In Psalm 89, Ethan’s desire is that his song of praise would be used for worship forever. He wants his grandchildren to be able to praise God using the words of his own mouth, and so he leaves them an inheritance of worship. His song calls on heaven and earth to unite in praise, and recounts the glories of God’s covenant with His people. The psalm is balanced by a lament, a cry from under the chastisement of God, where the psalmist implores God to remember His promises and save His people. As you prepare for worship today, listen to Ethan as he makes known the steadfast love of God.
Brother Steve will cleanse thy garments:
Some may say “touch not the Lord’s anointed in such scallywagous mockery.” But I say, such as feel themselves mocked by this are touched already.
Psalm 88 is a bleak psalm that ends without resolution. The psalmists are surrounded by troubles, abandoned by friends, and they realize that it is God’s hand that has done it. Instead of blaming God, they cry out for help to “the God of my salvation”. And as strange as it may sound, this psalm provides profound great comfort to those who come to worship suffering under heavy burdens. God welcomes the desperate cries of those who struggle to to be joyful or offer praise. When all you can do is cry out for help, God will not turn you away, rebuke you, or tell you to sit up and smile. Instead, He hears you.
In Psalm 87, we read that the Lord loves the gates of Zion, the holy temple city, more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things happen in the city that God founded, and the people who count Zion as their birthplace are especially blessed. God Himself keeps the register of the city of the New Birth, and worship and rejoicing flow from this holy mountain. So as you come to worship today, rejoice, because you are coming home. You were made to worship, you were born here, and God delights in you.
In Psalm 86, David delights in the uniqueness of God. There is no other God like Yahweh, no other being who can perform such works. As a result, all the nations will recognize that Yahweh alone is God, and come to worship Him. David then personalizes this universal reality, and asks God to teach him His ways, so that David can glorify God accordingly. This worshipful meditation comes couched in David’s need: he is weak, persecuted, and troubled. He needs deliverance, mercy, and protection. But God is merciful and gracious, abounding in love, and so David cries out to Yahweh, the only God who saves.
Psalm 85 reminds us of our most basic need: forgiveness and restoration. This is something we need again and again, which is why we confess our sins again each week when we come to God’s house. The Psalmists long to hear God speak, because they know He will speak peace to them. This word of peace is a transformative word that keeps His people from returning to sin and folly. This is a picture of what worship is all about: God speaking effective words of restoration and salvation, giving His people what is good. As you come to worship this morning, rejoice, because you are coming to the place where righteousness and peace kiss.