The Daily Press

December 8 Read 2 Kings 19
Even though Rabshakeh was no longer in Jerusalem, he continued to attack the nation of Judah by sending a threatening letter to King Hezekiah (vv. 8–13). Hezekiah’s proper response to this intimidation was to bring the matter before the Lord. Take another look at Hezekiah’s prayer in verses 15–19. If you read it closely, you will notice that it follows the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer by beginning and ending with the glory and honor of God’s name. By praising the name of the Lord, Hezekiah was acknowledging that he is almighty and sovereign over all things—even seemingly hopeless situations such as facing an invasion from a powerful army.
Take a moment to examine your own prayer life. Are your prayers dedicated only to yourself and what you think that you need? Or are they focused on the glory and honor of God? The glory of God is the very purpose of creation (Rev. 4:11). And what brings glory to God will most certainly benefit his people. “…all these we ask of Thee, because Thou, being our King and almighty, art willing and able to give us all good; and all this we pray for that thereby not we, but thy holy name, may be glorified for ever.” (Lord’s Day 52, Q&A 128)
Sing or pray Psalter #308
December 9 Read Psalm 46
This entire psalm serves as a reminder to God’s people of the confidence that we can have in our Lord despite how difficult our circumstances seem. But I would like to focus specifically on the phrase that is repeated in verses 7 and 11, “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” What an amazing statement! The almighty Lord of hosts, who is in control of everything that exists, is with us. The One who is the conqueror of all the nations is also the “God of Jacob,” a refuge for his people. He has power over all things, and in his providence, he works every event that happens on this earth for the good of the elect. And his presence with his people assures us that he cares not only about big, world events but also about our little moments. When we remember the words of this psalm, it is an antidote for our anxiety about what is happening in the world around us, and in our personal lives as well.
Psalm 46 was a favorite of Martin Luther. It served as the inspiration for a hymn that he wrote called, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” I would encourage you to read through the lyrics of this familiar hymn today or sing it with your family.
Sing or pray Psalter #128
December 10 Read Psalm 80
Psalm 80 is a community lament, most likely written while the nation of Israel was in captivity. God had given them over to their enemies as a form of chastisement. The psalmist was conscious of the fact that their sin had separated the nation from God and caused him to turn his face away. So he offers up a prayer for restoring grace and asks God for a savior.
Even the elect may sometimes go through seasons where God feels distant. He has not actually left us, but we may not be experiencing the blessings of God’s favor for a time because of a recurring sin. In these situations, we must seek the Lord just as the psalmist did, and wait patiently on him for restoration. We may not always appreciate the chastisement of God, but Hebrews 12:11 reminds us, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” The goal of chastisement is reunification with God, which can only be accomplished through Jesus Christ. Just as Israel was desperate for an earthly deliverer, we desperately need a Messiah to reconcile us with God.
Sing or pray Psalter #221
December 11 Read Psalm 135
Psalm 135 is a call to praise God. The psalmist recounts some of the marvelous things that God had done for his people Israel. He brought them out of bondage in Egypt and destroyed the Canaanite nations so that they could possess the land. When Israel remembered what God had graciously done for them in the past, they felt assured of future blessings as well.
Similarly, when we call to mind how God sent his only begotten Son to die on the cross for our sins, it serves as a guarantee of his continuing and future grace towards his people. As we read in Romans 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
How do we remember what God has done for us? By reading and meditating on his word. Recounting how God has cared for his people throughout history and will continue to do so leads us to proclaim with the psalmist, “Praise ye the Lord.”
Sing or pray Psalter #373
December 12 Read Isaiah 49
The beginning of this chapter is a beautiful prophecy of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. God promised to send a Servant-Savior who would restore the people of Israel and also be a light to the Gentiles. But Israel’s sinful response to this promise in verse 14 was to doubt their deliverance and complain, “The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.” The people’s captivity in Babylon had led them to question if God still cared about them.
When we face difficult circumstances in this life, we may also wonder, “Does God really care about me?” The answer to our question is found in the rest of this chapter, where God graciously reminds his people of his constant faithfulness. He is even more attentive and compassionate to us than a mother is to her infant child (v. 15). We are graven on the palms of his hand and are continually before his eyes (v. 16). “But God is faithful, who, having conferred grace, mercifully confirms and powerfully preserves them therein, even to the end.” (Canons of Dordt, 5th Head, Art. 3)
Sing or pray Psalter #379
December 13 Read Isaiah 50
In the midst of the thick darkness of sin and suffering on this earth, we cannot find our own way and are susceptible to many dangers. The words of Isaiah 50:10 give us hope in this valley of tears, just as they gave hope to the people of God who were in captivity in Babylon, “let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.”
Our instinct when faced with the fears and anxieties of living in this world is to try to find security in something around us. Verse 11 refers to this as kindling your own fire and surrounding yourself with sparks. But these things only give a temporary appearance of safety, and the judgment of God against those who trust in their own efforts is frightening. “This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” Take a moment for self-examination and try to identify something that you might turn to for security instead of trusting in God. Pray that the Holy Spirit will work faith in your heart to trust in the true light of the world and not be distracted by the sparks of earthly security.
Sing or pray Psalter #100
December 14 Read Isaiah 51
In this chapter, we find a message of comfort for God’s people who were in captivity. God reminds them through Isaiah that their salvation is permanent, while the opposition and mockery that they face on this earth are only temporary. In verses 7 and 8, he points out that their persecutors are weak and earthly creatures—nothing in comparison to God. And verses 12 and 13 go on to ask, “Why are you afraid of men that will die? Did you forget that your Lord made everything?”
We may not be facing physical harm from those around us like the Israelites were, but persecution in the form of rejection and ridicule is a very real threat. Proclaiming the gospel and living according to God’s word is not going to make you a popular person. Not getting invited somewhere or having someone not like you can be devastating! But we must be careful not to let the fear of man govern our actions instead of the fear of God. “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled” (1 Pet. 3:13–14).
Sing or pray Psalter #346
December 15 Read Isaiah 52:1–12
What is the gospel? It is the good news (or “good tidings” as it says in verse 7) that God is King and he has sent his Son to save us from our sins. As we near Christmas, I couldn’t help but think of Luke 2:10 in regards to this as well, “Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” The good tidings of salvation and peace gave hope to Israel in their captivity and to the shepherds in the field when Jesus was born, and they give hope to us as well.
Isaiah 52:7 speaks of the delight that God’s people have in those who bring the message of the gospel. As the mouthpieces of Christ, our pastors are included in this. Faithful gospel preachers are gifts from God, but they are also men, and therefore need our support and encouragement. How can you support your pastor? You can offer financial support by paying your church budget. You could write your pastor an encouraging note or pray for him. And you can be respectful in the way that you speak about your pastor to others. Thank God today for those who engage in the important work of proclaiming the gospel.
Sing or pray Psalter #131
December 16 Read Isaiah 52:13–53:3
From an earthly perspective, Jesus was far from desirable. Isaiah 53:2 says, “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” Jesus did not look like a god. And he did not have a position of great power and influence in the church or government during his ministry on this earth. Our Lord came to be a Servant-Savior, not an earthly king like the people wanted. This was evident from the very beginning in the humble circumstances of his birth. “He is despised and rejected of men” (v. 3).
By nature, we are just like the people that lived during Jesus’ earthly ministry. We have no reason to desire him. It is only when the Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts that we can recognize his beauty and glory—“the glory as of the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14). In light of this truth, think about the significance that you place on earthly beauty in yourself or others. It is also important for us to remember that since Jesus was not attractive in an earthly sense, in our evangelism efforts, we should not try to alter the gospel to make it more attractive to those that we interact with.
Sing or pray Psalter #124
December 17 Read Isaiah 53:4–12
The words of Isaiah 53:5 are probably very familiar to you. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” But have you ever really stopped to think about how amazing they are? Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, took upon himself a human nature to atone for our sins. He willingly submitted to abuse at the hands of wicked men and suffered the wrath of God in both body and soul. By means of his lowly birth, suffering, death, burial, and descent into hell, Jesus experienced increasing degrees of suffering to satisfy God’s justice so that we can experience the favor of God. Jesus obediently died an accursed death on the cross to make us righteous before God. Death is no longer something that we need to fear, but rather a passage to eternal life. When we contemplate the suffering of Christ for our sins, what should our response be? “By the mercies of God…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).
Sing or pray Psalter #28
December 18 Read Isaiah 54
“For the Lord thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name” (v. 5). What a comforting promise for those who are struggling with singleness or an unhappy marriage! Even if we have unmet expectations in regards to marriage in our life on this earth, our joy can still be full because we are the bride of Christ. Marriage is only temporary in the light of eternity, but our relationship with God will outlast any relationships that we have on this earth.
The Lord is a greater husband than any man can ever be. If we expect a spouse to fulfill needs that only God can truly meet, we will always be disappointed. Even though we know this truth, we may still have feelings of loneliness or disappointment just as Israel did when they were in captivity. But instead of allowing these feelings to make us bitter, we can lean on Jesus. It is only because of his sacrifice on the cross for our sins that we are privileged to be the bride of Christ.
Sing or pray Psalter #125
December 19 Read Isaiah 55
An invitation is issued in verses 1–2 to all those who are thirsty, “Come to the waters.” And there is not just water to sustain life, but also milk to give strength, and wine to make the heart glad. All this is available free of charge not only to those who cannot pay but also to those who are trying to find nourishment by means of their own labor. What a fitting picture of the blessings of salvation that we receive through Christ! They are given to God’s people freely not because of merit, but only because Christ has already paid the price by his death on the cross. And only the Holy Spirit can work in our hearts the spiritual thirst that is required to come to the waters.
In this Christmas season, let us focus less on all the delicious treats and drinks that fill our stomach temporarily and more on what is truly satisfying—the Bread of Life. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
Sing or pray Psalter #395
December 20 Read Isaiah 56
In Isaiah 56 the Lord through Isaiah commends those who keep the Sabbath day holy. Keeping the Sabbath is not about following a list of rules, but abstaining from our normal work to consciously delight in God’s work. It is a day of rest from labor to devote our time to holy things. The true keeping of the Sabbath helps us to walk in sanctification all the other days of the week. And proper Sabbath observance serves as a little foretaste of the eternal rest that we will have in heaven.
But because of the Fall, sin has tainted everything on this earth—even our rest. In the world that we live in today, the idea of the Sabbath has either been distorted into a day of personal enjoyment or otherwise ignored completely in the quest for money and accomplishment. The situation was undoubtedly similar for the saints who were in captivity in Babylon. The temptation from those around us (and from our sinful nature) is to either fill our Sabbath with idle pleasures or continue working as though it is not the Lord’s Day. Pray that God will help you to delight in the Sabbath and observe it as he commands.
Sing or pray Psalter #320
December 21 Read Isaiah 57
In contrast to the sad condition of apostate Judah that is described in the first part of this chapter, verse 15 sets forth the wonderful promise of God that he will dwell with the remnant. The idea of dwelling with God is not just about his presence, because God is everywhere. It also involves fellowship with him and receiving the blessings and benefits of his love and favor. In the Old Testament, God dwelled with his people by means of the tabernacle. In the New Testament, Jesus took on a human form and fellowshipped in the flesh with the saints at that time. And when he ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit was poured out to all believers. One day, Jesus will return in glory, and all God’s people will dwell with him forever in heaven.
Verse 15 also reminds us that God only dwells with those who are “of a contrite and humble spirit.” We are only privileged to dwell with God because of the mediation of Christ. He does not need to have fellowship with us because as the triune God he has perfect fellowship within himself. When we recognize his majesty and our sin and weakness, we will approach God with the proper holy reverence that he requires.
Sing or pray Psalter #306
December 22 Read Isaiah 58
In Isaiah 58, God uses Isaiah to call out the nation of Judah for their shallow, hypocritical worship. The people were making a show of serving the Lord externally, while internally they were only serving themselves. Isaiah used the example of fasting to illustrate this point. Apart from the spiritual reality of denying yourself and focusing on God, fasting has no worth. Empty rituals mean nothing to God and outward acts of piety are not some kind of bargaining tool that we can use to get what we want. On the other hand, when we perform outward rituals such as fasting or Sabbath observance as an expression of a regenerated heart and not for our own glory, we will experience the favor of God and fellowship with him.
Take a moment for self-examination. Have you ever done an outwardly good deed for the wrong reasons? Were you more concerned about your status and reputation in the church than the glory of God? In your prayers today, ask the Holy Spirit to work true worship in your heart so that your actions flow from a desire to glorify God and not yourself.
Sing or pray Psalter #69
December 23 Read Isaiah 59
The beginning of Isaiah 59 paints a very bleak picture of the total depravity of man. Their sin has separated them from God. All of mankind is utterly lost and incapable of doing any good. They are eager to sin, and every aspect of their lives has been tainted with sin. As Paul says in Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” This does not only describe the situation in Judah at this time but the situation of the whole human race in our natural state. No one can save themselves or anyone else from their sin.
It is only when we comprehend the depth of our sin that we truly appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Over against the hopelessness of sinful man, we see the greatness of God’s grace toward his people. The Lord singlehandedly establishes a covenant with those who are dead in sin and upholds it faithfully with his own arm. “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord” (v. 20).
Sing or pray Psalter #83
December 24 Read Isaiah 60
God’s people who were exiled in Babylon undoubtedly hoped and dreamed that someday they would be able to return home and rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem to its former glory. But God promises them something even better. Isaiah 60 describes a New Jerusalem that none of the people could have imagined. And more importantly, it foreshadows the new heaven and new earth that we read of in Revelation 21.
When we read passages like Revelation 21 and Isaiah 60, we may create in our minds a picture of what we think heaven is going to be like. But in reality, it will be far greater than we can even comprehend with our earthly minds. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). Why does God have such greatness in store for us wretched sinners? It is certainly not because we deserve any of it. The answer lies in verse 21 where God says that it is all the work of his hand, “that I may be glorified.”
Sing or pray Psalter #249
December 25 Read Isaiah 61
After reading about the New Jerusalem in Isaiah 60, we may wonder, who can accomplish this work? Only one upon whom the Spirit rests—the Servant of the Lord. The first few verses of Isaiah 61 foreshadow the coming of a Messiah that would be a prophet of salvation to the people. This prophecy was fulfilled in Luke 4:18–19 when Jesus stood up in the synagogue at Nazareth and proclaimed the words of Isaiah 61:1–3. In doing so, he was stating the purpose of his earthly ministry. He was sent to preach the gospel to heal the brokenhearted and recover the sight of the blind. But Jesus could not only give them deliverance from their earthly trials; he could even save them from the captivity of sin and death. The result of the Messiah’s work is “that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified” (v. 3). If we are planted in Christ, our roots will be secure for all of eternity so that we may glorify God and enjoy him forever.
Sing or pray Psalter #291
December 26 Read Isaiah 62
In the last verse of this chapter we read that as a result of their salvation, the people of God shall be called “The holy people.” Something that is holy is set apart for God. We also read in Titus 2:14 that Jesus Christ “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” God calls his people out of the world to become more and more like the image of Christ. This growth in holiness is called sanctification. Is there evidence of sanctification in your life?
Although we must continually strive towards holiness, we must also recognize that we will never achieve it in this life. It is only by the work of the Spirit in our hearts that we have a small beginning of obedience. Therefore we long for the day when we will finally be perfectly holy in heaven.
Sing or pray Psalter #6
December 27 Read Isaiah 63
In Isaiah 63:9 we read a remarkable statement about our Savior and his people, “In all their affliction he was afflicted.” When God’s people suffer, he is not simply observing from the sidelines. He deeply feels our suffering because we are united with him through Christ. Jesus also understands what we are going through because throughout his life on this earth he experienced all the suffering and temptation of a normal human existence. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
Not only is Christ able to have sympathy with our afflictions, but he is also able to help us in our time of need. We never experience suffering alone because he is always with us. What a great comfort to know that even at our lowest point God is there with us, and is worthy of our praise!
Sing or pray Psalter #56
December 28 Read Isaiah 64
Verse 4 refers to the great blessing that is in store for those who wait on the Lord. But waiting on the Lord is difficult. In our modern society, we are not used to waiting for anything. Technology has taught us to be very impatient people. And our sinful pride makes it difficult to completely place our trust in God instead of trying to figure things out ourselves.
But God has a purpose in our waiting—the strengthening of our faith. And while we wait he is working. He does not need us to accomplish his sovereign plan. Pray that the Holy Spirit will work humility in your heart and give you the faith to trust not only in God’s promises but also his timing. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Ps. 27:14).
Sing or pray Psalter #73
December 29 Read Isaiah 65
If you look up Isaiah 65:20 in various commentaries, you will come across conflicting opinions on the meaning of the text. Pre-millennialists try to interpret it literally and claim that it speaks of life during the thousand year reign, as evidence that the righteous will live to be very old during this time. But from my study, I believe that this interesting verse is describing the everlasting youth that we will have in heaven.
There are two figures in the first part of this text, that of an infant and an old man. In the new heaven and new earth, neither of these figures will be present, “there shall be no more thence.” In the new creation all of God’s people will be young forever. This is what is meant by “for the child shall die an hundred years old.” Even after one hundred years he is still young. What a comfort to God’s people that whether a believer dies in infancy or of old age or somewhere in between, through Christ he will still have the strength of youth for eternity. In heaven, all weakness and infirmity will be taken away.
Sing or pray Psalter #284
December 30 Read Isaiah 66
A strange scene is described in this last chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah. Verses 6–8 describe a voice coming out of the temple, and a woman that has unexpectedly brought forth a child before she even went into labor. The people are amazed as all of a sudden she is surrounded by multitudes of children as well. She had brought forth a whole nation at one time. “Who hath heard such a thing?” (v. 8).
This woman represents the church of the old dispensation. And the child that she brings forth unexpectedly is Christ. Although the faithful people of God were waiting for the promised Savior to be born, it still took them by surprise when it happened. And immediately following the birth of Christ, we see the birth of the entire New Testament church, represented by the nation that the woman brings forth all at once. It is so wonderful to be able to look back on these prophecies of Jesus Christ and see how God’s promises have been fulfilled!
Sing or pray Psalter #300
December 31 Read 2 Kings 20
Have you ever wondered if prayer is really necessary, since God in his providence has already determined what is going to happen? Well, here in 2 Kings 20 we have evidence of the truth found in James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Hezekiah, at only 39 years old, is on his deathbed. God showed him a great mercy by sending the prophet Isaiah to tell him specifically that he was going to die. And Hezekiah reacts just as he had when faced with many other trials in his life—he prayed. God’s response to Hezekiah is, “I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears” (v. 5). Isaiah brings a message from God that Hezekiah will be healed and live for another fifteen years.
Hezekiah’s answered prayer serves as a reminder of how important our own prayers are. Our prayers may very well be used as an instrument to bring about God’s sovereign will just as Hezekiah’s prayer was. Our heavenly Father has not only ordained what will happen in the future, but the means that he will use to bring about that end—whether it be prayer, modern medicine, or the choices that we make. What a privilege that God condescends to use us in his work!
Sing or pray Psalter #210
January 1 Read 2 Kings 21
How could a nation that had served the Lord under the reign of Hezekiah so quickly turn back to the sin of idolatry when his son Manasseh took the throne? It probably didn’t happen overnight. When Manasseh took the throne at twelve years old, he most likely was not openly in favor of idolatry, but perhaps tolerated it more than his father did. But the progression of sin is such that what is tolerated will become what is supported and even promoted. We read that Manasseh eventually served idols openly and even undermined the true worship of Jehovah by putting a graven image in the temple.
We can see a similar progression of sin in our nation’s tolerance and now promotion of homosexuality and the LGBT community. But let this be a lesson for the people of God as well. Any sins or heresies that we allow to creep into the church now may be openly embraced by our children and grandchildren in the future. What a sobering thought!
Sing or pray Psalter #170
January 2 Read 2 Chronicles 32
In verse 25 we read that Hezekiah did not respond to God’s merciful saving of his life with humble gratitude as he should have, “for his heart was lifted up.” Because of the great prosperity that God had given him, he was filled with sinful pride. In his pride, Hezekiah boasted about his riches to the ambassadors from Babylon. We read in 2 Kings 20 that the punishment for this sin was that everything he had showed off to the Babylonians would eventually be taken away by them as spoils of war.
Just like Hezekiah, we can also be filled with pride as a result of our successes on this earth. It is important to remember that everything that we obtain or accomplish in this life is a gift from God, not a reason for arrogance. 1 Corinthians 4:7 reminds us, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Not if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”
Sing or pray Psalter #311
January 3 Read 2 Chronicles 33
Despite being the son of godly King Hezekiah, Manasseh turned out to be one of the most wicked kings of Judah. Verse 9 says that Manasseh led Judah into even worse sins than those of the wicked Canaanite nations that God had destroyed. Idolatry and depravity were rampant throughout the land. While he was in captivity in Babylon, we read of Manasseh’s remarkable repentance and salvation.
When we hear of an especially shocking sin that someone else has committed, it can be tempting to think, “I would NEVER do that!” or “That sin is MUCH worse than anything I have done.” But the truth is that despite what our pride tells us, we are all capable of grievous sins. In a sermon on this text, C.H. Spurgeon said, “I do not wonder at Manasseh’s sin one half so much as I wonder at God’s mercy.” And we should all do the same. The salvation of Manasseh reminds us that there is no sin that God cannot forgive. To think otherwise would be to limit his power. If we humble ourselves before God and confess our sin, he will always forgive us.
Sing or pray Psalter #102
January 4 Read Nahum 1
Nahum 1:7–8 give an excellent summary of the theme of this brief prophetic book. These verses set forth the contrast between God’s goodness towards his people, and his complete destruction of his enemies. God’s goodness and his justice can seem to be in opposition to each other, but actually they are complimentary. The goodness of God demands that he punish what is evil. He would not be good if he were not also just.
Nahum’s name means “comfort” or “consolation.” We often think of being comforted by God’s goodness, but it is also reassuring to think about God’s justice. This aspect of God’s character is comforting to his people because we know that the same strength that is displayed in God’s wrath and justice is also present in his goodness and mercy. Our Lord is as longsuffering as he is powerful. And as confident as we are in his ability to destroy the reprobate, we can have the same confidence that he will preserve the elect.
Sing or pray Psalter #2
January 5 Read Nahum 2 & 3
Nahum 2:13 says, “Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts.” What a terrifying thing to hear from God! It is even more frightening than the lengthy description of the military invasion of Ninevah that makes up the first 12 verses of the chapter. The wrath of God is far more powerful than even the most formidable enemies on this earth. God will sometimes use worldly powers to execute his judgment, as he did with the Medes and Babylonians, but they are all under his divine control and serving his purpose. If God is against someone, they have no hope.
By nature, we are just like the inhabitants of Ninevah. It is only by God’s grace we do not face the same destruction as they did. When we are united to Christ by faith God is no longer against us, but for us. In Christ, we can confidently declare the truth of Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Sing or pray Psalter #252
January 6 Read 2 Kings 22
During the temple renovations that Josiah had commissioned, we read in verse 8 of the high priest finding a copy of the scriptures as they had them at that time. It is amazing that the reading of the word of God had been so neglected that the high priest finding the scroll and reading it to the king was worthy of mention. This should have been a common occurrence in the kingdom.
Unlike the Old Testament saints, you probably have multiple copies of the entire Bible in your home. You likely have the text of the Bible readily available 24/7 on your phone, and access to countless apps, websites, and podcasts at any time to assist you in studying the Bible. Do you appreciate these resources? And more importantly, do you use them?
So by all means, study your Bible and take advantage of the biblical resources that are at your disposal, but don’t let it end there. Reading the Word of God should inspire action—as evidenced by the spiritual revival that followed during the time of Josiah. “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25).
Sing or pray Psalter #333
January 7 Read 2 Kings 23
Godly King Josiah tried to use his authority to change the behavior of the people of Judah, but he could not change their hearts. After he died the nation as a whole went back to their evil ways under the leadership of his son, Jehoahaz. This is because our behavior flows out of what is in our heart. Only God is capable of giving sinners a new, regenerated heart and implanting the Holy Spirit in them so that they can keep his commandments.
This is also a key truth to remember when we think about instructing our children. Although making appropriate rules for children to follow and enforcing those rules is vital, parents must not neglect their children’s hearts. It is even more important for children to understand why they must not do certain things, and to comprehend why they are inclined to disobey and their need for a Savior. If you are a parent, pray that God will help you to keep the gospel (and not just behavior) as the central focus of your parenting.
Sing or pray Psalter #141