May 8- Read Joel 3
Joel 3:2 reads, “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.” God is gathering the nations here to judge them for their destruction of his people and his land. The place of their judgment is the valley of Jehoshaphat, or the valley of decision, as it’s called in verse 14. Many are quick to think that the valley of Jehoshaphat must refer to some place related to Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, but Prof. Kuiper preaches that this is not a geographical place. Instead, the name refers to what Jehovah will do there since Jehoshaphat means “Jehovah judges.” Similarly, the valley of decision refers to the place where Jehovah will thresh his enemies. Harvest time is compared to judgment in the Bible, as we see in Matthew 13:39. All the nations are being brought to battle God and his armies, but the definite outcome of this war is that Jehovah wins.
Sing or pray Psalter #302.
May 9- Read Daniel 1
The devil is striving very hard to steal the hearts of our young people, as Rev. Brummel brought out in a sermon on this passage. Nebuchadnezzar strategized that he could have the most success with this by treating the young Jewish men as princes, not prisoners. He then set out to make sure everything they had been taught and learned would be forsaken. He even went so far as to change their names. The world today throws all its enticing entertainment at our young people and tries to make them forget God. If Daniel and his friends had eaten the king’s meat, all the credit for their abilities and accomplishments would have been given to the idols the meat had been offered to. By faith, these men stood against that lie. Are we on guard against the world today, or are we eating the king’s meat? The devil is good at getting us to slowly lower our guard. The things that our grandparents were worried about don’t even concern us anymore. The day will come when our own children will be taken away by the world, and we must prepare them to refuse the king’s meat in that day.
Sing or pray Psalter #309.
May 10- Read Daniel 2
Have we made it to the final world power yet? Until recently, I would have said that the world now, with the United States as its head, is the final world power displayed in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision. However, I’ve recently started to wonder if this is an accurate way of looking at it. Rev. Spronk preached that since Rome’s fall the fifth kingdom of antichrist has been forming. He said the iron and clay is seen in today’s pluralism, which says all different religions and political systems can be brought together under one government and one economy. It is true that today’s society of tolerance seems to mesh with the iron and clay feet of the image, but would that mean then that the Antichrist must come from the United States? There’s much talk today about the rise of China and Islam, but would it be possible for either of these to rise to power if the kingdom of Antichrist is nothing more than a continuation of the current kingdom? What do you think? Are we currently in the iron and clay or somewhere in between it and the iron?
Sing or pray Psalter #247.
May 11- Read Daniel 3
Rev. Rodney Kleyn clearly explained the immense pressure Daniel’s friends would have been under to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s image in this chapter. They had been given some of the highest positions in the whole kingdom. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to stand strong if we knew all our earthly comforts would immediately be taken away from us? Not only would they lose their positions if they disobeyed, but they would be thrown into a fiery furnace! Another aspect of this pressure would have been that everyone else was doing it, including other Jews. Finally, there was the immense pressure of going along with it for the sake of peace and tolerance.
Despite these pressures, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego persevered, just as we must do under the kingdom of Antichrist. We are good at making excuses for not standing for the truth, like saying we can’t witness if we’re dead, or we must change the preaching to get down to everyone’s level. Instead, we must stand with confidence, knowing that Christ stands with us in our persecutions, just as he walked with the three friends in the fiery furnace.
Sing or pray Psalter #241.
May 12- Read Daniel 4
Nebuchadnezzar has another troubling dream in this chapter. He saw a great tree that grew until it reached all the way to heaven. An angel of God commanded the tree be cut down, leaving only a stump. After all the Babylonian soothsayers failed to interpret the dream, Daniel told the king that he would be changed into a beast for seven years, so the whole world would see that God is in complete control. Daniel then called upon the king to repent. This probably made Nebuchadnezzar scared for a while, but when nothing had happened after a year, he started boasting about his power again. While the boastful words were still upon his lips, a voice from heaven declared, “O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.”
This is an amazing passage. Nebuchadnezzar himself narrates much of it, clearly demonstrating that God simply uses us all, even wicked men, for his purpose. Nebuchadnezzar was given about the most severe humbling of any man in history so that when his kingdom was restored, he was forced to admit that God reigns over all and “the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing.”
Sing or pray Psalter #166.
May 13- Read Daniel 5
When I was in junior high, I remember we started out history class by learning reasons for studying history. One of these reasons was to learn from our mistakes. Belshazzar didn’t do this. He didn’t learn from what happened to Nebuchadnezzar, a generation before him. As we discussed yesterday, Nebuchadnezzar had been brought from the most exalted of earthly positions down to nothing. The king of the then-known world was turned into a beast until he was forced to admit that God reigns in heaven over all. Yet Belshazzar still exalted himself above God and used the vessels from his temple at his drunken party. By these actions, he showed utter contempt for the things of God.
Rev. Haak discussed this in an old Reformed Witness Hour message I listened to. He said that this contempt for the things of God is the world’s condition today. There are many Belshazzars in the world, but all will soon stand before the judgment seat. That’s us by nature, and it’s only by God’s grace that the words of judgment “Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin” don’t come upon us.
Sing or pray Psalter #162.
May 14- Read Daniel 6
Rev. Bill Langerak preached a sermon on this passage with the intriguing title “Fang-defeating Faith.” He posed the question, what will we do when we must confront the fangs of our enemies? Daniel knew the punishment for disobeying the king’s commandment was death by lions, yet he still didn’t hide his worship of God. God’s people know that the Lion of the tribe of Judah has much worse fangs, so it won’t do to attempt escape by going along with the decree.
The world today looks at spanking as child abuse. Because of this, we often go to great lengths to keep it hidden. I nearly always make sure my phone is in another room, and the window shades are closed, even though there’s usually no one in sight. After reading this passage, however, I started wondering if I was going a little overboard trying to hide this proper discipline from the world. It’s true that spanking is a private thing that we never flaunt, but am I failing to have the faith of Daniel by worrying so much about keeping it hidden? What do you think?
Sing or pray Psalter #152.
May 15- Read Daniel 7
In this vision, Daniel sees four beasts come out of the sea. These beasts, especially the fourth beast, show us the kingdom of antichrist. Each beast represents one of the kingdoms seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s vison of the image. The little horn of the fourth beast is the antichrist himself. In Revelation 13, we see these four beasts rolled into one great beast. Each great empire throughout history has represented the kingdom of Antichrist, and the realization of that kingdom will bring aspects of these former powers together into one.
Rev. Guichelaar listed five things we learn about the Antichrist from this passage. First, he will be a great political power. Second, he will be an individual man. Third, he will claim for himself divine power. Fourth, his power will be achieved primarily through his speech. Fifth, all his power will be directed against the saints. The persecution at that time will be worse than ever before in history, but God’s people are comforted with the knowledge that the days will be shortened for their sake and that the antichrist’s destruction will be quick to come (v. 26).
Sing or pray Psalter #150.
May 16- Read Daniel 8
This chapter teaches us three lessons about history, according to Prof. Kuiper. First, we learn the speed with which transitions take place. Hitler’s reign is a good example of this. He used the blitzkrieg to capture huge portions of Europe with lightning speed, but it wasn’t long before his empire, and he had fallen. Second, we learn the tumultuousness of the time of transitions. The world never enjoys peace for any real length of time, which keeps them from being able to focus on destroying the church until the end of time. Third, we learn the destruction of those who were once in power. In this vision, the he-goat stamped on the ram and none could deliver him.
We understand that the ram represents the Medes and Persians and the he-goat represents Greece with its horn being Alexander the Great. The four horns that come after are Alexander’s four generals, but who is the one horn that arises out of one of the four? This refers to Antiochus Epiphanes, that clear Old Testament picture of Antichrist. He focused his attacks on God’s church, but he, along with Antichrist himself, are destroyed by God (v. 25).
Sing or pray Psalter #156.
May 17- Read Daniel 9
What are the seventy weeks in this chapter? In order to get a clear picture of this, I listened to sermon excerpts from Rev. Key and Prof. Kuiper. First of all, it should be pointed out that the number 70 is used because seven is the number of the covenant and 10 is the number of completion. These numbers are multiplied to indicate the fulfillment of the covenant. These 70 weeks are broken into three sections, with the first being seven weeks. This indicates the time from the return of the captives to the end of the Old Testament. The period began when Cyrus decreed that the Jews could return. The second section is 62 weeks. There is nothing significant about this number. It’s simply what you have left when you subtract the seven weeks at the beginning and the single week at the end. The time referred to by these weeks is the Intertestamental Period. Finally, we have the one week, which is the time from Jesus’ birth until Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 A.D. This includes then, not only Jesus’ life, but also his resurrection, ascension, pouring out of his spirit, and the work continued by the apostles.
Sing or pray Psalter #65.
May 18- Read Daniel 10
This is a fascinating chapter. Daniel had been fasting and sorrowful for the past three weeks. It seemed as if God didn’t hear his prayers. Then, in verse 5, we read that a man clothed in linen comes to Daniel. It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that this man represents God or the Angel of Jehovah, but this is actually just one of the angels. Rev. Brummel explained this in a sermon on this chapter, citing as part of the evidence that the man was helped by the angel Michael in verse 13. The angel came to Daniel with the comforting news that God had heard his prayer and had sent him (the angel) to bring Daniel the answer. The reason Daniel hadn’t heard that answer for three weeks was that the angel had been fighting his way to him. The angel had been engaged in bitter warfare against the demon of Persia, and he tells Daniel that he will have to again fight that demon along with the one from Greece on his way back. This chapter gives us amazing insight into the intense spiritual warfare that’s always going on around us.
Sing or pray Psalter #248.
May 19- Read Daniel 11
The introduction to Daniel in my Reformation Heritage Bible mentions that this chapter is a big problem for those who deny revelation. Rev. Guichelaar talked about that in a sermon he preached on this chapter. In his first point, Guichelaar briefly demonstrated how almost all the events described in the first part of the chapter had been clearly fulfilled. In verse 2, we read about the fourth Persian king, which refers to King Xerxes, who was defeated by the Greeks at the Battle of Salamis 50 years after Daniel. Verses 3 and 4 refer to Alexander the Great’s rule and the division of his kingdom among his four generals after he died 200 years later. The following verses talk about a kingdom of the north and one of the south, which refers to the Seleucids and the Ptolemaic’s, whose battles Judah was often caught in the middle of. Some of the events mentioned didn’t take place until 300–400 years after Daniel wrote this book. Those who deny revelation try to argue that this chapter must have been written after the events had taken place, but this must cause us to see the true wonder of God’s Word.
Sing or pray Psalter #399.
May 20- Read Daniel 12
I listened to quite a few excerpts of sermons from our ministers in preparation for these devotionals, and they all had similar points to make about this book. As one of them put it, the book of Daniel is to the Old Testament what the book of Revelation is to the New Testament. Both talk about the end times, writing which is sometimes referred to as apocalyptic literature. The first half of Daniel emphasizes the antithesis, while the second half talks about the victory of the kingdom of Christ over all the kingdoms of the earth. The book ends by comforting us and exhorting us to watch and pray. In verse 11 we are told that the Great Tribulation will last 1,290 days, while verse 12 says it will be 1,335 days. This reminds us that sometimes the waiting is longer than expected, and it isn’t for us to know exactly when Christ will come. All we are commanded to do is be patient and trust in him, waiting for the day when we will be awakened to everlasting life (v. 2).
Sing or pray Psalter #400.
May 22- Read Ezra 2
Have you ever wondered why genealogies are in the Bible? Why spend nearly an entire chapter just giving a long list of names? How can that be the infallible revelation of God? Well, as you may have heard before, these histories help point us to Christ. They also present us with a physical picture of the heavenly kingdom. In a sermon, Rev. DeBoer pointed out several interesting pictures we are to see from those who returned. First, Zerubbabel is a picture of Christ, leading his people out of bondage into the promised land. Second, this genealogy shows us the specific people that returned, just as God elected specific people. Third, the genealogy shows us that the people returned according to families, not individuals. The fact that God saves in the line of generations illustrates to us that we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ, members of the heavenly family. Fourth, those who returned were governors, priests, Levites, servants, and children. They came from different social classes, just as God saves his people from every walk of life. There are other pictures for us in this chapter as well. Do you see any?
Sing or pray Psalter #395.
May 23- Read Ezra 3
The people’s worship in this chapter was characterized by a number of things, as listed by Rev. Jonathan Langerak. First, the worship was according to God’s Word. We see this in verse 2, where we read that they built the altar to offer sacrifices on, “as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.” This verse also shows us that the God-ordained office bearers among the people properly led the way. Second, this worship took place in the 7th month, a time for celebrating God’s care for Israel. God had commanded them to celebrate the Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, and Feast of Trumpets all in the 7th month. Third, the worship was Christ-centered. We see this from the fact that the altar was central, which was the place where God came down from heaven to commune with his people. Finally, this worship was joyful. Their singing was accompanied by trumpets and cymbals. This same joy must characterize our worship, but how often don’t we lose sight of that and simply go through the motions with an uncaring attitude?
Sing or pray Psalter #405.
May 24- Read Ezra 4
The false church has always been the greatest danger to the true church. It’s the false church who has put huge numbers of God’s people to death throughout history. Therefore, we must use wisdom when exploring the possibility of a relationship with another denomination, because a union created without the truth at its core is no union at all. As Prof. Dykstra brought out in a sermon, the history of our own denomination illustrates this. The split our churches experienced in 1953 came about because not all those who came out of the CRC in 1924 were of the same mind.
The response of the remnant to their adversaries in Ezra 4 is a model for us in being on guard against false doctrine. The worst enemies come claiming they believe in the same god as us, and we should work together. Won’t we be able to do so much more witnessing if we just work together?” they say. “Are we really going to let a few differences stand in the way of God’s work?” In the face of such temptations, we must live the antithesis and trust that God’s purpose is sure and his church will be gathered.
Sing or pray Psalter #367.
May 25- Read Ezra 5
Here we have a wonderful example of how God makes the plan of the wicked work against them and uses them to serve the righteous. The wicked Samaritans did everything in their power to thwart the building of the temple, but all it ultimately led to was the emperor commanding the Jews be given everything they needed to finish the work. Rev. Griess preached that Tatnai was no doubt tipped off by the others who had worked to stop the building earlier, and he set out to write a letter to the king and put a stop to it once again, thinking the Jews were building a fort from which to launch a military attack. There may be some disagreement about whether Tatnai was attempting to stop it or just receive confirmation that it was lawful, but most seem to agree that this was his goal. Whatever the case, God used this letter to spur King Darius to find Cyrus’s decree and add his own to it, telling Tatnai to provide the Jews with whatever they needed to complete this temple.
Sing or pray Psalter #275.
May 26- Read Ezra 6
“I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything” (Martin Luther). Luther understood that preaching drives church reformation. Rev. Griess pointed out a number of things the prophets’ preaching did for the people in this chapter. First, it exposed the sins and weaknesses of the people and called them to repentance and faith. Yes, the government had told them to stop building, but their real problem was selfishness. God never closes the door on obedience, yet we sometimes like to use that as a way out of a difficult situation. Second, it brought the covenant promises to the church, encouraging them to get back to work, even before the letter from Darius had come. Third, it gave them boldness and confidence, as well as humility. Just as we must do, they admitted their sins and didn’t make excuses for why the temple wasn’t built.
Sing or pray Psalter #218.
May 27- Read Psalm 137
What is your chief joy? What’s the one thing in life you can’t live without? Is it your career, hobby, sports, money, health? Maybe it’s your children, grandchildren, or spouse. As Rev. McGeown pointed out in a sermon, you can tell someone’s chief joy by the time and effort they put into it. Even these relationships, though good in themselves, must not be our chief joy. We must be able to confess with the psalmist in Psalm 137:6, “If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” At the time the psalm was written, Jerusalem was the city of God, the place where God dwelt with his people, and they worshipped him. For us today, Jerusalem is the church. We must love the church above all else. We love the church above all else because we love Christ, who is present there. Some go to church but would rather be somewhere else. Others openly sacrifice the church for their greatest joy. They give it up when it interferes with what they love most. Is that you? Is it me?
Sing or pray Psalter #380.
May 28- Read Haggai 1
In this chapter, the Jews are rebuked for having their priorities messed up. They focused on building their own houses before finishing the temple. As we read in verse 4, “Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?”
It is very easy for us to fall into this trap as well. I must confess that I often live as if I will focus on spiritual things as soon as I get this or that together in my life. I convince myself that I’m creating the groundwork for a Christ-centered life in the future when my children start getting older. I need to work lots of hours right now, so I can spend time being the godly leader in my family later. Once I get all my ducks in a row, then I will be better able to serve God in every aspect of life.
By God’s grace, I’m continually made to see the foolishness of such reasoning. How can I “get my life together” without any proper foundation? It’s only when we put him first in our lives that we can be the children he’s called us to be.
Sing or pray Psalter #346.
May 29- Read Haggai 2
Solomon’s temple was a beautiful, stunning structure. Expensive materials were hauled in, they used only the most skilled craftsmen available, and gold overlaid much of the building. Now the temple was being rebuilt. This was exciting at first, but it became depressing when the people saw their temple would look nothing like Solomon’s had. As Rev. Huizinga put it, it was like comparing a Byzantine cathedral to a pole barn. In addition, the people were discouraged because of their size. They were nothing but a residue, a tiny fraction of the two million who had gone into captivity. Finally, they were discouraged because of the unique days in which they lived at the end of the Old Testament. The types and shadows were breaking down, leading the people to look forward to the reality. Because of these things, the people were weak and had lost their desire to work. We can act this way too when we see how insignificant our churches are and when we experience the trials of this life. Then the words of Haggai need to encourage us to be strong, just as they did to the people of his day.
Sing or pray Psalter #359.
May 30- Read Zechariah 1
The first half of Zechariah is full of visions, and we have the first two in this chapter. In the first vision, Christ is riding on a horse with his angels following to protect the church. Matthew Henry says these angels have different colors to indicate angels with different responsibilities. An angel also led Zechariah, telling him his concern for Jerusalem and its people. The horsemen were returning from their journey and the whole world enjoyed peace. The angel cried out, asking how long God’s people would suffer while the heathen appeared to live the good life. God answers by assuring the prophet that he will always preserve his people
In the second vision, the four horns appear to be Israel’s enemies, and the four carpenters are those who destroy these enemies. Calvin explains these carpenters by saying, “God would have in his hand those remedies by which he would check all the assaults of the wicked.” Although it seems at times that the wicked have it made, we must never forget that God rules in heaven and is working everything for our profit.
Sing or pray Psalter #358.
May 31- Read Zechariah 2
In this chapter, Zechariah sees a vision of Christ, the master builder, with a measuring line in his hand. Zechariah is told that Jerusalem would grow as a city without walls because they would be safe under God’s care. He would be their wall of fire. God tells Jerusalem that she is the apple of his eye. As Matthew Henry explains, just like the eye is very tender and is bothered by the least of touches, so God will judge those who do anything to afflict his people. Towards the end of the chapter, we read that people from all nations will join the spiritual nation of Israel, a prophecy which you and I are the fulfillment of. The chapter ends with a command to the nations to be silent, because they can do nothing outside of God’s plan. We see this same idea in Zephaniah 1:7, where we read, “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.” May we stand in awed silence at the greatness of our God.
Sing or pray Psalter #317.
June 1- Read Zechariah 3
Here we read that Joshua the high priest is brought before the judgment seat but is justified as the devil looks on. As Henry puts it, “A converted soul is a brand plucked out of the fire by a miracle of free grace, therefore shall not be left a prey to Satan.” Revelation 19:8 tells us more about Joshua’s and the church’s garment. There we read, “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” We recently talked about this garment in Bible class, as we studied the Parable of the Wedding Feast in Matthew 22. When a guest tried to enter the feast without a wedding garment, he was thrown into outer darkness. We can only come to the marriage feast clothed in Jesus’ robe of salvation and righteousness. The branch and stone mentioned at the end refer to Christ and the “seven eyes” (v. 9) upon the stone point to the fact that the eyes of others will be led to look on him.
Sing or pray Psalter #281.
June 2- Read Zechariah 4
The golden candlestick in this chapter represents the church that is a light in this dark world. An olive tree stands on either side of the candlestick, and oil flows continuously from them into it. Matthew Henry says this pictures the grace of God, which needs no help from man. He goes on to say that Christ is our Zerubbabel, for he is the one who turns our mountains into plains, as we read in verse 7. God questioning Zechariah’s lack of knowledge throughout the chapter reminds us all that we are always called to learn.
Henry also points out that verse 9 illustrates to us that the exact fulfillment of scripture prophecies proves their divine origin. This stood out to me, as we had recently discussed this in class. At those times when we are weak in faith and prone to doubt, all we need to do is look at how all the prophecies in scripture have been and continue to be fulfilled and we will have all the proof we need that the Bible is the infallible Word of God.
Sing or pray Psalter #232.
June 3- Read Zechariah 5
In this chapter, we have two more of Zechariah’s visions. In the first, God’s word is pictured by flying scrolls, because it goes quickly throughout the whole earth. The specific scroll mentioned here is a declaration of God’s wrath against sinners. Matthew Henry says that this scroll in the heavens demonstrates God’s wrath as it blocks light from reaching earth and threatens to destroy man with storms. God says that the scroll pronounces judgment on all who swear falsely by his name.
The second vision is about the Jews filling up the cup of their iniquity, which is leading to their judgment. The woman in this vision is the sinful church. The talent of lead is the guilt of the people, which brings them down to destruction. Calvin says that the two women mentioned in verse 9 might not represent anything in particular, but others say they are the Assyrian and Babylonian kingdoms. Israel, the ephah, is brought into captivity because of their sin. Similarly, we are brought down into spiritual captivity when we reject God’s ways and walk in sin.
Sing or pray Psalter #32.
June 4- Read Zechariah 6
Zechariah 6:12 and 13 tells us that Christ, the branch, will build the temple and rule as king. Referring to Christ as the branch demonstrates the humble beginning and life of our Savior on this earth. Just as a little branch can grow into a mighty tree, so the baby born in a cattle stall would save his people and take his place in heaven at God’s right hand as our mediator. In Jeremiah 23:5 we read, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” In other passages, Jesus is referred to as a root. Isaiah 53:2a reads, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground.” Also, in Revelation 22:16b, we read, “I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Whether he’s called a root or branch, the meaning is the same. Christ came to this earth in humble fashion as the perfect servant, and we must all strive to be Christ-like in our service towards each other.
Sing or pray Psalter #36.
June 5- Read Zechariah 7
Sermonaudio.com is an amazing resource. I recently discovered that the platform allows you to search for all the sermons on any chapter in the Bible. In addition, you can filter the search to only include those preached by our own ministers, if you so desire. I wish I had found this out much sooner, as it is a huge asset to my devotional life, so I thought I’d pass the tip along.
Chapters 7 and 8 of Zechariah are an interlude between the visions at the beginning and the prophecies at the end of the book. Rev. Koole preached a sermon on this text years ago entitled, “A People Weary of Fasting Rebuked.” The problem with the Jews was that religion had become nothing but a formality for them. They looked at fasting as just an annoyance and had forgotten the reasons for it. We often fall into this trap ourselves. I’ve heard students many times say, “Let’s hurry and pray because I’m starving!” When we enter prayer with such an attitude, do you think God hears our prayer?
Sing or pray Psalter #174.
June 6- Read Zechariah 8
In preparation for this devotional, I listened to a preparatory sermon by Prof. Cammenga entitled “The Things That the Lord Hates,” on Zechariah 8:16 and 17. These verses are part of Zechariah’s answer to a delegation that had come to him at the beginning of Chapter 7, asking if they should still keep certain fasts that were used to commemorate the overthrow of Jerusalem. Zechariah’s answer to this question has four parts, and the verses here are found at the end of the third section. God demonstrates here that he’s interested in the hearts and lives of his people, not their outward actions. We must ask ourselves if we hate what God hates and love what God loves. The text concentrates on our relationship with our neighbor because there can be no right relationship with the neighbor if there is not already a right relationship with God. This passage and the surrounding verses focus on speaking the truth to our neighbor. Are we guilty of spreading rumors? Do we backbite and slander the brother? Do we cower and hide our faith when we experience opposition from the world? These are things God hates and may we flee from them.
Sing or pray Psalter #192.
June 7- Read Zechariah 9
Zechariah 9:9 reads, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Rev. Bruinsma preached a sermon on this passage as Christmas time. He talked about how there is much rejoicing in the world at this time. Christmas carols give us that warm, fuzzy feeling, everyone is out buying presents, and family members are traveling all over the country to spend the holidays together. However, is there any real joy in these celebrations? We have great reason to rejoice, but that reason is not found in good times, good food, or even good company. That joy is found in the fact that God has sent his Son into the world to die for us on the cross and win the victory over sin. Just as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt before his crucifixion, so he is coming again to judge the world and to save his people, the citizens of the new Jerusalem.
Sing or pray Psalter #303.
Author: Ben Laning