Some have asked about the Reformation Day Service at Faith OPC in Long Beach in which I participated. Below is the meditation on Psalm 25 that I delivered as we gave thanks to God for the work he has done in the Protestant Reformation.
Reformed Presbyterians have a long history of psalm mediation during public worship. To many it looks like a mini sermon on a psalm. We also have a long tradition of retelling martyr stories from the Killing Times in Scotland when 18,000 Reformed Presbyterians were put to death for their faith in the one true King and Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ. Both of these elements of the RP tradition have been incorporated in the meditation. As you read through, please be in prayer that God would again move through the Spirit of His Son to reform the Church.
MEDITATION ON PSALM 25. 8-15
This afternoon we will meditate on Psalm 25: 8-15, and as we do so, we must remember that as we gather to worship God and to celebrate what he in the Protestant Reformation; we must also remember the price that was paid by many who have gone before us. The price that was paid by the faithful martyrs and contenders for this Reformed Faith.
Revelation 6:10 speaks of those martyrs and says, “They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Why are they able to stand before God and cry out? Look at our Psalm: Verse 8 reads, “The Lord is good and just; the way He’ll sinners show.” Friends, we gather to celebrate the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ has shown the way to sinners, sinners like you and me, and this psalm is calling on us to respond with praise and adoration and thanksgiving!
Verse 9, “He guides the meek in what is just, that they his path will know.” Friends, do you know this path? Have you bowed your knee to King Jesus as you confess the way to God is only through the son and that by faith alone by grace alone to the glory of God alone?
In verse 10 we see the result of this confession of the Lord Jesus Christ. We will keep his word; we will obey his covenant; our way will be loving kindness and truth! What a wonderful confession from the Psalmist. David here cries out that he knows the way of God and that this way has been revealed to him- and when we pause to meditate on the greatness of this fact, and as we reflect on what it means to live lives as sons and daughters of the reformation, we must be humbled. Humbled to to our knees in praise and thanksgiving. I am not worthy Lord. I am merely a sinner saved by grace. And this si what David does in our second stanza: My sinfulness is great. And great O Lord my blame, O pardon my iniquity, to glorify your name.
David understands that even in the state of grace his praise is hindered, his praise is not perfect. I must have my sin pardoned so that I may glorify your name! Have you considered that? Especially you young people- have you considered that if you are outside of the Lord Jesus Christ then you are unable to live out your chief end as our catechism calls it.
But in verse 12 we see something different. We see fearing the Lord leads to living unto his glory and fulfilling this chief end of man. The soul will see prosperity and the land his seed will own. Who owns the land? The seed, Christ, the inheritor of the nations as we already sang about this afternoon.
And as we move into verse 14, we must pause and think about close friendship with the Lord. Can you speak this way? Do you find this intimacy in your relationship with Christ- is he close to you or is he still out there- out there somewhere?
On May 11, 1684 there were two women who both saw Jesus Christ as their friend. They were both named Margaret. One was in her 60s and the other was only 15 years old. They lived in Scotland, and Scotland at that time was in the midst of a great war as those faithful to Christ were driven into the fields and away from their churches because many faithful Presbyterians would not acknowledge that the King was the head of the Church. They said that Christ was the head of the church, not the king... and because of this testimony they were persecuted.
Our two friends of Jesus, because they would not claim that the king was the head of the Church was arrested, like many others in this time. And not only were they arrested, but they were sentenced to death. They were taken to a little town by the ocean called Wigtown and there two stakes were set up in where the tide would soon come in and cover the poles.
The older Margaret was tied further our and the younger Margaret was tied closer to the shore where she could see Margaret. Friends gathered! Some cried. Others yelled, “Just say the king is the head of the church.” Neither Margaret wanted to betray their friend, Jesus Christ. Their savior and Lord.
The older Margaret struggled as the waters engulfed her and she died. A martyr for the sake of Christ. A martyr for this same Reformed Faith that is still confessed today.
One of the guards yelled to the younger Margaret: What do you see now, Margaret? She yelled back, “What I see is Christ wrestling there!” She knew the Lord was good and just and that close friendship with the Lord was hers because she was faithful to the covenant.
Another guard yelled, “Say God save the king!” Margaret yelled back, “I wish the salvation of all men and the damnation of none!” She refused to speak against her Lord and the Reformed Faith that she loved.
As the waters came to young Margaret they touched her toes and then her knees and then her waist. She began to sing. “The Lord is good and just, the way, he’ll sinners show, he guides the meek in what is just, that they his path will know.” The waters continued to rise and this Psalm that we are about to sing was on the lips of young Margaret as the waters of Wigtown swallowed her up and as she entered into the presence of the one we are here to celebrate today.
Some accounts of her death have her singing stanza 6 in the handout as the waters covered her face. “Close friendship with the Lord will all who fear him know; the knowledge of his covenant he unto them will show. My eyes upon the Lord continually are set; for he it is that shall bring forth my feet out of the net.”
Friends, as we sing this psalm, do so as young Margaret would have sung it. Sing it as if your soul depended on it. Sing it as a prayer that the Lord Jesus would build his church, and reform his church, and make her as a pure and spotless bride. Sing this psalm knowing the value of our reformed heritage, and the value of friendship with Christ.