A Psalter-Psalm Devotional of Praise to Our Sovereign Covenant God
December 1—Read Psalm 39
Psalm 39:1 People of God, do we watch our tongues at all times? This seems to be the theme of this Psalm. David, in this first verse, seems to take an impossible task upon himself. This is a task that we must undertake as well. It seems to be that one of the identifying marks of the age we live in is to use our tongues in a sinful way. David wants to be careful when he is around the wicked. What about us? Do we watch the words of our mouth when we are around the wicked? Can the wicked tell that we are different by what we say and especially by what we don’t say? Like David we must watch our tongues and not use them to sin against our God. Sing Psalters 104:1 and 105:1.
December 2—Read Luke 1:5-20
Psalm 39:2 In the passage we read for today, we are reminded that Christmas is coming. What does that mean for us? It is not in our natures to just keep quiet, but if we did what would be our thoughts? David kept quiet for awhile. He spoke neither good or evil. He thought that this would be good for him. In doing this he could not escape knowing his sins and miseries. Zacharias also kept quiet for awhile; though his quietness was put upon him by God for the sin of unbelief. He did not believe God’s word about a son and he became deaf and dumb for nine long months. I think his sorrow was stirred as well as he realized his folly in not believing that with God nothing is impossible. What about us? Do we see our sin? Do we realize our need for a savior even during this time of the year? Let us be quiet for awhile and ponder these things. Sing Psalters 104:2 and 105:3.
December 3—Read Luke 1:59-80
Psalm 39:3 While being quiet, David had time to think of things. Zacharias did as well. When their silence was ended, they had the same reaction, They had to speak. We have Zacharias’ thoughts in writing for us to read as we did today. Notice the adoration which he gives to God. I am sure that David had the same fire burning in him. As he thought on many things, he knew this—that all things speak of God’s glory and he must as well. How about us? Do we see that the glory of God is to be found all around us? As we work, whether with our hands or with our minds, do we see that God must be glorified? In the world of nature around us God has given to us many testimonies of His glory. Do we see them and react to them? Let us think on these things and praise God “from whom all blessing flow.” Sing Psalter 105:3.
December 4—Read Job 4:12-21
Psalm 39:4 Young people, do you know how physically frail you are? Do you know that compared to much of God’s creation, you do not amount to much? Look at the mountains as they stand as monuments to God’s greatness and power. How do you measure up? Compare your life span with creation; you are nothing but a breath. Sometimes youth thinks himself invincible. Most of us have had occasion to be brought face to face with the truth that God may take a youth’s life at any time. David makes the request of God that he does in this verse because David knew his own sinful nature. David’s nature, and ours, likes to boast in how great we are and how we will never come to harm. Our times are in God’s hands, and we must never forget it. Only God is immortal. Let us think on this truth, and see how it affects our lives. Sing Psalters 104:3, 105:4 and 107:1.
Decembers—Read Isaiah 64:1-8
Psalm 39:5 David continues the thought of yesterday’s verse. It is the last part to which I call your attention. The word vanity in Scripture means emptiness or nothingness. Do you think the sports stars of today’s world use these words? Do you think those men who desecrate the Sabbath and then claim to give God glory for their victories would conclude that man in his best state is nothing? Should the child of God elevate these men with the glory that we give them? Look at our walls and closets? How many Sabbath breakers adorn those walls and the clothes we wear? Do we forget that even man in his best state is vanity? Let us ponder these things and look at our lives and see if we need to make changes. Sing Psalters 104:4, 105:5, and 107:2
December 6—Read Psalm 39
Psalm 39:6 Man is constantly building monuments to his greatness. Look at the streets, buildings, companies around you. How many of them are named after some man? What does it mean? If the man is alive, it may cause him to fall into the sin of pride, if he hasn’t already. If he is in heaven, he probably wishes that these things would not bear his name because he realizes that all glory must be given to God. If he is in hell, he knows nothing at all except the terrible torment his sin has brought on him. If we are busy in this life making much money, do we realize that after we die we don’t have it anymore. David saw this truth and so did Solomon. They realized that making fame and fortune accounts for nothing in God’s eyes. We must think on these things and ask God to give us the proper perspective on our lives. Let us do that as we prepare to enter His house of worship tomorrow. Sing Psalters 104:5 and 105:6.
December 7—Read Joel 3:9-17
Psalm 39:7 It is the Sabbath, God’s day of rest. It is a day to stop our worldly labors and rejoice in the day that God has given us to glorify Him. Our verse today is fitting for this purpose. For what do we wait? Are we waiting for the Lord to take us to the eternal Sabbath in heaven whether that be by death or by the end of all things? Are we waiting for Him to show us His way in our lives. We must wait for the Lord. David gives to us the reason in the last part of this verse. We must wait for Him because He only is our hope and salvation. There is nothing else in which we can hope and expect it to come to pass. Use this day well to ponder these things, people of God. Parents, speak of these things to your children and young people. Young people, is God your hope? Do you have anything else to wait for? Sing Psalters 104:6 and 106:1.
December 8—Read Daniel 9:16-19
Psalm 39:8 David realizes that it is only by the way of forgiveness from sin that he could have any hope. Daniel, while in the hands of his captors, realizes the same thing. Daniel also realizes that it is because of Israel’s sin that they are in such a state. He also knows that only by confession and forgiveness will they be delivered from captivity. People of God, do you realize this truth? Does the fact of confession and forgiveness ring in your ears daily? Are we willing to confess our sins before God? If we won’t, He will bring chastisement upon us until we confess this truth. Sin is no laughing matter. It must be forgiven, and it can only be forgiven by our Father in heaven. Keep us from sin, O Lord and lead us in right paths. Sing Psalters 104:7 and 106:2.
December 9—Read Job 2:1-13
Psalm 39:9 Job was stricken by Satan with God’s permission. Job goes to the ash pile to mourn his distress and wonder why this affliction was upon him. After all wasn’t he the man who was “a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” How could this happen to him. He sacrificed daily for himself and his children. Why was this happening to him? Eventually it was revealed to Job that this was God’s doing and was for his profit. Do we realize this? When calamities come, do we realize that it is the hand of God upon us for our profit? Or do we lash out at those around us, or against the world, or even against God? We must be silent and know that God does all things tor the good of them that love him as Paul teaches us in Romans 8:28. Sing Psalter 104:7.
December 10—Read Proverbs 3:1-12
Psalm 39:10 In yesterday ‘s meditation we saw that affliction in this life may be chastisement from our heavenly Father who knows what is good for us. Does David seem to be too bold to make the request of today’s verse? Does he know better than God? Can we tell God that we have suffered enough, and it is time to stop? The answer, of course, is no, but David does it because he knows that God is a God of mercy. He has experienced the mercy of God in the past and he knows that God will hear his prayer. Remember that he confessed his sin. This is necessary. There will be no mercy from God without confession. We, too, by God’s grace through Christ can pray to have God’s strokes taken from us. We, too, have tasted of God’s mercies which are great. God will hear our prayers and answer them in His grace. Sing Psalter 106:2.
December 11—Read Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
Psalm 39:11 If you watch a moth through its whole life cycle, you would discover that its beauty is truly fleeting. This is the picture of us and our beauty gotten by sin when it is chastised by the touchstone of God’s justice. What we think to be beautiful in and about ourselves is nothing and emptiness before the hand of Almighty God. This is not something that happens to a few in this life; our text tells us that every man is vanity. Solomon who learned the principle from his father, tells us that “all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” How do we respond to these truths? Are we puffed up with pride and try to hide behind our man-made beauty? Or do we with humbleness of heart bow before God and say, “O God how great thou art!”. Sing Psalters 104:8 and 106:3
December 12—Read Hebrews 13:10-21
Psalm 39:12 People of God, do you confess with David that you are a stranger here on this earth? As you shop for Christmas presents does that truth show? Or are we convinced that this world is our home and we need to have as many of its delights as we can? David was living in Jerusalem. God had given him peace from his enemies. No foreign nation threatened his home; yet he knew that this earth was not his abiding place. He knew that this was still the “valley of the shadow of death.” Because he knew this, he wept and prayed for God to deliver him. Is this our desire, people of God? Do we wish to leave this place and go to heaven? Are we praying “Thy kingdom come” in all sincerity? This world is not our home; we look for that city “whose builder and maker is God”. We can do that through our Lord Jesus Christ who lived in this world and died for His people. Let these be our thoughts as we look to celebrate His birth. Sing Psalters 104:9, 106:4-5, and 107:3-4.
December 13—Read Psalm 39
Psalm 39:13 David asked God to spare him before death took him. David must have wanted to do more in God’s kingdom. He must have felt that his work was not finished yet. Is our work in the kingdom finished on this earth? Are we doing any work in the kingdom? Do we have any work to do in the kingdom of Christ? We most certainly have kingdom work to do in this life! While all are not ministers, or elders, or deacons, all have been given work to do. Each saint from the youngest child to the eldest white-headed grandfather has a calling to do in this life. We must seek out that calling by the study of God’s word and by prayer. Then we must carry out that calling. We may not shirk our responsibility. We may not bury our talent in the sand as the unprofitable servant did. We must all glorify Him and do the work He has given us. Let us pray for the grace to do this while we have breath. Sing Psalter 104:10 and 106:6.
December 14—Read Psalm 40:1-5
Psalm 40:1 To me this Psalm is a continuation of the previous one. David finds the answer to his prayer of Psalm 39. He does this by waiting patiently. Do we wait patiently? Young people, are you too eager to grow up and do adult activities instead of waiting for God’s time? Parents, are you impatient concerning God’s will for your life and the life of your family? Aged saints, is it hard for you to wait for your path into glory? We must wait with patience. Why? Because our times are in God’s hands. It is He that has ordained the carrying out of our life. If we try to run ahead of Him, like Jacob, we will meet with disastrous results. Wait upon the Lord and He will bring His way to pass for us. Sing Psalter 108:1 and 111:1.
December 15—Read Isaiah 12
Psalm 40:2 In waiting for Jehovah, David received the blessedness of salvation. As Christmas approaches, are we thinking about salvation’s blessings? Do we remember that the babe in the manger becomes the accursed one on the cross. Christ died the painful death of the cross to lift us out of the horrible pit of sin. He died that our feet might be established upon the rock of His truths and that our goings might be established in this life. Are we thinking of these things? Are we looking to commemorate these things on Christmas? Salvation is a wonderful gift. It is appropriate to think of how we received it at this time of the year. Let us look beyond the world’s supposed joy and look to the joy of our salvation. Sing Psalters 108:2.
December 16—Read Revelation 14:1-7
Psalm 40:3a One of the blessings of salvation is the blessing of a new song in our hearts. In principle we have that song now. In glory we will have it in perfection. Are we singing that new song daily? Are our songs those songs in which God delights? Or are our songs those which magnify man by exulting over his sin like the song of Lamech? Or are our songs the insipid songs of Arminianism which make Jesus a weak and ineffectual savior dependent on our help? What are we singing, people of God? Is it the songs that cause angels to weep with joy or sadness? Sing Psalters 108:3 and 111:2.
December 17—Read Matthew 5:12-16
Psalm 40:3b The second part of this verse gives the reason why God calls us to sing His new song. This reason is that He uses our feeble efforts to show others His ways. This is the testimony of our Heidelberg Catechism’s exposition about good works. This is the testimony of Scripture. He has set us as lights in this world to glorify His name and that He may use us to bring others to Christ. Notice this is much different from those who sing about “this little light of mine, I‘m going to let it shine.” This is the truth of the gospel of salvation by grace alone. How do you see the Christ of Christmas? Is He the sovereign one who causes all to happen to His will? If so, then sing the songs of Zion so that His name might be glorified and His church gathered. Sing Psalters 108:4 and 111:2.
December 18—Read Isaiah 26:1-8
Psalm 40:4 The redeemed child of God is the happy (blessed) child of God. He is happy because he trusts in Jehovah and bases the activities of his life upon the Word of God. As he lives in this world he does not bow to peer pressure and do what pride would have him do. He does not worry about the in crowd. He delights in obeying the law of God. He does not give into deceit and lying, but rather he speaks the truth and is truthful in all of his activities. People of God of all ages, are you blessed ones? Are you happy? If not, upon whom do you put your trust? If it is placed upon man and his ways, you will never be happy in this life or the life to come. Sing Psalters 108:3 and 111:2
December 19—Read Revelation 15
Psalm 40:5a People of God, do we stop and consider the works of God’s hand around us? Do we look at nature through the “spectacles of faith” and see that our God is a great and wonderful God? As we consider the incarnation, do we truly understand the greatness of this thought of God on our behalf? God gives us the wonders of creation so that we can in a small measure understand Him. We must be constantly looking for those things which teach us of His greatness. We must do it in things large and small. We must do it in things pleasant and unpleasant. Why? Because our gracious God has given them to us for our benefit to His glory. Sing Psalter 108:6.
December 20—Read Isaiah 55:6-13
Psalm 40:5b Yesterday we spoke of God’s works and their wonderfulness. The rest of the verse looks at His thoughts and their greatness. Do we really realize how great God is? Do we confess this in our daily lives? It is easy and tempting for us to bring God down to our level. We do this when we pray in a wrong manner. We do this when we use His names or attributes in vain. Our speech must reflect God’s greatness. This must be evident in every prayer that we utter. God is great; there is none other. How do we pray to Him—in reverence or as an equal? God is great; there is none other. Do we take His name in vain daily as we talk to our friends and companions. Let us pray for the grace to glorify our great God in our speech each and every day of our lives. Sing Psalters 108:7 and 111:3.
December 21—Read Psalm40:6-10
Psalm 40:6 Once more we prepare to enter God’s house, the Lord willing. What is our attitude as we go to church? Are we doing it grudgingly or out of custom or habit? Is it our delight to attend the House of our God? In today’s verse the Psalmist realizes that it is not the outward act of worship which is required of our God; it is the obedient inward act of submitting ourselves before His throne of grace. In every part of the worship service today, we must worship in spirit and in truth. We must sing from the heart and not just from the lips. Our prayers must be holy and reverent to our God. We must attend faithfully to the preaching and hear the word of him who speaks, “Thus saith the Lord.” In doing these things, we will please our heavenly Father and worship Him in a right way. Sing Psalters 109:1 and 111:4.
December 22—Read John 1:1-14
Psalm 40:7 We have in the next few verses evidence of the type of Christ that David was. In this verse we see Christ’s obedience to His Father in coming to this earth for our salvation. It is good for us to consider this thought at this time of the year. Why do we celebrate Christmas? For what reason do we attend many programs? Why do many ministers preach a “Christmas series”? Why do we join together to sing the Christmas carols that so many of us love. Are we celebrating the birth of Him who came to this earth to die on the cross tor our sin? Is the source of our joy the cross? This is what Christmas is all about! It is little of a baby in a manger; it is much of Christ dying on the cross! Christ was obedient to His Father for our sake. Thanks be to God for this gift. Sing Psalter 109:2.
December 23—Read Hebrews 10:1-10
Psalm 40:8 Today’s reading is the New Testament proof of the Old Testament prophecy. The Jewish Christians had to be convinced that Christ had come, and that He had died on the cross. The writer of Hebrews turns to the today’s texts for such proof. Do we delight to do the will of God no matter what it means for our earthly life? That’s what Christ did. He humbled himself and suffered the shameful and painful death of the cross in obedience to His Father. In doing so He confesses that God’s law was in His heart? What about us? Is God’s law in our hearts daily. Is it a delight to do the will of the Father? Do we knowingly pray, “Thy will be done?” Let us do this in our hearts and by our actions not only now but every day. Sing Psalter 111:4.
December 24—Read Luke 4:16-27
Psalm 40:9 During Jesus’s life on earth He preached often in the synagogues of Galilee. On one occasion early in His ministry He preached in Nazareth, his hometown. He preached knowing that his audience would not like what He said. He told them that they were sinners and that He was the only way of salvation. He did not mince words; He did not hide part of the truth being afraid of the consequences. Is this our experience? Are we bold to speak the name of Christ before those who would mock us or even do us hurt. Can we say with confidence, “I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest”’? Let us pray for the grace to proclaim God’s name and worth to the people with whom we come into contact. Sing Psalter 109:3.
December 25—Read Luke 2:8-20
Psalm 40:10 The passage that we read for today is the familiar Christmas story as experienced by the shepherds. Young people and children, what is your speech going to be full of in the next few days? Are you only going to talk about the presents you received? Or are you going to speak of the great salvation that you have been given through the way of the baby in the manger? The shepherds went home praising God and telling all that they saw about the Christ. Are we witnessing to those around us? Are we praising God for His goodness toward us? Do we faithfully proclaim the loving-kindness shown to us by God? That is what our verse for today says that we must do. Let us pray for the grace to be truly Christ-like and spread the word of our salvation through the blood of Christ. Sing Psalters 109:4 and 112:1.
December 26—Read Psalm 40:11-17
Psalm 40:11 When we are bold enough to proclaim the greatness of Jehovah, we find that we are nothing in His sight. We find that of ourselves there is no good in us. Therefore we, too, must pray the prayer of verse 11. We must ask God for mercies to sustain us in our daily lives. The only way we can go through this life, no matter what our age, is by the lovingkindness and truth of God. Notice that truth is part of our assurance. It is by way of knowledge of God and His ways that we are sustained by Him. Are you studying, people of God, to learn that truth? Are your Bibles well-worn from seeking to find God’s truths? Are you a familiar fixture in the society room discussing the Word of God? By doing these things God will give you blessed assurance of your salvation, not because of your worth but of His grace and mercy. Sing Psalters 110:1 and 112:2.
December 27—Read Job 14:14-22
Psalm 40:12 We all should be familiar with the hardships of Job. Job’s faith was tested by God in order to bring him to the realization that God was God. David, too, felt the hand of God upon him and felt that there was little worth in him. What about us? Do we realize that the hardships of this life are for our profit? Do we know that God is refining us by His holy fire making us pure? Sometimes our heart is heavy because of the sadnesses of this life. Many of God’s saints have had this experience. It is the way that God uses to bring us to glory so that He receives the glory. As we look to the end of this year and the beginning of the next, let us see that our God cares for us even when all appears to be dark and gloomy. Sing Psalter 110:1 and 2.
December 28—Read Jonah 2
Psalm 40:13 Yesterday we saw the depths of despair to which David was plunged by God. Today we see his response. Instead of complaining or moaning about bad luck, he immediately turns to God and asks for deliverance. Notice that he asks God to make haste to deliver him. He does not want to wait and see if he can pull himself up by his own bootstraps. David knows that if he tries to escape his trials in his own strength, he will fail. This should be our reaction to the trials of this life. We should run to God in prayer and ask for help and deliverance. As we close another year and look at the uncertainty which may arise in the future, let us rely upon our heavenly Father to give to us what we need. Sing Psalter 110:2
December 29—Read Genesis 11:1-9
Psalm 40:14-15 Part of David’s trials in this life were the wicked which were against him. We see here again David as a type of Christ. Just as David was afflicted by Saul and other reprobate so Christ was afflicted by Satan and his army. David reacted to persecution in the only way a child of God should. He does not retaliate. He does not take up the sword against them. He does not call them names. Rather, he prays this imprecatory prayer to God. He asked that God remove his enemies from him. He does this because he knows that God will protected Him. He knows that God never lets one of His saints be afflicted by Satan. The truth of preservation of the saints is a glorious truth that we have. Through it we have the confidence to pray to God for help and protection. Sing Psalter 110:2.
December 30—Read Philippians 4:1-10
Psalm 40:16 From the congregation of the wicked David goes to the congregation of the righteous. David now prays for them. He asked that the elect can feel the goodness of God’s presence. He prays that they may rejoice in that goodness. As we look back over the year past, are we able to say, “The Lord be magnified”? Are we glad in the way that Jehovah has led us for the past year? Do we see His hand in our way and are ready to rejoice and to be glad in that way? Do we love the salvation that God has wrought for us by His Son’s death on the cross? Young people, how about you? Is the way God has led you through church and catechism pleasing to you? Are you happy about the means of grace He has provided for you? Let us rejoice in the God of our salvation and thank Him for His many blessings. Sing Psalters 110:3 and 112:3.
December 31—Read Isaiah 41:10-20
Psalm 40:17 David closes this Psalm on a personal note. He confesses that he is poor and needy. This is not a physical financial statement. This is a spiritual financial statement. He examines his life and sees his deficiencies. He realizes that he is nothing and has nothing to offer. In spite of his condition, David knows that God thinks about him. From past experience he knows that God will help him and deliver him from all his woes. As we stand at the end of another year, let us take stock of our spiritual financial condition. Do we have anything to offer to God? Or do we need God to help and deliver us from all our woes? Let us truly make the last part of this Psalm part of our prayer at the year’s end. Make no tarrying, O God, deliver Thy people from this vale of tears and take us to our eternal home in heaven. Sing Psalters 110:3 and 112:4.