at the cross. Grant to us the faith to stand firm in the Word of God and to pray effectively in the Spirit. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Year B – Proper 15 – Ephesians 5:15–20

Ephesians 5:15–20 NRSV –    Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 5:16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 5:17 So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 5:18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 5:19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 5:20 giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Summary – Paul continues giving simple and direct commands for Christian behavior. In general we are to be wise and spend our time wisely. We are to not be foolish but seek God’s will. Specifically we are not to live in debauchery or out of control, but to be moderate in drinking wine (or other such bevverages).  We are to celebrate by being filled with the Spirit. When we are controlled by the Spirit then we will sing and speak psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. We will praise God and be very thankful.

Insight – Have you ever gotten lost on a trip? Have you spent hours more in your travel time because you made a wrong turn? Wisdom leads to gratitude in these verses. Wisdom helps us navigate life by following the road map of biblical principles. On the journey, while following this map, we can truly rejoice. If we are wise and are not foolish then our habits of life keep us from many hardships. As a result of a moderate and self-controlled life we can praise God and be thankful. Wisdom is the key. Wisdom helps us know how to conduct ourselves, where to put the breaks on, and how to read the road signs. The contrast is between a wise and self-controlled life vs a foolish and out of control life. Foolish living may produce moments that are funny, but it will not produce joy and gratitude.

Catechism – How are we to live? We are to live, not as unwise people but as wise people.

Prayer – Our Father and God, we thank you for your grace toward us in our foolishness and we ask that you would grant to us Your wisdom so that we may live wisely and not foolishly. Give us self-control and yet joy and gratitude. In Christ’s Name. Amen.

Year B – Proper 15 – Psalm 111

1 Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it* have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever.

Summary The Psalmist sets out in the first verse to praise the LORD, and he goes on to do just that in each ensuing verse.  The works of the LORD are great, both in number and impressiveness—from creating to ordering to directing to specially intervening in the world and in its history, God’s works are great, and thrill those who study them (v.2).  Those works are honorable and majestic (v.3), and in many cases gracious and merciful, gaining Him renown (v.4).  For instance, He provides food for those who fear Him, because He remembers His covenant with them (v.5).  Or, for another instance, He had given His people the heritage of the nations (v.6), when Israel inherited Canaan; and, He will give His people the heritage of the nations, as the meek inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5).  All that He does is faithful, just, trustworthy (v.7), and established forever (v.8).  He had redeemed His people from Egypt in the exodus, and has redeemed them from sin in Christ, because His covenant—the covenant revealed to Adam and Abraham and David; the covenant fulfilled in Chris—is forever (v.9).  In response to all this, fear the LORD—it will be the beginning of wisdom and give good understanding.  And in closing this psalm, remember, God’s praise is not being closed—from the ranks of angels to the splendor of creation and to the nations of worshipers, this praise has been going on and will be going on forever (v.10).

Insight Regarding v.8, which says that God’s works are established forever, Charles Spurgeon writes, “The Lord is not swayed by transient motives, or moved by the circumstances of the hour; immutable principles rule in the courts of Jehovah, and he pursues his eternal purposes without the shadow of a turning. Our works are too often as wood, hay, and stubble, but his doings are as gold, silver, and precious stones. We take up a purpose for a while and then exchange it for another, but he is of one mind, and none can turn him: he acts in eternity and for eternity, and hence what he works abides forever.”  This includes God’s plans for this world—to have us garden it, to make it what He meant it to be—and this includes God’s plans for you: His works are established forever, so He will bring to completion the good work He has begun in you (Phil. 1:6).

Child Catechism
Q:  For how long are God’s works established?
A:  God’s works are established forever.

DiscussionCould the conviction that God’s works are established forever encourage you in your fight for holiness?  How?

Prayer We will praise You, Lord, and we will give you thanks with our whole hearts.  Your works are great, Lord, and we delight in them.  Your work is full of honor and majesty, and Your righteousness endures forever.  You have gained renown by Your wonderful deeds; You are gracious and merciful.  You provide food for those who fear You; You always remember Your covenant.  You will show your people the power of Your works, as you give us the heritage of the nations.  The works of Your hands are faithful and just; all Your precepts are trustworthy.  They are established forever and ever, and You perform them with faithfulness and uprightness.  You sent redemption to Your people; You have commanded Your covenant forever.  Holy and awesome is Your Name!  Fearing You is the beginning of wisdom; if we practice it, we will have good understanding.  Your praise endures forever!  AMEN.

Contributed by Scott Cline