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The Song of Zion

A Psalter-Psalm Devotional of Praise to Our Sovereign Covenant God

August 1 Read Psalm 68:1-14

Psalm 68:1-2 One source says that this is a prayer at the moving of the ark. These first verses seem to indicate this as they parallel the words in Numbers 10:33-36. David moved the ark into Jerusalem soon after he became king. He wanted this symbol of God’s presence close to him and the center of his kingdom. It is a prayer they we need to consider even as God’s enemies make war on the church today and in the days to come. It seems as we are at peace, but it is a false peace. Satan is preparing his forces to wage all out war against God and his church. Let us prepare for such war by arming ourselves with the Sword of the Spirit. Let us include in our daily prayers the request that God destroy His enemies. With this prayer we also pray “Thy kingdom come.” Sing Psalter 179:1.

 

August 2 Read I Thessalonians 5:16-28

Psalm 68:3 Today’s verse stands in contrast with those of yesterday. We see this first of all by the word but with which the verse begins. We also see the contrast in the content of the materials. While God’s enemies are being destroyed, the righteous are rejoicing. Why is this the case? We rejoice not at the destruction of those who make our life miserable. That can never be the source of any exultation on our part. Our rejoicing is that God’s enemies are destroyed! By this destruction His name is glorified. He receives all power, and glory, and strength because He is God. We must rejoice in His exaltation. Today is His day. There is no better day to rejoice in God’s greatness. We must use this day for His good. We must never take this day for our pleasure or advancement. To do that is to despise the glory of the Lord. We need this admonition in this day and age. We easily fall in the trap of using Sunday for our own good. Let God’s name be exalted and let it be done all the day. Sing Psalter 179: l.

August 3 Read Revelation 5:1-14

Psalm 68:4 This verse gives to us the manner in which we arc to be glad and rejoice before God. We are to do it by singing. The verse also gives the content of such singing. We are to extol the God of the heavens and earth. We are to make sure that His greatness permeates every word of the songs that we sing in praise to His name. We see the word JAH in the verse. According to my research this is an abbreviation of God’s covenant name Jehovah. Therefore our songs are not just about any god, they are about and for the God who has called us by name and has promised to us eternal life. This is a precious heritage. We must sing about it daily. Our songs serve to glorify Him and to thank Him for the wonderful work of salvation which He has done for us. Let us sing to Jehovah our God! Sing Psalter 179:2.

August 4 Read I Kings 17:17-24

Psalm 68:5 If it is not enough that our God is creator of all things, if it is not enough that our God is sovereign over all that occurs on this earth, if it is not enough that our God has established a gracious covenant with us, our God cares for those in distress. We see in this verse this typified in widows and orphans. A widow’s lot was very difficult in Israel. This was so because man’s sin caused him to disobey God’s commands concerning widows. If you are distressed in this life, do not despair. God is on your side. He hears your prayers in heaven. Pray to Him. Cast your burdens upon Him. Call upon His holy name in heaven. He will hear you. He will judge your cause and do it righteously. Cast your cares upon God for He whose eye is on the sparrow cares for you. Sing Psalter 179:3.

August 5 Read Obadiah 1-9

Psalm 68:6 We will be reading this short book during this month. For some of us it might be the first time. There are some thoughts which we would do well to contemplate and take to heart. Edom, Esau’s ancestors, were a constant thorn in the flesh to Israel. It was Edom who formed the cheering section as Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and took Israel into captivity. It was Edom’s lot to live in the dry wilderness southeast of Israel. It was his lot precisely because of whom he was. Esau is the epitome of the reprobate. It is of Edom that God says He hates them. It was Edom through Esau who sold the birthright blessing. Rebellious Edom was sentenced to live in a dry land. It was dry physically, but it was also dry spiritually. Edom serves in contrast to the people of God. God’s people have the blessedness of covenant communion with God and each other. God’s people, have been redeemed from the confinement of sin. For this we must be thankful. We can do this even as we pray the prayer of this Psalm. Sing Psalter 179:4.

August 6 Read Numbers 10:33-36

Psalm 68:7 This verse is linked to verse 8. David confesses that it was God who led Israel through the wilderness. It was God that was its leader and God. Today’s reading was alluded to earlier this month. This small ceremony took place every time Israel moved at God’s command. It is worthwhile that we too realize that God is our leader and guide. Decisions made about our futures must only be made after calling upon Jehovah. As our college-age young people prepare for the coming year, they must see that career decisions must only be made in accordance to God’s will. They and their parents must call upon His name before they make plans for the future. Fathers must ask God to go before them as they lead their families down life’s paths. People of God. do you confess God as your leader? Then call upon Hint daily to guide you and obey His commands. Sing Psalter 180:1.

August 7 Read Habakkuk 3:1-13

Psalm 68:8 At the close of the previous verse the word Selah is found in our Bibles. It is thought that this word was used to indicate a pause or musical interlude. The next thought of David is that as God led Israel the whole earth trembled at His majesty. Even Mt. Sinai acknowledged that the Lord He is God. God’s presence going before us is an awesome force. Nothing can stand in His way. We must acknowledge His presence in our lives. We do this by going to Him in prayer. We do this by reading and meditating upon His word. We do this by singing and listening to the songs of Zion. And after doing all these things. We obey Him. The heavens, the earth, and even mountains obey the sovereign God. We must as well. Sing Psalter 180: l.

August 8 Read James 5:7-11

Psalm 68:9 Those of us who live in areas in which rain or the lack of it is significant can understand this verse of Scripture very well. As Israel lived in an area in which rain was intermittent at best, they, too, could understand God’s message to them. As they lived in the time of types and shadows, rain was a very clear picture of God’s blessing. They needed both the early and latter rain to insure the success of their crops. When the time without rain stretched longer and longer the people began to weary of life. When God sent that needed rain, Israel was reassured that their God was Jehovah. While we no longer live in the time of the types and shadows, we still need the blessing of Jehovah. Periods of times without the sense of that blessing may weary us. Receiving that blessing helps to confirm us in knowing that we are God’s inheritance. Let us pray for spiritual rain to refresh our lives. Sing Psalter 180:2.

August 9 Read John 12:1-8

Psalm 68:10 These words are fitting for us to consider on this Lord’s Day. Most of us have opportunity to contribute to the cause of the care of the poor. With what attitude are we giving today? Are we like the widow who gave her all, or are we like the Pharisee who gave so that all could see him? God cares for the poor. He cares for them both spiritually and physically. He has prepared for us poor sinners a place in his inheritance. What is our expression of gratitude for such a place? Are we giving from the heart? Let us examine our giving in this day. Let us look at both the gift and the motive. We must remember what God has given us and then thank Him from whom all blessings flows. Sing Psalter 180:2.

August 10 Read John 1:1-14

Psalm 68:11 The Word is a wonderful thing. It is the speech of God. He has revealed it to us in His Son. We have it written for us in the inspired Scriptures. That Word is powerful. Scripture testifies that it is sharper than a two-edged sword. By that Word the worlds were created. By that Word salvation was wrought for the elect. Are you among the company of those who publish that Word? Do you speak of those things which you heard in the house of God yesterday? The minister is not the only one commanded to speak the Word of God. He is ordained to office of ministry. One of the important callings of that office is to speak that Word officially on the Sabbath. But all of God’s people have the office of all believers. One of the important callings of that office is to speak the Word day in and day out. Are you speaking the Word? Sing Psalter 180:3.

August 11 Read judges 4:10-17

Psalm 68:12 One of our thoughts yesterday was that God’s Word is powerful. Reading through Israel’s history will give much evidence of that fact. Our verse for today talks about kings fleeing. It was very evident to Israel and should be evident to us that it was by God’s Word that this was accomplished. Today our enemies will flee at the use of God’s Word. Jesus showed us the way as He answered the devil with the Word. We must learn that Word so that we can be ready to answer all those who oppose us. There is reward for faithful Bible study. It will not be the physical rewards that Israel received, but it will be the spiritual blessing of those who conquer God’s and their enemies by using the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Sing Psalter 180:4.

August 12 Read Psalm 68:1-14

Psalm 68:13-14 These verses need some research in order to decipher the various expressions found in them. I will leave that for you to do. Maybe that will be a good Sabbath day exercise? The thrust of the verse however is that it was only by the power of Jehovah that Israel was successful in its battles with the wicked kings. There were times in which it looked as if there was no hope, but then Israel won. Think of the battle of Ai. Because of sin Israel lost. But when God was acknowledged as God, they were victorious over their enemies. We must ponder and take these truths to heart. We must put the truth that God is God into action in our lives. God will not be pleased with a life that ignores Him and His decrees. Daily we need to pray for guidance in this matter. If we leave God and His commands out of our lives. He will leave us. For the child of God He will return, but often He will return in the way of chastisement. Think on these things, people of God. Keep God and His decrees at the forefront of your lives and thoughts. Sing Psalter 180:5.

August 13 Read Psalm 68:15-27

Psalm 68:15 David begins a new section with this verse. He speaks of the hill of God. This hill is Zion. This is the place where Abraham offered up Isaac. This is the place where the angel of death stopped during the plague punishing David and Israel for the sin of numbering the people. The hill of Bashan was reported to be one of fertile lands and beautiful scenery. Spiritually Zion, the church, is fertile and beautiful. David moved the ark to this place because he wanted the symbol of God’s presence found on this place, is the church a beautiful place for us. Do we long to enter its doors. It is beautiful because God is there. Let us look forward to our day of worship in that place. Sing Psalter 180:6.

August 14 Read Psalm 24

Psalm 68:16 David continues his discussion on the hill of God. There are those who look down upon the church. They say there is salvation in other ways and in other religions. There are those who say that salvation does not necessarily have to come through the blood of the Lamb. Some want to disregard the idea of the church as the body of Christ, and they wish to worship in other places or in other ways than He has commanded. This verse tells us that God has chosen Zion in which to dwell. God has ordained the place and manner of worship. Even when those around us tell us that to worship in the God-ordained way is not necessary, we must remember (hat God desires to dwell in Zion. Sing Psalter 180:6.

August 15 Read II Kings 6:8-18

Psalm 68:17 The world likes to boast in numbers. They look at the size of their armies and the numbers of their weapons. The rich man likes to boast of the amount of his wealth. We could add much to this list of the abundance of things. We, too, fall into this sin. We either think that because we have a multitude of something we will prosper, or we despair because we see nothing but trouble ahead of us. Scripture, in countless places, speaks of the multitudes of God’s angels. These angels watch over and protect His church. They sang at creation, they witnessed the giving of the law at Sinai, and they rejoiced over the death and resurrection of Christ. They await the day in which God brings all the church together into heaven. Do not despair, people of God. He has given His angels charge over us, and they will keep us even unto the end. Sing Psalter 180:7.

August 16 Read Acts 1:1-11

Psalm 68:18 Several months ago we celebrated the Lord Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven. Have we thought about it since? Christ’s ascension was part of our way of salvation. Christ had to ascend into heaven. He could not remain on this earth. He ascended into heaven and sits at God’s right hand. He makes intercession for us daily. What a blessing this is for the child of God! He sits in heaven waiting for the day that He will come back to this earth and gather all the elect unto Himself. Are you waiting for that day, people of God? Think about the ascension and its benefits for you. Do that today as you enter into God’s house of worship. Sunday is an excellent day to ponder these things. But also ponder them all the days of your life. Sing Psalters 180:8 and 183:1.

August 17 Read Matthew 6:25-34

Psalm 68:19 In this part of David’s prayer he blesses God for the benefits which God has given him. The word bless means to speak well of. It is good for us to speak well of God for all things that we have come from him. Our reading today speaks especially of physical benefits, but David obviously means more than this. He speaks of salvation in the second part of the verse. David knew what physical salvation was as he was chased often by Saul and God saved him. But David also knew that there was more. That is why he wanted the ark and eventually the temple to be at the center of Jerusalem. We, too, must bless God because of the many gifts he gives to us. We must remember that he daily blesses us with many things: not the least of which is our salvation. Let us bless God in song and prayer daily. Sing Psalter 181:1.

August 18 Read job 1:13-22

Psalm 68:20 David’s exultation unto the God of his salvation continues in today’s verse but with a different aspect. David understands that his salvation will not come to him on this earth. He realizes that he must go through the valley of the shadow of death and even unto death itself. But even this does not cause him to fear. He knows that God will make his salvation sure even through death. People of God, death is a reality. Those of you who have reached seventy or eighty understand this well. Those of us who seemingly have much of our lives before us must realize that unless Christ comes we must enter the grave. But there is no need to despair. Death and all its accompanying sorrows are in the hands of God. Because of Christ’s resurrection, death and the grave have no sting for the child of God. Blessed be the God of our salvation even unto death! Sing Psalter 183:2.

August 19 Read Revelation 20

Psalm 68:21 The difference between the elect and reprobate can be obviously seen in this passage. David speaks of the blessedness that God’s people enjoy and then he speaks of the hopelessness of those whom God hates. This is for our instruction and our comfort. We are instructed to see that even though the wicked seem to profit in this life their end is destruction. We are also instructed not to continue in sin because its end is destruction. Even the child of God will feel the pain caused by sin. We must stay away from sin and cleave unto righteousness. Our comfort is that we have the beautiful hope of heaven. Christ has paid for our sins and we must eagerly look for the day of the wicked’s destruction and the exultation of the righteousness. Flee sin, young people, and look for the day of the Lord Jesus Christ, Sing Psalter 181:2.

August 20 Read Obadiah 17-21

Psalm 68:22-23 The depths of the suffering of God’s people can extend quite deep. Think of David fleeing from Saul. Think of the various times that Israel was attacked by enemies. Think about Paul as he suffered much at the hands of his tormentors. Think of the reformers and their sufferings. God’s people today also suffer. It may not be as physically graphic or distressing in our country. Though saints in some parts of the world suffer much. God’s people live a life of suffering. In this suffering God has prepared a way of escape. David knew that God meant it for good and for His glory. He had tasted of suffering and deliverance from that suffering. Thank God for such suffering because He has provided a way of escape and glory for Himself and His people. Sing Psalter 181:2.

August 21 Read Psalm Joshua 2:8-11

Psalm 68:24 The wicked know who God is. History bears this out. Today’s reading is a confession of faith from one who saw the power of God even when she remained in sin. Even today the world knows who the church is. They should because we should lead a different life. Our church parking lots should be full twice on Sunday while the world plays golf, camps, swims, and attends things which are for their enjoyment not that of God. God has a purpose in making sure that the world knows who He is and who his people are. That purpose is that they are left without excuse in the final judgment. Do not be ashamed, people of God, of proclaiming God’s name before men. Do not be ashamed to be different. Be counted among those who go by the name Christian. Let the world know that God is God and that He is your God. Sing Psalter 181:3.

August 22 Read Psalm Mark 11:1-10

Psalm 68:25 Music has been a part of the worship of God in both dispensations. Music expresses the joy that the child of God expresses as he blesses God. It was with music that Israel marched around Jericho. It was with music that the ark was moved up Mount Zion. The children sang as Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Does music attend our way as we praise God? Can the wicked tell by our music that we praise the sovereign God who created the heavens and the earth? Let us sing the songs of Zion as we worship Jehovah. As we go to God’s house tomorrow let us give special emphasis as we praise God with singing. In this way we can he ready to hear the preaching of the Word, and we will be ready to rightly worship Jehovah. Sing Psalter I8l:3.

August 23 Read Psalm 68:15-27

Psalm 68:26-27 As we look around the church auditorium this morning we cannot help but seeing the evidence of God’s covenant faithfulness. We see in the families with which we have been blessed the evidence that God saves in the line of continued generations. Every family in the church is evidence that God is pleased to dwell in our midst. As we worship today let us bless God for His covenant faithfulness. The worship of Jehovah is one of the benefits of salvation. Let us be glad and rejoice today, the day which the Lord has made. Let us use this day which He has separated for this purpose of blessing God. Sing Psalter 181:4.

August 24 Read Psalm 68:28-35

Psalm 68:28 Many students and teachers will be going back to school in the next few weeks. For some of us God has given the blessing of parental covenant schools. These schools are a strength to those who have them. David prayed for God to strengthen that which He had given Israel by His presence. We, too, need this prayer as we begin our school year once more. Teachers need the strength of Jehovah as they carry out the work of teaching the covenant seed. Students need the strength of Jehovah in order to do all their work to God’s honor and glory. The work of both teacher and student is part of the council of God. Strengthen that work, O God, so that we may do it for Thy glory. Help us to work to show ourselves approved unto Thee and to Thee alone. Sing Psalter 182:1.

August 25 Read IS Chronicles 32:21-23

Psalm 68:29 As David prayed this prayer, he had no idea of the victory God would give to Hezekiah many years later. He also did not know that foreign kings would bring presents to Jerusalem. We see here David prophesying of that which would happen. Because it was the will of God, it did happen. What was the reason that these heathen king brought presents? They did it to glorify God. Was this an act of faith? By no means, but rather it was an expression of God’s sovereignty over all of His creation. As we study history in this school year, let us remember that our God is a sovereign God. All things are in His hands. And all things work for His glory and the good of His church. Even wicked rulers must bow before God. Comfort yourselves, people of God, with these words even when it looks the darkest for the church. God is in control. Sing Psalter 182:2.

August 26 Read Obadiah 10-16

Psalm 68:30 Those of you who have been following these devotionals will have noticed that I have had us read the whole chapter though not in order. By now you realize that the focus of this chapter is the condemnation of Edom for going against the people of God. They had done this many times in their history. But as we saw yesterday, God is sovereign. His sovereignty over the wicked should give to us much comfort. Not the comfort that delights in “getting even”. This comfort is the comfort that comes from obedience to God’s covenant. Esau was brought up in a covenant household. But because of his rebellion, he was cast out and eventually destroyed by God. Obey, young people. Obey God’s covenant and He will bless you with all the blessings of salvation. Sing Psalter 182:3.

August 27 Read Acts 8:26-39

Psalm 68:31 We live in the day and age here we see the fulfillment of this prophecy. Oh, it was begun shortly after Pentecost, but the full realization is happening now as the gospel is spread to the four corners of the earth. God has given to us a great heritage. We need to remember that we must spread that heritage to all lands. One of the signs of Christ’s return is the spread of the gospel. He will use us to do this. We must not ignore the opportunities that we have to spread the gospel. It may be down the street, across town, or in distant lands. We must seize the opportunity knowing that this is the will of God. Let us spread His name by what ever means He is pleased to give us. Sing Psalter 182:4.

August 28 Read Isaiah 35

Psalm 68:32 It is interesting that the call to all nations is to sing. We take for granted the gift of music. Or we disregard its usefulness in the cause of the kingdom. This verse, however, states that the kingdoms of the earth are to sing to God. The content of that singing never changes. That content is the praise of God. After we see these two commands, we see the word Selah once again. If a pause is indicated, we need to contemplate the importance of the preceding commands. What does God want? He wants us to praise Him in song as the almighty One that He is. Let us heed these commands and teach others to heed them as well. Sing Psalter 182:5.

August 29 Read Job 37:1-14

Psalm 68:33 In the time between the writing and reading of these words, l am sure that God’s voice has been heard on this earth. There has probably been a storm that has seized the attention of the world. Maybe there has been an earthquake. Maybe disease or famine has broken out. God speaks through these things. These are not natural disasters a the news media likes to call them. These are the voice of God. Are we listening, people of God? Are we seeking to know what God is saying to us? His voice is mighty. It has power. Its power is more than the destructive nature of a storm or earthquake. In those things He speaks to both the wicked and the church. Are we listening? Sing Psalter 183:3.

August 30 Read Revelation 12:7-12

Psalm 68:34 Does God’s power have meaning for us today? I mean this more than in a physical way. Do we acknowledge the strength of God in our daily spiritual life? A battle was fought in heaven, and Satan was thrown down from heaven. Today, God fights spiritual battles in our lives for us. This is a great comfort for us. If we had to rely on our own strength to fight against Satan, we would have no chance. We must realize that there is such a battle in our lives. The battle against sin is a daily one. God is powerful. By His power which He has and shows to the church, we will win the battle against sin, Satan and all evil. Confess the power of God and glory in it. Sing Psalter 182:5.

August 31 Read Psalm 68:28-35

Psalm 68:35 We come to the end of this month, this prayer of David, and this Psalm. Throughout the month we have learned of God’s power and how He has used it for His people. This closing verse is a confession that not only is God a God of power, but that He has also given power to us. How will we use that power in the upcoming school year? How will we use that power from week to week at work? How will we use that power as we interact with those around us? That power must be used for the service of the all-powerful King. Any power we have, only comes from Him. This is not an easy confession to make. We would rather have the power ourselves. We would rather proclaim ourselves as number one. With David we must speak well of God with the closing words of this Psalm, “Blessed be God.” Sing Psalters 182:6 and 183:4.