August 29, 2021
Thank you, Lord, for including this happy psalm in the Bible. We embrace the beauty, the solemnity, the joy of the wedding of a royal king, Israel’s king, to a royal bride. We praise you for giving to ancient Israel a good king, a king whom the people could celebrate, and whose marriage they could rejoice in.
From our perspective, in our place in your timeline of human history, we read this psalm and our thoughts readily go to its ultimate fulfillment, the person and the relationship to which this psalm pointed in a striking way. We rejoice, Heavenly Father, in the king you have given to us—Jesus, your anointed Messiah. We acclaim him this morning, our king of royal dignity, of strength, of integrity. Truly your lips, Lord Jesus, have been anointed with grace. Your words of truth and life are like no one else’s. Truly you have ridden out, as it were, the warrior king, and have won the victory over your enemies—sin, the devil, the world, and death.
We praise you, Lord Jesus, that you are a king of integrity. You are committed to the cause of truth, humility, and justice. How timely this good news is for our day! In such a tumultuous period in our society, where truth is up for grabs, you have—you are—the truth. When humility is so scarce, you are the model of humility. When justice is ignored or distorted, you are the king committed to true justice. Your everlasting scepter is a truly a scepter of righteousness.
As we think of you in this regard, we think of ourselves and we confess our shortcomings, our failures, our sins. We stray from your truth in Scripture to our own notions; forgive us. We stray from your humility and become arrogant and self-reliant; forgive us. We stray from justice, marginalizing it or embracing a faulty version of it; forgive us. Lead us, Master, as your disciples: keep training us in your way, the way of truth, humility, and justice. May it grow in our own hearts and lives, our own homes, our own church. May we display with our lives the compelling ways of our attractive King.
For we are your bride, Lord. What a blessing—to be joined, wedded, to the King who, in all his character and all his deeds and all his uniqueness is supremely attractive and desirable! We look forward to the day when the marriage will be complete, and we will sit at the wedding feast. May we long for that day more deeply. And until then, continue your work of beautifying your bride. She is in many ways blemished and dirtied. We lament the obscuring of her beauty. We cannot change her across the landscape, but we can ask you to. And we can embrace your beautifying work in our own lives, our own church. Cleanse us and prepare us to be presented to you as a radiant bride, free of all spot and wrinkle and any such thing. Do this so that, through our delight in our Groom and through our distinctive way of life under his Kingship, others around us might be drawn to know him and join in the marriage celebration.
We look out on our world and our hearts are heavy for Afghanistan. We cry out to you for that nation, for the Afghani people, for the underground church. We ask your deliverance of many, your protection of the vulnerable, your unique emboldening of your church to display and share Jesus Christ amid this crisis. Have mercy, O Lord.
And have mercy on the nations of this world who are especially struggling with the pandemic. We pray for those who are suffering, the vulnerable, those with needs much greater than ours. Give us wisdom in our own country and our own circumstances in navigating the present and future course of the virus.
Thank you for today’s upcoming baptism service. May it deeply enrich those who will be baptized and those who observe and remember or wonder.
Father, we thank you for the simple gift of summertime. As we close it out and launch into a new school year, we look to our King for guidance, provision, protection, and wisdom. May we live in accordance with the treasure we have in being pledged to him as Groom. May we reflect him with a radiant beauty as his bride.
Through him we pray. And all God’s people said, “Amen!”