ON RESURRECTION MORNING,
THIS WAS THE SCULPTURE GOD MADE IN MY FRONT YARD
THROUGH A GIANT ICE SHOVE ON THE LAKE
IT REMINDS ME OF THE CROSS, THE RESURRECTION, AND THE ASCENSION ALL AT ONCE.
WE BELONG TO THE KING OF KINGS,
AND WE JOIN THE CHURCH IN PRAISE:
BE EXALTED O LORD IN YOUR STRENGTH!
WE WILL SING AND PRAISE YOUR POWER.
As we are learning to discover Christ in every psalm, as Bonhoeffer did, and so many saints of old, there is a richness I had not known before. In “Christ in the Psalms,” Patrick Reardon says that Psalms 20 and 21 were prayed “by the holy Church, both east and west, during the earliest hours of Sunday morning, the Resurrection day of her Lord Jesus Christ. …The voice of the Church can be heard in this psalm, celebrating the Son’s victory over sin, death, and hell.” I believe you too will see these psalms afresh, and also find strength for your own battles. Jesus trusted in His God, who delivered Him, and has led the way for us, to not trust in ourselves or our methods, to not trust in chariots or horses, but to trust in our the LORD our God.
With permission, I want to tell you a story of how our own Rebecca (who sang for you in last week’s post) trusted the Lord when things seemed bleak, and how He came running for her. Rebecca and her husband Patrick has struggled in finding a church that felt like home. Rebecca longed for a church with gospel-centered preaching and a church that would fully welcome their sons, two of whom are on the autism spectrum. Finally, last year, they found such a church. I have seen Rebecca and Patrick so rejoice, for they and their sons LOVED the church.
I have met Patrick, and he is a strong, yet tender-hearted husband and father. When he learned that their new church had a policy to give women freedom to be in leadership positions, he was concerned. Indeed, there are Scriptures that I believe make it clear that men are to be the head of the home and of the governing of the church. Yet there are other Scriptures that show women in leadership positions in Israel and in the early church. Patrick feared the church was not honoring Scripture and told Rebecca he wanted them to return to their old church. Rebecca was so sad, and struggled for the next day so! Yet she told Patrick she would follow his leadership — all the while crying out to her God. Patrick wrote a letter to their pastor with his questions, and the pastor responded with gentleness and wisdom and his scriptural reasons. Patrick, showing his teachable heart, did a complete turn-a-round. (When we finish the first book of Psalms we will spend a week or two on this controversial topic — and we will probably have to give one another grace, for this is is a topic over which those who truly love the Lord disagree.) My point in this story is that Rebecca modeled trust in the Lord. She did not resort to the methods so many of us would have been tempted to use, but trusted in her God, and He gave her the desire of her heart. Will there be more battles ahead? You can count on it! But I so respect Rebecca and Patrick for seeking and trusting the Lord. I love how He gave them likemindedness. Our God is for us, He has gone before us, and He will, in the end, triumph over every enemy.
1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
2. What battle are you facing right now that the God of angel armies can handle?
Note: Next week we will be doing Psalm 23, the most beloved psalm, as we did Psalm 22 during Holy Week. I encourage you to get Philip Keller’s A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 from inter-library loan, or Amazon for under $4 (and less if you get it used) or from Audible.com (If you sign up for a free month’s trial you can get it for free and than cancel if you choose.) This is optional — but it is a classic that will so enhance your understanding of this psalm.
Today is Mother’s Day — a day to thank God for our mothers, and pray both for each here who is mothering and those who have the pain of waiting to be a mother, wondering if God will give them the desire of their hearts. I’m speaking at my daughter Sally’s church and would love prayers for that. Please spend some time this morning praying for all of the above!
Monday-Thursday Bible Study
Bonhoeffer suggests singing to prepare your heart before you open the Word each day. Here are some possibilities for this week — and feel free to suggest others!
3. Read Psalm 20
A. Read this through the perspective that this King is Jesus and write down all you see through that lens.
B. In the lesson from MIke Reeves, he shows how verses 1-4 are prayers for Jesus. Why wouldn’t you, for example, pray verse 4 for just any king?
C. I love seeing this as the Church praising the LORD — Christ for HIs sacrifice, God the Father for His victorious answer, and The Spirit inflaming our hearts. Slow down and meditate on verses 4-6:
1) Why did Jesus leave paradise, and why did God the Father want Him to leave — what was His heart’s desire?
2) Compare verse 5 to Song of Songs 6:4. What do you see?
3) What does verse 6 say — how was this fulfilled on Resurrection Day?
D. What does verse 7 say — and how did Christ refuse to trust in His power and might?
E. With Rebecca’s story in mind, how might you apply verse 7 to your life right now? Ask Him for help to do this.
4. Read Psalm 21:1-7
A. Read this through the perspective that Jesus is the King and write down all you see through that lens.
B. Christ received not only everlasting life — but joy. Find it in this passage, knowing this also will be yours one day. Write a prayer of praise.
Friday: Mike Reeves teaching on Psalms 20-24.
For those of you who have been with us since we began psalms, you remember how Mike Reeves shows us that the psalter has a flow, a continuity — and in this teaching sesson (not a sermon) he shows how Book 1 begins with many psalms emphasizing creation, as in Genesis 1-2, but then moves into the One who will rescue us from the fall, as promised in Genesis 3. It becomes more Messianic. I know some of you don’t have an easy way to turn up your volume and you will have to listen closely — I’m sorry for that inconvenience.
5. Share your notes and comments on Mike Reeves.
6. What is your take-a-way and why?