Meditations for Worship

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (CSB)

David, the writer of Psalm 19, declares the glory of the Lord, and then praises his instruction, his testimony, his precepts, his command, and his ordinances. David follows this by asking the Lord to cleanse him of hidden sin and to keep him from any future sin. Finally, David closes with the above verse. David is not only concerned with his actions and his words being pleasing to the Lord, but he is also concerned with the thoughts that he ponders during the day. On this page you will find the congregational songs for the upcoming Sunday service along with scripture and questions to ponder. May this help you as you prepare your heart for worship.

 

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Everlasting God

‘Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus

Before you read each passage, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and to give you understanding. Meditate on what the Spirit reveals to you as you prepare your heart for worship this Sunday morning.


Tuesday: “Everlasting God”– Isaiah 40:12-30
 “You are the Everlasting God, the Everlasting God. 
You do not faint you won’t grow weary.
You’re the defender of the weak. You comfort those in need.
You lift us up on wings like eagles.”

The verses we will be reading in Isaiah 40 are probably familiar to most of you reading this. Walk in any Christian store and you will see numerous objects that have these words written on them. Yet there is so much that we miss when we pull them out of the book of Isaiah and make them stand alone. Let me give you a little background. The first half of Isaiah focuses on God’s judgement of Judah and the nations surrounding her. God’s long-suffering patience has finally run out and he is foretelling the coming Day of the Lord. This is not the day of Christ’s return that Christian’s look forward to, this is God’s wrath being poured out on those who constantly strive against him, serve worthless idols, and trust in the strength of other nations instead of the Lord. God spends almost 40 chapters telling the nations what is coming, and specifically telling the nation of Judah that it will be carried away in captivity because they have refused, generation after generation, to turn away from their sins.

But with chapter 40, God begins pulling Judah out of the hole they have buried themselves in. The rest of the book looks forward to the return from exile back to the land God gave them, but it also looks forward to God’s coming Servant who will bring salvation to the whole world and will gather them one day in a glorious future city of Zion. Before he gets to all of that, God begins with reminding the people who have turned away from him who he really is.

12 Who else has held the oceans in his hand?
    Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?
Who else knows the weight of the earth
    or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?
13 Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord?[c]
    Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?
14 Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice?
    Does he need instruction about what is good?
Did someone teach him what is right
    or show him the path of justice?

15 No, for all the nations of the world
    are but a drop in the bucket.
They are nothing more
    than dust on the scales.
He picks up the whole earth
    as though it were a grain of sand.
16 All the wood in Lebanon’s forests
    and all Lebanon’s animals would not be enough
    to make a burnt offering worthy of our God.
17 The nations of the world are worth nothing to him.
    In his eyes they count for less than nothing—
    mere emptiness and froth.

18 To whom can you compare God?
    What image can you find to resemble him?
19 Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold,
    overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains?
20 Or if people are too poor for that,
    they might at least choose wood that won’t decay
and a skilled craftsman
    to carve an image that won’t fall down!

21 Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand?
    Are you deaf to the words of God—
the words he gave before the world began?
    Are you so ignorant?
22 God sits above the circle of the earth.
    The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!
He spreads out the heavens like a curtain
    and makes his tent from them.
23 He judges the great people of the world
    and brings them all to nothing.
24 They hardly get started, barely taking root,
    when he blows on them and they wither.
    The wind carries them off like chaff.

25 “To whom will you compare me?
    Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.

26 Look up into the heavens.
    Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
    calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
    not a single one is missing.
27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
    O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
28 Have you never heard?
    Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
    No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.”

In my own life, I have seen God do this. When I find myself trapped in the hole that I dug for myself, he doesn’t just come and fix it. First, he reminds me of who he is, teaching me why I should never take my eyes off of him. Hopefully, I learn to not make the same mistakes again. Where do you find yourself today? Are you in a hole, trapped in circumstances of your own making? Remember who the Lord is. Read these verses and rediscover him. Come to him and find your all in him. He will lift you up.


Wednesday: “Everlasting God” – Isaiah 40:31

“Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord. We will wait upon the Lord.”

Yes, we are back in the same chapter in Isaiah today, but that’s because this whole song is pulled directly from this one chapter. If you glance back through verses 12-30, everything is about the Lord. Verse 31 is the only one that relates to us.

31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.”

If we trust in him, this massive, holy God found in the preceding verses, then we will find strength. Not just adequate strength, but strength that surpasses anything we can muster up on our own. When have you run and not grown weary? When have you walked all day and not grown tired? When have you soared like the eagle on your own power? But ask a faithful Christian who has spent years trusting in God, “What has God given you strength to do?” They will tell you of persevering through things that they knew they couldn’t handle. They will tell you of amazing things that God has done through them. There’s an unasked question that floats up after we read verse 31, “Will you trust in me?” This is not a call to salvation, though we must place our trust in him for salvation. No, this is the Father asking his child every moment of every day to trust him. Yes, God asks us to give up everything for him. Yes, we lose control of our own life. Yes, he will ask us to go down difficult paths for his kingdom. Yet, how can we not place our trust in the God of verses 12-30 when we know how vast and powerful he is, but also know the love he has for us?


Thursday: ’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus – Proverbs 3:5-8

“Just to rest upon his promise, just to know, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’”

Proverbs 3:5-6 is another set of verses that we see and use everywhere. I want to add verses 7 and 8 to our meditations today because of the contrast they offer to 5 and 6.

5Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
    Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
    and strength for your bones.”

The word rest has multiple definitions, most of which have to do with taking a break and relaxing. I think the songwriter’s idea of rest starts there, but goes much deeper. I used my money to buy a hammock when I was kid. It was one of the cheap travel ones that looked like a large white net with a ring on each end. As a kid I hung that thing everywhere and loved laying in it. I never thought a thing about it until I hung it up on the back porch one rainy day. I hung that hammock up from two nails that were already there and hopped in the hammock with my book as usual. One of the nails would probably be better described as bolt. The other one…well I think it was put there to hold the dog’s leash when we weren’t using it. Needless to say, the hammock didn’t stay up very long, and neither did I. That little nail spun around in its hole and my tail bone is aching right now at the memory. You see I was resting, completely relaxed. The next time I got in that hammock, however, I wasn’t so relaxed. I kept one foot on the ground for a while to make sure it would hold me.

You don’t relax on something flimsy. You don’t rest in a wobbly chair. You sit there, tense, waiting to catch yourself from the doom you are certain is coming. When we know the Lord though, we can relax. We don’t have to run around trying to figure everything out on our own. We can trust his wisdom and rest in it. Because we know him, we can trust what he tells us in Scripture. Are you resting in his promises? Or, do you still feel like you need to keep one foot on the ground in case he isn’t as trustworthy as he says he is?


Friday: “’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” – Galatians 2:20-3:5

“Just from sin and self to cease.”

Yes, we’re crossing the chapter barrier. It’s okay, remember that Galatians is one long letter that should be read as a whole. Anyway, Paul makes a powerful statement in 2:20.

20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.“

Once we trust in the Lord for salvation, making him Lord of our life, we must crucify our old self and our old way of doing things. We must live our life trusting in the one who died for us. This is a great verse; we love this verse! But let’s look at what Paul says to the Galatian churches next in 2:21-3:5.

21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

1Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced[a] so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?

I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.”

The churches in the region of Galatia where letting some alternate teachings creep into the church. People were teaching, “Yes you must have faith in Jesus, but you also need to follow certain rules to be saved. You need to follow the Jewish laws also.” Look at the strong language Paul uses. Paul asks rhetorical question after rhetorical question trying to get them to see that we can’t add anything to the gospel or we don’t have true salvation.

We fall into a similar trap today, and I’ll admit that it’s an easy trap to fall into. We humans are rule followers. We like the fact that if you add A and B, then you get C. Many Christians and churches operate the same way the Galatian churches were operating. Yes, you must have faith in Christ, but you also need to do these things, act this way, or dress this certain way. Yes, it is good to read your Bible, but that doesn’t save you. Yes, we should come to church, but that doesn’t save you. Yes, obey the commandments, tithe to the church, witness to people, invite them to church, come to Sunday School, teach a class, visit the sick, and help the needy. But never forget that none of that affects your salvation in anyway. When we elevate our work for the kingdom and make it equal to, or a part of our salvation through faith, we are trying to work our way to heaven. That is always sin, pure and simple. As the song says, we must cease living for sin and self.

I know this isn’t the most “uplifting” of meditations, but sometimes we must ponder these things. What grieves my heart the most as I type this is that the ones who do this are the ones most likely to feel that they are fine. So, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions: At any time, or to any degree, do you think negative of someone who does not do the things you do for the Lord? Is there a line in your mind that separates good people and not so good people based on how they live? I know that I’ve fallen into this trap before, and I’ve had to ask, and will have to ask again, for the Lord to change my heart and show me the truth. My salvation is found only in Christ, and the works I do is out of love for him and his sacrifice. I am better than no one, not the drunk, not the murderer, not the drug addict, not the sex offender, nor anyone else I can think of. It is hard to live, “just from sin and self to cease.” Father help me.


*All Scripture is taken from the New Living Translation unless noted otherwise.