Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. Psalm 90:16, 17
At the beginning of the new year our prayers ascend to Thee, O Thou great Jehovah, who dwellest in the high and lofty place, far beyond all that is creature.
We are Thy servants, Lord. Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants.
We think of Thy work in all Thy wide and vast creation, even since the dawn of history, and until our Lord returns; Thy work throughout the ages as it centers in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior; Thy work of salvation as it involves us, our place in our families, in the church, and in the midst of this present evil world. Give us eyes to see and hearts to understand all Thy wonders that introduce the coming of Thy kingdom and the glory of Thy matchless name.
We would not even dare to ask this if we did not know something about, Thy work. We have Thy infallible Word in which Thou givest us Thy Self-revelation, making known to us on its inerrant pages all Thy glorious virtues as Thou livest Thine own blessed covenant life as Triune God in Thyself and in intimate love and fellowship with Thy people, of whom we form a portion.
We have Thy sure promises. For already in the dispensation of shadows Thou didst assure Thy saints of the coming of the Savior. In the fullness of time He came, suffered, died, and is gone into glory, soon to return to make all things new. Thou hast partly withdrawn the veil, that we may behold the mystery of salvation, the wonder of Thy saving grace as our covenant God. O Jehovah, how great Thou art!
In the light of Thy Word we may behold Thy work in Thy wide and vast creation. We see the splendor of the innumerable stars of the night; Thou knowest them all by name. We behold the beauty of the sunrise and the radiance of the sunset. We hear Thy voice in the rumblings of the thunder, in the sighing of the wind, in the melodious song of the wren. Yea, all creation announces a new creation. For we also hear the groaning of the creature which with uplifted head patiently awaits our final adoption and our heavenly perfection. For that Thy name is near Thy wondrous works declare.
Thou hast given in our hearts the resurrection life of our risen Lord. As Thy servants we also groan as we patiently await our final redemption. For we know that all things are ours, and we are Christ’s, and Christ is Thine forever and ever. Our earthly pilgrimage is but a preparation for the real life still to come!
We know Thee, the true and living God, and knowing Thee we have life eternal!
Yet, O Jehovah, Thou eternal, unchangeable, ever faithful covenant God, make Thy work known to Thy servants.
That which happens round about us distresses us. Especially now in these evil days horror grips our hearts as we see that wickedness abounds, and we are daily reminded that the end of the ages is rapidly, very rapidly, approaching.
Proud man, who is of the dust of the earth, dependent upon Thee for every breath he takes, for every thought that flashes through his mind, for the very use of his fingers, has cast Thee out of his thoughts and out of his life, even out ,of Thy creation, maintaining that he is God.
He dares to boast of his omnipotence. He displays his great accomplishments. He takes credit for the great advancements in the past century, as we have progressed from the horse and wagon to the huge trucks that rumble over the freeways; from the buggy and sleigh to the modern automobile; from mail delivery by stage coach to E-mail; from the simple farm house to the modern home with central heating, running water, bathrooms, and all its appliances and conveniences; and from the feather-tipped ink pen to the computer. And there is much more. We have come a long way in one century, and mere man takes all the credit.
Man claims to be omniscient. He contends that anything he can imagine he can also do. He builds computers which are improved and outdated almost as fast as the plans leave the drawing board. He makes automobiles that are not only attractive, but can travel at high speed with great comfort both in the summer and in the winter. If one wishes he can plan his whole trip in advance on his computer, and make use of the instruments in auto. He is always in a hurry, and must do everything at top speed as if there is no tomorrow.
Man even dreams of being omnipresent. He sends his voice anywhere, even to the ends of the earth. As soon as something happens, or very soon thereafter, the news is flashed on the television screen into thousands of homes. Man lays claim to the whole earth. He also claims the heavens as his own. He sends satellites into the sky to search out the entire universe. He sets up powerful telescopes to reach beyond our solar system to constellations and stars many light years away. He sends a spaceship to the moon, to Mars, and to farther planets to investigate what can be found there. How great he is!
In the meantime lawlessness abounds. Scripture warns us that the last days will be characterized by such lawlessness as has never been seen on the earth. That is happening. We bitterly bemoan the slaughter of the Jews during Hitler’s regime, yet today those in authority sanction the murder of millions of babes in embryo or at birth. Crime is on the increase: there are too many guns and knives in the wrong hands. No one is safe anymore anywhere. Many of our medicines and other products must be safeguarded with double seals. Automobiles, homes, and property must at all times be safely locked.
But worst of all is the apostasy that runs rampant. True, many have no religion, or have a religion of convenience. But even those who profess to take their religion seriously resort to all sorts of false doctrines. In some “Reformed” circles the very inerrancy of Scripture, or verbal inspiration, is denied. Accepting the results of historical and scientific investigation rather than the truth of Scripture, men call into question the wonder of creation as recorded in Genesis, as well as the wonder of the incarnation. What does one have left? As our Lord warned us: When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?
O Lord, all this transpires before Thy very face. Thy name is dishonored, Thy people are despised as the offscouring of the earth, Thy church is as a hut in a vineyard, a besieged city!
Almighty God, sovereign Ruler of the universe, let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, for then we shall behold ever more clearly Thy glory, and beholding Thy glory we will see the beauty of Thy glorious perfections and Thy own blessed covenant life. And thus, O our great God, establish Thou the work of our hands.
Give us to understand that we are saved purely by grace, in no way dependent upon us. We are sinners who deserve only Thy just condemnation. We are dead in trespasses and sins, capable only of despising Thee and all that is holy, willfully transgressing all Thy commandments. We may be saved only because Thou lovest us with an eternal love which is so great that Thou didst not spare Thy Son from dying our accursed death in our stead to save us and merit for us eternal life. We can be saved only because Christ implants His resurrection life in our hearts. We are willing to be saved only because Christ “produces (in us) both the will to believe, and the act of believing also” (Canons III/IV, 14). We must believe, not only because of the objective demand of Thy Word, but because of our subjective need for salvation. By the wonder of Thy grace wrought in us we do believe, embracing Christ and all His benefits. Christ is our wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification—in one word, our full redemption. Thou hast made us willing servants in Thy house, each in his own place with the gifts and talents entrusted to him, that we may be instruments through which Christ carries out His work, gathering, defending, and preserving His church in the line of continued generations of those who believe. Thou hast called us to be prophets declaring Thy praises, priests devoting ourselves in love to Thee, and kings having dominion over sin, in order that we may live and reign with Christ forever. Father, we still have this treasure in an earthen vessel. Sin still wars in our members. We have but a small beginning of the new obedience. Yet Thou who hast begun a good work in us wilt surely finish it unto perfection!
Yea, Lord, establish Thou the work of our hands, that we may faithfully serve Thy purpose, as by Thy Fatherly hand Thou dost uphold and govern all things for the salvation of our souls. Not a hair falls from our heads except to serve Thy divine purpose. Rulers, kings, and all in authority may rage, but Thou hast set Thy King upon the holy hill of Zion. All power is entrusted to Christ in heaven and on earth. All things, literally all things must work together for good to those who fear Thee, the called according to Thy purpose.
Thou art for us, nothing can be against us. We come forth out of our present battlefield with dented helmets, chipped swords, breastplates awry, shoes worn out – yet more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ. We enter the rest, where all tears are wiped away forever!
Come, Lord Jesus.
We wait upon Thee as watchers wait for the morning.
In the meantime, our God, establish Thou the work of our hands. Preserve and defend us over against all the onslaughts of the powers of darkness. Give us Thy grace to realize that with Thee we are always the victors.
Use us, Thy willing servants, according to the talents entrusted to us, in the midst of our families, in the midst of Thy people, in a present evil world, wherever Thou dost place us, that we may in our small way be instrumental toward the coming of Thy kingdom and the glory of our Father’s name.
Keep us close to Thee, that in Thee we may experience close communion of life with our God, resting assured at all times, that, come what may, His is the kingdom, the power, the glory forever and ever.
Come, Lord Jesus, according to Thy promise, that when all our works are burned as straw and stubble, Thy work in and through us may be our eternal reward. Yea, the work of our hands, establish Thou it.
Yea, come quickly! Amen.