Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 119: Qoph and Resh—Meditations upon the Word of God—Is there anything that we need for life and salvation for which God’s Word is not the source? No! The Word of the Lord is the fountain and source of everything that we need. In the Qoph section of Psalm 119, the psalmist speaks of the linkeage between the Word of God and prayer. God speaks to us and prayer, as the voice of faith in God’s Word, speaks to God for everything that we need according to His Word. “I rise before the dawning of the morning and cry for help; I hope in Your word.” God hears our prayers on the basis of His loving promises to us in Christ. In this section, statutes, testimonies, word, and commandments are the references to the Word of God. In the Resch section of Psalm 119, the psalmist cries out to the Lord for deliverance from affliction, for the revival of his soul, for salvation renewal in the Word of God. Our relationship with God and everything we need from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ comes from His Word. In this section, law, word, statutes, judgments, and testimonies are references to the Word of God.
Congregation at Prayer
July 25, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 119: Pe and Tsadde—Meditations on the Word of God—The testimonies of the Lord and the comfort of His righteousness are themes of both the Pe and the Tsadde sections of Psalm 119. In the Pe section, the psalmist begins by the declaration “Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.” This is the language of faith in the Gospel of God’s love and salvation in Christ. The testimonies of the Lord are the promises of the Gospel. They are the declarations of forgiveness and righteousness in Christ. God’s Word can be a stern word of Law, but in this section the emphasis is upon the comfort of the Gospel. The Gospel gives light. It gives understanding to the simple. It directs our paths. It does not allow iniquity to rule over us. It is the word of redemption. By the Gospel, God’s face shines upon us and we are grieved by those who turn away from the Gospel in unbelief. In this section, testimonies, words, commandments, word, precepts, statutes, and law are the references to the Word of God. In the Tsadde section, the theme of righteousness intensifies: “Righteous are you…. Your testimonies … are righteous…. Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness…. The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting…” These are not merely references to the holiness of the Lord, but of the righteousness of God in Christ. The righteousness of God is that He offered up His Son to the death of the cross on our behalf to make full atonement for all sin. This is the righteousness that is proclaimed in the Gospel and received by faith alone and not by the works of the Law. Sometimes “commandments” refer to the requirements of the Law, but commandments can also refer to the edicts of the Gospel that silences Satan’s accusations, takes away sin, and bestows the righteousness of Christ. These “commandments” are the eternal delight of the redeemed sinner. In this section, judgments, testimonies, words, word, precepts, law, and commandments are references to the Word of God.
The Sacrament of the Altar — What is the Sacrament of the Altar? What is the benefit of this eating and drinking?
July 18, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 119: Samek and Ayin— Meditations on the Word of God—Spiritual hypocrisy is to have a divided heart, a heart that is not firmly anchored in God’s Word but willfully follows the appetites and desires of the flesh. The Samek section of psalm 119 begins with a rejection of the “double-minded” or divided heart. For the Christian, God’s Word is the place of refuge and safety in the daily allure of the sinful flesh which would lead us astray. “You are my hiding place and shield…uphold me according to Your word, that I may live…Hold me up, and I shall be safe…” The Apostle declared that in his flesh there dwelt no good thing, therefore God’s Word alone is the source of safety, strength, comfort, and life for the faithful Christian. Only God’s Word can deliver us from the evil that lurks within us. In this section, law, word, commandments, statutes, testimonies, and judgments are the references to God’s Word. The Ayin section contains references to God’s righteousness. God’s righteousness ultimately centers in what Christ has done for our salvation in His death upon the cross. There He executed judgment and righteousness on our behalf as He suffered what the Law demanded for our sin. His righteousness is the source of our salvation, the mercy of God, and why the Lord’s commandments are more precious to us than fine gold. References to “the testimonies of the Lord” and His “righteous Word” are descriptions of the Gospel of the righteousness of God in Christ that covers our sin. In this section, righteous word, statutes, testimonies, law, commandments, and precepts are the references to God’s Word.
July 11, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 119: Mem and Nun—Meditations on the Word of God—In the Mem section of Psalm 119, the psalmist boasts of wisdom and understanding, but it is not a wisdom and understanding of his own doing, it is a gift of God’s Word: “Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies…I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients because I keep Your precepts.” The Word of God, received in faith and meditated upon throughout one’s life, creates the miracle of godly wisdom and understanding that transcends the most erudite scholar on earth. To God be the glory! This section also speaks of the Word of God as food that is sweeter than honey. In this section, law, commandments, testimonies, precepts, and word are references to God’s Word. The Nun section of Psalm 119 begins with one of the most frequently quoted verses from the entire psalm: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” This verse, linked with Jesus’ promise, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” teach us that the pathway of salvation is found only in Christ who comes to us by His Word. It is Christ who revives us when we are afflicted. It is Christ who opens our hearts to give freewill offerings and to confess His name. Though many dangers overtake us and the wicked lay snares to entrap us, the testimonies of the Lord deliver us every day of our lives. In this section, word, judgments, law, precepts, testimonies, and statutes are references to the Word of God.
July 4, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 119: Kaph and Lamed—Meditations on the Word of God—In the Kaph section of Psalm 119, we learn that our life, both spiritually and temporally, is dependent upon the Word of God. Our soul faints, our eyes fail, and we become like dried wineskins in smoke apart from the Word of God. It is the Word of God that revives life and gives hope. It is also by the Word of God that we are protected and rescued from the enemies that would destroy the soul. In this section, word, statutes, law, commandments, precepts, and the testimony of Your mouth are all references to God’s Word. In the Lamed section of Psalm 119, the theme of life and salvation through the Word continues. The Word of God stands firm as that by which all of creation is sustained and by which life and salvation comes to us. Apart from the Word of God and holding fast to the Word we perish. In this section, word, ordinances, law, precepts, testimonies, and commandment are the references to the Word of God.
June 27, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 119: Teth and Yod— Meditations on the Word of God—The Lord always deals with the Christian rightly. His ways are always good, no matter what He permits to come into our lives. His discipline is good. His chastening is good. His merciful and forgiving Word is good. His patience and longsuffering kindness is good. In the Teth section of Psalm 119, the psalmist declares how the Lord did good to him, even when he went astray. The Lord sent affliction that the Christian might learn the humility of faith, be delivered from arrogance and pride, learn the statutes of the Lord, and love the Word of the Lord more than all other treasures. Affliction is sent to drive us into the Word of God. In this section, word, good judgment and knowledge, commandments, statutes, precepts, and law are the references to God’s Word.
In the Yod section of Psalm 119, the psalmist confesses that the Lord has created and fashioned him and prays for understanding to learn the Lord’s commandments. Fellow believers rejoice when they see the believer who has hope in God’s Word. The Christian acquiesces to affliction laid upon him, because he knows that the Lord is faithful to him, and the Lord’s mercy and kindness will be for his comfort. In this section, commandments, word, judgments, law, and precepts are the references to Gods’ Word.
June 20, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 119: Zayin and Heth—Meditations upon God’s Word—The Zayin section of psalm 119 calls upon the Lord to remember his servant based on the Word upon which God has caused the believer to trust. The comfort of every Christian is the absolute trustworthiness of the Lord. He keeps His promises. In this section, word, law, judgments, statutes, and precepts are references to God’s Word. He remembers us in our affliction according to the promises of His Word. God’s judgments of old comfort the Christian as we see the Lord’s faithfulness clearly demonstrated countless times throughout salvation history. Though gripped at times by fear, yet His statutes give us a song to sing on our earthly pilgrimage. Every day the psalmist closes his eyes in prayer, remembering the name of the Lord and trusting in His precepts. The Heth section of psalm 119 teaches us that the Lord comes to us through His Word. He is the content of the Word. To trust in the Word of God is to trust in Jesus and to cling to Him for all of life and salvation. This section extols the baptismal life of daily contrition and repentance in which we die to sin and flee to the Lord for forgiveness and renewal. This is what it means to “keep His words…commandments…and precepts.” It is not that we have no sin, but in the spiritual warfare we are constantly returning to the Lord in repentance. By His mercy and forgiveness, we are raised up and refreshed. The earth is full of the Lord’s mercy in the preaching of the Gospel. To be “taught His statutes” is to be tutored by the Word to learn to believe in His mercy as the fountain and strength for our lives. In this section, words, word, testimonies, commandments, law, righteous judgments, precepts, and statutes are the references to God’s Word.
June 13, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 119: He and Waw — Meditations upon God’s Word—The He section of psalm 119 teaches us that God’s Word “teaches faith” and out of faith comes obedience to walk in the way of the Lord as His disciples. Out of the teaching of God’s Word comes delight in the ways of the Lord. What our eyes “look at” follows either the way of faith or the way of rebellion. So the psalmist prays, “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.” In this section, statutes, law, commandments, testimonies, word, judgments, and precepts are the references to God’s Word. Ultimately, we long for His precepts because they revive us in the righteousness of Christ.
The Waw section of psalm 119 begins with the assertion that the Lord’s mercies and salvation not only revive the life of a Christian but also gives us the way to defend ourselves against those who attack and persecute us for our faith. God’s Word gives us an answer for those who attack us and the words by which we confess the truth. We love the Lord and His Word because it gives us true freedom. In this section, word, word of truth, ordinances, law, precepts, testimonies, commandments, and statutes are the references to God’s Word. Meditation, love, and delight in God’s Word is the cause of true joy for the believer.
June 6, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 119:17-32—Meditations upon God’s Word—The Gimel section of Psalm 119 teaches us that God deals bountifully with us through His Word. Throughout the entire psalm there are many words that refer to God’s Word. In this section, word, law, commandments, judgments, testimonies, and statutes are all references to God’s Word as the fountain and source of all blessings from the Lord. Each of these words describes the nuances associated with the blessings that God’s Word gives. The believer longs to hear God’s Word and delights in it. God’s Word gives us understanding and turns us away from covetous desires. God’s Word is our counselor. Though persecuted by the proud and political on account of God’s Word, the believer holds fast to the Word.
The Daleth section of psalm 119 teaches us that God’s Word is that which revives our soul. When we are separated from God’s Word our soul clings to the dust and melts from heaviness. God’s Word strengthens us in the way of truth, the certainty of God’s Word and protects us from the lying way. In this section, word, statutes, precepts, way of truth, judgments, testimonies, and commandments are the references to God’s Word. God’s Word fortifies our hearts against attacks upon our faith. The psalmist petitions the Lord not to be put to shame for holding fast to His Word, a petition He most surely hears and answers.
May 30, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
CP210530Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 119: Aleph and Beth — A Meditation Upon God’s Word —“The 119th psalm is a long psalm, containing prayers, comforts, instructions, and thanks in great number. It is chiefly written to make us excited about God’s Word. It praises God’s Word throughout and warns us against both the false teachers and against boredom and contempt for the Word. Therefore, it is primarily to be counted among the psalms of comfort. Its primary concern is that we have God’s Word in its purity and hear it gladly. From this concern, then, come powerful prayers, instructions, thanks, prophecies, worship of God, suffering, and all that pleases God and grieves the devil. But where one despises the Word and is satiated by it, there all these cease. For where the Word is not purely taught, there is truly an abundance of prayers, instructions, comforts, worship, suffering, and prophecies—but totally false and condemned! For it is then only service to the devil, who is thus impure with all his heretics.”—Martin Luther, Praying the Psalms.