Psalm 114 picks up on the mighty miracles surrounding the Exodus, and calls on the earth itself to tremble in the presence of God. Compared to the strength of a man, mountains are unconquerable, but when God appears, the mountains jump like a startled goat. The profound encouragement for the people of God is that He will move heaven and earth for the sake of His chosen ones. If something as immovable as a mountain or as expansive as the sea quickly and fearfully obeys God, how much more can God’s power overcome the difficulties of your situation? Open your mouth wide as you come to worship today: God will squeeze water out of rocks for His thirsty saints.
Psalm 149 opens with a rousing exhortation to praise God with instruments, singing, and dancing that starts in the assemblies, and follows the gathered saints back home to their beds. In verse 6, the psalm shifts from presenting the saints as recipients of salvation to ministers of justice. God’s people are not just saved from something but to something. Through the non-carnal weapons of worship and faithful lives, the people of God bring judgment against the wicked, and they are seen as worthy of honor because of this work. As you come to worship today, glorify God with a song and a sword.
Psalm 124 celebrates one of the greatest blessings of being God’s people: God is on our side, fighting for us, defending us, and saving us. David humbly blesses God, knowing that apart from His aid, we wouldn’t have survived. The help that God gives is not a nice add-on to make our lives easier; it is the difference between staying alive and being swept away by a flood of evil. Because God breaks the snares of the wicked, we can go free, and sing praises to His name. As you come to worship today, think back over the dangers and sins that God has rescued you from, and praise Him for being on our side.
Psalm 133 opens with an arresting simile: living in unity is like anointing oil running down the beard. The oil that consecrates Aaron as a priest results in a connection between God and His people, and the unity between brothers demonstrates that their unity with God is overflowing into their lives as they become more like God towards each other. This is refreshing and sweet like dew on Mt. Zion, a fresh covering of mutual love when God’s people meet together to receive His blessing of life. As you come to worship today, remember that you are at peace with God through Christ, and extend that peace to your fellow Christians as you worship together in unity.
The chief exhortation of Psalm 105 is to call God’s people to publish His doings far and wide. Their singing, storytelling, worship, and life together should be saturated with accounts of what Yahweh has done for them. The Psalmist then gives examples of what he means: events from the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses & Aaron fill the rest of the psalm as evidence of God’s goodness to His people. As you come to worship today, come ready to obey Psalm 105 and continue to make known the deeds of our God through joyful praise.
Words put in the mouth of Peter by the author of The Clementine Homilies:
“I wish you to know, that he who does anything with pleasure, finds rest in the very toils themselves; but he who does not do what he wishes, is rendered exceedingly weary by the very rest he takes. Wherefore you confer on me a great rest when you make me discourse on topics which please me.”
ANF 8, The Clementina, Homily XIX.xxv, pg. 338-339.
Patristic interpretation of the results of Adam’s fall for the rest of creation:
But you will say, He [God] Himself is the cause of evil, since He Himself produces the evils through it. What sort, then, are the evils of which you speak? Poisonous serpents and deadly plants, or demons, or any other of those things that can disturb men?—which things would not have been injurious had not man sinned, for which reason death came in. For if man were sinless, the poison of serpents would have no effect, nor the activities of injurious plants, nor would there be the disturbances of demons, nor would man naturally have any other suffering; but losing his immortality on account of his sin, he has become, as I said, capable of every suffering.
ANF 8, The Clementina, Homily XIX.xv, pg. 335.