Psalm 16 sets forth two paths: one looks to the Lord as the source of all good, and leads to life and fullness of joy. The other path involves running after another god, results in multiplied sorrows along the way, and ends in corruption in the depths of Sheol. Looking at these two paths, David gladly takes refuge in God, and makes the Lord his chosen portion. Following God’s path brings delight, and so David worships and blesses the Lord. As you come to worship today, may your heart do the same.
Our response to God’s marvelous work of salvation is to sing, employing all of creation to assist us as we magnify what the Lord has done. In the words of Psalm 98, we are to rejoice as God’s righteousness is revealed. The Psalmist calls forth voices, instruments, and even nature itself as we sing over the astonishing fact that instead of being condemned by God’s judgments, His steadfast love and faithfulness have worked salvation for His people! As you come to worship today, remind yourself of God’s saving love for you in Christ, and prepare your heart to join the sea, the rivers, and the hills in making glad music for the praise of our righteous King.
Here are four helpful resources on the controversial ending of Mark’s gospel:
First, here’s the last session of a great Sunday School series on Mark’s gospel, taught by a scholar who wrote a fine commentary on Mark. The first twenty minutes or so contain his explanation of the issue, and a defense of his position.
Second, here is an article on how to respond:
Third, this link goes to a section of a seminary class lecture on the topic:
Fourth, a link to a book exploring four views on the ending of Mark:
Psalm 119:33-40 asks God to reorient our hearts away from worthless things towards God’s ways and commandments. This is a prayer that God answers by calling us and welcoming us into His house for worship each week. This is the place where we leave worthless things behind and devote our hearts to what really matters, as we lift up our praises and hear God’s Word pronounced, proclaimed, and preached. As you come to worship this morning, make the Psalmist’s prayer your own and invite God to renew your heart with a life-giving delight in His ways as you come into His presence.
Psalm 119 begins by rejoicing in the blessedness of keeping the law of the Lord. The Psalmist praises the testimonies of God because they keep him from the shame of doing wrong. The Word of God is good in itself, because it comes from the mouth of God, but it is also does good to the one whose ways are steadfast, preserving him from wandering down wrong paths. As you come to worship today, fix your eyes on God’s commandments, knowing that as you keep His Word, His Word keeps you.
In Psalm 112, the Psalmist catalogs the blessings that come from fearing God. Trusting in the Lord leads to the good life: posterity, prosperity, security, probity, tranquility, and so on, in a blend of material and spiritual graces that keep us from making the Christian life either too pious or too practical. The wicked gaze on enviously and melt away in frustration, because they want the blessings without having to fear God. But since God’s gifts are an expression of Himself, you can’t have one without the other. What is bad news for the wicked is glad news for those who love the Lord, so as you come to worship this morning, express your delight in God through your prayer and praises.
The Psalmist rejoices to be summoned to the Lord’s house for worship, because he recognizes that the joys of living as God’s people in Jerusalem flow from the temple. God’s house is the place to go to give thanks for all God’s blessings, and it is where prayers are offered for the continued peace and safety of God’s people. What happens in worship affects the rest of life, and so David gladly goes to God’s house to seek the good of his brothers. As you come to worship today, prepare your heart to give thanks to God for the church’s life together, and to seek her good through worship and prayer.
David responds to the unsearchable greatness of God with daily praise. He promises to bless the name of the Lord forever, because of His mighty acts. David is especially moved to praise by the fact that our majestic and righteous God is near to all who call on Him, so that He hears our cries and saves us. Since silence is an inadequate response to such kindness, David opens his mouth to speak praises, and calls on us to do the same, which is why we are assembled here this morning. So come, people of God, and bless the name of Lord forever and ever!
This section of Psalm 119 overflows in praise of God’s righteousness. God Himself is righteous, His rules are righteous, and that righteousness is an everlasting righteousness. This righteousness is what makes God’s testimonies and promises lasting and trustworthy, and so the Psalmist responds to God’s rules with love, zeal, and delight. Even in the face of opposition and neglect, the Psalmist does not forget the Lord’s precepts, and turns to God’s Word to receive life. As you come to hear the voice of God speaking through His Word today, delight yourself in the thought that these are righteous words from a righteous God.