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The Song of Zion

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

January 1 Read Psalm 119:25-32

Psalm 119:25-26 Today is the beginning of the year 2000. How many of us thought that we would see this day? Now that we are here, what must we do? We must do what we have been called to do all the days of our lives. We must glorify our covenant God with our whole being. The verses for today speak of someone who is distressed. They are a prayer of that person. It is a prayer of confidence that God will hear his request and will answer Him according to the promises of the Bible. As we face the year 2000, let us pray to God no matter what our condition in this life. Let us ask Him to keep His promises knowing that He will bring them to pass. We can have the assurance that He will answer us and give to us according to His Word. Sing Psalter 324:1.

January 2 Read I Samuel 20:1-10

Psalm 119:27-28 David certainly knew what it meant to be oppressed by the wicked. He had done all he could for Saul and still Saul wanted to kill him. In the weakness of his sins, he cries to Jonathan, “What have I done?” We, too, can be oppressed by those about us. We, too, can cry in despair that we are all alone. But we must know that God will help us and “that right early.” He helps us by the way of His Word. It must be our prayer that God will open to us His Word so that we can see the way that He has ordained for us in this life. As we worshipped today, was this our desire? Did we drink from the fountain of life eagerly? After drinking did we talk of the wonderful works that God had done for us? Let this be our goal in this week, in this month, and in this new year. Sing Psalter 324:2.

January 3 Read Proverbs 30:7-14

Psalm 119:29-30 Children, do you lie to your parents, teachers, and friends? David knew of this sin. He was no different than we are and was guilty of lying. Children, you must do as David did and ask God to remove this sin from your lives. Sometimes it seems that the easiest and the best way out of a situation is to lie. Then our parents and teachers will not get angry with us, we will escape punishment, and peace will be restored. Or will it? Do you have peace in your souls when you cover your faults with lying? God will not give you that peace. He will prick your conscience and cause you no peace. Young people, these verses are meant for you as well. You cannot live lives of untruthfulness and expect to find peace with God. You cannot make a confession of faith, and then live a life that shows that you really do not mean what you said before the consistory and the congregation. Parents, you must help your children and young people in this matter. You cannot help them cover up their sins by lying with them or for them. God is not mocked. He gives no peace to those who walk continually in sin. Sing Psalter 324:3.

January 4 Read Psalm 119:25-32

Psalm 119:31-32 Can we say that we have “stuck” on God’s commandments? Have we always run in the way of the commandments? This was the psalmist’s confession in these two verses. These are powerful statements. Are we convinced enough of our position to make them? Are we willing to make them and then suffer the consequences because of making such confessions? Many make New Years “resolutions.” Many of those are broken soon after they are made. But what about our confessions of faith? Do we hold to them? Are we stuck on them? Let us pray that God will enlarge our hearts in the way of our walking holily in His commandments. Sing Psalters 324:4.

January 5 Read Psalm 119:33-40

Psalm 119:33-34 Notice the construction of these two verses. The first statement of each is imperative, that is it is a command. “Teach me…” and “Give me….” Do we pray this daily? Do we want God to teach us His Word? Sometimes His school is not run the way that we might think it should go. Do we still pray, “Teach us, O Lord”? The second part of each stanza is declarative. It states what the psalmist will do. He is not making a deal with God. He knows that the only way he can keep God’s law is that he be taught how to do it by the supreme teacher. He knows that of himself that he cannot keep the law with even part of his heart. He must have God’s help. Are these our prayers and desires? Let them be and we will enjoy the favor of God. Sing Psalter 325:1.

January 6 Read Luke 12:13-21

Psalm 119:35-36 In each verse of this section of this most beautiful Psalm, we see that the psalmist is concerned with his inner life. Here, he wishes to have the sin of covetousness removed from him. He knows that he is prone by nature to want to break every commandment of God in thought, word, and in deed. He knows that he does not want to keep any of God’s commandments by nature. Therefore he asks God to help him to go in the path of the commandments so that he can delight in them. People of God, is this our desire? Do we really want to walk in the law of God? Young people, do you really want to flee sin, or do you want to do that which you consider fun? Meditate upon these two verses before you make your decisions. Sing Psalter 325:2.

January 7 Read James 1:19-27

Psalm 119:37-38 Solomon in his book Ecclesiastes proclaims often, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” This is not hard for us to see as we look at the world around us. How much of advertising is based on the vanity of man? How many of our purchases have vanity as their root? The child of God must daily fight against this sin. He must work hard at escaping its clutches. We must ignore advertising. We must help our children and young people to do so as well. How many advertising jingles do they know? How many Psalter numbers do the know as well as they know those jingles? Let us pray for the help we need at overcoming vanity and letting our lives be ruled by a love for God’s Word. In doing this we can be assured that we will walk in His ways and with His approval. Sing Psalter 325:3.

January 8 Read Psalm 119:33-40

Psalm 119:39-40 People of God, do you long after God’s precepts? Are you showing this by your use of today in readying yourself for tomorrow? If we properly prepare for the Sabbath, we can be assured that we will enjoy the benefits of a properly used Sabbath. When we do this, we will partake of God’s good Word. Then we will be able to confess that His judgments are good. Oh, we may face reproach because of our stand. The world may laugh at us for preparing for Sunday. Christ was laughed at and mocked as well. Whose approval do we wish? Christ’s or the world’s? Sing Psalter 325:4.

January 9 Read Psalm 119:41-48

Psalm 119:41-42 These two verses are a continuation of the thought started in yesterday’s section. The psalmist has been bothered by someone who has been bringing blame upon him. The psalmist knows that his salvation from such reproach cannot be found in himself. He knows that salvation is from the Lord. This must be our conviction as we enter God’s house today. We do not go there out of mere custom or habit, but rather we know that we are drawn there by the irresistible grace of God. In trusting in God’s Word, we know that we will be able to stand up for our faith. Let us have this confidence and let us pray for God’s grace in this matter. Sing Psalter 326:1.

January 10 Read 2 Chronicles 34:14-21

Psalm 119:43-44 Is the Word of God’s truth in our mouths continually? Do those around us know this? Young people, do your friends know who you are? Can they tell it from your speech and from the songs that you sing? Adults, when you are at work, do those in the work place know who you are? Do your words betray you, even as Peter’s speech betrayed him? This is a must for the child of God. There must be no doubt in anyone’s mind who we are. We must be Reformed in our speech. All those who come into contact with us must have no doubt of our faith. Sing Psalter 326:2.

January 11 Read Acts 25:10-21

Psalm 119:45-46 Are you ready to defend and explain your faith before men—any kind of men? Saints in both the Old and New Dispensations have even stood before kings and confessed that God was God. Could we do that? In order to do this, first of all we must have knowledge of God. We must explore the Scriptures in order to know them. Secondly we need to pray for help from the Spirit to stand before anyone and confess our faith in Christ. He has promised to be with us. Finally we must do this and not be ashamed. This may be the hardest of all. Sometimes compromising our principles to save embarrassment is the easy course for us to take. Because we walk in the liberty of God, we can and must proclaim His Word before anyone. Let us do that today and every day. Sing Psalter 326:3.

January 12 Read Psalm 119:41-48

Psalm 119:47-48 In the first part of this section, the psalmist prays for help as he must face those who reproach him. In our exploration of these verses we noted that we, too, are reproached by those who hate God and His commandments. Then we progressed to see that we must defend our faith before all kinds of men. In these last two verses we see that because we feel God’s approval upon our confessing His name, we feel delight in that word. Is this our experience? Are we moved to pray about such things? Do we pray these prayers, privately, with our families, or publicly? God’s Word must be a delight to us. Therefore we must be constantly found studying and using it. Let us make this our prayer for today. Sing Psalter 326:4.

January 13 Read Psalm 119:49-56

Psalm 119:49-50 God’s people are a people of affliction. This could be the afflictions that they bring on themselves because of sin. It could also be the afflictions of sickness or old age. Whatever the cause, we have this comfort. God’s Word will help us. Is this your experience people of God? If it is not, is it because we do not spend enough time with our Bibles? If a doctor prescribes some medicine that will help us, will we not take it? God’s medicine is His Word. Should not we take the recommended daily dosage? That Word has hope for our spiritual health, but we must use it daily. We must use it often each day. Find the comfort for every affliction in the Word of God. Sing Psalter 327:1.

January 14 Read Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 119:51-52 Jeremiah was a man who knew affliction. If you read the two books of the Bible that he wrote, you can come to no other conclusion. But these books are in the canon of holy Scripture for more than the recounting of a single man’s afflictions. These books are to help us see the way to salvation as well as to provide for us comfort in our afflictions. By immersing ourselves in Scripture, we can be afforded great comfort. By looking back at the judgments of God ordained for those who afflicted His people, we can gain great comfort. Let us strengthen ourselves in our afflictions and seek the God of all comfort. Sing Psalter 327:2.

January 15 Read Acts 16:19-26

Psalm 119:53-54 Yesterday we saw that Jeremiah knew affliction. Today we look at the life of another of God’s servants who definitely knew affliction. Paul was mocked, scorned, ridiculed, and physically harmed. And that was by his own countrymen! Then when he went to do mission work he faced more of the same at the hands of the heathen. What was his response? While lying in a prison, in the worst possible cell, beaten and bruised, he and his companion break into song. Not into the songs of the world but into the songs of the very God for whom they were suffering affliction. What about us? Are we willing to face some affliction for our faith? What kind of songs are heard in our office? What are we humming as we walk down the halls of school? What music emanates from our dorm rooms? With what music do we face affliction? How about it people of God, can we obey like Jeremiah and Paul? Sing Psalter 327:3.

January 16 Read Psalm 119:49-56

Psalm 119:55-56 Do we remember God’s name in the night? What about your Friday or Saturday nights’ activities, young people? Do you remember God’s name as you were out with your friend or friends? Did you hallow that name? Did you wear it proudly on your chest as you wear other names? Did those who saw you know that you were a Christian? What about it parents? What were you doing the last two nights? Were you examples for your children? Did you do things that you hoped they did not hear about? What about God’s precepts, people of God? How were we in keeping them? We go to church this morning and evening. Are we assured of God’s blessing as we sit under the proclamation of His name? If we are not, let us seek forgiveness of our sins, and seek to walk a new holy life. Let us remember God’s name in the night and feel His blessed assurance during the day. Sing Psalter 327:4.

January 17 Read Psalm 119:57-64

Psalm 119:57-58 This section begins with instruction in prayer. We need this instruction. Many in the church world today have reduced prayer to a trite conversation between friends. We must know that we must pray to the almighty God who is the sovereign God. This must direct our attitude in prayer. First of all, we must confess that He is our God. Secondly, we must positively state that we will keep His Word. Thirdly, we must fall upon our knees and ask Him for His grace. Finally, we must seek His mercy. We can do this because He has promised to hear us. He has done this in His Word. By our knowledge of His Word and our confidence in His promises, we can go to Him in prayer and ask what we need in accordance to His will. Let us do this often throughout the day. Sing Psalter 328:1.

January 18 Read Luke 15:11-19

Psalm 119:59-60 What does it take to cause us to ponder Jehovah’s ways? Does it take God bringing us into some despair? Must we sit at or in a hospital bed and face disease? Must we face the consequences of our sins to cause us to examine the way of God and see that it is good for us? The psalmist had to do this. The prodigal son had to do this. Sometimes we, too, must be brought into some dire place before we see the way of the Lord. When we see our error, let us hurry and correct our fault. Let us fall upon our knees and ask forgiveness of our heavenly Father who is merciful and full of lovingkindness. The more quickly our feet find the path of righteousness, the more quickly we will find peace for our souls. Sing Psalter 328:2.

January 19 Read Joshua 1:1-9

Psalm 119:61-62 Can you imagine suddenly being put in charge of a large group of people? Can you imagine that this group of people is known to cause trouble? Can you imagine that God Himself would be giving directions about how to carry out your work? This is what Joshua faced. He probably had some sleepless nights for a while after taking over from Moses. But God had given to him the same advice He gives to us. Learn His law, keep His law, and walk in His law. Joshua knew of the rightness of that law. He had experienced it all throughout the wilderness. He knew how to keep it. He was one of the two men who would enter Caanan from the original group of adults who left Egypt. But yet God had to give to him courage. We need the same assurance. We have the same assurance. People of God, read His Word, study His Word, and live His Word. By doing this we can give thanks unto Him no matter what hour of the day or night that it is. Sing Psalter 328:3.

January 20 Read Psalm 119:57-64

Psalm 119:63-64 Young people, who are your friends? Who do you hang around with? Can you make the same statement as the psalmist in the first of these two verses? Do your friends fear God and keep His precepts? Your answer cannot be “some of the time,” or “kinda,” or any other vague answer that we may give our parents when they ask this question. Parents, what about you? Do you serve as good examples for your children? Do you say in this matter do as I say and not as I do? Who do you spend your time with socially? The people of God need to associate with each other often. Of course this does not mean that we become isolationists in our lives, but rather that we seek those who love God to be our friends. This will be good for the church and serve to glorify God. We also will have marriages that please Him. Sing Psalter 328:4.

January 21 Read Psalm 119:65-72

Psalm 119:65-66 The confession in verse 65 needs much thought by us. Are we always ready to say such a thing? Do we consider that God has dealt well with us as we sit with family members in the hospital or at the funeral home? Is this our confession when things do not seem to be going so well financially? Notice the last part of the verse. God deals well with us even as He has stated in His Word. Do we know what His Word is for us? Do we seek to find out what that Word is? If we need help here, verse 66 will help us. Our prayer is that God will teach us what is in His Word concerning his commandments for us. Let us make the confession and let us live the life the asks God for help in understanding His commandments. Sing Psalter 329:1.

January 22 Read II Chronicles 33:9-20

Psalm 119:67-68 Manasseh’s long reign is a reign of contrasts. From our point of view we can see God carrying out His counsel in this king’s life. First he lives a life of sin. As chastisement for that sin God causes him to go into cruel captivity. Then by the operation of the Holy Spirit, God gives to Manasseh the need for repentance. By God’s grace he repents of his sin and is restored to his throne. We truly see that affliction was for Manasseh’s profit. Do we examine our lives when we are in affliction? Do we examine them in the light of God’s revelation to us, His Word? We need to do this all of the time of course, but we need to spend extra time when we are in affliction. God is speaking; will we listen and answer? Will we confess that God is good even when we walk in the way of affliction? Sing Psalter 329:2.

January 23 Read Luke 12:13-21

Psalm 119:69-70 In these two verses we have a construction known as antithetical parallelism. This is a Hebrew poetical device used to illustrate a truth. The opposites illustrated in these verses are the proud and those who love God and His law. In the immediate context the proud is someone who hates God and claims all glory for himself. This is also illustrated by today’s reading. But we, the people of God, also fall into this sin. We sometimes are proud and claim glory for ourselves. Sometimes we even want to claim part of the glory for our salvation. We must fight this sin daily. How? We do this by taking heed to God’s law and delighting in it. Then we will be able to fight the sin of pride and give all glory to God. Sing Psalter 329:3.

January 24 Read Psalm 119:65-72

Psalm 119:71-72 Are we willing to say what is said in verse 72? Are we willing to live this? Is worshipping God on Sunday more important than our jobs, our families, our pleasure? If it is, then we will never neglect the means of grace. We will never be found doing business or pleasure on the Sabbath. What about catechism? Do we give our children license to miss catechism so that they can do something for their own pleasure? If we are going to claim that catechism is the means of grace (And yes it is!), then we must accord to it the meaning that it deserves. What about devotions? Do we allow them to be missed or interrupted for any reason? Sometimes we need to be afflicted to learn the truth that God’s Word is more precious than any earthly pleasure. Do we get the message? Sing Psalter 329:4.

January 25 Read Psalm 119:73-80

Psalm 119:73-74 Do we confess that God has made us? Now this confession must be more than God is responsible for our bodies and minds. We must confess that He ordained us from eternity in His counsel and has brought us to pass. Then we may pray the prayer that God gave to us the understanding necessary to learn His commandments. But this part of verse 73 has more meaning than it first appears as well. Learning those commandments is more than just being able to recent the Ten Commandments from memory. Someone without understanding can do that. We need to understand those commandments and live those commandments. It must be evident from those around us that God has fashioned us and has given to us hearts that love Him. If others cannot see our faith something is wrong. All must know that we hope in the promises of God’s Word. This is not the hope of the world, but rather the hope which depends on the faith of Hebrews 11. Sing Psalter 330:1.

January 26 Read II Corinthians 12:1-10

Psalm 119:75-76 The apostle Paul had some grievous affliction laid upon him by God. There are many theories about what this affliction might be. Scripture never tells us what it is, and therefore we must be content with that. But Scripture does tell us that God gave His grace to Paul to help him bear that affliction. God tells him that His grace was sufficient for him. This is the message that the Psalmist has for us in today’s verses. We will be comforted by God’s merciful kindness. What else do we need in times of affliction. Let us search the Word daily and find the comfort that God has for us in any affliction. His loving kindnesses are good. Let us be comforted in the fact that God is a loving God and doeth all things well for His people. Sing Psalter 330:2.

January 27 Read Ezra 7:1-10

Psalm 119:77-78 People of God, is the law your delight? Are we like Ezra who pondered the Word of God even in a foreign land. Are we like Ezra who loved that Word so well that he saw that the message for him was to return and help to build Jerusalem. Do we make time each day to delve into the Bible and read, “Thus saith the Lord?” This must not be the quick-a-minute devotions that pretend to do lip service to God. This must be time spent in the serious search of the Scriptures. This must be done throughout the day. We must both begin and end the day using God’s Word. By doing this and having delight in that Word, we will be able to hear Him speak and to say, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” Let us make this our resolve day by day. Let us delight in God’s law and find rest for our souls. Sing Psalter 330:3.

January 28 Read Psalm 119:73-80

Psalm 119:79-80 Yesterday we spoke of searching the Scriptures to see what God has to say to us in them. In verse 89 the psalmist speaks of soundness in our searching. We must not read into the Scriptures what we would like them to say. We must not let some ungodly doctrine dictate how we search the Scriptures. Many do that, you know. They want God to love all men, and so they make Scripture say that God loves all men even when that is the farthest thing from the truth. By being sound in our study of God’s Word, we will truly find the comfort that they afford unto us. We will find comfort from our afflictions. Studying God’s Word in any other way will not be pleasing unto Him. Sing Psalter 330:4.

January 29 Read Psalm 119:81-88

Psalm 119:81-82 These two verses seem like the cry of one of two kinds of people. It seems to be either the cry of someone who has be held captive either by an enemy or by an affliction. Or it seems to be of an elderly person waiting for deliverance to his heavenly home. It really does not matter what the situation is because the feeling is the same. Each of us should have this feeling as we wait for God to deliver us from this earth and its sins. We wait to see the salvation of God. In our own strength we faint, but God’s Word gives to us hope that is not ashamed. We read God’s Word so long that our eyes become tired, and we cry out for comfort. Let us search God’s Word daily seeking the comfort that it truly affords, and let us pray daily to the God of our salvation. Sing Psalter 331:1.

January 30 Read Job 30:24-31

Psalm 119:83-84 We find more about the psalmist’s plight in these two verses. He is oppressed by someone that is persecuting him. This persecution seems to be on account of his faith. Is this our experience, people of God? Have we suffered persecution, real persecution, because of our faith? Have we been battered so much that we, like Job, felt we had no where to turn and all around us were miserable comforters? In such afflictions have we been faithful to God? Can we truly say that we have not forgotten His law? Or have we put that Word away because it convicted us in our sins? We can only pray the prayer of verse 84 when we have been living a life that expects a positive answer from God. God does not reward us because of right living; He rewards us in the way of right living. Sing Psalter 332:2.

January 31 Read Acts 23:1-11

Psalm 119:85-86 The psalmist continues in his cries for help in his afflictions. For today’s reading we turned to some of the afflictions of the apostle Paul. Paul was afflicted often. Sometimes it was afflictions by the heathen. Sometimes it was afflictions of life, such as shipwreck. And sometimes, and this was probably the worst of all, he was afflicted by those who called themselves the church. Sometimes the people of God feel this affliction by those who choose to change Scripture’s message. Thy look at us in righteous indignation when we say that God has elected some and damned others. They scorn us for such thoughts even though those thoughts have plenty of basis in the Bible. We must bow in prayer to God asking Him to sustain us even as we hold to His truths. Parents, help your young people in these things. They need to know the truth and they need to know how to defend that truth. You must provide for them examples and guidance. Sing Psalter 332:3.