June 25, 2017
Before We Worship
This week we meditate on Psalm 89. Psalm 89 is actually 52 verses long. The Trinity Hymnal’s Psalter Reading, however, has chosen to include only the first 37 verses. The editors of the Trinity Hymnal obviously thought that responsively reading all 51 verses was just too much. Ps 89 also takes a very dark turn starting with verse 38. Thus they have made the reading of Psalm 89 both shorter and sweeter, by leaving out the discouraging portion. However, it is what we read in Ps 89:38–52 that explain the significance of the first 37 verses.
The first 37 verses praise God’s steadfast love and faithfulness: v.1 “I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.” The LORD has sworn his covenant to David, and nothing can keep him from being faithful. Not even disloyalty on Israel’s part will change God’s love: vss. 30–34 ”If [David’s] children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules…I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.” However, verses 38–51 are actually written when God does not seem committed to his love and all circumstances seem to contradict his promises: v.39 “You have renounced the covenant with your servant”. So the psalmist complains in v.49. “Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David?”
In other words, Psalm 89 is a psalm for when everything is falling apart. God doesn’t seem trustworthy as his promises are unambiguously unfulfilled. If action speaks louder than words, then God’s actions (or inactions) are louder than the words of his promises. This is the kind of existential crisis that can shake us to our core. Do you have a plan when you are in such a time and place? What will you do when your world begins to fall apart?
What makes the first 37 verses beautiful, however, is that they are the words written not in the absence of darkness, but in the very midst of it. When our world falls apart, what we need most urgently is to stubbornly come back to God’s promises and character. We are the generation of instant gratification. We have no patience to wait on God. But we must. We need the kind of faith that says, right in the thick of darkness, like v.52, “Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.” For situations often can, and always do, change. But God’s faithfulness and steadfast love never change. Not even when we deem him late.
Call to Worship
Psalm 89:1–37 (reading responsively from TH p. 815)
“This Is Not My Place of Resting” (Bulletin p. 4)
Trinity Hymnal 731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
James 3:1–12 (p. 1012)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4–6 ESV)
“The Lord Will Provide” (Bulletin p. 10)
Confession of Faith — The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Exodus 20:17 (p. 61)
The Tenth Commandment: Freedom from Performance
Rev. Ken Han
The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper
We participate in the Lord’s Supper weekly. We welcome to the Lord’s Table all baptized believers who have sincere faith in Jesus Christ, and regularly worship in a Reformed or evangelical church.
The Lord’s Supper is a sign and a seal of the new covenant blessings. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper with faith, it strengthens our bond with our covenant Lord, Jesus Christ. Thus we participate properly when we come to our Savior with faith and repentance as we renew our resolve to forsake sin and live for his glory.
The Lord’s Supper also renews our bonds with God’s covenant community, the body of believers in the local church. As we receive the Lord’s Supper, we renew our pledge to give ourselves away in loving service.
During the distribution of the bread we will sing Trinity Hymnal #647 “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” stanzas 1–3, and stanzas 4–6 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #485 “O Thou That Hear’st When Sinners Cry”
Family Devotion for the Week
The Shorter Catechism lesson of the week is posted here: Q. 13. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?.
We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check them out!
Upcoming Events and Notices
Every Lord’s Day 10:15 AM: Please join us for Hymnsing, a time of preparing our hearts for worship in praise, and for learning new hymns for worship.
June 25: The Children’s Bible lesson (First Catechism Qs. 40–43). And adult Shorter Catechism (Q. 13) lessons will meet after the worship service. Today we discuss God’s eternal decree & predestination.
June 25: Yoori Han
July 2: Kelly Rogers