Watching Daily At My Gates

January 9 Read Numbers 19
This text exudes one word throughout the whole. That word is holy. While you do not find this word in the text, the idea is there. Notice how many times you see the word purify or some variation. Our God is a holy God, and we must honor him as that holy God. In fact we use the term “thrice holy” which is from Isaiah. Israel had to have all of these ceremonies to point out this attribute to them. However, we, too, must see that God is holy. We must live lives that reflect this holiness. We must purify ourselves, not with ceremonial water, but with the blood of the lamb. This we must do every day and in every aspect of our lives. Sing Psalter 265.
January 10 Read Numbers 20
God’s people must obey him at all times. This must be true for all of his people. No one is exempt. This we see as Moses strikes the rock instead of speaking to it. Since Aaron was in agreement with Moses about Israel’s obstinacy, and who would not be, he, as well, was prohibited from entering Canaan. Children and young people, you are called to obey God and all those whom he has put in authority over you just like your parents and grandparents. We are required to do this at all times. There are no circumstances that absolve us from the law of obedience. Let us trust and obey our most holy God, and in this way please him during our journey on this earth. Sing Psalter 266.
January 11 Read Numbers 21
Throughout the Old Testament we find the gospel. Here in this chapter we find it in a vivid way. Jesus himself referred to this incident as he preached to Nicodemus. Israel once again fell into the sin of complaining. For that sin God chastised them with bites from that creature that most really represents Satan and his attacks upon God’s church. After being healed by looking at the serpent, God brought blessings to his people. First there was water, a sign of the water of life Jesus Christ. Then there was the victory over Og mighty king of Bashan. God gives to us the water of life that we need as well as victories over mighty enemies of this day. Let us look to the cross for our salvation. Sing Psalter 397.
January 12 Read Numbers 22
As Israel got closer and closer to Canaan, Satan fought harder and harder to keep them out of the picture of heaven. Even today, he fights to keep us from the heavenly Canaan by trying to cause us to sin. First it was Moab, Israel’s relative through Lot. Then there was Balak employing the pseudo-prophet Balaam. Even when Balaam is confronted with his speaking ass, he refuses to acknowledge God as God. Let us only speak and do what God has commanded us in his Word. Let us do this daily, and let us teach our children to listen to Jehovah their Savior. Sing Psalter 234.
January 13 Read Numbers 23
Over and over Balaam tried to curse Israel. Over and over God thwarted his plans and desires. Satan does not give up. We must understand this. We must put on the whole armor of faith and fight against his wiles as Paul calls us to do in Ephesians. Even though Balaam understood who God was and what he is, he tried to go against him. Look again at his words in verses 19 and 20. And then look at verse 21. Not only did he have to confess who God is, but he also had to bow to the work of Christ on his peoples’ behalf. When God looks at us through the blood of Christ, he sees a people without any sin. What a blessed truth this is even though it comes form the mouth of a wicked prophet. How great our God is! Sing Psalter 320.
January 14 Read Numbers 24
Once again Balaam tries to earn his pay from the wicked king. Once again God thwarts his attempts to curse his beloved people. Now Balaam has not only to prophesy against Moab, but he also has to prophesy of Israel’s ultimate deliverer, the Star out of Jacob. Do we look for that Star? Do we bow before God’s scepter in our lives? There are lessons for us in these accounts of Israel’s encounters with Balak. Let us learn those lessons well as we await the day we can enter the heavenly Canaan. We will get there not by our works; by nature we are no better than Balak and Balaam. We will get there through the blood of the Star of Jacob who will come with healing in his wings. Thanks be to God! Sing Psalter 124.
January 15 Read Numbers 25
While Balaam had no spiritual wisdom, he had plenty of earthly wisdom. While we are not told this in this chapter, we find it later on in the history of Israel and in Revelation, that it was Balaam who told Balak how to get at Israel. It was he who said tell your young men and young ladies to amalgamate themselves with Israel’s young people. Cause them to sin, and God will come against them. And it happened just as he said. Parents, is this not enough for us to keep our young people from the Moabites of this day? We must do this in our homes, in our entertainment, and in their friendships. This is not easy work, but by God’s grace we can lead our young people in the right way. Israel did not, and they suffered for it. Sing Psalter 308.
January 16 Read Numbers 26
Israel had to be numbered one more time. This was the second time an accounting of the people was made for two reasons. First of all, Israel had to know that in the way of their tribal divisions, they would be given land in Canaan. Secondly, and maybe more importantly for Israel at this time, they had to see that death had taken all those except Caleb and Joshua who had left Egypt. Sin must be taken from God’s church, and it was. Let us remember that God will not be mocked; he will bring those into the heavenly Promised Land whom he has ordained. He will cleanse his church from sin. Let us walk without complaining of the way that God will lead us. Sing Psalter 246.
January 17 Read Numbers 27
The daughters of Zelophehad knew that they, too, deserved an inheritance in Canann. They deserved this not because of who they were, or what they had accomplished, but they deserved it because of God’s promise to their fathers. We have a list of those fathers in this chapter that goes back to Joseph. Their claim was recognized by God who told Moses that it was legitimate. Their claim is a picture of the claim all of God’s people have in the heavenly Canaan. Gender does not matter. Skin color does not matter. Race does not matter. Grace matters. God, by his graces, has elected men and women from every tribe and tongue to dwell with him in the New Jerusalem. What a joyous blessing this is! Sing Psalter 304.
January 18 Read Numbers 28
This chapter contains no new sacrifices. God was not going to institute a different kind of worship when Israel entered Canaan. That would not come until Christ died on the cross, and the veil was rent in the temple. Today, we must not be looking for a different way of worship other than what we find in the Bible. As the reformers of old brought the people back to “Sola Scriptura”, we must be reminded of this every Sunday. We must not look for something new until Christ comes once more and welcomes us into the heavenly kingdom. Our worship must be of God and for God each and every Sabbath Day. Sing Psalter 251.
January 19 Read Numbers 29
During the seventh month of every year, Israel was commanded to keep three feasts. On the first day of the month there was the feast of the trumpets. This feast seems to be held in anticipation of the two great feasts to come. Secondly there was the great Day of Atonement. On this day Israel was more vividly reminded of the great sacrifice to come. Finally there was the feast of the tabernacles, which was a feast of thanksgiving and joy. In addition to their daily offerings Israel had to bring some special offering to Jehovah. We, too, are called to worship. We, too, are called to bring offerings in thanksgiving for the great work of atonement wrought by Christ on the cross. Are we joyful and solemn? Sing Psalter 254.
January 20 Read Numbers 30
All vows whether made by man or woman had to be kept before God by Old Testament Israel. While we may not make as many vows as Israel did, the same calling is held before us. When we take upon us the marriage vow, we are required to keep it. We must not be as the world, and look at divorce as a “way out.” We must honor that vow every day of our lives. Another vow that we take is the vow of baptism. We make a vow to bring up our children in the fear of the Lord. This may require plenty of sacrifices on our part, but these are necessary so that we keep our vows. We also have made or will make a vow at confession of faith. This, too, should, not be a vow taken lightly. We made this vow before God and man, and we should keep it. Let us keep these solemn promises and in that way walk in the fear of Jehovah. Sing Psalter 207.
January 21 Read Numbers 31
There are three items of note in this chapter. First of all, notice the death of Balaam the false prophet. Through his instigation Israel had fallen into sins that incurred God’s wrath among them. The wicked are to be delivered up to destruction. Secondly, that sin had not been eradicated from them. They saved alive women of those Midianites. Moses was rightly angry with them. Thirdly, notice the provision for the dividing of the spoil of the battle. Israel was to be a fighting nation. These provisions would be used over and over. In those provisions was mention of the children of Levi. That provision was to be used for God’s service. We can be instructed by all three of these items. Let us learn, and let us serve God with this knowledge. Sing Psalter 253.
January 22 Read Numbers 32
Sometimes things need to be worked out in God’s church. This is the case in today’s chapter. Men from three of the tribes saw land that would fit their way of life, but when they proposed this to Moses, he became angry. But instead of rebelling, the men calmly explained to Moses what their idea was, and how they would carry it out for God’s glory and for the God of the church. Moses acceded to their plan and gave orders to those that would lead Israel into Canaan that it should be carried out. In the church we must have plans for God’s glory and the good of the church. They must be calmly arrived at and when shown to be profitable carried out. May we ask God’s blessing on our work and if it is his will that it prosper. Sing Psalter 348.
January 23 Read Numbers 33
Moses was commanded to write down an account of the journey from Egypt enumerating each stop. By doing this Israel was reminded of God’s care for them even when they rebelled against him. Then Israel was commanded to drive the people from the land that they would inhabit. God even gives to them a reason for doing so. Have we driven the wicked influences out of our lives before they become “pricks and thorns” and before they “vex” our children and us? If we do not, God gives to us the same warning that he gives to Israel. Are we heeding that warning? Sing Psalter 290.
January 24 Read Numbers 34
Can you imagine Caleb and Joshua nodding their heads as God described the land and its borders for Moses? They were the only two people left from that scouting trip forty years ago. After describing the land, God gave to his people the method that they would use to divide that land up by tribe. Each tribe and each family would have a portion in the land of promise. This method was an orderly one with Joshua, Eleazar and other princes to direct it. This process was a picture of the hope that we have for our lot in the heavenly Canaan for there is where our home is, not on this earth. Sing Psalter 291.
January 25 Read Numbers 35
Even though the Levites were not given a division in the land, they were still to be cared for. Forty-eight cities and the land around them were to be set aside for the Levites to live in when they were not doing their assigned duties in the worship of Jehovah. These cities were scattered throughout all the land so that the whole nation would have a reminder of that worship of Jehovah and the care of those who participated in those ceremonies. Of those forty-eight cities six were designated as cities of refuge. In this way God protected those who killed someone without malice. Rules were established for the administration of this provision, and those rules like all of God’s law had to be followed. Sing Psalter 137.
January 26 Read Numbers 36
We see in this account of the request of the daughters of Zelophehad that God dealt with the exceptions to the law. These exceptions were not man-made exceptions, but rather were exceptions ordained in his counsel. All of God’s people are to be cared for in his law by his church. We must use wisdom that comes from Jehovah alone to deal with exceptions. When we apply God’s law to these exceptions, we will find that he cares for each of his people in the state in which he has put them. We do not need to look for exceptions; God will show them to us and give to us the wisdom to deal with them. Sing Psalter 41.
January 27 Read Deuteronomy 1
With this book of the Bible the portion known as The Law ends. The word Deuteronomy means second law. We find in it not only a retelling of the Ten Commandments but also a repetition of other of the laws that God gave to his people. It also contains Moses’s farewell address. This first chapter reminds Israel the reason why it took them so long to be able to inherit the land. May we learn from this account to obey God at all times and to not “drag our feet” when he gives to us a direction in our lives. Sing Psalter 321.
January 28 Read Deuteronomy 2
In this accounting of the past forty years of history much of it remains unknown. Moses through God’s direction did not glorify the time during which they served the sentence pronounced upon them at Kadesh-Barnea. He reminds them that they were not to meddle in the affairs of their distant relatives unless they were provoked, as did Sihon and Og. God gave to them some of that land east of the Jordan and would certainly give to them the land west of the Jordan. May we look for the day when we are given the whole of the heavenly Canaan through the second coming of Christ. Sing Psalter 213.
January 29 Read Deuteronomy 3
After distributing to the three tribes that which they requested east of the Jordan, Moses once more begs that God would allow him to enter the promised land. God’s answer was that he must charge his successor, Joshua, to be faithful in that he was charged to do namely leading Israel into Canaan. He then was directed to go into a mountain in which God permitted him to see the land. May we take from this account of Holy Scripture to do what God has commanded us even when our personal feelings are otherwise. In this way we may be assured of the blessing of Jehovah. Sing Psalter 311.
January 30 Read Deuteronomy 4
Israel is now reminded that they are God’s chosen people. They are also reminded what a privilege that they alone have, and that it is a great privilege. They are warned from walking in the ways of idolatry like they did after Balaam showed Moab how to make them sin. We, too, must consider what a great privilege election is. We, too, must not worship idols and walk in the wicked ways of the Moabs of this world. In this way we will have the assurance of the promised rest that will be ours in the new heavens and the new earth. Sing Psalter 143.
January 31 Read Deuteronomy 5
Here we have the second telling of the decalogue. After repeating this law to Israel, Moses exhorts Israel to obey the law and all the other precepts God had given to them. In doing this, they would show their thankfulness for the goodness shown to them by Jehovah. We, too, in our keeping every part of God’s law show our thankfulness for the great salvation that was wrought for us on the cross. Instead of trying to get out of keeping that law, we should be seeking for ways to more completely keep that law until God deliver us from this earth. May this be our desire in all that we do every day of our lives. Sing Psalter 428.
February 1 Read Deuteronomy 6
Not only must Israel seek to keep God’s way, they were to teach their children about that law. We teach our children about God’s law in whatever we do on this earth. Do we teach them the Scriptures by our using them correctly? Do we do this with the school that Jehovah has so graciously given to us? We teach them no matter what we do. Our teaching has its rewards. May we seek not to burden our children with God’s law, but rather let us show to them the blessing in a true obedience to that law of God. Sing Psalter 215.
February 2 Read Deuteronomy 7
Israel was reminded that they were to utterly destroy those wicked nations who inhabited Canaan. They were to do this so that those wicked people and their practices would not wrongly influence them. They were to do this for the children’s sake. If the children were influenced by the wicked nations, they would soon turn from God’s way. This is God’s exhortation to us. We must put out of our lives the wickedness of this world. This is for not only our sakes but also, and that more importantly, for the covenant children’s sakes. In this way we will glorify God alone and teach our children to glorify him. May this be our desire throughout our lives on this earth. Sing Psalter 4.
February 3 Read Deuteronomy 8
History repeats itself is the lesson of this chapter. In this case the history is the care that God showed to his people over the past forty years. During that time they were not hungry and they did not go without good shoes and clothing. God blessed them even when they did not deserve it. Israel was to show thankfulness for such a blessing by staying away from idolatry. Do we show thankfulness in the lives that we live today for the manifold goodnesses God has shown to us? We should and we must. Sing Psalter 289.
February 4 Read Deuteronomy 9
Israel was assured of a victory over an enemy that loomed large before them. They would get this victory not because of their goodness. As a nation they had shown time after time that they did not deserve the good land that God was giving to them. They had shown this at Sinai just after getting the law. This is what Moses reminds them of. We, too, must remember that justification is by faith alone. It is not our work—not even a tiny part of it. It is by grace through faith which is the gift of God. Sing Psalter 170.
February 5 Read Deuteronomy 10
As we have seen before Moses is recounting God’s grace to his people. This is an undeserved grace as seen from the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. It was a grace that allowed them to grow from a little family of seventy souls into this large multitude that would take over the land of their inheritance from the patriarchs. This is a picture of the church, of which we are members, being given grace to inherit a land that we did not prepare. We will live for eternity in the new Canaan which, too, flows with milk and honey. Sing Psalter 367.
February 6 Read Deuteronomy 11
Over and over Israel is charged to love God with all their hearts, minds, and souls. Many may have become exasperated with Moses as he continues to repeat this refrain. But they needed to hear it. They needed to know it, and they needed to live it. This must be the refrain that must echo in our ears and in the ears of our children. They must know that they are charged to love God with all of their being. Israel was commanded to go to two mountains in Canaan and repeat all the parts of the law. We must do this as well. Of course, we do not do this literally, but figuratively we must recite and keep both the blessings and curses of God’s law. Sing Psalter 323.
February 7 Read Deuteronomy 12
Among all those laws of which Moses was reminding the children of Israel were the laws of proper worship of Jehovah. The Israelites would see many practices of worship that would seem good unto them. They only seemed good unto their flesh. These practices would not please God and were not the way that would lead them into his peace. Idolatry and all its accompanying practices are abominations to God. May we keep them from our children so that they can enjoy the good rest of God’s ways. Sing Psalter 90.
February 8 Read Deuteronomy 13
Not only were the items of idolatry and the practice of idolatry to be abhorred and destroyed, but also the persons that encouraged such practices were to be destroyed. Israel had to rid themselves of all those who would lead them astray. God’s church must do that as well. Christian discipline must be carried out in the church. In this way God’s name is hallowed and our children are protected from all which would cause them to sin. Israel could not shirk this duty, and we must not shirk it either. Sing Psalter 223.