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Watching Daily at My Gates

April 1

Read Deuteronomy 4:25-29.

When things are going well for us, we are often tempted to turn from God and to trust in ourselves. If we are walking in this way of sin, we cannot expect God to hear our prayers for help when trouble comes upon us. By God’s grace turn from your sin every day and seek God, for “thou shalt find him” now and also in the day of trouble.

 

April 2

Read Deuteronomy 4:30,31.

These verses make me think of the end of time when all God’s people will be in tribulation. It may be that many of us alive now will be alive in those “latter days.” But our merciful God will remember the covenant He made with our fathers. He will preserve us even through all the terrible persecution with which the world will try to destroy us. Those who are truly God’s people will be kept by Him and will be obedient to His voice. Take this comfort with you and do not be afraid of the latter days.

 

April 3

Read Deuteronomy 4:32-38.

In verse 32 we are told to look into past history at all the great events of the world. Certainly many great things have been accomplished. We see that, too, when we look around at the great, technological advancements of men in our own day. When we consider even the greatest work of man, however, it is nothing in comparison to the works of God. The mighty works of God are seldom remembered and are seldom mentioned in history books, for the world writes about and extols what man has done. But what the world writes about are not the “great things” that are spoken of in our text. God has showed us these great things in His Word. And He has performed the greatest work of all within us—salvation. There is nothing that man has done which compares with that great work. Live as one for whom this great work was done.

 

April 4

Read Deuteronomy 4:39,40.

Our verses yesterday talked about all that God has done for us. Because of all the things that God has accomplished for us we know that He is our Lord and there is none else. If we consider this truth in our hearts, we will keep His statutes and commandments. And in this way God will shower all His blessings upon us forever.

 

April 5

Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

God is the only Lord and He is our God. We have to know and believe this before we can do what the next verses say. They tell that we must do what God commands us with all of our being. We have to love God with all our heart, soul, and might. God’s words have to be in our heart. And we must talk of God’s words all the time. We have to teach them to our children. We have to talk of God’s words when we sit in our house, when we are at work or anywhere else, when we go to bed at night, and when we get up in the morning. We have to have God’s words as a constant reminder to us—before our eyes, on our hands, and in our house. Pray that God will reveal Himself to you so that you know Him. And then pray that He will give you grace to study His Word every day so that you can talk about it in whatever you do and wherever you go.

 

April 6

Read Deuteronomy 7:6-11.

We are holy people. We wonder how this can be true. And yet God’s Word says it. And these verses explain that we are holy because God has chosen us to be a special people unto Himself. That’s beautiful. We are special to God and He has taken us to Himself. God, Who is everything, has taken us, who are less than nothing, into His own life of fellowship and love. And He is faithful to the end of the world. What an incentive to show our love and thankfulness to Him by keeping His commandments. Go forth today, therefore, rejoicing in this truth, and you will show yourself to be part of a holy, special people.

 

April 7

Read Deuteronomy 8, especially verse 3.

God sometimes brings us low – he humbles us and makes us hungry. He does this so that He may feed us with His food and so that we may know that we don’t live by the food of this world, but that true life is only by His Word – His food. So often when we are discouraged or disappointed with situations in life we can only see our problems and we worry about them and think about them for days. But God uses even the little discouragements and embarrassments to remind us that this world is only a pilgrimage and we must seek another country, the Kingdom of Heaven, even while we live on the earth.

 

April 8

Read Deuteronomy 23:14.

God, Jehovah walks among us! He is with us as the everywhere present God, and He is also with us by His Holy Spirit. Does He see any “unclean thing” in you? Is your “camp” holy? Flee to Jesus Christ in repentance and pray that your sins may be covered in His blood, that His cross may deliver you and that He may “give up,” (conquer) your enemies (sins) before you.

 

April 9

Read Deuteronomy 29, especially verse 29.

In this chapter Moses tells Israel about how God will establish His covenant with them. The chapter ends with the beautiful words of verse 29. God out of mere grace and love (He didn’t have to do it!) has revealed to us the wonders of His covenant which He establishes with us and our children. All the way from Adam, through Abraham, Noah and David, throughout the New Testament, and throughout history, God has been faithful and has kept the promise He made thousands of years ago. That covenant still belongs to us today. But… He has revealed these things to us “that we may do all the words of this law” and therefore glorify Him. Show in your life today that this covenant was established with you.

 

April 10

Read Deuteronomy 30, especially verses 11-14.

God doesn’t keep His Word far from us, as if it is some abstract, complicated truth that we have to search for, and try to understand. But He brings it “nigh” to us by the preaching every week and by the work of His Spirit. He puts it in our hearts that we may know it and do it. Treasure this Word and go to church eagerly each week that you may hear the Word and do it.

 

April 11

Read Deuteronomy 33:26-29 and Psalm 42.

Sometimes we look around at the suffering of God’s people in this world and at the suffering in our own lives and we are overwhelmed. Loved ones are taken in death, and sin sometimes has terrible consequences in our lives. Sometimes it may seem as though God has forgotten us and we may ask: “Where is my God?” The sorrows of this life are sometimes as “waves and billows” rolling over us. But, we need not fear or despair, for the God Who is eternally in the heavens is our refuge, and He spreads His everlasting arms underneath us and bears us up. When we believe this then we can say that we are a “happy people,” and then we can praise Him who is the “health of our countenance and our God.”

 

April 12

Read Joshua 11:1-14.

Even such a huge multitude as described in verse 4 is not too much for our God to defeat. He tells Joshua: “Be not afraid because of them.” Sometimes the things in our lives with which we do battle may seem too many and too strong for us. The sins of our flesh, the temptations in the world, our love of material things, and even the devil and all his host. But our sovereign God says to us: “Be not afraid.” And He gives us grace and strength, so that our enemies are “delivered up slain.”

 

April 13

Read Joshua 11:15.

Joshua leaves nothing undone which God commanded him, through Moses, to do. This makes me think of a phrase you probably have heard before; “sins of omission.” Sometimes we may not be doing a sinful act, but if we are leaving even one small part of our calling undone, we are not obeying God’s commands. Sometimes we stand by and say nothing when others sin, or we may see someone who needs our help and support and do nothing (like the priest and Levite in the Parable of the Good Samaritan). If we ever become proud because we do not commit the terrible outward acts of sin that we see others commit (for example, adultery or murder), all we have to remember are the things we should be doing and we will be humbled. May God give us grace to do all of His will today.

 

April 14

Read Joshua 11:23.

“And the land rested from war.” Think how the Israelites must have felt after all those bloody battles were done and they could have peace and build their homes and care for their families. And yet it was only a picture of the true heavenly rest which God has in store for us. Now we must fight, but we can look ahead to that day when the battle with sin is over and we can rest in communion with our God and His saints forever.

 

April 15

Read Joshua 17:17, 18.

When God is with us we are a “great people” and have “great power” to flee and conquer sin, the devil and the wicked world, even though they are very strong. If only we would trust this promise of God and not doubt! God is the sovereign and all powerful God and He is on our side. Let us fight the battle today in all confidence of victory.

 

April 16

Read Joshua 21:44, 45.

God has given us rest. We have no persecution, famine, poverty or war. We are free to go to His house each week to feed on His Word and to fellowship with Him and with His people. We have faithful ministers and elders who, by God’s grace love the truth, uphold it and teach it. We have a seminary that is faithful in training ministers for our churches. We have catechism, societies, choirs, and schools for our spiritual edification and good. What are we doing with these good things? Pray for grace to love the truth and to seek the things of God’s kingdom today. And pray for forgiveness when you fail.

 

April 17

Read Joshua 23:10.

God gives us the strength to “chase a thousand.” He fights for us. Sometimes our sins seem so many and so great we want to give up. But we can, and we must, rest in God’s promise to us that He not only gives us strength, but He is our strength. He is our strength to fight against and drive out the sins that attack on every side. Rely on Him, then, for what He has promised to do for us.

 

April 18

Read Joshua 23:16.

Read this verse and pray that God keep us as His Church and as individuals from transgressing His covenant! Pray that God will uphold His work in us and cause us to live in accordance with His will. And pray that when we do fail, He will turn us back to Himself that we do not “perish quickly from off the land.”

 

April 19

Read Joshua 24:14-28.

What a wonderful confession we find in verse 15. May we each day choose to serve the Lord, as Joshua, and all Israel, did. We may well say, as did Joshua in verse 19: We cannot, as wretched sinners, serve the holy, jealous God. For how can God forgive all our sins? Only because God sees us in Christ can He forgive us and enable us to serve Him. Pray for God’s forgiveness in the cross. Pray for His grace, and as He gives you that grace, then, yes, you will choose to serve Him this day and every day.

 

April 20

Read Ruth 1, especially verses 16,17.

Ruth was willing to leave her people, her land, her gods, and everything that was familiar to her. She was also willing to leave behind all possibilities of marriage. She was willing to sacrifice all of this to go to a strange land, a strange people, with the very real possibility that she would not be accepted, but looked down upon as a Moabite. Why did she do this? Because, as she confessed, Naomi’s God was her God. Would we be so willing to give up everything we have and know for the sake of following the true God? Pray that God would prepare you to do that if necessary.

 

April 21

Read Ruth 2:1-17.

Make a list from this chapter of all the ways in which Boaz showed kindness to Ruth. Think what these things must have meant to a lonely, poor woman who had lost her husband and was in a strange land, among strange people. Is there someone you will meet today to whom you can show such kindness? God places such people on our paths that we may show to them the same love Christ shows to us—who are lowly, despicable sinners on this earth. Look for these people (sometimes they are hard to find because they are not always the popular, well-liked confident people, but are on the fringes, are often over-looked or disliked), that you may show to them the love of Christ.

 

April 22

Read Ruth 2:1-17.

Read Ruth 2 again today; this time from the perspective of how Ruth responded to the kindness of Boaz. So often, when others help us, we want to turn away in pride and say that we do not need help but can take care of ourselves. Or, we may go to the other extreme and greedily expect everyone to help us. Ruth, acknowledging that she was a stranger, expected nothing. And she also humbly and thankfully accepted the kindnesses which Boaz offered her. Pray for this attitude when you are in need.

 

April 23

Read Ruth 2:3, 18-23.

Do you ever doubt that God is watching over you? Do you ever worry about your future and about how things are going to work out? Look at God’s gracious care over Ruth and Naomi. When Ruth went out to glean God brought her to the field of Boaz, who was a kinsman who would care for Ruth and Naomi. This may seem to be an insignificant thing that happened by chance. We might ask: “What did it matter where Ruth gleaned, as long as she got food for Naomi and herself?” But God had His purpose in it. Naomi saw His gracious hand in this and praised God for it. Trust God, then, as the sovereign God who directs all things (big and small) for our good.

 

April 24

Read Ruth 3:10,11 and I Peter 3:2-5.

What a reputation Ruth had! She was known by all as kind and modest, for she cared for her mother-in-law and did not follow after young men. The whole community of Bethlehem knew she was a virtuous woman. Are these the traits we seek to develop in ourselves, and is this the sort of reputation we desire to have as women, young or old? And as men, is this the kind of woman we seek to have as a wife? And do we show honor to this kind of woman as Boaz did to Ruth? The world holds before us another image—that of the bold, vain woman, who seeks herself first. May we strive day by day, not to follow the world’s heroes, but to model our lives after these heroes of faith.

 

April 25

Read the whole book of Ruth

(it will only take a few minutes!) and trace God’s providential care and purpose through the book. God directs each person’s actions (Elimelech, Naomi, Ruth, the unnamed kinsman, Boaz) so that Ruth is brought into the church as a picture of the gospel going to the Gentiles and so that Ruth and Boaz are married and bring forth the grandfather of David. From all of this comes Christ! Way back in the Old Testament God was already working out and directing events for your salvation and the salvation of the whole church. What an amazing and wonderful God we have.

 

April 26

Read I Samuel 2:1 and 2.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, rejoice! Paul’s exultant cry in Philippians 4 echoes Hannah’s song in these verses. What a cause we have to rejoice in our God and in His salvation. He exalts us and He gives us the victory over all of our enemies (the devil, the world and our own sinful nature). The God Who is holy, and Who is the only God, is our God. We can each say that this God is my God—just as He was the God of Hannah, of Paul, and of all the saints from the beginning of the world.

 

April 27

Read I Samuel 2:2.

What comes to mind when you think of a rock? Something solid, immovable, a firm foundation. Apply this to God. He is the unchangeable, dependable, almighty God. When others fail you or disappoint you, or when you feel yourself to be a failure, look to the Rock. Depend on Him today and always for your very life and breath, both physical and spiritual. For there is no rock like our God.

 

April 28

Read I Samuel 2:3.

Let us guard our tongues today and not become arrogant and boastful. For God sees us every minute of the day. He is the God of all knowledge—He knows our hearts. And He is the judge of all of our actions. Today, rather than talking proudly or arrogantly, flee to the cross and pray the prayer of the Psalmist in Psalm 139:23,24— “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

 

April 29

Read I Samuel 2:4.

Do you ever feel surrounded by an army of mighty men? Sin surrounds us on every side and always seeks to attack us. Often, while we are fighting against one sin and thinking that we are gaining a little over the enemy, suddenly and unexpectedly we are attacked from behind by another sin, so that we stumble and almost fall. Don’t despair! God breaks the bows of mighty men, and He girds up with strength those who stumble in the battle. Flee, then, to this God for the strength to continue to fight the enemy that surrounds you.

 

April 30

Read I Samuel 2:6-8.

We who are dead in sin are as “the poor in the dust” and “the beggar in the dunghill.” We sin daily so that when we stand before the holy God, Who hates sin, we are nothing more than sinners dressed in rags and covered in dung. But God has given His Son for us. He makes us alive and lifts us up. He cleanses us and gives us riches so that we sit in the palaces of princes and inherit the throne of glory. How do we know God is great enough to do such an amazing work? The pillars of the earth belong to Him, and He has created the world. Surely, then, He can make the dead alive and the poor rich! Conduct yourself today as a prince of God.