Sunday 18th FebruaryPsalm 45

My heart is stirred by a noble theme
    as I recite my verses for the king;
    my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

You are the most excellent of men
    and your lips have been anointed with grace,
    since God has blessed you forever.

Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one;
    clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.
In your majesty ride forth victoriously
    in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
    let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.
Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies;
    let the nations fall beneath your feet.
Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
    a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
    therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
    by anointing you with the oil of joy.
All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
    from palaces adorned with ivory
    the music of the strings makes you glad.
Daughters of kings are among your honored women;
    at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.

10 Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:
    Forget your people and your father’s house.
11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
    honor him, for he is your lord.
12 The city of Tyre will come with a gift,
    people of wealth will seek your favor.
13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber;
    her gown is interwoven with gold.
14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king;
    her virgin companions follow her—
    those brought to be with her.
15 Led in with joy and gladness,
    they enter the palace of the king.

16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers;
    you will make them princes throughout the land.

17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;
    therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.

This Psalm is titled a wedding Psalm and it is composed by the Sons of Korah, music directors of the King.  It sets forth the marriage of a King and his Bride, their different roles, and their coming together in union at their wedding.

The King is described in words of power and strength, upholding righteousness and defeating wickedness.  The Bride is described as coming from another place which she has put behind her and is pictured in stunning attire being led to her new future as the King’s bride.

At once, as we do in so many Psalms, we sense a reference not just to David or an early Israelite King but to Jesus as the King of Kings who will establish righteousness defeat all evil and his bride who is the community of those called to be his, the Church.    When Jesus told his disciples, “Lo, I go to prepare a place for you that where I am you may be also”, he was telling of the marriage practice of the time where the groom went back to his father’s house to prepare a place to bring his bride.  This is the hope and destiny of all God’s people.  To be with Christ for ever is our loving expectation and destiny.


If you don’t have a bible at home you can find the readings on a website such as or an app such as YouVersion

Monday Matthew 6:25-34

Here is a passage for us at any time of the year or for any circumstance – don’t worry!    It’s worth considering what this worry is that Jesus speaks about.  Is it concern, because is it not right to be concerned about things?  For example should we not be concerned when we see a child running oose on a busy pavement beside a road; should we not be concerned about the NHS being overstretched in the winter or about our children failing their exams?  There are genuine things to be concerned about that are not what Jesus is talking about here, the Greek word is merimnao which means having a distracted or double mind and the context shows that Jesus is talking about having a mind not centred on God and his kingdom but on things to do with our life and ambitions here. 

Read down over all the things Jesus mentions and match them to things in your own life and then hear Jesus who is telling you not to be distracted about these things.  The mind which is settled on the mind of Christ is not distracted but is able to manage the things of concern equitably, sensibly and without causing great distress.

Tuesday Matthew 7:1-6  

“Judge not” chapter 7 starts with but is judging always wrong?  This commandment is sometimes used by people who don’t want their behaviour to be shown up as wrong, however sometimes a behaviouris wrong and pointing it out isn’t contravening this commandment.   Judging in the bad sense is making a final declaration about a person, it is saying “what you’ve done is wrong and I’m going to have nothing more to do with you”.  It is the writing off of a person, the closing of the door, the final assize which is only what God can do.  To him belongs the complete and final say about anyone and in that sense we can never take his place by making final judgements on anyone.

The commandment of Jesus is to remind people of their own position before God and to ‘take the plank out of their own eye if they should think that they can write others off.

The last verse of this section about not throwing pearls to pigs seems a little out of place but it is telling people to discriminate between people and to acknowledge that some won’t listen to correct admonition because they just don’t want to.  Together with the preceding verses it is saying, “don’t judge” but remember that there are some who will not heed wise warnings, so don’t waste time on such.

Wednesday Matthew 7:7-12

This passage is about asking, but I wonder, do we really ask?  As we leave childhood we often turn asking into personal expressions which manage our social interaction rather than being straight out requests.  “Would you like to go …?”, “How would you like to do …?”, “I really want …”, “Could we not do …”.  These are the ways we use asking but when was the last time you said deliberately and genuinely, “Please give me …”?  So much of our language becomes a management in either a strong or weak sense as we socially engage with others and it is generally because we are afraid of the response we will get and the inner pain we will feel if we do not receive what we really desire.  Perhaps we need to think about our praying and whether we are really praying or playing a social game with God.

Really putting our desires on the line before God however risks a corrective response and we ought to be prepared for that but if we do put things down as they come from our heart we will be dealing with God in a straight and honest way and Jesus says we will not be disappointed.  He gives examples of a father with his son and the good gifts that a loving father will be only too glad to give to his son.

Thursday Matthew 7:13-23

The wide and the narrow gate – well known words of Jesus, and quite straightforward, if a little frightening.  It tells of the difficulty of going the right way and the fact that the road to destruction is comparatively easy.  We must always resist the temptation to just ‘drift along’. Courage and perseverance are what is required of those who would follow Jesus.

If the way to destruction is broad and easy there are false prophets on the way who want to make sure the gate is open and who are happy to give encouragement and a final push to all the unwary.  The way to discern who they are is to check out the results of their work, good fruit comes from good trees, but bad doesn’t come from there.

If the wrong way is easily gone, it is the case that some who go that way are not ready to admit their folly but to have what they perceive as alibiskmewknew.  The best alibi is of course the invention of a scheme of obedience – “Lord, Lord, did we not … etc … in your name” – but an obedience that Jesus never knew doesn’t  exist.  Spiritual mimicry is a deadly disease of the soul because it turns away from the God who is there to the god of the self and makes deception a rule of life, although death is its end.

Friday Matthew 7:24-29

Perhaps you remember Sunday School days – “The Wise man built his house upon a rock ….. and the rains came tumbling down”.  Jesus would know well the trade of house building if, as seems plausible, he followed the trade of his father and became a carpenter or artisan craftsman.  The Greek word used of Joseph was Tekton which could equally mean constructer or builder.  If a commission was received by Joseph and Jesus to build on sand they would know what to tell the unwary client.  We need to ask, “what am I building on and for what”.  Jesus tells that the true foundation to build our lives on, are his words – by implication, the Word of God.

When you build something, you intend to live in it, it is the place you want to inhabit, and so Jesus was saying that you don’t just need to consider what kind of life you are building but the foundation on which it is resting.  He has already spoken of God and Money being incompatible as masters, either the one or the other is important.  Of course it may not be money but what about ambition, success, legacy – not necessarily wrong in themselves but for what purpose?  What we are building and for what purpose should be the questions we should be asking.

Saturday Matthew 8:1-4

The previous chapter closes with the reaction of the people who heard him and that was amazement at his teaching because it was with authority, unlike the teachers of the law.  When the teachers of the law taught they referred to various Rabbis as evidence or back-up to what they said, much like today when authors quote or refer to other writers.  Jesus was not like this, he didn’t need or refer to others for his authority when he said what he said. He was his own authority.

The crowd who followed him down the mountain doubtless thought of the extent of his authority and it was seen when the man with leprosy approached him and, believing that his authority was bigger than just his teaching, asked Jesus to make him whole from his leprosy.  He was saying, “Jesus, you have the authority, the power, to do this if you are willing” to which Jesus replied that he was and touched the man making him clean.  The man was breaking the Levitical law because, as a leper, he shouldn’t have been approaching Jesus (Lev 13) and so too was Jesus by touching the man but in so doing he was showing his power to make the unclean clean.  Being clean was to do with being in a fit condition to worship and, in touching the man, Jesus was showing that his touch made the man clean .

Though the physical infection meant attendance at the temple was barred, it is the analogy that sin is the barrier to having converse with God and only he could do away with that barrier.  No person is ‘clean’ (sinless) before God but the touch of Jesus brings us into communion with him.


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