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The Song of Zion

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

Devotionals by David Overway

October 1 Read Psalm 71:6

In verse five, David confesses that he trusted in the Lord all throughout his childhood and adult years to the point of his writing this Psalm. This confession, however, is not a boasting in himself but a praising of his God. This is clearly seen when we consider verse five together with verse six, for in verse six, we simply find a continuation of the confession David began in verse five. In verse six David praises God’s goodness to him in that God had held him up or sustained him from his mother’s womb. David knows that God loved him even before he was born and that in that love, God cared for him in the womb. David knows that it was God’s mighty hands that lovingly took him out of his mother and “delivered” him when he was but a fragile, helpless infant. David knows that God alone caused him to grow and develop into a little boy and, later, into a man who trusted in his God. David knows that God sustained him throughout his whole life both physically and spiritually. David believes in preservation. He does not boast, instead he praises. Sing Psalter 190:4.

October 2 Read Psalm 71:7

Remember that in this Psalm David cries out to God to be near him and to deliver him from his enemies. Keeping this in mind, we cannot understand the word “wonder” in this verse to have a positive connotation. It is not as though David would say “I am a wonderful person unto many” or “I am perceived as a terrific person, a like-able guy, a respected man by many people that know me.” No, David at this time experiences affliction, persecution, and humiliation as he sought escape from his enemies. It appeared to his enemies and all who looked on as if David was losing everything. Nobody likes a loser. David had become a wonder, a horribly amazing sight, a repulsive spectacle, or as Calvin puts it, “a detestable monster.” He was despised and rejected of men. All they that saw him laughed him to scorn, and said “It is clear that God is not for him or he would not be so afflicted by his enemies.” But David runs in faith to his Strong Refuge and says, “No matter what men may think of me, I am accepted of my God and never, ever despised by Him.” Sing Psalter 191:1

October 3 Read Psalm 71:8

We cannot fill our mouths with God’s praise and honour. We can only fill our mouths with unrighteousness and evil. Whether we are saved or unsaved, we cannot fill our own mouths with the goodness of God’s praise and honour. It is not as though once we are saved, we are absolutely free and it now depends on the pleasure of our will whether we will do good or not. No, not at all. It is God who works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure. God has given us a new man in Christ through Whom He operates and through Whom He graciously blesses us with the actual performance of good works. Our good works also are part of our salvation and thus are God’s work alone and His blessing to us. Mysterious work. Amazing work. But God’s work. And so we pray to God with David “Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise and with Thy honour all the day.” Sing Psalter 191:1

October 4 Read Psalm 71:9-11

In verse nine, David speaks of his old age and his failing strength. He is acutely aware of his limitation and weakness. He prays for God’s gracious preservation. God has upheld him in infancy, youth, throughout life, and now in his old age he prays that the Lord will continue to be a God unto him. For not only is he weak and old, but also his enemies perceive him as forsaken and defenseless and begin their treacherous plotting against his soul (vs 10-11). We are all in this dire situation. Often we do not realize it as clearly as David does here, but the truth of our condition remains nevertheless. Whether young or old we all are weak and need our God. Our enemies, too, plot against us, speaking against us together, seeking to persecute and take us. We need not fear, but learn from David what to do. We also tell God all about our enemies and their evil intentions. And then we turn to him, hoping in his promises, and with this hope are emboldened to cry to Him: “Forsake me not!” Sing Psalter 191:2,3.

October 5 Read Psalm 71:12

David’s enemies are preparing to close in on him. His situation is serious. He calls God to hasten to help him. But notice how he expects that God would help him. He says, “O God be not far from me.” In God being near to him he is helped and delivered from his enemies. Either our enemies are near us and we are in trouble or God is near us and we are helped. Of course, the idea of “near” is not proximity or nearness in space for God is every-where-present and our enemies (our old nature, Satan, and unbelievers) are always with us and very close. Instead the idea is that if God is “near” to us we are consciously in His presence, experiencing His good influence on us and His holy power coursing through us. This is the activity of faith. By faith we are helped. By faith we draw near to God. And as we through faith experience this blessed reality, our enemies lose their power and influence over us and are “far” from us and we are delivered. “O God, be not far from me”… “Lord, increase our faith.” Sing Psalter 191:4.

October 6 Read Psalm 71:13

Some openly teach that prayers such as these are not to be uttered by godly Christians. Others really teach the same thing by simply ignoring divinely-inspired passages of Scripture such as this one. This must never be in the true church of Christ. Instead, these prayers must be prayed with holy zeal individually and within the congregation, sung with gusto from the Psalter, and preached sharply and clearly from the pulpit. These prayers are a vital part of the Christian life. For it is true that either God is “near” us or our enemies are “near” us (see vs 12 and comments above). When God, in his might, draws near to us our adversaries most certainly are confounded, consumed, and covered with reproach and dishonour. This happened principally on the cross and was signified when Christ said “It is finished.” And this will be realized ultimately when he comes to us again on the clouds of heaven to judge and destroy all His (and our) enemies. Therefore, knowing that God comes to us only in the way of the destruction of our enemies, we heartily shout to heaven the Psalmist’s battle-cry: “Let them be consumed!” Psalter 191:4.

October 7 Read Psalm 71:14

“But I will hope continually…” We take comfort in God’s preservation of us in the past, we confess our weakness and our dependency on Him, we pray that He be near us and not forsake us, and we tell Him of our enemies and ask for their destruction. And in all this we hope. Hope firmly believes that God, according to his sovereign counsel, will keep his promises as they are revealed in His Word. Hoping in this way, we have confidence that our present situation is not our final destination. We look for something better. In “good” times we look forward to continued good times and know that God is leading us on to even better days. In hard times too, we expect that God will deliver us and restore us and, in His time, once again give us better days. When we hope, then, we have rest and comfort and great joy and therefore we also will certainly praise God more and more. Sing Psalter 191:5.

October 8 Read Psalm 71:15-17

Here David speaks of Christ. For what does David praise God (vs 14)? For Christ (vs 15-16). God elected us in Christ from all eternity. His promises to us were ours from eternity as we were in Christ from all eternity. Our Father has promised to rescue us from our enemies and to save us for Jesus sake. A righteous earthly father keeps the promises he makes to his children. So too with our Heavenly Father. Being righteous, He must keep His promise. Being righteous, He does keep His promise, and shows us his righteousness by saving us. And so we with David speak of His righteousness and of His righteousness alone. The only way to “go in the strength of the Lord God” is to go speaking of His righteousness. Speaking of His righteousness we are speaking of Christ. Speaking of Christ we are strong. Sing Psalter 191:6-7.

Devotionals by John Huizenga

October 9 Read Psalm 71:18; Acts 13:26-37

When you become old and gray, what do you hope to have accomplished in life? David hoped to show to those around him the strength of God. He desired of those who looked to David and remembered his life that they praise God for all that He had done for David. Acts 13:36 compares the service of David to the people of his kingdom to Christ. David after his life of service, died and his body was buried and decayed, but Christ saw no corruption. His work does not stop with the memories of His earthly life. Christ lives and forever displays the power of God in the salvation of His people. Though our lives are brief, may they testify to everyone around us of the power of God in Christ. Sing Psalter 192:1.

October 10 Read Psalm 71:19; Isaiah 40:18-27

God reveals in these verses a very important concept for us to understand if we are to know the truth of God’s word. God cannot be compared to anything. He is the wholly other. Often God does compare Himself to earthly things to help us in our feeble earthly understanding, but we must always remember that there is a fundamental difference between God and all other things: He is the Creator, and everything else is a creature. When we study the word of God, we will quickly go astray if we try to judge the ways and works of God according to our standards. Many become angry at God when they are made to see the doctrines of sovereign election and reprobation and decide to change God to a God of love and love alone. But we must rejoice in the truth that the righteousness of God is perfect, exceeding the height of heaven. Sing Psalter 192:2.

October 11 Read Psalm 71:20; Ephesians 4:1-16

Perhaps the doctrine of sovereign reprobation would tempt us to doubt the righteousness of God; sore trials also tempt us to doubt the righteousness of God. But knowing the greatness of God’s righteousness, we also know that God restores His people from the depths of despair. Ephesians 4:9-10 directs our attention to the foundation of this hope found in the ascension of Christ. He who has now become the head of His people first descended to the depths of hell and was raised and ascended to the right hand of God. He knows all the sorrows of His people. They are members of His body. In the way of sin and sorrow, God reveals to us the depths of His love and mercy. Sing Psalter 192:3.

October 12 Read Psalm 71:21; II Corinthians 2

“Thou shalt increase my greatness.” These are words the child of God would not dare to utter in himself. In the light of the rest of scripture, it is evident that these words of David were true for David only as the type of Christ, and these words are ours only in Christ as we see in 2 Corinthians 2:14. Knowing our sins and place in the world among wicked men we feel all but great, but our greatness is in Christ alone. The greatness we have does not attract praise to ourselves, but rather unto God. Instead of making us swell up in pride, this greatness brings comfort to our hearts. Let us pray for the grace to seek greatness in Christ rather than greatness in ourselves with the praise of men. Sing Psalter 192:4.

October 13 Read Psalm 71:22-23; Luke 1:39-54

Why do we sing praises to our God? The Psalmist gives three related reasons for praise: God’s truth, His holiness, and the salvation given to His people. God’s truth is the harmony between His perfect counsel and plan, and what God says and does. His holiness is His separation and freedom from every evil that exists. This true and holy God has revealed to His people His plan of salvation and eternal life for them. When Mary knew that the promised Savior was come, she also sang a song of praise that confessed the truth, holiness, and salvation of God. May we also sing with these truths of God in mind. Then we sing praise from the heart to God, and God is glorified. Sing Psalter 192:5.

October 14 Read Psalm 71:24; Matthew 12:22-37

One of the most powerful means for Satan to bring great sorrow and confusion among men in this world is the tongue. It is the heart of man that has been totally blackened by sin, but it is the tongue that spews forth the corruption to the sorrow and confusion to everyone around; nothing else can come out of the mouth of natural man. What a contrast we find in the scriptures we have just read. The Psalmist proclaims that he will speak righteousness all his days. This sounds like life in heaven! What a different place this world would be if everyone spoke only of God’s righteousness! God gives to His people a new heart that begins even in this life to speak of God’s righteousness. Often the old man of sin succeeds in sending corrupt speech through the same mouth, but the new life is there and can only grow stronger. Let us strive to proclaim God’s righteousness in our words today. Sing Psalter 192:6.

October 15 Read Psalm 72; I Chronicles 22:1-16

The title for this Psalm indicates that it was written for king Solomon. Solomon was the type of Christ as the King of Peace and therefore the fulfillment of this Psalm is in Christ reigning over the church in glory. Peace could exist within the mighty kingdom of Solomon only when the judgments of God were given to him. Peace and glory did come to the earthly kingdom of Solomon, but being merely a type, it was not perfect and had to make way for the kingdom of Christ which is perfect and heavenly. Heaven will be filled with those who knew themselves poor and made rich in Christ. Let us seek righteousness and peace in Christ today. In all our trials and experiences of life we will find peace knowing who we are in Christ: redeemed servants for the glory of God. May we long for perfect righteousness and peace in heavenly glory. Sing Psalter 193:1; 198:1.

October 16 Read Psalm 72:3; Ezekiel 34:1-16

Mountains are majestic and beautiful to those viewing them in safety. Mountains are also filled with danger and were the places where the highway robbers roamed in Israel. Solomon was able to purge the mountains of the danger and thereby give peace to the people no matter where they went. Christ also has been given all power and authority to drive away every fear. Even the darkest corner is made light by the power of His grace and all evil is destroyed and banished. Our last enemy, the one that had its stronghold firmly rooted in the mountains of this life, was death itself. But Christ has conquered death, and has made death the entrance into eternal glory. Now where death once reigned God feeds His people forever in the green pastures of His Word. Look to Christ, He will give you peace. Sing Psalter 193:2; 198:2.

October 17 Read Psalm 72:4; Jeremiah 51:1-26

Solomon’s kingdom had peace, but it was not long after him that God used Babylon to oppress and chastise his people because they walked not in His ways. Babylon became even a “destroying mountain” (Jeremiah). Babylon was used by God, and God continued to fulfill His counsel by bringing forth Christ in the way of the destruction of Babylon. The power of Christ is decisive and complete. The enemy is broken into pieces until the pieces no longer pose a threat and in fact pave the way for God’s people. May we not fear what is a mountain in our eyes. By our own strength, we could not move a crumb anyway. God will take care of us. The most imposing enemies are utterly destroyed by God. Sing Psalter 193:3; 198:2.

October 18 Read Psalm 72:5; Luke 1:26-32

The idea of “forever” is conveyed here and in other of the Psalms with reference to the endurance of the moon and sun. To man it appears as though the sun and moon would last forever in comparison to so many other things, even the mountains, which steadily erode away. God does tell us that the sun and moon will be preserved through all the time of the gathering of His church, but when that work is finished, then the sun and moon will come to an end as well. But just as the sun and moon continue through all time, so the kingdom of Christ will continue through all eternity as the church renders endless praise to God. God is never cut short in His work. He continues faithfully until all is accomplished. Let us be mindful of these truths when we watch the sun rise each morning and watch the moon in its course. Sing Psalter 193:4; 198:3.

October 19 Read Psalm 72:6; Deuteronomy 32:1-14

The word of God considered today brings before our eyes a picture of a refreshing shower of rain upon a pasture where sheep graze. Without rain, the grass would become brown and the sheep would become hungry, but the rain ensures plenty to eat. So it is with God’s people under the rule of Christ. God has sent to His people Christ, the very Word of God. God’s people desire nothing more than for God to speak to them, and He sends this speech (doctrine and instruction) as a gentle shower of rain. The Word is our salvation revealed to us in the Scriptures and proclaimed each Sunday from the pulpits. The word nourishes our hungry and thirsty souls. It brings comfort and peace so that we do not worry about tomorrow. Sing Psalter 193:5; 198:6.

October 20 Read Psalm 72:7; Isaiah 32

Remembering that this Psalm was written for Solomon we understand the idea of earthly prosperity to be limited to his reign which is but a picture of Christ and spiritual prosperity. Remember also that the idea of the endurance of the moon is that of eternity. The Psalter is a bit misleading when it reads “until the moon shall fade.” The reign of Christ is not earthly as He Himself plainly stated. The earthly belongs to Solomon’s reign which has passed away to make way for that which is the real thing. Under the rule of Christ, the life of the church will only grow continually. There is no end to the Word of God which nourishes His people. Let us ever look forward to life eternal. May we ever be comforted in this life in the truth that the spiritual life which God plants in His people will never be quenched. Sing Psalter 193:6; 198:5.

Devotionals by Ryan Hanko

October 21 Psalter 194:1,1985; Psalm 72:8

Our God is the Creator of this entire earth. Therefore, He is the Ruler of it by right of ownership. His kingdom stretches to every part of the earth, both land and sea. This verse speaks first of all of the dominion of God over the whole created world, but also in a more specific sense of the kingdom of His people—signified in the O.T. by the land of Canaan. The promised land stretches from the Mediterranean to the River Euphrates. God’s rule over this kingdom is a gracious, loving rule. Under His rule, all our spiritual and physical needs are provided for. His dominion over this kingdom pictures that of heaven. This heavenly kingdom is our hope for eternity as we make our pilgrimage through this life.

October 22 Psalter 194:2; Psalm 72:9

Those peoples that inhabit the wilderness are the wild and the lawless. They desire the “liberty” that this place affords them. There they are free from the restraints which others may put on them. Yet God will subdue these people as well. He will bring them under His dominion. Those who refuse His authority, God will break and humble. The tongues which curse God deserve to lick the dust. If they will not joyfully and willingly bow to the omnipotent God, that same God will prostrate them at His feet. There He will make them lick the serpent’s meat, filling them with the food of their father, the Devil: who, like them, will soon be forced to bow at the feet of Christ.

October 23 Psalter 194:3; Psalm 72:10

In the kingdom of Christ, His people are not taxed. Instead we, His subjects, bring our free-will offerings before His throne. Even kings and those in high places will bring Him their gifts. We have been given the greatest gift possible – salvation and life everlasting. To give us this, God sent His only, begotten Son to be killed by wicked men. We, out of thankfulness for so great a gift, should cheerfully give of what God has blessed us with. Our gifts to Him are our obedience to His loving rule and all of the duties and work that proceed from this. If only our earthly rulers today would listen to what this verse has to say, that by their so doing, their subjects would imitate their example!

October 24 Psalter 194:4; Psalm 72:11-12

The greatest and highest of all men will bow in submission before God’s throne. God will humble their pride, and deliver and help the poor and needy. The cries of God’s weak and helpless children touch the heart of their Father in heaven. In our human nature, we are helpless and dead. God by the Spirit, awakens life in us. The beginnings of this new life in us causes us to see that we need help and deliverance outside of ourselves. Our helplessness forces us to go to our great Helper in heaven. Christ knows our weakness and frailty because He lived among us. He is our advocate in heaven and will bring our needs before God, Who alone can help us.

October 25 Psalter 194:5,198:6; Psalm 72:13-14

Jesus called not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. He does not attempt the superfluous work of aiding proud, vain Pharisees in their self-righteousness; but He cares for the poor Publican, who dares not to look up to heaven because of his sin. We ought to seek to be among those needy whom Jesus comes to help. He will keep us from the snares and temptations of Satan and the evils of this wicked world. He protects us as the Great Shepherd watching over His flock. Each and every one of God’s people is valuable in His sight. God, Who watches over even the little sparrow, will watch over us and not allow the wicked to tear us away from the shelter of His almighty care.

October 26 Psalter 194:6, Psalm 72:15

Because Christ died, we live. Now He lives and reigns in heaven. He will be given coronation gifts of the richest kind, presented before His throne by those whom He has redeemed. We pray that all blessings will be upon His head and that His kingdom and cause will prosper. We pray for the coming of His kingdom and the return of our King. When He comes, He will take us to glory to praise Him before Him before His throne for eternity. There, we will gather with the angels and the saints of all time—now made perfect by Christ’s coming—to praise Him perfectly.

October 27 Psalter 195:1; Psalm 72:16

A great harvest will be reaped from a very small beginning. God’s people are never more than a remnant here on earth, yet His faithful are a living seed, from which the church in the ages to come is harvested. His church is continually growing, though, as it grows He harvests it and gathers it to Himself. Taken as a whole, the church of all ages is an innumerable throng. To them, Christ has given all of the blessings that He has earned for them on the cross. He prospers the cause of the church so that they may sing His praise both now and in eternity.

October 28 Psalter 195:2; Psalm 72:17

As long as this earth shall exist and for all eternity before and after time, God and His name will endure. As long as this earth exists—pictured figuratively here by the sun—God will continue His name by saving a people to Himself. These people will magnify Jehovah’s name in time and in eternity. As the happiness of the parent is bound up in that of the children, and the prosperity of the sovereign inseparable from that of the subjects, so the Messiah will not only be blessed Himself, but also will be a source of blessing to all nations. The grateful nations will echo His benedictions and delight to do Him honor.

October 29 Psalter 195:3; Psalm 72:18-20

The last three verses of this Psalm belong, not to this Psalm, but to the second book of Psalms, of which this doxology marks the close. They are a call for profound gratitude and adoration—emotions of the heart. It is, and forever shall be, the goal of our desires, and the climax of our prayers to behold Jesus exalted as King of kings and Lord of lords. He has done great wonders such as none can match, leaving all others so far behind. Yet, there are greater marvels still remaining, which we eagerly wait their being manifested to us throughout eternity.

October 30 Psalter 195:4; Psalm 72:18-20

God is the Blessed God and His name shall be blessed. His name is glorious, and that glory shall fill the whole earth. For so bright a consummation our heart yearns daily, and we cry, “Amen, and Amen.” This word is one that seals all the truths of God and every particular promise of God. It is never likely to arise in the soul, unless there is first an almighty power from heaven, to seize on the powers of the soul, to subdue them, and make it say, “Amen.” There is such an inward rising of the heart, and an innate rebellion against the blessed truth of God, that unless God by His strong arm, bring the heart down, it never will nor can say, “Amen.”

October 31 Psalm 72:30

The last verse of this Psalm is one over which there is much disagreement. The following is a quote from William Streat (a 17th century theologian) which gives the most likely explanation of this verse. “Here ends the prayers of David the son of Jesse; that is, here they are perfected. If any ask hereafter what or where lies the end that all these Psalms were made for, tell them that here it lies in this Psalm and, therefore placed in the midst of all; as the center in midst of a circle, all the lines meet here, and all the Psalms determine here; for it is only a prophetical treatise of the kingdom of Christ drawn out to the lire, and it is dedicated to Solomon, because here is wisdom; other men have other ends, it may be, but the son of Jesse had no other end in the world but to set out Christ’s kingdom in making of His Psalms.”