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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 39

O Kings, Be Wise! King of Kings
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 2
?Why do the nations rage
   and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
   and the rulers take counsel together,
   against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
   and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
   the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
   and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
   on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
   The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
   today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
   and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
   and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
   be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
   and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
   lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
   for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
What Is This Psalm About?   
Sung at coronation ceremonies for Israel’s king, Psalm 2 would remind the people of the LORD’s everlasting covenant with King David (see 2 Samuel 7:12-16). Through this unconditional promise, the monarch of God’s people would ever be considered a special son of God. Each king would be anointed with oil at his enthronement, marking him as set apart to reign as the LORD’s representative. The king, then, was both a son of God and a messiah (which means “anointed one”). So Israel’s monarchy always rested on God’s ancient promise to David and always pointed forward to the time when the eternal Son of God would come himself as king and messiah. Arriving one day in flesh and blood, the true and everlasting king would redeem his people from sin and enemies and re-order the whole world in justice and righteousness. 
This inauguration psalm opens with the new king having to deal with threats from the rebellious rulers surrounding the LORD’s people. In many ways, these rival kings represent all of humanity. For from the beginning we have, each and all, wanted to burst free from God’s revealed will, throwing off any restrictions on our desires. We do not want the LORD to reign over us. 
In reply to these threats, the LORD himself issues a decree concerning this new ruler. He speaks directly to his anointed king, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.” Normally we think of the word “begotten” in regard to conceiving children. But here it relates to installing this man in a new position of life. He is no longer a private individual but a king, charged with representing God in his rule and responsible for shepherding the LORD’s people. So God declares him on this inauguration day to be Son and anointed King. He is given authority to rule in the LORD’s name, and God promises that ultimately all nations will recognize his reign because Israel’s purpose was from the beginning to be a light to the world, the first of God’s redeeming works for people of all nations. The psalm closes with a warning to the rulers of the world to “kiss the Son,” that is, to pay homage to the designated lord of God’s people on earth.
Ross writes that Psalm 2 “applies first to any Davidic king who came to the throne, but ultimately to the King of kings” (1: 213). So the deepest meaning of Psalm 2 comes into focus with the arrival of the eternal Son in our midst, the only man who can truly and forever be called the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 
What Might This Psalm Have Meant to Jesus?
The New Testament applies Psalm 2 several times to Jesus. Paul quotes it as he tells the story of Jesus in Antioch. By the resurrection, the Father declared of Jesus, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you” (Acts 13:33). Paul writes to the Romans that Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). It’s one thing to make a bold statement. It’s quite another to back up the words by bringing a dead man back to life! This is a new phase of existence. 
Paul understands that in his rising Jesus was exalted above every name that is named (Philippians 2:9). Jesus himself declared before his ascension, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). He who had been made low was raised above ever other name. Revelation describes the ascended Jesus as “the ruler of the kings of earth” (Revelation 1:5). Indeed he holds the keys, the authority, of death and Hades in his hands (Revelation 1:18). He is the one by whom all will be judged.
As Jesus prays Psalm 2, I imagine he gains a deeper sense of his place in the Father’s eternal plans. He could draw authority from the royal decree to be able to tell parables such as the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46) in which he anticipates being the Son before whom all must appear. His stern warnings to the Pharisees and his fearlessness before the Roman governor Pilate would flow from the LORD’s promise that all nations will be his 
Son’s heritage. 
We declare in the Apostles’ Creed that Jesus even now sits at the Father’s right hand and will come to judge the living and the dead. This is fair warning to us and to the rebellious world to be wise. There is no future apart from this King.
Praying with Jesus
I have often lived as if I am getting away with it.
You are so patient. You give me so much room.
I can deceive myself that you will not hold me to account.
I know the defiant religious leaders
Thought they could dismiss you.
Pilate thought he could dispense with you.
But you, King Jesus, cannot be avoided.
There is no island I can go to live apart from you.
The world, the cosmos, are yours.
I will be before you.
I will bow the knee and confess your reign.
I would do that now, 
Not when I break against your rule
Like a ship against the rocks,
But in this moment when I can rejoice
To have my life re-ordered
To life and health and peace
By your good and eternal rule. 


Posted in: Lent