Bishop Mettaous

 “Praise the Lord, praise the Lord from the heavens Praise Him in the heights”: As Moses started with the creation of heaven and earth, so did David the Psalmist, when he

asks praise to start first from heaven, from above, where the angels are, “Bless the Lord, you his angels, who excel in strength, who do his word, heeding the voice of his word. Bless the Lord, all you his hosts, you ministers of his,

who do his pleasure.” (Ps.103: 20-21), and

where the numerous hosts are, “Dominion and

fear belong to Him; He makes peace in His

high places.” (Job 25:2), where there are

planets, stars, sun, moon etc…

“Praise Him all His angels, Praise Him all His


The first most important job of the angels is to

praise and glorify God without ceasing saying,

“Holy, Holy, Holy…”

The Book of Revelation gave us many verses for the

praise of the different heavenly hosts, some of which are:

1. “The four living creatures, each having six

wings, were full of eyes around and within.

And they do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is

and is to come!” (Rev. 4:8)

2. “the twenty-four elders fall down before Him

who sits on the throne and worship Him who

lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns

before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O

Lord,’ to receive glory and honour and power;

for You created all things, and by Your will they

exist and were created” (Rev. 4:10-11)

3. The four living creatures and the twenty four

elders participate in a new hymn “and they sang

a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the

scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain,

and have redeemed us to God by your blood out

of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

and have made us kings and priests to our God;

and we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:9-10)

4. Thousands and myriads of angels join them

“saying with a loud voice: ‘worthy is the Lamb

who is slain to receive power and riches and

wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and

blessing!” (Rev. 5:12)

5. “And every creature which is in heaven and on

the earth and under the earth and such as are in

the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

‘Blessing and honour and glory and power be to

Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb,

forever and ever!’ Then the four living creatures

said, ‘Amen!’ and the twenty-four elders fell

down and worshipped Him who lives forever and

ever.” (Rev. 5:13-14) 6. “All the angels stood around the throne and the

elders and the four living creatures, and fell on

their faces before the throne and worshipped

God, saying: ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and

wisdom, Thanksgiving and honour and power

and might, be to our God forever and ever’.”

(Rev. 7:11-12)

7. And the twenty-four elders who sat before God

on their thrones fell on their faces and

worshipped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks,

O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who

was and who is to come’, because You have

taken Your great power and reigned.” (Rev.


8. “And I heard the angel of the waters saying:

‘You are righteous O Lord,’ The One who is and

who was and who is to be’, because You have

judged these things.” (Rev. 16:5)

9. “And I heard another from the altar saying

‘Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and

righteous are Your judgments’.” (Rev. 16:7)

10. “After these things I heard a loud voice of a

great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia!

Salvation and glory and honour and power

belong to the Lord our God!’” (Rev. 19:1)

11. “And the twenty-four elders and the four living

creatures fell down and worshipped God who sat

on the throne, saying, ‘Amen! Alleluia!’” (Rev.


12. “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great

multitude, as the sound of many waters and as

the sound of mighty thundering, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent

reigns!’” (Rev. 19:6)

The heavenly hosts feel the pleasure of praising God, so,

they want human beings to participate with them, thus it

is written, “Then a voice came from the throne, saying,

‘Praise our God, all you His servants and those who

fear Him, both small and great!’” (Rev. 19:5)

“Praise Him sun and moon, Praise Him all you stars

of light”

The sun glorifies God with its rays that diffuse the

darkness, calling the whole creation to wake up to praise

and thank God, then following His commandments and

pleasing Him through our deeds. The sun also denotes

the ‘Sun of Righteousness’ who is Lord Christ, “But to

you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall

arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out

and grow fat like stall-fed calves.” (Mal. 4:2) also, “for

the Lord is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace

and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those

who walk uprightly”. (Ps. 84:11)

We cannot fix our eyes on the sun because of its strong

brightness, here we remember the Transfiguration of

Lord Jesus, “and He was transfigured before them. His

face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as

white as the light”. (Matt. 17:2) It is also a symbol of the

victorious saints, “Then the righteous will shine forth as

the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has

ears to hear; let him hear!” (Matt. 13:43) The sun glorified the Lord when it hid its light at the time

of Jesus’ crucifixion.

God placed the sun in a position to provide us with all

our exact needs of light and heat, otherwise, we would

have been freezing if we get less of the sun, and burning

if we get more.

As for the moon, it gives beauty to the sky at night,

which urges us to praise the Creator, as David the

Psalmist says, “If I say, ‘surely the darkness shall fall

on me,’ even the night shall be light about me; indeed,

the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night

shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both

alike to You”. (Ps. 139:11-12)

The astronomers state that the moon derives its rays from

the light of the sun, it turns around the earth once every

28 days.

One of the advantages of the moon is the sea tide that

helps the huge ships in sailing.

The Creator placed the moon in an appropriate position

according to the needs of human beings, so if it was

closer, the tide would be stronger thus causing disasters

for ships and covering harbours with water. Thus, It

shall be established forever like the moon, even like the

faithful witness in the sky” (Ps. 89:37), witnessing the

greatness of our Creator. As for the numerous stars and planets, they are a clear

glorification and praise of the Eternal Almighty God.

Truly, what the Psalmist says, “Let them praise the

name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were

created. He also established them forever and ever; He

made a decree which shall not pass away”, (Ps 148:5-6)

also “All things were made through Him, and without

Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3),

“For since the creation of the world His invisible

attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the

things that are made, even His eternal power and

Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20)

David the Prophet and Job the Righteous discovered all

the amazing facts of astronomy thousands of years before

the astronomers, “He counts the number of the stars;

He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and

mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” (Ps.

147:4-5), “The heavens declare the glory of God; and

the firmament shows His handiwork, day unto day

utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge”

(Ps. 19:1-2), “He made the Bear, Orion and the

Pleiades, and the chambers of the south; He does great

things past finding out, yes, wonders without number”

(Job 9:9-10)

Thus, we know the reason of teaching ‘Astronomy’ as a

subject in the early Theological College of Alexandria, in

order to be aware of the secrets of His world, and God’s

power and wisdom in His Creation.

“Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters

above the heavens”

The Holy Bible says, “Indeed heaven and the highest

heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth

with all that is in it” (Deut. 10:14), also when Solomon

the Prophet was consecrating the altar, he prayed to the

Lord, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold,

heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You.

How much less this temple which I have built!” (1Kings


The heaven of heavens is the highest heaven, while the

waters above the heavens are the rain falling from above.

The well-known heavens are:

First: The open atmosphere above us, where the birds

fly and the clouds exist.

Second: The level higher than the first, where there are

stars and planets.

Third: The spiritual heaven where angels and heavenly

hosts exist, that which David meant by saying, “The

Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His

kingdom rules over all” (Ps. 103:19), also, “For He

looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from

heaven the Lord viewed the earth, to hear the groaning

of the prisoner, to release those appointed to death” (Ps.


Although God is everywhere, yet we pray to Him “Our

Father Who Art in Heaven” as a kind of honour and

glorification for His Greatness.

This third heaven was the one mentioned by St. Paul, “I

know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago –

whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of

the body I do not know, God knows – such a one was

caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man

– whether in the body or out of the body I do not know,

God knows – how he was caught up into Paradise and

heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a

man to utter.” (2Cor. 12:2-4)

“Then God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst

of the water, and let it divide the waters from the

waters.’ Thus God made the firmament, and divided the

water which were under the firmament from the waters

which were above the firmament, and it was so. And

God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and

the morning were the second day.” (Gen. 1:6-8) The

firmament, means the space surrounding earth containing

the air, in preparation of creating the living creatures

such as animals, plants, man, as air is essential for their

living, the cycle of the wind and rain and so on. The

upper layers of the firmament appear in the lovely blue

colour which we call the sky, on the clouds which falls

on the land as rain, watering plants and giving us all the

goodness of the earth.

The waters of the rain has a great power to praise and

glorify the Creator: God used it during the flood on the wicked creation, He also prevented it , as a punishment to

those who strayed and followed the Baal at Elyah’s time

“And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead,

said to Ahab ‘As the Lord God of Israel lives, before

whom I stand, there shall be dew nor rain these years,

except at my word’.” (1 Kings 17:1). The drought

lasted for 3 years and 6 months, the Bible witnessed, “So

Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a

sever famine in Samaria.” (1 Kings 18:2), which made

the cruel Ahab leave his throne, going around the country

and wandering as a poor shepherd looking for grass to

feed his horses and cattle, “So they divided the land

between them to explore it; Ahab went one way by

himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself.” (1

Kings 18:6), “And he prayed again, and the heaven

gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” (James

5:18) God, in His Great Kindness, “’that you may be

sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun

rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the

just and on the unjust.” (Matt. 5:45), as a sign of His

forgiveness and patience, so we praise and glorify His

Holy Name, He is still “’Nevertheless He did not leave

Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us

rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts

with food and gladness’.” (Acts 14:17)

“Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for He

commanded and they were created. He has also

established them forever and ever”

Also these creatures are called to praise the Lord, they

are grateful to Him for their being, “Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire” (Ps. 140:4),

“To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, for His

mercy endures forever; To Him who laid out the earth

above the waters, for His mercy endures forever; to

Him who made great lights, for His mercy endures

forever – the sun to rule by day, for His mercy endures

forever; the moon and stars to rule by night, for His

mercy endures forever” (Ps. 136:5-9), “He stretches out

the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on

nothing. He binds up the water in His thick clouds, yet

the clouds are not broken under it” (Job 26:7-8), “The

heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world

and all its fullness, You have founded them. The north

and the south, You have created then; Tabor and

Hermon rejoice in Your name” (Ps. 89:11-12).

The Lord said to Job rebuking him, “Have you entered

the treasury of snow, or have you seen the treasury of

hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for

the day of battle and war? By what way is light

diffused, or the east wind scattered over the earth?

‘Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water,

or a path for the thunderbolt, to cause it to rain on a

land where there is no one, a wilderness in which there

is no man; to satisfy the desolate waste, and cause to

spring froth the growth of tender grass? Has the rain a

father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? From

whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven,

who gives it birth?’” (Job 38:22-29)

The Psalmist resembles those who abide in the Lord to

the sun and moon, “He shall cry to Me, ‘You are my Father; My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ Also I

will make him My Firstborn, the highest of the kings of

the earth.” (Ps. 89:26-27)

“He has made a decree which shall not pass away”

The Lord has fixed limits and borders for everything

which they cannot surpass, lest disasters and calamities

of nature would occur, “You covered it with the deep as

with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.”

(Ps. 104:6), “You have set a boundary that they may not

pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth.”

(Ps. 104:9), “You rule the raging of the sea; when its

waves rise, You still them.” (Ps. 89:9), “‘Do you not

fear Me?’ says the Lord, ‘Will you not tremble at My

presence, who have placed the sand as the bound of the

sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it?

And though its waves toss to and fro, yet they cannot

prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it.”

(Jer. 5:22)

“Praise the Lord, “Praise the Lord from the earth, you

great sea creatures and all the depths; fire and hail,

snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His word;”

(Ps. 148:7-8)”

Here the Psalmist calls all the great and huge sea

creatures to praise the Lord, through their wondrous way

of living and strong power, which denotes the power of

its Creator. The sea creatures also refer to strong enemies who resist

the children of God, yet God, with His great power

defeats them, “You divided the sea by Your strength;

You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the waters.

You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gave

him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.”

(Ps. 74:13-14), also, “The Lord on high is mightier than

the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the

sea.” (Ps. 93:4) (The sea here symbolises the world)

The depths of the sea glorify the Lord through what they

contain of wonderful sea creatures and fish, living in

those deep waters, “This great and wide sea, in which

are innumerable teeming things, living things both

small and great.” (Ps. 104:25)

The Red Sea praised God when it obeyed the Divine

Providence and was split, “Then Moses stretched out his

hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go

back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the

sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the

children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the

dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their

right hand and on their left”. (Ex. 14:21-22) then,

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand

over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the

Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.’

And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea ;and

when the morning appeared , the sea returned to its full

depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the

Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into

the sea after them. Not so much as one of them

remained. But the children of Israel had walked on

dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a

wall to them on their right hand and on their left.” (Ex.


If we want to see the Lord and His work and Mighty

Hand in our life, we have to go to the depth in our

spiritual life.

St. Peter the Apostle entered into the depth straight away

after meeting Jesus, he offered his boat for Jesus to come

into it, then he threw the nets into the deep according to

the Lord’s words, thus he caught a huge number of fish,

“When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon,

‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a

catch.’ But Simon answered and said to Him, ‘Master,

we have toiled all night, and caught nothing;

nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ And

when they had done this, they caught a great number of

fish, and their net was breaking”. (Luke 5:4-6)

The fire praises the Lord in obeying Him, like what

happened with the Three Young Saints, the fire changed

its nature and became cool, and this happened with so

many martyrs.

The hail was an instrument of chastisement by the Lord,

when it was one of the ten plagues on Pharaoh and his

people, it will also be one of the final strikes on the

world, “The first angel sounded; and hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to

the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and

all green grass was burned up” (Rev. 8:7)

The snow, clouds and stormy winds also glorify the Lord

each in their own means of use.

“Mountains and all hills; fruitful trees and all

cedars;” (Ps. 148:9)

The high strong stable mountains symbolise the

protection of God to His children and His church, “those

who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which

cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains

surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people

from this time forth and forever.” (Ps. 125:1-2)

􀀿 They also symbolise the Divine Justice, “Your

righteousness is like the great mountains; Your

judgments are a great deep; O Lord, You preserve man

and beast.” (Ps. 36:6) and help “I will lift up my eyes to

the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes

from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps.


􀀿 The vast wilderness symbolises the vast mercy of

God. The mountain was the most preferable place

for Lord Jesus, “Now it came to pass in those days that

He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all

night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12)

􀀿 Mountains also symbolise the saints and their

strong faith, “For He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, and the

peoples with equity.” (Ps. 98:9) “For you shall go out

with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and

the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and

all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Is.


􀀿 As for the trees, just the sound of it when pushed

by the winds is a sort of praising and bowing to the

Lord. The olive tree and the vine are of the most

important trees mentioned in the Holy Bible. The olive

oil is used in making the Holy Mayroun, also in the oil

for anointing the sick, “Is anyone among you sick? Let

him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray

over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the

Lord.”(James 5:14) as the apostles used to do, “So they

went out and preached that people should repent. And

they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many

who were sick, and healed them.” (Mark 6:12-13) It is

also used in the lanterns which are lit before the relics of

saints, “And you shall command the children of Israel

that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the

light, to cause the lamp to burn continually.” (Ex.


􀀿 Olive branches are a symbol of peace, “Then the

dove came to him in the evening, and behold a

freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah

knew that the waters had abated from the earth.” (Gen.

8:11), also the olive oil with which we fill in the lanterns

is a sign of God’s peace which surpasses all limits, “For

You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord shall enlighten my

darkness.” (2 Sam. 22:29), also a sign of spiritual joy,

“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the

garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they

may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the

Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Is. 61:3)

􀀿 The oil is also used for soothing the wounds, “So

he went to him and bandaged his wounds,

pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his

own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care

of him.” (Luke 10:34)

The olive tree branches were used in celebrating Lord

Christ – The King of Peace – when He entered Jerusalem

– The City of Peace – though it is not mentioned clearly,

“And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the

road; others cut down branches from the trees and

spread them on the road” (Matt. 21:8), yet it is well

known that they were olive tree branches because they

were close to the Mount Olive where there are lots of

olive trees, but as for the palm branches they were

mentioned clearly, “…took branches of palm trees and

went out to meet Him, and cried out; ‘Hosanna!

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The

King of Israel!’.” (John 12:13)

As for the vine, it has a special tone in the Holy Bible…

When Isaac blessed his son Jacob, he said, “Therefore

may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness

of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine”. (Gen.


The wine is the juice of the grapes, and when Esau was

angry, “Then Isaac answered and said to Esau, ‘Indeed I have made him your master, and all his brethren I

have given to him as servants; with grain and wine I

have sustained him. What shall I do now for you, my

son?” (Gen. 27:37) Sustaining with grain and wine is a

spiritual symbol of Jesus’ Body, which is made of grain

and His Blood made of the grape’s juice. So, partaking

of Jesus’ Body and Blood supports and sustains us,

giving us victory over the devil. It also makes us abide

in Christ, The True Vine, “‘For My flesh is food indeed,

and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh

and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him’”

(John 6:55-56) “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most

assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the

Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in

you’” (John 6:53)

When Jacob blessed his son Judah, of whose generation

the Incarnate Jesus was born, he prophesied about the

Great Mystery, “Binding his donkey to the vine, and his

donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washed his

garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of

grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth

whiter than milk.” (Gen. 49:11-12)

Moses also prophesied, “Curds from the cattle, and milk

of the flock, with fat of lambs; and rams of the breed of

Bashan, and goats, with the choicest wheat; and you

drank wine, the blood of the grapes.” (Deut. 32:14)

The greatest honour of the grapes is that its juice is used

in the offertory, which is turned into our Lord’s Blood.

During the era of persecution, one of the governors ordered to cut off all the vine trees in order to stop

Christians from carrying out the Holy Liturgy and the

Holy Communion.

The vine also is a symbol of Jesus Christ Himself Who

says, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the

vinedresser;’ ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He

who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for

without Me you can do nothing’” (John 15:1,5) all the

living branches spring out of Him, they get their juice for

living from Him. Alas for those who do not partake of

the Holy Communion, they wither quickly and fall! That

is why Jesus says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the

branch cannot bare fruit of itself, unless it abides in the

vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the

vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I

in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do

nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out

as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and

throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John


The vine also is a symbol of the church, the vine which

Jesus watered with His Honoured Blood, it is the subject

of His pleasure and rejoice, “In that day sing to her, a

vineyard of red wine! I the Lord , keep it I water it every

moment; lest any hurt it I keep it night and day”(Is.

27:2-3). We remind the Lord always with this fact in the

Holy Liturgy chanting; [O Lord of Host come back and

look from heaven, look after this vine, repair and

strengthen it, this which You have planted with your

Right Hand…]

The grapes cling to each other in a bunch, yet if one of

these grapes fall off the bunch, it dries up. So is the case

with the believers gathering around the church their

mother, feeding on her spiritual juice, i.e. Rites,

teachings, Sacraments, books…. So they live and

develop in their spiritual stature, “Till we all come to the

unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of

God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of

the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13)

The palm tree is another tree glorifying the Lord, as

people carried palm tree branches celebrating Jesus’

entry into Jerusalem, “..took branches of palm trees and

went out to meet Him, and cried out; Hosanna! Blessed

is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of

Israel!” (John 12:13) We also use it in Palm Sunday

for wearing crosses and different staff, participating with

the church in its rejoice on that great day.

The palm tree resembles the Christian person in that:

􀀿 It is so tall, as a Christian person should be tall and

high in his spirituality and virtues.

􀀿 Straight without bends, as a believer should be

straightforward in his heart and dealings with God

and people.

􀀿 Fruitful, a Christian person should bear the Fruits

of the Spirit “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,

peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22)

􀀿 Gives sweet fruits: the virtues of a believer should

be sweet to whoever gets in contact or deals with


􀀿 It takes years to grow, a believer should be patient

and keep struggling in his spiritual growth, “By

your patience possess your souls.” (Luke 21:19)

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by

so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every

weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,

and let us run with endurance the race that is set

before us” (Heb. 12:1) “For you have need of

endurance. So that after you have done the will of

God, you may receive the promise” (Heb. 10:36)

“But let patience have its perfect work, that you

may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”

(James 1:4)

􀀿 Always green, a believer should always be green

spiritually, never dried up of God’s love, “He shall

be like a tree planted by the rivers of water; that

brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also

shall not wither; and whatever he does shall

prosper” (Ps. 1:3)

􀀿 Have strong roots, its roots are so deep in the

ground, nothing can shake it even the strongest

winds. So should the believer be, strong in his love

to God, rooted in the grace of the Holy Spirit, “He

also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the

miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and

established my steps.” (Ps. 40:2) “Nevertheless

the solid foundation of God stands, having this

seal; ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and,

‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ

depart from iniquity’.” (2 Tim. 2:19) “… having

been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief

cornerstone.” (Eph. 2:20)

􀀿 White from inside, a palm tree is white from

inside, that is why it gives new white clean

branches, so should a believer be “… let us hold

fast the confession of our hope without wavering,

for He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:22)

The palm branch symbolizes the Christian persons’

pure heart.

􀀿 Beasts cannot climb up it and eat its fruit, also

the believer should be watching and guarding his

virtues lest the devil should come ad snatch them,

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the

devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking

whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the

faith, knowing that the same sufferings are

experienced by your brotherhood in the world”,

thus he will be left, “Because you say, ‘I am rich,

have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’

– and do not know that you are wretched,

miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17)

􀀿 Everything in it is useful, nothing could be useless

or thrown out of a palm tree: the dates to eat, the

stalk for roofing in village houses, the leaves for

weaving baskets, the stem if cut, is chopped into

pieces, dried, used as roofs for houses in villages.

The believer also should be useful to those around

him, or anyone who resorts to him for help, “Only

Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with

you, for he is useful to me for ministry.” (2 Tim.

4:11) also, “… who once was unprofitable to you,

but now is profitable to you and to me. I am sending him back. You therefore receive him,

that is, my own heart” (Philemon 11-12)

􀀿 Forgiving, if anyone throws a rock on a palm tree,

it will give back some of its sweet dates, and so a

Christian person should be forgiving those insulting

or humiliating them, “But I say to you, love your

enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to

those who hate you, and pray for those who

spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt.

5:44). David the Psalmist addresses the person

who fears the Lord and who walks in His ways,

“when you eat the labour of your hands, you shall

be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife

shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of

your house, your children like olive plants all

around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be

blessed who fears the Lord.” (Ps. 128:2-4). The

trees that are heavy bearing fruits have branches

always hanging downwards, because of the weight

of the fruits they are bearing, but the trees that are

without fruits have branches heading above, in

pride and haughtiness. So is a believer who bears

the fruits of the spirit, he is always humble, meek

and gentle, never shouts or yells, not like a person

who is void of the holy fruits, the Psalmist says,

“Therefore pride serves as their necklace;

violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes

bulge with abundance; they have more than heart

could wish. They scoff and speak wickedly

concerning oppression; they speak loftily. They

set their mouth against the heavens, and their

tongue walks through the earth. (Ps. 73:6-9) The cedar tree also has many characteristics resembling a

Christian person, high in length, strong in roots, have

nice smell, beautiful, “…rather let it be the hidden

person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a

gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the

sight of God” (1 Peter 3:4), straight, as a believer, “and

Solomon said, ‘You have shown great mercy to Your

servant David my father; because he walked before You

in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart

with You; You have continued this great kindness for

him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne,

as it is this day.” (1 Kings 3:6) “As for such as turn

aside to their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them

away with the workers of iniquity” (Ps. 125:5). The

cedar tree also has plenty of leaves and branches like a

Christian who has plenty of virtues and spiritual

struggles, “Indeed Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, with

fine branches that shaded the forest, and of high

stature; and its top was among the thick boughs. The

waters made it grow; underground waters gave it

height, with their rivers running around the place

where it was planted, and sent out rivulets to all the

trees of the field. Therefore its height was exalted

above all the trees of the field; its boughs were

multiplied, and its branches became long because of the

abundance of water, as it sent them out. All the birds of

the heavens made their nests in its boughs; under its

branches all the beasts of the field brought forth their

young; and in its shadow all great nations made their

home. Thus it was beautiful in greatness and in the

length of its branches, because its roots reached to abundant waters. The cedars in the garden of God

could not hide it; the fir trees were not like its boughs,

and the chestnut trees ere not like its branches; no tree

in the garden of God was like it in beauty. I made it

beautiful with a multitude of branches, so that all the

trees of Eden envied it, that were in the garden of God.”

(Ezekiel 31:3-9)

David the Psalmist says: “The righteous shall flourish

like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall

flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear

fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, He

is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

(Ps. 92:12-15)

Solomon the king used lots of cedar trees in building the

Temple because of its strength

“Beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl”

They are used by God as a means of chastisement, “And

the Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh and say to

him, ‘Thus says the Lord; ‘Let My people go, that they

may serve Me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold,

I will smite all your territory with frogs. So the river

shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up

and come into your house, into your bedroom, on your

bed, into the houses of your servants, on your people,

into your ovens, and into your kneading bowls. And the

frogs shall come up on you, on your people, and on all

your servants’”. (Ex. 8:1-4), “So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came

up and covered the land of Egypt.”(Ex. 8:6)

When Pharaoh was still stubborn, “So Moses and Aaron

came in to Pharaoh and said to him, ‘Thus says the

Lord God of the Hebrews: ‘How long will you refuse to

humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that

they may serve Me. Or else, if you refuse to let My

people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into

your territory. And they shall cover the face of the

earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth; and

they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains

to you from the hail, and they shall eat every tree which

grows up for you out of the field. They shall fill your

houses, the houses of all your servants, and the houses

of all the Egyptians – which neither your fathers nor

your fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they

were on the earth to this day.’” And he turned and

went out from Pharaoh.” (Ex. 10:3-6) “So Moses

stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the

Lord brought an east wind on the land all that day and

all that night. When it was morning, the east wind

brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all

the land of Egypt and rested on all the territory of

Egypt. They were very severe; previously there had

been no such locusts as they, nor shall there be such

after them. For they covered the face of the whole

earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every

herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the

hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the

trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the

land of Egypt.” (Ex. 10:13-15) This plague Pharaoh considered as death, so he said,

“Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in hast,

and said, ‘I have sinned against the Lord your God and

against you. Now therefore, please forgive my sin only

this once, and entreat the Lord your God, that He may

take away from me this death only.” (Ex. 10:16-17), so

Moses prayed to God, “And the Lord turned a very

strong west wind, which took the locusts away and blew

them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust

in all the territory of Egypt” (Ex. 10:19)

􀀿 The Lord used the serpents – which is a creeping

thing – to chastise the children of Israel in the

desert, “Then they journeyed from Mount Horby

the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of

Edom; and the soul of the people became very

discouraged on the way. And the people spoke

against God and against Moses: ‘Why have you

brought us up out of Egypt to die in the

wilderness? For there is no food and no water

and our soul loathes this worthless bread’ So the

Lord sent fiery serpents amongst the people and

they bit the people; and many of the people of

Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses,

and said, ‘We have sinned for we have spoken

against the Lord and against you; pray to the

Lord that He take away the serpents from us.’ So

Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord said

to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent and set it on a

pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten,

when he looks at it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was,

if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at

the bronze serpent , he lived.” (Num. 21:4-9)

The Bronze serpent became a symbol of the cross of our

Good Saviour, whoever is bitten by the old serpent i.e.

Satan (Rev. 20:2) will be healed through Jesus’ Cross,

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,

even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever

believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

(John 3:14-15)

Although these creatures are harmful, yet we get some

vaccines out of their venom.

These creatures have some specific characteristics which

we can learn from:

The locusts are so wise and organised, “The locusts have

no king, yet they all advance in ranks.” (Prov. 30:27)

Frogs sing in chorus at sunset in an organised tune.

Ants are wise and active, “Go to the ant, you sluggard!

Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no

captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the

summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” (Prov.

6:6-8), “There are four things which are little on the

earth, but they are exceedingly wise.” (Prov. 30:24)

The serpent is very wise, “Behold, I send you out as

sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as

serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matt. 10:16) The

Apostle explains this, “For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I

want you to be wise in what is good, and simple

concerning evil.” (Rom. 16:19), not the wisdom of the

world, “This wisdom does not descend from above, but

is earthly, sensual, demonic.” (James 3:15) but wisdom

in Christ, “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are

wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You

are distinguished, but we are dishonoured!”(1 Cor.

4:10) which is coming from above, “But the wisdom

that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle,

willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without

partiality and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)

􀀿 The turtle teaches us a lesson in patience and

perseverance, though it is slow, yet it reaches its

target, through constant organised walking. The

most strange thing is that these creatures are not

waiting for rewards or expecting to be judged, are

still keeping their order, and performing the aims

for which God had created them, but as for man,

the crown and head of all the creation, created on

the image of God, whom God created, “This

people I have formed for Myself; they shall

declare My praise.” (Is. 43:21) unfortunately he

goes down below this great honour, and walks on

the opposite way, so instead of praising he

blasphemes, instead of glorifying God, he glorifies

himself, instead of thanksgiving he murmurs, and

so on.

We ask You dear Lord, to have mercy upon us, return us

to our original honour, our first rite, that is of praising and glorifying, as an important vital rank among the

chorus of heaven. Amen.

“Kings of the earth and all people, Princes and all

judges of the earth”

The Psalmist affirms that kings, princes and judges

should also offer worship and praise to God. If they are

godly and deal in God’s fear, then their counsellors and

their congregations will be the same, thus peace and

calmness will prevail over their countries. That is why

the Apostle asks to have special prayers, “Therefore I

exhort first of all that supplications, prayers,

intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,

for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead

a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and

reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight

of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved

and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:1-


There are many examples of the righteous rulers in the

Holy Bible, such as King David, who was a means of

blessing to all of his generation, keeping the Law of God.

He prepared the Tabernacle in Jerusalem in order to

transfer the Ark of Covenant inside it, “So David, the

elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands went

to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the

house of Obed-Edom with joy. And so it was, when God

helped the Levites who bore the ark of the covenant of

the Lord, that they offered seven bulls and seven rams.

David was clothed with a robe of fine lined, as were all the Levites who bore the ark, the singers, and

Chenaniah the music master with the singers, David

also wore a linen ephod. Thus all Israel brought up the

ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting and with

the sound of the horn, with trumpets and with cymbals,

making music with stringed instruments and harps.

And it happened, as the ark of the covenant of the Lord

came to the City of David, that Michal, Saul’s daughter,

looked through a window and saw King David whirling

and playing music; and she despised him in her heart.

So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst

of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then

they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before

God. And when David had finished offering the burnt

offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people

in the name of the Lord. Then he distributed to

everyone of Israel, both man and woman, to everyone a

loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins.” (1

Chr. 15:25-29, 16:1-3) On that day, David sang this

beautiful hymn:

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord!

Call upon His name;

Make known His deeds among the peoples!

Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;

Talk of all His wondrous works!

Glory in His holy name;

Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!

See the Lord and His strength;

Seek His face evermore!

Remember His marvellous works which He has


His wonders, and the judgements of His mouth, O seed of Israel His servant,

You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!

He is the Lord our God;

His judgments are in all the earth.

Remember His covenant forever;

The word which He commanded, for a thousand


The covenant which He made with Abraham,

And His oath to Isaac,

And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,

To Israel for an everlasting covenant,

Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan

As the allotment of your inheritance,”

When you were few in number,

Indeed very few, and strangers in it.

When they went from one nation to another;

And from one kingdom to another people,

He permitted no man to do them wrong;

Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes,

Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones,

And do My prophets no harm”

Sing to the Lord, all the earth;

Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day

to day.

Declare His glory among the nations,

His wonders among all peoples.

For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;

He is also to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are idols,

But the Lord made the heavens,

Honour and majesty are before Him;

Strength and gladness are in His place. Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,

Give to the Lord glory and strength.

Give to the Lord the glory due His name;

Bring an offering, and come before Him.

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!

Tremble before Him, all the earth.

The world also is firmly established,

It shall not be moved.

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;

And let them say among the nations, “The Lord


Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;

Let the field rejoice, and all that is in it,

Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the


For He is coming to judge the earth.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever.

And say, ‘Save us, O God of our salvation;

Gather us together; and deliver us from the


To give thanks to Your holy name,

To triumph in Your praise.”

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel

From everlasting to everlasting!

And all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the

Lord” (1 Chr. 16:8-36)

He organised everything according to the Law of Israel,

“So he left Asaph and his brothers there before the ark of the covenant of the lord to minister before the ark

regularly, as every day’s work required;” (1 Chr.

16:37), thus the faith and worship of the congregation

flourished, during all the days of David the righteous


Solomon the king also was a pious king, “Also King

Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel who were

assembled with him, were with him before the ark,

sacrificing sheep and oxen that could not be counted or

numbered for multitude.” (1 Kings 8:5), “At that time

Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great

assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of

Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven

more days – fourteen days. On the eighth day he sent

the people away; and they blessed the king, and went to

their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the good that

the Lord had done for his servant David, and for Israel

His people.” (1 Kings 8: 65-66)

God was pleased because of this worship, so He

appeared to Solomon and said, “And the Lord said to

him; ‘I have heard your prayer and your supplication

that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this

house which you have built to put My name there

forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there

perpetually.” (1 Kings 9:3)

Then the Lord kept advising Solomon, “Now if you walk

before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of

heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I

have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgements, then I will establish the throne of your

kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your

father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the

throne of Israel’.”

(1 Kings 9:4-5). On the other hand, we read about evil

rulers, such as Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was the

king of ten of Israel’s tribes, “And Jeroboam said in his

heart, ‘Now the kingdom may return to the house of

David; if these people go up to offer sacrifices in the

house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this

people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of

Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam

king of Judah.’ Therefore the king asked advice, made

two calves of gold, and said to the people, ‘It is too

much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your

gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of

Egypt!’” (1 Kings 12:26-28)

And so, for the sake of keeping the kingdom he deviated

and mislead 10 tribes with him in worshipping the Baal,

and consequently, the destruction of their souls because

“Now this thing became a sin” (1 Kings 12:30). God

never forgot this great sin, even after Jeroboam’s death,

his name was always followed by this statement, “….

Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin” (1

Kings 22: 52)

Other evil kings were Ahab, at the time of Elijah the

Prophet, and Manasseh who misled Judah and the people

in Jerusalem and let them sin before the Lord… Thus, the king’s deviation leads to the destruction of the

congregation, while from studying the church history we

notice righteous kings such as King Constantine, King

Theodosius the Great, King Zinon who was named “The

Righteous King”, “The Orthodox King” and “The King

who loves Christ”…. That is why the Psalmists advice

the kings, “Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be

instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with

fear; and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, ‘lest he

be angry, and you perish in the way. When His wrath

is kindled but a little.’ Blessed are those who put their

trust in Him.” (Ps. 2:10-12)

When the chief of the Jews rejected the Lord Jesus, the

congregation also did the same, although they were of

simple hearts ready to accept Jesus as Lord and God. So,

when the congregation watched Jesus’ miracles and

listened to the words of grace coming out of His Mouth,

it is written, “And there was much complaining among

the people concerning Him. Some said, ‘He is good’,

others said, ‘No, on the contrary, He deceives the

people’. However no one spoke openly to Him, in fear

of the Jews.” (John 7:12-13) Then when they saw Him

speaking with authority, not like the Scribes they were

wondering, “ ‘But look! He speaks boldly, and they say

nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is

truly the Christ?’” (John 7:26) and they were ready to

follow Jesus if they had the answer to this question.

When the chief priests sent servants to arrest Jesus, they

went and heard His words of grace, they also heard the

comments of the congregation, “Therefore many from

the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, ‘Truly

this is the Prophet’. Others said, ‘This is the Christ’.

But some said, ‘Will the Christ come out of Galilee?’”

(John 7:40-41)

So, they came back to the chief priests and Pharisees

amazed with what they heard from Jesus, His personality

and His teachings, “Then the officers came to the chief

priests and Pharisees, who said to them, ‘Why have you

not brought Him?’ The officers answered, ‘No man

ever spoke like this Man!’ Then the Pharisees

answered them, ‘Are you also deceived? Have any of

the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this

crowd that does not know the law is accursed’.” (John


When Nicodemus, the pious man started defending

Jesus, they stopped him, “They answered and said to

him, ‘Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for

no prophet has arisen out of Galilee’.” (John 7:52)

The Psalmist’s call “all the peoples” to praise God and

not only the Jewish nation, is a prophecy of the spread of

Christianity, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the

world and preach the gospel to every creature’.” (Mark

16:15) and the Apostles obeyed His commandment,

“And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord

working with them and confirming the word through

the accompanying signs. Amen” (Mark 16:20)

So most of the people of the world became Christians

offering the Lord the adequate praise, as the Prophet says, “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going

down, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; in

every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a

pure offering; for My name shall be great among the

nations.’ Says the Lord of hosts”. (Malachi 1:11), also,

“Let the people praise You, O God; Let all the peoples

praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for

joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and

govern the nations on earth. Selah. Let the people

praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.” (Ps.

67-3:5) “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him,

all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great

toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever.

Praise the Lord!” (Ps. 117)

We, as the Gentiles before, but Christians now through

the grace of God, sing this Psalm in the Vesper Incense,

also it is one of the deacon’s responses in the Holy


Both young men and maidens, old men and children

The Young Men:

The Psalmist advises the young men, “Praise, O

servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord!

Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Ps. 113:1), he

repeats it twice to praise the Lord because he knows the

strength and enthusiasm of youth. It is also of great

benefit for them to praise the Lord in order to keep their

thoughts and minds pure, glorifying His Name. Thus He

will purify and sanctify their youth and make it fruitful

and successful

How beautiful for the youth to gather in church, “It is

like the precious oil upon the head, running down on

the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the

edge of his garments.” (Ps. 133:2), also the Divine

Banquet in the Sacrament of the Holy Communion,

“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart

of your house, your children like olive plants all around

your table.” (Ps. 128:3) This is the glorious future of

the church, “Instead of Your fathers shall be Your sons,

whom You shall make princes in all the earth.” (Ps.


David the Psalmist draws the youth attention to the great

potentials within them, if used for the glory of God, they

will become a great blessing “Like arrows in the hand

of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy

is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall

not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in

the gate.” (Ps. 127:4-5), also “That our sons may be as

plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may

be as pillars, sculptured in palace style;” (Ps. 144:12),

because “The glory of young men is their strength, and

the splendour of old men is their gray head.” (Prov.


Usually the youth ask how could I put my feet on the

right path? The answer, “How can a young man

cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your

word.” (Ps. 119:9) i.e. to follow God’s commandments

and apply them in their life.

Solomon the wise also says, “Remember now your

Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult

days come, and the years draw near when you say, ‘I

have no pleasure in them’.” (Ecc. 12:1) also, “Train up

a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he

will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6)

But if the young men neglect prayers, repentance and all

other spiritual practices, they will get destroyed because

they can depart at any moment as life and long age are

not guaranteed.

Even if they make it to an old age, they will not have the

same power and enthusiasm, because in the old age,

“Remember now your Creator in the days of your

youth, before the difficult days come and the years

draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’.

While the sun and the light, the moon and the stars, are

not darkened, and the clouds do not return after the

rain; in the day when the keepers of the house tremble.

And the strong men bow down, when the grinders cease

because they are few, and those that look through the

windows grow dim.” (Ecc. 12:1-3) which means the

sight will be weak, the teeth will not be strong enough, if

there’s any teeth left, the desire for spiritual struggle

becomes less.

The Maidens:

It is written, “Because of the fragrance of your good

ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth;

therefore the virgins love you.” (Song of Solomon 1:3)

The Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is so sweet and wonderful throughout all ages, this name attracts many

maidens, preferring to live in virginity and in convents,

considering Jesus their Only Beloved Groom. St. Paul

the Apostle says, “There is a difference between a wife

and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the

things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body

and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the

things of the world – how she may please her

husband.” (1 Cor. 7:34) Some of these virgins even

exceeded men in their devoutness and sacrifice, living in

the wilderness and mountains, “of whom the world was

not worth. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in

dens and caves of the earth because of their great love

to Christ the King.”

(Heb. 11:38).

The Lord Himself called them ‘the wise virgins’ and

gave them a share to enter the wedding, “And while they

went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were

ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door

was shut.” (Matt. 25:10) and to enjoy life in His

heavenly kingdom, because He could never forget their

love towards Him, “Go and cry in the hearing of

Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: I remember

you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your

betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness, in

a land not sown.” (Jer. 2:2)

Old Men:

Solomon the wise says, “The silver-haired head is a

crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness.” (Prov. 16:31) A person walking in the

path of God since his early age till his old age will be a

great blessing to himself and to others:

To Himself, because he dealt wisely with his talents and

made profit, he walked with the Lord all the days of his

age, like Enoch and Noah, till he became God’s beloved

friend. He has very strong relationship with God. The

only thing left is to repose in peace in the Lord and join

the host of saints in heaven.

To Others, because he is so experienced and can pass all

his life experience to the youth, guiding them to the

salvation of their souls, because “Wisdom is with aged

men; and with length of days, understanding.” (Job

12:12), and as the Psalmists says, “To bind his princes

at his pleasure, and teach his elders wisdom.” (Ps.

105:22), also Solomon the wise says, “Listen to your

father who begot you, and do not despise your mother

when she is old.” (Prov. 23:22)

We know about many elderly monks who reached high

levels of contemplation and meditation because of their

long relationship with God, in fasting, prayers, metanias.

As an example is St. Makari the Great at his old age, he

was taken all the time as one in a coma, keeping his mind

all the time busy with the heaven. If anyone wanted to

ask him for a spiritual guidance or consultation, he

should shake him strongly so that he could come back

and started talking. God loves the prayers and praises of those experienced

old elders, who touched His sweetness and were so close

to Him, so the Psalmists says, “Let them exalt Him also

in the assembly of the people, and praise Him in the

company of the elders.” (Ps. 107:32)

Out of God’s love and mercy, He grants those elders

some gifts during their life, such as teaching, guiding,

discern, casting out demons or healing, “Those who are

planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the

courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age;

they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the

Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no

unrighteousness in Him.” (Ps. 92:13-15), that’s apart

from the heavenly kingdom which they had acquired

through their struggle all the years.

The elders also get experience in the fights and tricks of

the devil, and they can guide and instruct the youth in

this aspect.

Another virtue is that of patience and tolerance, in this

they also give their experience to the youth, thus

fulfilling the Prophets words, “Strengthen the weak

hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those

who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear!

Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the

recompense of God; He will come and save you.” (Is.


The Apostle also commands us to honour the elders,

“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in the word

and doctrine.” (1 Tim. 5:17)

The Children:

The parent have to plant in their children the seeds of

virtue and goodness since their childhood, looking after

their spiritually, taking them to church regularly, “Train

up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old

he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6), also being a

good example for their children. We read in the

Sinixarium about many saints, who were raised up in a

righteous Christian family, such as St. Shenouda the

Archimandrite, St. Abraam the recluse, the friend of

Gorgi and many others.

We have many examples in the Holy Bible for

children who were brought up in the church or the

temple and they became pillars of light in the church.

Samuel the Prophet:

He was brought to the temple as a child, as his mother

told Eli the priest, “Therefore I also have lent him to the

Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord,

‘so they worshiped the Lord there.” (1 Sam. 1:28) “But

Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child,

wearing a linen ephod. Moreover his mother used to

make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year

when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly

sacrifice. And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife,

and say, ‘The Lord give you descendants from this

woman for the loan that was given to the Lord’. Then

they would go to their own home. And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and

two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew

before the Lord. Now Eli was very old; and he heard

everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay

with the woman who assembled at the door of the

tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, ‘Why do you

do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from

all the people. No my sons! For it is not a good report

that I hear. You make the Lord’s people transgress. If

one man sins against anther, God will judge him. But

if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for

him?’ Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their

father, because the Lord desired to kill them. And the

child, Samuel grew in stature, and in favour both with

the Lord and men.” (1 Sam. 2:18-26)

He deserved that the Lord be talking to him, “Now the

Lord came and stood and called as at other times,

‘Samuel! Samuel! And Samuel answered, ‘Speak, for

Your servant hears.’ Then the Lord said to Samuel:

‘Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both

ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. In that day I

will perform against Eli all that I have spoken

concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I

have told him that I will judge his house forever for the

iniquity which he knows, because his sons made

themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. And

therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the

iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by

sacrifice or offering forever.” (1 Sam. 3:10-14) Samuel grew up in the temple where there was

continuous worship and prayers without ceasing, and so

he became a prophet and the last of Israel Judges, “And

Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.” (1 Sam:

7:15) also anointing the kings, “Then Samuel took a

flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him

and said: ‘Is it not because the Lord has anointed you

commander over His inheritance.” (1 Sam. 10:1),

“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in

the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the lord

came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel

arose and went to Ramah.” (1 Sam. 16:13)

St. Mary:

She was presented to the temple at the age of three, and

she stayed there for around ten years, living in purity and

worship. At her little age she deserved to be fed by

angels, and to be chosen to carry the Incarnate God, Lord

Jesus Christ.

Timothy the disciple of St. Paul the Apostle:

Although his father was a Greek idolater, yet his mother

and grandmother, who were Jews, brought him up

according to the Law, which St. Paul praised, “when I

call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you,

which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your

mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” (2

Tim. 1:5) he advised him, “But you must continue in

the things which you have heard and been assured of,

knowing from whom you have learned them, and that

from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures,

which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:14-15) also,

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to

the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in

faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to

exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Tim. 4:12-13)

Timothy was the first bishop ordained for Ephesus.

“Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for His Name

alone is exalted.”

Here the Psalmist is asking all the previous earthly

creatures to praise the Name of the Lord all at once,

assuring non-reluctance or stopping from praise. This

verse is said louder than all the previous ones.

The Name of the Lord is the only Name exalted, because

“For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord

made the heavens” (Ps. 96:5), “Their idols are silver

and gold, the work of men’s hands” (Ps. 115:4), but our

God “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He

pleases.” (Ps. 115:3), “Great is the Lord, and greatly to

be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.” (Ps.

145:3) “The Lord is high above all nations, His glory

above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, Who

dwells on high Who humbles Himself to behold the

things that are in the heavens and in the earth?” (Ps.


“His glory is above the earth and heaven, and He has

exalted the horn of His people”. Thanksgiving to God

should be offered by every human being, every creature on earth and in heaven. The Psalmist repeats ‘give

thanks to the Lord’ many times as in Psalm 136 and that

is because “His mercy endures forever”.

The Psalmist himself gives an example of the

thanksgiving, “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole

heart; I will tell of all Your marvellous works.” (Ps.

9:1) “We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!

For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is

near.” (Ps. 75:1) “I will praise You with my whole

heart; before the gods I will sing praises to You. I will

worship towards Your holy temple, and praise Your

name for Your loving kindness and Your truth; for You

have magnified Your word above all Your name.” (Ps.


We have to thank God at all times otherwise we become

ungrateful, “Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem

that He passed through the midst of Samaria and

Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met

Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And

they lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have

mercy on us!’ So when He saw them, He said to them,

‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was

that as they went, the were cleansed. And one of them,

when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a

loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at

His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

So Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten

cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any

found who returned to give glory to God except this

foreigner?” (Luke 17:11-18)

Due to the importance of thanksgiving, the Apostle

commands us, “in everything give thanks; for this is the

will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:18)

“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing,

because when you received the word of God which you

heard form us, you welcomed it not as the word of men,

but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also

effectively works in you who believe.” (1 Thess. 2:13)

The church starts all its services with the Lords Prayer

followed by the Thanksgiving Prayer, because there are

lots of things that we ought to thank God for, just as an

example; The free salvation, His Holy Body and Blood,

the church and all Its Sacraments, the Holy Bible, health,

gifts… in general. “Command those who are rich in this

present age not to be haughty, not to trust in uncertain

riches but in the Living God, who give us richly all

things to enjoy.” (1 Tim. 6:17)

The Apostle afflicted those who do not give glory and

thanksgiving to God, “because, although they knew

God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were

thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their

foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise,

they became fools.” (Rom. 1:21-22)

In offering God continuous praise and thanksgiving we

resemble the heavenly hosts, “Whenever the living

creatures give glory and honour and thanks to Him

who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the

twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever;

and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You

are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and

power; for You created all things, and by Your will they

exist and were created.” (Rev. 4:9-11)

One of the blessings of giving thanks to God is that ‘He

exalts the horn of His people’, which means He gives

them victory over their enemies, the seen and unseen,

because horns are a sign of strength and victory as horns

do not grow in animals until they have completely


“The praise of all his saints, of the children of Israel, a

people near to Him, Praise the Lord”

The Lord is the subject matter of praise for the saints, as

Moses taught his people, “You shall fear the Lord your

God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold

fast and take oaths in His name. He is your praise, and

He is your God, who has done for you these great and

awesome things which your eyes have seen.” (Deut.

10:20-21), also in Jeremiah, “Heal me, O Lord, and I

shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, for You

are my praise.” (Jer. 17:14)

So the righteous are proud of praising and worshipping

God, coming closer to Him, keeping His

commandments, “But it is good for me to draw near to

God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may

declare all Your works.” (Ps. 73:28) “Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds.” (Ps.


It is a great honour to be related to ‘Christ’, calling

ourselves ‘Christians’, in the Old Testament, the Only

God our Lord was, “He will choose our inheritance for

us, the excellence of Jacob whom He loved. Selah.”

(Ps. 47:4) “My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;

the humble shall hear of it and be glad.” (Ps. 34:2)

The Apostle commands us to be proud of the Lord,

“that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in

the Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:31) also, “But God forbid that I

should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus

Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me,

and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14)

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