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.
Psalm 128 is a rousing celebration of the blessings that God gives. In particular, these blessings that remind us of God’s kindness even after Adam’s fall. To the God-fearing man, God gives fruitful labor, and joy in it. He gives his wife children, and the family matures like wine and oil, becoming refined, cultured blessings by walking in God’s ways. God also pushes back the curse of death, giving long life and peace. As you come to worship, remember that sin and death are not God’s final word to man. Food, family, and a future all testify to the mercy and kindness of God.
In Psalm 139, David delights in the fact that God has searched him and known him. In a time when our suspicions are raised about issues of personal privacy, we should remember that following God means being known intimately and completely, and that tremendous good comes about when God searches our hearts. Instead of the futility of trying to hide our thoughts from God, we should be like David and freely offer up our hearts to God. Today, as you come to worship, pray that God would search you and know you, and lead you in the way everlasting.