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Exclusively published to the Touchstone website each week, these Daily Reflections are brief commentaries on the lectionary readings contained in the St. James Daily Devotional Guide. The reflections are penned by Patrick Henry Reardon, editor of the Daily Devotional Guide and a senior editor of Touchstone. Father Reardon provides here a very brief directional clue for one of the texts each day. Long-time readers of the Daily Devotional Guide will find these reflections an additional help to their reading of Holy Scripture which they can print and keep with their Guide.

The Daily Reflections will be updated weekly.

 

Sunday, June 8

Psalm 118 (Greek and Latin 117): This psalm, which is suggested for Morning Prayers today, has long been favored, in both the East and the West, as the major psalm for Sunday Matins. This is the psalm that speaks of "the day that the Lord has made," encouraging us to "rejoice and be glad in it," and Sunday is preeminently that day wherein we most fittingly sing: "God is the Lord, and He has given us His light." In the ancient liturgical Tradition of the Church, Psalm 118 is the psalm that set the tone for Sunday morning worship.
Every Sunday morning is full of the great Pascha surprise: "Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive" (Luke 24:22f). And our response to this message from the Myrrh-bearing Women? "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let Israel now say, ÔHis mercy endures forever.Ő Let the house of Aaron now say, ÔHis mercy endures forever.Ő Let those who fear the Lord now say, ÔHis mercy endures forever.Ő"
Every Sunday morning is the ChurchŐs jubilant celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. Joining the Myrrh-bearing Women who discovered His empty tomb, we raise our voices to greet the new dawn with shouts of exaltation: "The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly. The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly." The message of Sunday morning is that the forces of death have not prevailed: "I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord has chastened me severely, but He has not given me over to death."
We Christians have every right to find in Psalm 118 the expression of our Paschal joy. Even the children of Israel had recourse to a line of this psalm to greet the Lord on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."
And whence did we Christians derive the idea that Psalm 118 is a psalm about Christ? From a very good source, actually Ń Christ himself. Our Lord quoted a line of this psalm to His enemies by way of interpreting his parable of the wicked vine-dressers: "Have you not even read this Scripture: ÔThe stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LordŐs doing, and it is marvelous in our eyesŐ?" (Mark 12:10f) Using a play on words, Jesus here identifies Himself as both the Son (ben) and the Stone (Őeben) of His story about the drama of His death and divine vindication. The LordŐs parable of the wicked vine-dressers is thus the interpretive key to this psalm.
It is in the Resurrection that we perceive that the "stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone." The detailed accounts of the LordŐs Passion are descriptions of His rejection by the builders, while the Gospel stories of the risen Jesus are the narratives of "the LordŐs doing" that is so "marvelous in our eyes." This verse of Psalm 118 is also quoted by the Apostle Peter in Acts 4:11, which we will be reading somewhat later this month.
Psalm 118 is the canticle of the empty tomb. It is to the risen Jesus that we sing, with the Myrrh-bearing Women: "You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, and I will exalt You." It is to the risen Jesus that we say with Mary Magdalene: "Rabboni!" It is to the risen Jesus that we address the words of the Apostle Thomas: "My Lord and my God." Truly, in the Resurrection we see clearly that "God is the Lord, and He has given us light."

Monday, June 9

Psalm 56 (Greek and Latin 55): This psalm, suggested for Morning Prayer today, is the prayer of a believer sorely tried but still trusting in God. It may easily be prayed as the prayer of Christ our Lord in the context of His redemptive sufferings, but it also expresses the feelings of those who have, like the apostles, been counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus (cf. Acts 5:41). That is to say, this psalm is the prayer of Christ, and the prayer of the Church, and the prayer of any disciple of Christ within the Church.
What the Church suffers, after all, she suffers in communion with Christ, and what is suffered by individual members is part of that same mystic communion, of which the Apostle Paul wrote: "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the Church" (Colossians 1:24).
The mandate laid on all believers, that they daily take up the cross and follow Jesus, is not a thing light or incidental to the living of the Gospel, for Holy Scripture affirms that "all that desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).
Psalm 56 is a perfect prayer for all such folk: "Have mercy on me, O God, for man has trampled me down; all day long the belligerent man has afflicted me. My enemies trample me all day long, for many have warred against me since daybreak. . . All day long they have scorned my words; all their machinations are directed to my hurt. They position themselves for ambush, setting a snare for my foot; they prowl for my soul."
Here in our psalm is described, first of all, the very situation we find with respect to Jesus in the Gospels. Early in the Gospel of Mark, for instance, there is a series of five episodes (2:1 Ń 3:6) in which the enemies of Jesus interrogate and investigate Him, spy on Him and finally reach their sinister resolve: "Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him" (3:6). There are five more such stories nearer the end of MarkŐs Gospel (11:27 Ń 12:34), leading at once to the conspiracy to put Jesus to death (14:1). The present psalm may certainly be prayed as the sentiments of our Lord in that context, revealing His trust in the Father even in the midst of the evil plots against Himself.
But much of this drama in the Gospels is repeated in the experience of the first Christians narrated in the Acts of the Apostles and the various Epistles, where we likewise read repeatedly of persecutions, plots, lurking ambushes, false testimony, denunciations, floggings, imprisonment and even death. In varying degrees, such was the lot of Stephan, James, Paul and the other apostles, one of whom wrote: "rejoice to the extent that you partake of ChristŐs sufferings, that when his glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you" (1 Peter 4:13f).
The more important sentiment in our psalm, however, is deep trust in GodŐs abiding mercy and help. If God has numbered the hairs on our heads, how much more has He counted every tear falling from our eyes. Not a sigh uttered before Him will go unremembered: "Lord, I have recounted my life to You. You have placed my tears in Your sight, and in Your promise. My enemies shall be thrown back, on whatever day I shall call upon You. Behold, I know that You are my God."
Our trust in God is open-ended. It is not just a matter of trusting Him in our present trials, but of confiding to His care all that lies ahead, that future still unknown to us but for which God has already made provision. This is the God from Whom nothing can separate us, "neither life nor death, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing" (Romans 8:38f).
In this psalmŐs act of trust, the future itself becomes a sort of narrative past: "You have delivered my soul from death, my feet from stumbling, so that I may rejoice before the Lord in the light of the living." Since nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (8:39), we believers already know the final blessing of our destiny: "Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; whom He justified, these also He glorified" (8:30). Such is the biblical doctrine of the divine election and assurance, the source of our hope and consolation in every trial that attends our faith. "Finally," says the believer in Christ, "there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8).

Tuesday, June 10

The Book of Ruth: Following the Pentecostal theme of the "first fruits," this week we will be reading the Book of Ruth, the title character of which was a Gentile who came to worship Israel's God. Ruth was thus a kind of "first installment" of the Church's mission to the Gentiles.
In our English bibles, the Book of Ruth falls between Judges and Samuel, the order one also finds in the ancient Greek (Septuagint) and Latin (Vulgate) versions. This arrangement doubtless derives from a desire to read the whole biblical narrative in sequence, for the events in Ruth did occur during the period of the Judges and prior to the establishing of the monarchy.
In the traditional Hebrew text, however, the Book of Ruth is located in a completely different part of the Bible. Whereas the books of Judges and Samuel are found among the "earlier prophets," one finds Ruth, in the third and last part of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Ketubim or "writings," stuck between the Song of Solomon and the Book of Lamentations. Within this latter category, Ruth is also part of a little collection of the five meghilloth or "rolls" traditionally read in the synagogue for specific feast days. This usage assigns Ruth to the Jewish feast of Pentecost, a custom that explains why this Daily Devotional Guide appoints Ruth to be read during this week of the Christian Pentecost.
The Book of Ruth, narrating events that took place about 1100 B. C., may be divided into a series of scenes, the first three of which are contained in Chapter One. The first scene, described in verses 1-5, is marked by a very somber tone, conveyed in the sad events of famine, exile, death and bereavement. Three women are widowed within five verses. Even the names are somber; Mahlon means "sickly," and Chilion means "wasting away." While this scene covers about ten years, after which the pace of the narrative will slow down and become more detailed. There is an initial irony that the famine is found in the town of Bethlehem, which literally means "house of bread." (Much of this story will be taken up with the symbol of grain, thanksgiving for which is one of the themes of Pentecost itself, which occurs at the time of the barley harvest.)
Thus, this starts out as a very sad book. It will not end on that note, however.
The second scene of the Book of Ruth is contained in verses 6-14, in which Naomi gives her widowed daughters-in-law an opportunity to begin their lives anew. As for herself, she will return to Israel, where the famine had now ended. Verse 6 describes the sort of rumor about food that Jacob had heard with respect to Egypt several centuries earlier. At the end of verse 6 there is a marvelous play on the word Bethlehem ("house of bread"): "to give them bread" Ń latet lahem lakhem. Thus, once again, the theme of grain. (On food shortages during the period of the judges, see Judges 6:1-6.) The book begins with famine, but the rest of it will be taken up with a massive harvest.
In verse 8 Naomi offers a simple prayer for Ruth. The rest of the entire story will be a description of how God answered that prayer, uttered by a Jew for a Gentile, in a foreign land.
Ruth's "sticking with" Naomi becomes the first sign of hope in this hitherto sad book. Like Abraham, Ruth will go forth into a strange country, generously following God's lead.
Three times Naomi asks Ruth to reconsider, and three times she declines. Holy Scripture makes many uses of what can be called the "threefold appeal" Ń cf. the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemani as narrated in Mark and Matthew, the threefold prayer of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:8, the Lord's threefold call to Samuel in 1 Samuel 3.
Ruth does not speak until verses 16-17, which the author has solemnized by putting them into poetic meter. (These are the only verses in the book written in this style.) In these verses Ruth becomes a worshipper of the true God, in contrast to Orpah who remains an idolater ("her gods"). There is suggested the further irony that Ruth, a Gentile, will eventually be buried in the promised land, whereas her Jewish husband was buried outside of it.
Naomi's character will be greatly developed during the course of this account. In verse 13 she thinks of herself as "jinxed," and in verse 20 she will still be feeling sorry for herself. Gradually this will all change. Naomi will move from brooding to doing.
The two women move to Bethlehem where, on clear days, Ruth was be able to look eastward and see the land of Moab. One recalls the lines from Keats: "Perhaps the self-same song that found a path/ Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,/ She stood in tears amid the alien corn." There is nothing in the Bible, however, to indicate that Ruth ever looked back to Moab with either longing or remorse.

Wednesday, June 11

Ruth 2: The next scene of the Book of Ruth is situated in the field of Boaz. We are told that Ruth "happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz" (verse 3). That is to say, the event looked happenstance and accidental. The reader already suspects, however, that it is not. Indeed, God is already beginning to answer the prayer of Naomi in 1:9. Here in verse 4 we find yet another prayer, in the form of a blessing. This prayer will also be answered in the course of the story.
The brief conversation of Boaz and Ruth in this chapter will serve to outline the man's character, which the reader perceives to be gracious, concerned, generous, and kind. He is also subtle in his generosity. The tone and wording of the conversation also suggests that Boaz is significantly older than Ruth.
In this dialogue, Boaz uses the word "wing" in verse 12. The underlying Hebrew word here is kanaph, which can also mean "skirt," which is how the word will be translated in 3:9. In both cases it indicates protecting care, as though God is permitting Boaz to fulfill his own prayer on behalf of Ruth.
When Ruth returns home with so much grain at the end of her first day at work, Naomi immediately becomes suspicious about her good fortune. The reader observes that the conversation between the two women that night was about Boaz, not barley. In verse 20 it becomes clear that Naomi is perceiving forces at work beyond the human; a plan slowly begins to take shape in her mind. By the end of the chapter, the story has moved into the month of June, but nothing further has happened. Naomi begins to consider that perhaps some bolder move is required.

Thursday, June 12

Ruth 3: According to Israel's ancient levirate law, the brother-in-law of a widow was obliged to take her to wife in order to beget children in the name of his deceased brother. An extension of this law to "next of kin" is obviously operative in Naomi's thinking in the bold project narrated in this chapter. She contrives a plan for Ruth to make this matter unavoidable in the mind of Boaz, in circumstances that will heighten a romantic interest that Naomi suspects to reside in Boaz's heart. The execution of her plan is the stuff of one of the most sensitive stories in the Bible.
In the course of this account, we then learn that Naomi was correct in her suspicion. Indeed, he is already one step ahead of his future "mother-in-law"; he has researched the matter and learned that he is not, in fact, the next of kin. Thus, nothing happens that night. There is still one more step that Boaz must take.
In this second dialogue between Boaz and Ruth, we detect certain delicate features of both of the man: Boaz's sensitivity to the age difference between him and Ruth, his consequent reluctance to initiate any previous advance toward her, his gratitude for her interest in him, his continued solicitude for her well-being by not obliging her to walk home in the dark, his discrete concern for her reputation, the shrewdness of his ability to read the mind of Naomi. As he lies there on the granary floor that night, Boaz realizes that he has been "set up" by Naomi; this proceeding had not been Ruth's at all. So Boaz told her, "Do not go empty-handed to your mother in law."
Naomi's response, in turn, shows that she perfectly understands the thoughts of Boaz. It is a marvelous account of two very shrewd individuals who comprehend one another perfectly.

Friday, June 13

Ruth 4: Boaz now proves himself as shrewd as Naomi. Just as Boaz had been "set up" by Naomi and Ruth, he now proceeds to "set up" this unnamed kinsman. What we read in this chapter, then, is a classical "sting operation." One remembers Jacob "setting up" his father Isaac with the famous sheepskin ruse, and how Jacob and Laban were constantly endeavoring to out-maneuver one another.
This relative of Boaz thus "bites" before he knows what he is biting. He is presented with a field, he thinks, but then discovers a possible liability comes with the field Ń Ruth Ń and suddenly he realizes that his own inheritance might thereby be compromised. He quickly says "ouch" and pulls back before it is too late. This must rank among the more purely entertaining scenes in Holy Scripture.
This specific shoe-custom had already been a thing of the past long before the biblical story was written, of which we seem to have some memory also in Deuteronomy 25:9 and Psalm 108 (109):9. This older memory is an important feature of the story. It reminds us that the accounts narrated in the Bible often contain information that could only have come from more primitive traditions, many of them oral in nature.
Toward the end of the story (verse 7), Ruth is blessed by invoking the memory of Tamar, the mother of twins. Clearly, these blessing elders, the city fathers of Bethlehem, entertained expansive ideas in this matter of progeny! Their blessing also evokes the famous story in Genesis 38, where Tamar herself had done a bit of "stinging" of her father-in-law. Having begun in sorrow, this finely crafted little story ends in the joy of a grandmother bouncing a new grandchild on her lap. The final lines place the account in the genealogy of King David, and Christian readers are expected to relate that line to the final Heir of that salvific family line.

Saturday, June 14

Psalm 104 (Greek and Latin 103): This psalm, suggested for Evening Prayer today, is one of those or which the New Testament provides at least a partial interpretive key. An early verse of it is quoted in the Epistle to the Hebrews with respect to the angels: "He makes His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire" (1:7). This line of the psalter is interpreted just a few verses later: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation?" (1:14).
Psalm 104 is not difficult. The psalmist meditates on the various "days" of Creation, starting with the vast expanse of the heavens, then the ministry of the angels, then the earth and its myriad phenomena, the various plants and diverse animals, from sparrows and rabbits to deer and lions, and not excluding man, always with an emphasis on GodŐs generous provision for the needs of all: "Expectantly do all things look to You, to give them their food in due season. You give, and they gather it. When You open Your hand, all things are filled with goodness."
Psalm 104 combines considerations of the natural order with those of human commerce, suggesting a "cooperation" between GodŐs work and manŐs. This perspective is true with regard to both the land ("You make grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the service of man Ń to make bread spring from the earth, and wine to gladden his heart, and oil to shine on his face, and bread to strengthen his heart") and the sea ("Here is the sea, great and wide, holding creatures without number, living things both great and small. Here too go the ships to and fro, and the great sea serpent that frolics therein"). ManŐs own labor is matched by other creatures in nature, such as the hunting of the lions and the nest-building of the birds.
Toward the end the psalm speaks of GodŐs Holy Spirit at work in the world: "You will send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created, and You will renew the face of the earth." Perhaps inspired by this psalm, the poet G. M. Hopkins saw the sunŐs daily rising as a sign that "the Holy Ghost over the bent world broods with warm breast and, oh, bright wings."


 



Sunday, June 1

Exodus 35: Although these instructions are quickly given, one should probably think in terms of several months for their accomplishment. There was evidently a great deal of hustle and bustle in progress at the foot of Mount Sinai.
The building and proper appointing of the tabernacle must begin with the gathering of the materials. As we shall see in due course, something in the neighborhood of eight tons of precious metals and stones would be required in this work. In addition, there would need to be wood and various kinds of expensive cloth. The present chapter describes how this vast array of materials is assembled by the generosity of the people. This tabernacle would be the consecration of their own material resources, the fruit of their labor.
Because the tabernacle and its appointments were to be modeled on MosesŐ vision of the heavenly and eternal tabernacle of heaven, the construction of all these things was dependent on the grace of the Holy Spirit, who would inspire and guide the minds and hands of the artisans (verse 31).

Monday, June 2

Exodus 36: There is considerable stress laid on the peopleŐs generosity (verses 1-7). It is a rare thing that GodŐs people have to be told, as they are told here, to "stop giving!" One may compare the singular generosity of the Christians in Philippi in Macedonia who, during the three weeks that St. Paul spent in neighboring Thessaloniki (cf. Acts 17:2), sent offerings on two occasions for the maintenance of his ministry (cf. Philippians 4:16). The Apostle would be speaking about that Macedonian generosity for years to come (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5).
Particularly to be noted is the use of the "veil" in all of IsraelŐs worship. Even as God reveals (which literally means "unveils") Himself, He is manifested, not as an object open to direct regard, but as supreme Mystery, chiefly to be adored. When God and man are finally reconciled by the death of Jesus on the Cross, this symbolic veil of the Old Testament is rent asunder; cf. Matthew 27:51. The sacrificed Jesus Himself enters behind the veil of the heavenly tabernacle; cf. Hebrews 6:19. In another sense of the same image, because it houses His divine person, the very flesh of Christ is also called the veil of the divine presence; cf. Hebrews 10:20.

Tuesday, June 3

Exodus 37: This chapter narrates that the ark, the table of the presence bread, the lamp stand, and the incense altar were constructed according the specifications that Moses received in his Sinai vision of the heavenly sanctuary. This distinction between the earthly and heavenly sanctuaries was important to the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who made it the framework for his exposition in Chapter 9. He speaks of the very elements we find in the present chapter of Exodus: the Ark of the Covenant, the table for the Showbread, the golden lamp stand. He disappoints us (if one may be completely frank) by finishing his description with the comment: "Of these things we cannot now speak in detail" (Hebrews 9:5)!
The authorŐs point in the Epistle to the Hebrews, however, is not to satisfy our curiosity with the respect to the tabernacle that Moses made. He is interested, rather, in directing our attention to that heavenly sanctuary, "the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation" (9:11). It was into this heavenly tabernacle that Christ entered, unto the fulfillment of our redemption. This heavenly sanctuary is the one that Moses, in mystic vision, saw on the mountain. It is the one that St. John saw when the door opened into heaven (Revelation 4:1). It is to this eternal and heavenly sanctuary that Christians, in their prayer, have eternal access, because Jesus entered into it as the culminating act of our redemption.

Wednesday, June 4

Exodus 38: When, at their departure, the Israelites "borrowed" silver, gold, and precious stones from their Egyptian neighbors, the text (11:2) did not indicate just how large was the amount. Now we begin to gain a staggering idea of it. Although the measurement of the ancient talent varied somewhat, it has been reasonably approximated at over 75 pounds, with three thousand shekels to the talent. Thus, even on the most conservative estimate, we are dealing here with an enormous amount of precious metal: more than a ton of gold, three and a half tons of silver, nearly three tons of bronze. Moreover, if the weight is being computed according to the later temple measurements, these figures may need to be adjusted up to 20% higher.

Thursday, June 5

Exodus 39: Much of this passage is repetitious of chapter 28. Worthy of particular notice among the priestly vestments is the ornate "breastplate" to be worn by the high priest for purposes of divining (verses 8-21). Its twelve polished stones are arranged according to the marching order of the twelve tribes that they represent. Thus, when he appears before God, the high priest is adorned in such a way as to represent the whole chosen people. These stones are themselves symbolic, of course, of the great foundational stones of the heavenly city, the final company of the redeemed; cf. Revelation 21:19-20.
The construction of this tabernacle out in the desert of Sinai was a feat of mammoth and nearly unparalleled difficulty. Aside from all the vestments, hangings, instruments, etc., just the metal for the construction of the tabernacle apparatus has been estimated at around eight tons. Recalling that it was to be carried through the desert for the next forty years, one will think enhanced respect of the Levites who were to carry it.

Friday, June 6

Exodus 40: Everything is to be anointed with consecratory oil (verses 1-15). The Christian will read these verses in the awareness that the tabernacle itself is a prefiguration of Christ, the Anointed One. The Son of God, anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, is the permanent presence of God to humanity.
The only new piece of information in verses 16-33 is in respect to the purpose of the laver, which will be used, we are told, to wash the hands and feet of the priests who are to serve the tabernacle ministry.
The glory of the divine presence descends into the tabernacle (verses 34-38). This glorious cloud, associated with both the passage through the Red Sea and the giving of the Law on Sinai, is now a feature of GodŐs ongoing presence with His people. Both events become permanent and "institutionalized" in the Mosaic tabernacle. The divine overshadowing will in due course be transferred to the Solomonic temple at Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:10-11), as well as the second temple (Haggai 2:6-9). All of these manifestations of the divine presence, as well as the rabbinical speculations regarding the cloud (shekinah), are properly taken as prophetic of the Incarnation, in which GodŐs eternal and consubstantial Word definitively "pitched His tent (eskenosen) among us" (John 1:14). Thus, all of the earlier overshadowings are but prefigurations of that by which the Holy Spirit effects the mystery of the Incarnation in the Woman who served as the tabernacle of GodŐs presence in this world; cf. Luke 1:35.

Saturday, June 7

Psalm 33 (Greek and Latin 32): Now then, for the first time, the Book of Psalms uses an important expression Ń "new song," shir chadash Ń which will later appear 4 more times in the psalter and once in Isaiah: "Sing to Him a new song." The praise of the righteous, of the just man to whom the Lord imputes no guilt and in whose mouth is no deceit, is characterized by a particular kind of newness, of renewal, of new life, inasmuch as "He who sat on the throne said, ÔBehold, I make all things newŐ" (Revelation 21:5). The song of the believers is always a new song, because it springs from an inner divine font. It is the song of those who are born again in Christ and therefore "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). The song of the LordŐs redeemed is a new song, for they adhere to the new covenant in ChristŐs blood and "serve in the newness of the Spirit" (7:6).
All Christian praise of God is a participation in the liturgy of heaven where the saints gather in glory about the Lamb in the presence of the Throne. According to Revelation 5:9, our "new song" has to do with the opening of the seals of the great scroll by the Lamb who gave his life for our redemption: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for you were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood." The new song is for those who have been made "kings and priests to our God" (5:10). The new song is "the song of the Lamb" (15:3). The new song, according to Revelation 14:1-3, is sung by the redeemed as they gather about the Lamb on Mount Zion. This is the folk of whom our psalm says: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance."
Therefore, when the present psalm summons us to the "new" praise of God, it is to a newness that will never grow old. Indeed, it will grow ever newer as, day by day, we "are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory" (2 Corinthians 4:18), and our "youth is renewed like the eagleŐs" (Psalm 103 [102]:5).




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