Watching Daily At My Gates

February 11 Read Joel 1

The occasion of Joel’s prophecy is not certain. It is possible that it was a prophecy to Judah after Israel’s captivity. In this first chapter he tells the people to observe the destruction caused by locusts and other insects. This destruction has affected much in the land, including the ability to bring gifts for the worship of Jehovah. We, like the people of that day, must observe what is happening around us. We, like them, must repent of our sins and seek to walk in a sanctified manner. May this be our goal. Sing Psalter 102.


February 12 Read Joel 2

The chapter continues with calls to repentance that were necessary in the land of God’s people to whom Joel prophesied. They are also necessary to the church of all ages, including the church of today. We need to hear such calls, and we need to heed such calls. Then the chapter goes into beautiful prophecy concerning future events. In verse 21 and following we see prophecies of the coming of Christ and of Pentecost. Peter uses this chapter as he explains to those gathered near the temple the happenings to the early church. There is another coming of Christ. Are we ready? Sing Psalter 63.


February 13 Read Joel 3

At the end of time God will bring judgement on his enemies and those of his beloved, elect people. Those enemies are prefigured in the nations around Judah. They had all caused God’s people much trouble; they would all be punished for their evils. This would be a comfort to the people to whom Joel was prophesying. This should be a comfort to us, the church who waits for the day of the Lord, when we shall all be delivered from the evil around us. May we watch and pray, always waiting for that blessed day. Sing Psalter 224.


February 14 Read Amos 1

In this prophecy we see that God uses a mere shepherd and only an employee of someone else for his purpose. That purpose was to prophesy of the calamities that would come upon the northern kingdom of Israel. Israel was living in a fairly prosperous time, but they obviously were depending upon their own strength and not the strength of Jehovah. After prophesying of a drought, Amos turns to the nations around Israel and pronounces judgement upon them. Some commentators look at the “three and four” formula as God’s way of announcing that the cup of iniquity was full for a certain people. The faithful in Israel could draw comfort that God had not forgotten them even in the throes of evil that abounded in their land. God has not forgotten us either; thanks be to him “from whom all blessing flow.” Sing Psalter 216.


February 15 Read Amos 2

After one more pronouncement of doom upon an evil nation, God, through Amos, shows that his people are not with out reproach. Judah will feel his wrath because they have forsaken the law of God. While Israel could feel no solace in this judgement, as they had done worse, the faithful were warned to continue in that law. Then Amos turns to the main message of his parable. Israel too was walking in gross sins. They too would feel the wrath of God. It would not come in the days of the descendants of Jehu, but it would come. May we know that the day of the Lord is coming; let us watch and pray as we have been directed by Christ. Sing Psalter 206.


February 16 Read Amos 3

God has highly favored a certain people. In the old dispensation it was the nation Israel. Of the church of all ages it is those on whom he has shed his grace. This is a valuable asset. What is done with it? Israel of old turned to idolatry and other ways of life that were not in accordance with God’s law. As verse 3 asks, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?”  God cannot agree with sin; therefore he no longer walked with Israel. Israel and any who do not walk in his way will find his judgement poured out upon them. May we walk with God in agreement with his commandments. Sing Psalter 326.


February 17 Read Amos 4

Verse 13 shows to us who and how great God is. He is the sovereign one who created heaven and earth, and by whose providence all things exist. Israel rebelled against that God. They did not follow his commandments, they worshiped idols, and they oppressed the poor and needy. For those sins God’s judgements would rest upon them. Nothing has changed. God is still the sovereign God of heaven and earth. His law must still be heeded. To do anything else is to bring certain judgement upon you. Sing Psalter 129.


February 18 Read Amos 5

People of God, whom do you seek? Throughout this chapter the people to whom Amos is speaking are enjoined to seek Jehovah, creator of heaven and earth. They are called to repentance from the sins that have separated them from God, especially the sin of idolatry.  After calling them to seek good and not evil, Amos exposes the sin of wrong worship. He reminds them of the service of Israel in the wilderness and then their service of gods such as Molech. So once again we must ask the question: Whom do we serve and how do we serve him? Sing Psalter 204.


February 19 Read Amos 6

Both Israel and Judah are addressed in this chapter. Both are reproved for their disdain of Jehovah’s ways and his judgements on them for their sins. They do not seem to be affected by what has happened around them even when it is evident that God punishes those who sin against his holy name. Are we heeding this warning? Does our lifestyle show that we trust in God for all things? Is his holy name being revered in our daily life and especially our worship? The work of God through Amos is not just for Israel and Judah; it is for us. Sing Psalter 273.


February 20 Read Amos 7

We see three figures of God’s judgment upon Israel. First there is the judgment by grasshoppers, which is followed by a judgement by fire. Amos’ prayers to God stop both of these. In the third judgement Amos sees a plumb line that finds Israel wanting. For that they would be destroyed. A wicked priest of Bethel’s calf tries to chase Amos from the land. Amos replies that God has ordained his work, and that the priest for his wickedness would lose everything. What will God’s plumb line find about us? Only by Christ are we found true by this righteous device. Sing Psalter 300.


February 21 Read Amos 8

There are three thoughts in this chapter. First we see a basket of summer fruit; the picture is of fruit that is ripe for eating. just as the ten tribes are ripe for destruction. Second, those who have oppressed others in the nation are singled out for their sins. Instead of loving their neighbor as themselves, they hated their neighbor, showing that they hated God. Finally, a chilling word is sent to them. They will have a famine. This famine will not be a physical famine but a spiritual one, as God’s word will be withheld from them. Let us take heed that God does not remove his word from us. Sing Psalter 384.


February 22 Read Amos 9

This final chapter of Amos contains yet another vision in which Israel’s destruction is foretold. This vision goes to the very core of their life: their worship in the temple. Israel had forgotten God and had despised his worship. Therefore he would bring his justice on them, and they would be destroyed. But along with the justice portrayed in the chapter there is also mercy. In the last part of the chapter the prophet foretells of a return. This is for the faithful. When Christ returns, will he find us faithful? Sing Psalter 251.


February 23 Read Obadiah

This short prophecy can prove comforting to any child of God of any age. Most of the prophecy deals with the destruction that would come upon Edom. Who was Edom? Edom was the descendants of Esau, of whom God had said, “Esau have I hated.” Esau plagued Jacob, and his descendants plagued Jacob’s descendants even up until Judah’s captivity by Babylon. For this God would utterly destroy them and bring his people to blessed peace. While we do not have Edom’s physical descendants to worry about, we do have its spiritual descendants. They will plague the church until Christ returns. At that time all the evil will be vanquished and God’s people will be brought to eternal glory in the new heavens and the new earth. Sing Psalter 379.


February 24 Read Jonah 1

Nineveh was the archenemy of Israel. Jonah was called away from his work in Israel to go to this city. Jonah could see no purpose in this calling and fled from God, or so he thought. God found him on the ship, and through the instrument of his storm caused the sailors to find him out. Jonah had to see that he could not leave God and his calling. We too must see this lesson. We must carry out the calling God has laid upon us no matter what it is. If we seek to flee from God, rest assured that he will find us out. Sing Psalter 384.


February 25 Read Jonah 2

Here we have one of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible. We do well to study this prayer often and see what it affords to us. We did not mention the miracle of Jonah in the fish’s belly yesterday. It was a miracle, and through this miracle Jonah was taught to seek God through prayer. Imagine his feelings as he landed in the water, was engulfed by the huge fish, and then was not consumed. Jonah does what we must do when faced with a difficult situation, and that is an understatement. We must pray, and we must pray without ceasing for deliverance, which comes from Jehovah who made the heavens and the earth. Sing Psalter 72.


February 26 Read Jonah 3

After three days in the fish’s belly (Jesus uses this as a sign of his resurrection), Jonah is spit onto dry land and called to go and preach in Nineveh. Now he carries out the command of the Lord, and he does it by faith. Nineveh was a large, powerful, and exceedingly wicked city. It took the courage of faith to preach of its destruction. What was the reason for such preaching? I think there are two. First, Jonah must preach in Nineveh for the few people of God who reside there. Second, Israel had to learn of God’s power so that they might believe. Sometimes we are given hard callings. Will we flee or will we obey the word of Jehovah? Sing Psalter 28.


February 27 Read Jonah 4

Jonah was still zealous and jealous for God’s people in Israel. In his zealousness he was upset with God for not destroying Nineveh. Jonah did not see the whole of God’s counsel. Jonah did not see how God would work salvation for all of his people, Jew and Gentile, and bring about the kingdom of Christ. Through a gourd God brings Jonah to repentance. It was a hard lesson that Jonah had to learn. It is the lesson that we must learn as well. We do not know the whole of God’s counsel because it is “past finding out.” We must be patient and wait for God to carry out that counsel and wait for the day when Christ will come and usher in the kingdom of God. May we pray for that patience and live a life of patience as we wait that day. Sing Psalter 66.


February 28 Read Micah 1

God will judge sin and those who commit sin. In the prophecy of Micah we find that the chief sin being judged is the sin of idolatry. Israel and Judah had both fallen into this sin during the time period of Micah enumerated in verse 1. It was not until the reign of Hezekiah that they started to rid themselves of this sin for a time. The second commandment states that the reason for God’s judgement of this sin is that he is a jealous God. Do we worship him in the way he has commanded, or does our worship fall away from the worship principles found in scripture? Let us worship the holy God as he has directed us. Sing Psalter 137.


March 1 Read Micah 2

Other sins that God’s people had fallen into were the oppression of those within the house of God. Those who were poor and downtrodden were preyed upon by others. There was no mercy and love shown to those who needed it. In the first chapter sins against the first table of the law are enumerated. Now we see that Israel had fallen into sins concerning the second table of the law. God’s command to us is that we love God with all our being, and that we love our neighbor as ourselves. We must keep each law of both tables of that law. Sing Psalter 24.


March 2 Read Micah 3

Micah reproves the leadership of Israel for their wicked ways in this chapter. Those whom God has appointed as the leaders of his church have a very high calling. Ministers must preach the pure word of God and speak the truth to his people. Elders must rule in a way that pleases God and is good for the church. While the priests are not mentioned, they and their New Testament counterparts, the deacons, must show themselves merciful. In Israel kings and prophets had been guilty of the sins that would bring the church to destruction. Leaders of God’s flock today, give heed to Micah 3 and walk in a way that is good for the church and is pleasing to God. Sing Psalter 223.


March 3 Read Micah 4

After foretelling the destruction that would come upon Jerusalem, Micah now brings a word of comfort to God’s people. In that word of comfort we find that the church would be restored and would live a life of peace. We know in history Judah returned from captivity and was able to rebuild their society. It could not be a perfect society because that is not for this earth. This chapter looks ahead to when the entire church, made up of people from all nations, will come to the new Jerusalem whose ruler will be the prince of peace, our savior, Christ Jesus. Sing Psalter 125.


March 4 Read Micah 5

The first verse announces more of the troubles for Judah. Verse two announces the birth of Christ in the little town of Bethlehem. The following verses announce the greatness of Christ’s kingdom. It was only the faithful remnant who would cleave to the promise of the Messiah. We know that in Bethlehem Christ was born. Do we believe that he will return again, vanquish all his and our enemies, and lead us into the kingdom of heaven? Many children have recited Micah 5:2 for Christmas programs. Do we have the childlike faith to believe the true Christmas story? Sing Psalter 198.


March 5 Read Micah 6

After the beautiful promises found in the previous chapters, the prophet turns to the nation of Israel and its sins. God recounts how he had brought them into the promised land. Then he enumerates Israel’s sins throughout history. Among these words are those of verse 8. Do we need to know what we must do in order to please God? The words found there are not a litany of the good works needed to go to heaven. Those words, like the familiar words in James, “True religion…” are the way we can live a life of thankfulness before God. Let us take them to heart and let those works be evident in our lives. Sing Psalter 24.


March 6 Read Micah 7

The final chapter of this prophecy is a prayer uttered by the prophet on behalf of the people. In the first part the church laments her small size and seemingly destitute situation. Later she confesses that she must trust upon God and not man. We also find in this heartfelt prayer a confession of sin. In the last part of the chapter we find God’s answer. He has not abandoned his people. He will gather them and bring them together in a glorious kingdom. May we pray this prayer, knowing that our help comes from God alone and not from anyone on this earth. Sing Psalter 352.


March 7 Read Nahum 1

One hundred years after Jonah preached in Nineveh, the prophet Nahum pronounced her destruction. She had afflicted and carried into captivity the ten tribes. Now she will be destroyed because of her wickedness. In this destruction we find grace for the people of God. Notice the various phrases that extol our gracious covenant God. God has not forgotten his people. He will come to them with a gracious message. Like the remnant of Israel we too have hope in Jehovah. Sing Psalter 289.


March 8 Read Nahum 2

In this chapter on the burden of Nineveh, we read of the destruction of the capital of Assyria by Nebuchadnezzar and the great armies of Babylon. Nineveh is judged for two faults. First, they are judged for their own sins. They did not continue in their repentance of the day of Jonah. Second, they are judged for their cruel destruction of Israel. The God-fearing remnant is remembered by the sovereign God of heaven and earth. That sovereign God who caused Assyria to mete out punishment to backsliding Israel also caused Nebuchadnezzar to go through the world meting out God’s judgment and punishment to various nation and even to Judah, his own people. Do we recognize the sovereign God in today’s world? We should, and we must bow before him who rules over all things. Sing Psalter 275.


March 9 Read Nahum 3

In this final chapter of the prophecy of Nineveh’s destruction, we read how great that destruction was. We might wonder what the use of these chapters is. The answer is simple. It is a historical fact that Nineveh was brought to destruction just as Nahum said. Those who saw the ruin of this great city—and it was a great one—and who knew of this prophecy would have to conclude that God is a true God. What about us? As we look around the world and the happenings in the world, do we see the hand of God at work? Do we conclude that Jehovah, he is the God? And if we do, do we live out of that truth? God is coming again to judge the nations and deliver his people. Let us wait for such a deliverance. Sing Psalter 353.


March 10 Read Habakkuk 1

We know little about the prophet Habakkuk. From his prophecy we can conclude that he lived during the time of Nebuchadnezzar, especially as the king of Babylon lurked outside the walls of Jerusalem. Habakkuk worries about God’s people. In the first part of the chapter he worries about the sins that they commit and the awfulness of those sins. After God shows him that Babylon will destroy Judah because of those sins, he worries about the destruction this wicked nation would bring upon the people of God. In his words he acknowledges, as we must, that God is a righteous judge and his way is right. Sing Psalter 93.


March 11 Read Habakkuk 2

Habakkuk receives a good answer from God. Those who have continued in the law and the glory of God will receive a blessing even in the destruction that will come. We read those familiar words in verse 4 that “the just shall live by faith.” Do we still live out of this watchword of the great reformation? Do we live by faith? Then we have the familiar words found in the last verse. When we worship, which should be often, we must keep silence before God because he is the only one to be worshipped by his people, and he must be worshiped in spirit and in truth. Sing Psalter 187.


March 12 Read Habakkuk 3

After the final words of chapter two, Habakkuk breaks out into a beautiful psalm or song. From the structure of the chapter some have concluded that the prophet was a Levite who was in charge of praising God in song. It is a beautiful psalm that shows us much about our God. It is a psalm in which the great works of God are extolled as true and just. As Habakkuk finishes the psalm he makes a personal confession of faith. Can we take these words upon our lips, and do they come from our hearts? Let us ever praise God for the goodness that he has given to us and will give to us in the days to come. Sing Psalter 13.