June 17, 2018
Before We Worship
The Songs of Ascents, which began with Psalm 120, now ends with Psalm 134. The pilgrims have reached Jerusalem at last. Although it was already late in the day, they could not wait until the next morning to come to the Temple. Who could? And why would you? Thus they make their way to the Temple and find the night shift priests on duty. With great joy and excitement they cry, “Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD!”
The word “bless” appear in each of the 3 verses of this psalm. This repeated refrain is of course a reflection of the inner thoughts of psalmist’s mind. But it is not as we typically think of blessing. How often and frequently do we say, “Bless me, bless me!” We are incessantly asking God to do something good for us. Such requests, so far as they are concerned, are fine, especially if they rise out of the sense of our utter dependence on God. They are troubling, however, if we make such requests of God because we are not really interested in the Giver, only the gifts he gives.
Not so with the psalmist. He counts it his blessing to bless the Lord. Thus first in verse 1, and then again in verse 2, the psalmist cries, “Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD!” To bless the LORD means to acknowledge his goodness. The goodness the palmist has chiefly in mind is the LORD’s goodness of dwelling with his people, of making Jerusalem his footstool, of meeting his people on his Mercy Seat. It is the goodness he lavishes on the pilgrim who seek him, for he will draw near those who draw near him. And how good he is to keep the pilgrims safe on the road! They trusted him to do so in Psalm 121. Now they are able to testify that the Lord has indeed done so.
In verse 3 the psalmist sings his benediction to the servants of the LORD: “May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!” After all, the Temple wasn’t special as a building per se. The ministries of the Temple made the building special. For there the priests offered sacrifices, led God’s people in worship, prayed for God’s people and instructed them. The psalmist is understandably grateful for the ministries of the Temple, and blesses all the “servants of the LORD.”
We are also pilgrims. Our journey does not lead us to the earthly Jerusalem, but to heavenly Jerusalem. And we will count every step as blessing. Every step that leads us home, however hard the road may be, is a step that brings us closer to glory and joy. And while we make our journey, we will certainly pray for, and receive, help. But we will also bless the LORD. We will bless the servants of the LORD.
One day our pilgrimage will be over. And on that day we will join the saints that have gone before us and bless the LORD. For that will be a blessing indeed!
Call to Worship
‡ Psalm 134 (Trinity Hymnal p. 834)
‡ Trinity Hymnal #457 “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
2 Timothy 2:14–19 (p. 995)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13–14 ESV)
Trinity Hymnal #339 “For Your Gift of God the Spirit”
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) — Lord’s Day 24
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Romans 8:3–4 (p. 944)
The Spirit of New Life
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 #252 “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” stanzas 1–2, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #387 “Now May He Who from the Dead”
Family Devotion for the Week
The Shorter Catechism lesson of the week is posted here: Q. 38.
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.
Join us for “12 for 18” as we read 12 great books in the year 2018. For June we are reading “Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture” by David Murray. For July we are reading Aimee Bird’s “No Little Women.” Please let Janny Ligtenberg know if you would like to order a copy of the book.
June 17 (Lord’s Day): Due to Father’s Day all catechism lessons are cancelled.
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
June 17: Michelle Kay
June 24: Yoori Han