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Lent Readings

Readings Begin February 18

Daily Lent Readings

"He is risen, indeed!" Lent has passed but that doesn't mean the daily readings have to go away. Some of you might be discovering this page for the first time. Others who participated during Lent might find it helpful to revisit a particular reading. For these reasons, we will leave this page up for a while.
We pray that you experience the wonder of interacting with our Savior in a personal, transformative way!
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"A New Light Shining" painting by Youngsung Kim from Havenlight
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Day 16

The Temple Clearing: Zeal for Your House
Imagine standing with Jesus, right next to him, in prayer to his Father. Read this passage of praise aloud. As you do so, consider that you are praying along with Jesus, your two voices becoming one as you bless God.  
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and all that is within me,
   bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity
   who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from the pit,
   who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)
Psalm 69:6-13 
Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
    O Lord GOD of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
   O God of Israel.
For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
   that dishonor has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my brothers,
   an alien to my mother’s sons.
For zeal for your house has consumed me,
   and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting,
   it became my reproach.
When I made sackcloth my clothing,
   I became a byword to them.
I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
   and the drunkards make songs about me.
But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD.
   At an acceptable time, O God,
   in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me
   in your saving faithfulness.
What Is This Psalm About? 
Faced with overwhelming circumstances, David, the poet of Psalm 69, grows weary, fearful that he might fail in his faithfulness. He is stung by the hatred others fling at him, reproaching him with false accusations. More than for personal deliverance, the psalmist prays that he would not bring dishonor to the LORD nor harm the faith of others. The glory of God, the honor of the goodness of the LORD, fuels his passion. He aches for the evil ones to be undone so that God’s little ones might be protected. Righteous anger flows from his lips, for in maligning him, the wicked reproach the God whom David serves. He bears disgrace on behalf of the LORD who has always been faithful to him. Despite his suffering, he will not swerve from his trust in God’s steadfast love.
What Might This Psalm Have Meant to Jesus?
As Luke tells the story, after Jesus’ celebrated arrival in Jerusalem, he looks over the holy city. With the hosannas of the crowd still reverberating in his ears, Jesus weeps. He does not trust their momentary adoration. His heart breaks over the vast unbelief, and he grieves over the stubborn hearts of the LORD’s people: “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42). Pride and lack of nerve in faith make us blind to what God reveals. We choose our own ways and invite destruction.
Jesus continues, “For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you . . . and tear you down to the ground . . . because you did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:43-44). The people seek a political messiah as a solution to Roman oppression, but in a few decades, as Jesus predicted, their violent rebellion will lead to a leveling of their city and sacred temple.
Filled with passion, angry with grief, eager to show his people the way, Jesus enters the temple, his Father’s house. The Passover trade in animals and currency exchange bustles everywhere. What’s lacking is any sense of holiness. The business of religion thrives while noisy pilgrims forget the Father above. Jesus, with terrifying personal authority, single-handedly drives the merchants from the temple courts declaring, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it [this house that I love, this place where my Father welcomes all who seek him] a den of robbers.” (Luke 19:46). 
John’s gospel shows how the disciples connected Psalm 69 to this dramatic event: “His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me’” (John 2:17). Jealousy for his Father’s worship burns in Jesus. He does not care about the anger of the money changers and merchants over money lost, transactions interrupted or traditions broken. Their stubborn hearts set against the face of their God shame him as a human. He wants to take his Father’s side. He yearns to carry the reproaches against God that thankless self-centeredness always produces. Jesus assumes the role of wrath-bearer, bearing it from both sides. He longs to bear God’s anguished wrath against our sin as well as our petulant rage against a God who holds us accountable for his laws. 
In the passion of his mission, Jesus prays that no one seeking God would be brought to dishonor through him (Psalm 69:6). He can’t bear to fail those he came to save, yet he knows that he must bear shame. He identifies with the psalmist’s lament: “I have become a stranger to my brothers” (Psalm 69:8). Jesus experiences the isolation that comes from being different from and misunderstood by family members, neighbors, mentors and the masses. Even on Palm Sunday, this seemingly great day, Jesus is aware of the sad reality. He is the Son of God who holds out his healing hands to a lost world, but all along, and later this very week, his love is met with mockery. As the psalmist puts it, even “drunkards make songs about me” (Psalm 69:12).
As we pray with Jesus, we feel his conflict. The pain of people not willing to receive the salvation he brings clashes with the zeal he has to uphold his Father’s plan. So Paul quotes Psalm 69 as being about Jesus: “For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me’” (Romans 15:3). Not only does Jesus embrace this tension, he even intensifies the conflict as Holy Week moves towards its inevitable conclusion. We will see how in just a few days Psalm 69 becomes a poignant prayer for Jesus again.
Praying with Jesus
Will I, Lord Jesus, bear reproach for you?
I always take criticism so personally.
I figure it must be my fault, 
For all I do is tainted with weakness and self-interest.
I hate the shame, so I avoid giving any cause for it.
But am I in my self-protection
Just flinching from the hatred of God
That those who resist you must feel?
Am I holding back my praise
Of your wondrous salvation,
Dampening my zeal for your glory,
Just to avoid the mixed emotions
Which follow others being angry with me?
O help me, Jesus, to get clear in my soul,
To live as you did, 
From a completely devoted heart,
All in with your worship and mission.
Give me greater passion,
Not wilting, retreating fear
So that should I face rejection for your name,
I can know that I bear reproach with you,
In deepened intimacy, heart to heart 
With my savior and God.


Posted in: Lent