Getting Ready for Sunday | 10/06/2019
We are continuing our Foundations series. Each sermon in the series is intended to stand alone, even though is part of an ongoing series. So if this Sunday is your first visit to Incarnation, you'll be well able to join in without any catching up.
Psalm 37 is rich and of constant importance. "Fret not yourself because of the ungodly," the Psalm begins, speaking directly to the automatic human response to injustice and unrighteousness.
We won't pray the entire Psalm together at worship, but we will pray most of it. To prepare us and promote further reflection, here is a portion of Derek Kidner's commentary.
"There is no finer exposition of the third Beatitude (Matt. 5:5) than this psalm, from which it is drawn (verse 11). It is a wisdom psalm: it speaks to man, not God, and its tone and style have some affinities with Proverbs, whose message of the righteous man’s security is the central topic here. . . .
"The advice, Fret not yourself, or in terms of the Hebrew verb, ‘do not get heated’, is virtually the refrain of the opening passage (1, 7, 8); and the whole of verse 1 is found again in Proverbs 24:19, apart from one synonym. . . . As a bare command it would be of little use, so it is reinforced by reasoned encouragements, which could be summarized as:
"(i) Look ahead! Verses 2 and 10 are unanswerably true of everything that is rooted in time and not eternity (cf. Isa. 40:8 with 1 John 2:17). And if the long view is the answer to human schemes, we can afford to wait God’s time (7, 9). . . .
"(ii) Look up! See especially verses 3–7. An obsession with enemies and rivals cannot be simply switched off, but it can be ousted by a new focus of attention; note the preoccupation with the Lord himself, expressed in the four phrases that contain his name here. It includes a deliberate redirection of one’s emotions . . . , and an entrusting of one’s career (your way, 5) and reputation (your vindication, 6) to him. This is a liberation. . . .
(iii) Be constructive! This is put positively in verse 3 (do good), and negatively in verse 8’s warning against anger and its bitter fruit. It is both theological and psychological wisdom, not only because the aggrieved person is no longer turned in on himself, but because God’s own way is to overcome evil with good; in any case ‘the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God’ (Jas 1:20; cf. Rom. 12:21). The gospel, and indeed the Old Testament, will sharpen this advice, from doing good in general to doing it ‘to those who hate you’ (Luke 6:27; cf. Prov. 25:21).
-Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72
(Click on the links below to read Sunday's passages)
First Reading: Habakkuk 1:1-13, 2:1-4
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-14
Gospel Reading: Luke 17:5-10