In the moment, it is easy to think of our troubles as enduring, but they will pass away just like the world as we know it. The Lord “laid the foundation of the earth” long ago, but it will perish. He formed the heavens by hand, but they will wear out “like a garment” (25-26). But he who made heaven and earth is ageless, he doesn’t wear out, and he will never perish, and neither will all who trust in him. This is why we must not think of our troubles as unending or seek to find solutions in what will perish. We must look to the Lord in our time of need, for ourselves but also for one another. For though our afflictions are momentary, in Christ we look together toward an eternal glory.
Tag Archives: Penitential Psalms
Conviction, Contrition, and Community
With three synonyms (“transgressions,” “iniquity,” and “sin”), David confesses the totality of his sin. He no longer hides what could never be hidden. Great is David’s sin but not greater than the forgiveness of the self-revealed One, who is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6). David does not offer to work for a wage but to be given grace, knowing that his sin is before him (and everyone else who has ever read this psalm). His prayer is not that his sin be blotted out of human history, but that by God’s grace it would be forgiven. And so it was. Such is the merciful forgiveness of God.
Confessions of a Forgiven Sinner
And in trusting the Lord we become “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruits in its season, and its leaf does not wither” (Ps. 1:3), but we are not a lone tree but one of a healthy forest, a fellowship with others who also trust in the Lord, growing together in the Lord’s provision. We come together weekly on the Lord’s Day to worship our Triune God through his means of grace. We assemble not yet as the church triumphant but the church militant, confessing our sins to one another and praying for one another (Jas. 5:16), but also rejoicing in the forgiveness and fellowship with enjoy, with songs of deliverance. The Lord is indeed faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us, and protect us, and hide us, and preserve us, and surround us with other forgiven sinners that we may be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, and sing for joy to the Lord.
The Grace of Discipline
David was a man after God’s own heart and yet was guilty of adultery and murder. The Lord chose David to be king, anointed him to serve, established his kingdom, promised a perpetual throne, and yet allowed the rebellion of David’s son, Absalom, to threaten it all. The rise and fall and rise again story of David is a familiar one, partly because of the historical record but also the poetic. We know what happened, but we also know how it felt. The story is recorded in 2 Samuel, and the third psalm accompanies it, as David wrote it during Absalom’s attempted coup. The third is a short psalm that describes the Lord’s salvation of David from his foes amidst the turmoil of a civil war. What the specific account in 2 Samuel and the third psalm do not reveal is that the rebellion was in fulfillment of what God promised.
Blessed to Worship
The eighty-fourth psalm is similar to the Songs of Ascents as its focus is worship, directs us toward Zion, and emphasizes the temple. Within the psalm we find characteristics of a hymn, a prayer, and a lament. It is also a psalm of longing, and yet the most oft-repeated word in the psalm is “blessed”: “Blessed are those who dwell in [the LORD’s] house.” “Blessed are those whose strength is in [the LORD].” And, “blessed is the one who trusts in [the LORD]!” And blessed are we, as we read, sing, and meditate upon this psalm.