Consumed with Zeal for God’s House

For Lord’s day, October 28, 2012:

Dear Saints,

Tomorrow morning, we will see how Jacob laments the death of Joseph (as far as he knows is the case) by renting his clothes and lamenting in sackcloth in terrible mourning.  Yet, behind the scenes, we will see Joseph on the next step of his journey toward being a great deliverer (according to God’s plan).  Still, we can identify with Jacob — not always understanding how God’s revelation (in this case Joseph’s dreams) is supposed to work out in God’s providential dealings with us.  But we will learn, “Things aren’t always as they seem”.

We will sing Psalm 69 tomorrow to help us identify with the sorrow and loss of Jacob and Joseph (and the disciples losing Jesus):  When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them (Psalm 69:10-11).  It as well lets us communicate our experience in this world yet being not of it.

But we also will sing this Psalm knowing with eyes of faith the fact that God is actually working it all out for our good, even as we are persecuted for identifying with God (as Joseph and Jesus were persecuted): 

But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.  Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.  (Psalm 69:13-16)

But here is what is really exciting about singing this Psalm and identifying with Christ:  For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. (Psalm 69:9)

Does this verse sound familiar?  It came to mind from the disciple’s worship when they saw Jesus breaking things up in the temple:

And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. (John 2:13-17)

Paul also draws on his worshipping and applies the second part of Psalm 69:9 to Christ:

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.  Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:   That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. (Romans 15:1-7)

The whole Bible is about Jesus.  May you identify with Him in worship tomorrow as He has with us as our Mediatorial Prophet, Priest, and King.  And may you identify with Him as we sing with Him and about Him in Psalm 69 together.  May we have a zeal for His Father’s house (now us assembled together as the spiritual temple), and make it (us) indeed a house of prayer.  As all our sins fell on Him, may we lift Him up in praise as we consider His sufferings so that we be lifted up from the grave and into heaven.  And let us also “Glory in Jesus Alone” as we “lift up the gates and doors” singing Psalm 24 in the evening, that the “King of Glory shall come in”.

Whole-Hearted, Sold-Out Worship

Dear Saints,

In this Wednesday Night’s study on Revelation 2:1-7, in which we saw that Jesus condemns the Church of Ephesus for losing its first love for Him (which ultimately killed their local church), we were challenged to love God more, especially in how we approach Him in worship together to hear Him speak through His Word to our hearts by His Spirit.

A quote from a recent daily devotion, This Day in Presbyterian History, commenting on Shorter Catechism Question 80, is poignant here about our spiritual posture (seen in our bodily posture):

Let us not simply sit at “zombies” in the chairs of our homes, or the pews of the church, when the Word of God is read in family devotions, or Sunday worship.  Let us constantly be in prayer when the Bible is read, that it might bring forth spiritual fruit unto salvation, and holiness of life, and preparation for service.

Think also of the kind of enthusiasm and devotion we ought to have about Christ’s Kingdom all the time:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-46)

Come with that kind of fervor for the risen Lord Jesus Christ this Sabbath.  That is, be sold out for Jesus, and don’t sell yourself out to anything or anyone else.  Keep finding Him, and keep being found in Him, anew.  And worship Him with your whole heart.  That kind of devotion happens through deliberate effort and preparation.  Deliberate effort and preparation come from taking a Person seriously, and caring deeply about Him and His People.

Semper Reformanda,
Pastor Grant