July 8, 2018
Before We Worship
What would be the point of praying if prayers are not answered? What good does it do ask for help if help never comes? These are the questions and doubts that nag us when we pray. It is one thing to have such misgivings in times of comfort and ease. It is altogether a different thing when such doubts arise when we are hard-pressed. We are afraid that Immanuel (God-with-us) has forsaken us. He is no longer with us. He is far, maybe too far to even hear our prayers. As to whether he even cares about our struggles, who knows? It is a rare person who has never faced such darkness. We have all known the terrible doubt and fear that God has left us to suffer.
Psalm 138 is a balm for our troubled souls. In it David speaks of his afflictions. But he does more than that. “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies.” In short, Ps 138 is David’s thanksgiving to God because he was not forsaken in his darkness. “On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” In turn, Ps 138 assures us that we, also, may be confident of God’s presence and help in our hardship.
The logic of David’s praise can be easily missed. He says, “for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.” The general thrust of this is easy enough to understand. First, the Lord’s name and his word are closely correlated. One cannot hold the Lord in high esteem without at the same time holding his word in high esteem. This is the truth encapsulated in the Reformation conviction of Sola Scriptura. By God’s word alone we know who God is, what his holiness demands, how God rescues those who have failed his righteous expectations, and how we might live to God’s glory. If anything but God’s word holds sway over us, whether human wisdom or tradition, we despise the one who is to be highly exalted.
But the exaltation of God’s name and word convey something more than the general truth of Sola Scriptura. “I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.” That is to say, God exalted his name and word in the display of his steadfast love and faithfulness to David in his affliction. Indeed, that is what soothes our souls when troubles are near and God seems distant. God does not stand highly exalted over his troubled people in his lofty separation from those brought down very low. “For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly”. Rather, God exalts his name and word by strengthening and rescuing his afflicted people.
Are you troubled? Have you lost your courage to press on? Let Ps 138 comfort you. For as we consider his steadfast love and faithfulness, we will say with David, “my strength of soul you have increased.” And in time, his rescue will come. We can be sure of it, for his name and word must be exalted over all things.
Call to Worship
‡ Psalm 138 (Trinity Hymnal p. 835)
‡ Trinity Hymnal #9 “All You That Fear Jehovah’s Name”
Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
2 Timothy 3:1–9 (p. 996)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV)
10 “Upon a Life I Have Not Lived”
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) — Lord’s Day 27
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
2 Corinthians 13:14 (p. 971)
The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
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 #335 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me” stanzas 1–2, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #347 “The Church’s One Foundation”
Family Devotion for the Week
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 July we are reading Aimee Bird’s “No Little Women.” For August, Tim Keller’s “Every Good Endeavor.” Please let Janny Ligtenberg know if you would like to order a copy of the book.
July 8 (Lord’s Day): Please join us for our monthly fellowship potluck lunch at the Beede home.
July 29 (Lord’s Day): Join us as we discuss our July book, “Not Little Women” by Aimee Bird.
(Nursery meets in the Conference Room)
July 8: Liza Beede
July 15: Michelle Kay