Watching Daily At My Gates

July 6 Read Psalm 119:105-112

There are two verses to which I wish to call to your attention in this section. First of all there is verse 105. We live in a world of darkness. This darkness descended upon it at the fall. The only means by which the child of God can make his way in that darkness is with the light of God’s word-Christ himself. This is also the testimony of John 1. Secondly look at verse 111. When we think of heritages, we often think of possessions. The law is one of those possessions that has been given to us from our covenant God and handed down through the line of continued generations. Do we treat it as a treasure? If we do, it will be the joy of our heart. Sing Psalter 334.

July 7 Read Psalm 119:113-120

Do we always hate vain or empty thoughts? There are many of them around us. Some of them are offered up in the guise of fun. Others are out and out sin. We need to pray often to God that he holds us up. Those vain thoughts will weigh us down and cause us not to walk in his law. Those fears mentioned in verse 120 are the fears that keep us from sin. God’s law shows us that we must stay away from sin, or we will become like the wicked. As Solomon says, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Let us do this each and every day. Sing Psalter 335.

July 8 Read Psalm 119:121-128

As the Psalmist has been led through the way of affliction, he has learned that it is not what he must do for himself but rather what God must do for him. His only escape through every kind of trial is the law and mercy of God. These two ideas are inseparable because both are perfect. We cannot keep that law and it is only because of God’s boundless mercy that we are not consumed by our sins. Do we hate every false way? Do we make this our prayer every day? When we confess that we love God’s commandments above all else, then and only then can we have hope to hate the false way. Sing Psalter 336.

July 9 Read Psalm 119:129-136

As the Psalmist lived with those who were the church, he was distressed when he saw them breaking God’s law. Through many experiences he had learned of the value of that Word, and how it was the way that God’s people should live. Now he saw that law broken and trampled underfoot by those who had been saved by that law. What about us: are we moved to tears by the disregard of God’s law by those around us? Are we zealous that God’s law is handled even as valuable possessions are handled? Let us take comfort that God will use his law for our good and for the good of his church. Let us pray daily that God’s face shine upon us and give to us peace. Sing Psalter 337.

July 10 Read Psalm 119:137-144

One comfort, which the child of God always has, is that no matter what the situation may be, God’s commandments are delightful. As it is stated in the New Testament, God’s law is not grievous. That law, which leads us to Christ, leads us upon a path that has a glorious end. That end is not found in this valley of the shadow of death. That end is in heaven where God will be praised every day. Trouble and anguish may be our lot now, but something far more glorious will be theirs who keep God’s law. Let us pray daily for understanding that we may obtain that eternal life wrought for us by Christ. Sing Psalter 338.

July 11 Read Psalm 119:145-152

In verses 147 and 148 we have the word prevent. In this context it means to anticipate or begin before. The Psalmist here is anticipating a regular time of day, and in anticipating it, he begins his daily devotions before the usual time. We must pray and worship God privately. We do this by reading God’s Word, for in that Word are the wonders of salvation. In that word is the light that will lead us upon the path of this life. Our anticipation of this time of worship shows not only our eagerness for that Word but also our dependence on that Word as our guide. In our leaning upon that Word, we confess that Jehovah is ever near us and will help us in all our needs. His Word is sure and everlasting; of that there is no doubt. Let us worship daily and come before his throne of grace in prayer. Sing Psalter 339.

July 12 Read Psalm 119:153-160

Each of us has been given some affliction in this life. These afflictions pale when compared to the affliction that God’s Son our Savior suffered on our behalf. Our walk in his law leads us to Christ our Redeemer. We can face these afflictions and bear them because Jehovah’s tender mercies are great, and as the prophet Jeremiah said, they are “new every morning.” Even in affliction the Psalmist was grieved because sinners walked not in God’s ways. Are we so concerned about God’s word that we can forget our troubles? We must pray to be quickened by God, for in that way we will find the peace and comfort that we need. Sing Psalter 340.

July 13 Read Psalm 119:161-168

While we might say that the Psalmist is boasting in this part of the Psalm, he is not boasting of himself. He realizes that the only way that he can live is through the law of God. Therefore, what appears to be boasting of his works is admiration for the law of God that guides him in all situations. Notice verse 165. Peace is a much sought after commodity. The world wants peace and cannot find it because daily they disregard the law of God. The child of God will walk without peace when he forgets or refuses to walk in that law. May we seek the peace that is everlasting and perfect. May we do this by daily loving God’s law and living our lives out of that law. Sing Psalter 341.

July 14 Read Psalm 119:169-176

As the Psalmist closes this Psalm, he continues to utter forth words of praise and admiration for God’s law. That law is invaluable to our lives. We need to read it, study it, learn it, and use it every day. This section is also a prayer. This, too, we must do each day and often each day. We, too, must confess that we need the hand of God to help us along the twists and turns of life’s paths. Finally, once more he confesses that, because of sin, he goes astray. Do we realize this about ourselves? Are we ready to confess that we have gone astray? Let us, always, pray that God will seek us, take us from our lost condition, and set us on the right path. This is the way to true peace on this earth, and this is the way that will lead us to the coming glory. May we say every day, “O how love I thy law; it is my meditation all the day.” Sing Psalter 342.

July 15 Read Psalm 120

There are many ideas about the next 15 Psalms entitled Songs of “Degrees.” Some think these Psalms were composed to be sung as the Israelites made their way to Jerusalem or up to the temple. Others think they are post-exilic, sung by the captives as they came back and rebuilt the temple and the city. Each has its own characteristics and blessed message. Here we have a Psalmist who is in distress from those around him. Let us pray this prayer in our own distresses. We can pray this prayer because we have a heavenly Father who hears and answers prayers. Sing Psalter 343.

July 16 Read Psalm 121

This Psalm is a favorite of many. Verse 1 should really end in a question mark with the answer coming in verse 2. Our help is not in anything in God’s wonderful creation. All of those wonders only serve to point us to its Maker, our covenant God. He, who created all things, will preserve us from all that might oppose us. This Psalm is a companion of comfort to the previous one. No matter what might distress us, God will preserve us. He will do it now, tomorrow, and until eternity. May we go to him in prayer every day looking for the preservation which he has graciously afforded us. Sing Psalter 347.

July 17 Read Psalm 122

This Psalm is one that provides saints of all ages immeasurable comfort. We can rejoice to go to God’s house. In that house we will find the joy of our salvation; we will also find a comfort for all that distresses us in this life. Once we get into that house, we must pray for the peace of the whole church. We must remember each member in our prayers. When we do this, we will find peace for our own souls. In seeking our neighbor’s good we will obey the second table of the law. Let us look with joy to go to church each Sabbath that we exist on this earth. In this way we will find spiritual prosperity to soothe our souls. Sing Psalter 348.

July 18 Read Psalm 123

Are we lifting our eyes up to God in heaven, or do we keep them fixed to this earth? While we might think that we can find help in the earth, its peoples, or even ourselves, we are mistaken. Our help is in God who has created us. The Psalm looks at the servant part of our friend-servant place in his covenant. Just as earthly servants depend on their masters, so we can depend on God. The wicked do not understand that dependency, and they mock us for it. What a blessing it is that we can go to him who is full of true mercy! Sing Psalter 351.

July 19 Read Psalm 124

What a comfort it is to know that the Lord is on our side! This comforts us in any situation. Whether it is the wicked, events in creation, or our own sinfulness, we can know that our God is with us. Israel had a lot of oppression from enemies. They also had sinfulness within the nation and within themselves. This was true both before and after captivity. While most of us may not be facing overt persecution, it is there. Let us continue to bless the Lord who does great things for us. Sing Psalter 353.

July 20 Read Psalm 125

Mountains are symbols for safety the world over. The people of Jerusalem could look out at the mountains of the holy city and know that they afforded them protection. The people of Switzerland have the same feelings. But yet, Jerusalem found out, and any nation of the world today can discover that God is in control. He is the true mountain of safety for his people. Our help comes from Jehovah who made the heavens and the earth. We must pray that God will do good for us, and we can pray that prayer knowing that he will give to us peace now and for eternity. Sing Psalter 354.

July 21 Read Psalm 126

How many great things has Jehovah done for us? After we consider salvation and all its benefits, there are still many more. As the Psalm indicates, sometimes these things are begun in tears. Hard situations will become good for us by our Lord’s providential hand. Take a minute and consider all that God had done for you as an individual, but also what he has done for your family and the manifestation of the body of Christ to which you belong. Let us be glad and thank Jehovah our covenant God. Sing Psalter 357.

July 22 Read Psalm 127

Two main thoughts are found in this Psalm, and they are closely connected. First of all we see that unless all of our work is established by Jehovah God it will go for naught. This is true no matter what the work is. This is true no matter what the importance of the work is. God must bless that work, and he will only bless work that is done in accordance with his law and is pleasing to him. We must see that this is true as we go through a day, a week, a month, or a year. Let us use this principle as a guide in our daily life. Sing Psalter 359.

July 23 Read Psalm 127

The second thought in this Psalm concerns covenant children and who they are. They are his heritage and reward to us. Do we consider this as we raise a covenant family? Do we consider this as we think about raising a covenant family? Children are not planned or their birth controlled by us. Children are God’s reward to a faithful marriage established in Christ and continued in his name. Covenant children give to the parents of those children the opportunity to “work out their salvation” in them. Those children will give to the parents many opportunities to grow closer and closer to the covenant God. Jehovah builds our houses, and he alone will bless them. Sing Psalter 359.

July 24 Read Psalm 128

In this Psalm we see a theme that appears in other Psalms and in other places in God’s Word. That theme is the blessedness of fearing Jehovah. Remembering that the word blessed could also be translated happy gives to us a meaning that can carry us through any difficulties in this life. This Psalm looks at a particular aspect of the fear of Jehovah. We must fear him in our homes and in our lives in that home. Notice the rewards found in that fear. First of all we will see the covenant blessedness for many generations. But we will also see a peace in God’s church. Let us fear Jehovah, and let us live out of that fear in the homes established in and by our covenant God. Sing Psalter 360.

July 25 Read Psalm 129

Israel as a nation and as individuals faced enemies throughout their history. Whether it was heathen nations, individuals who hated God and his cause, or even those who were related to them, there were those who tried to destroy God’s people and his cause. It has been no different throughout the history of the church. Even today God’s people are afflicted. But, like Israel of old, we can say “Jehovah is righteous.” We can relay on him who will make the enemies as grass that faces a mower. Jehovah’s blessing will be upon us. Let us bless those in the church in his name who protects his people in all situations. Sing Psalter 361.

July 26 Read Psalm 130

Christians from all time periods of life have been in the depths of despair. It may be despair caused by their own sins or despair caused by the wicked around them. When in despair there is only one thing to do. We must cry unto Jehovah God. Notice the contrast in verses 3 and 4. On the once hand there are sins so great that they cannot be numbered. On the other hand there is unfathomable forgiveness. We must wait upon God even when the situation seems the darkest. There is the foundation for our hope. That foundation is mercy and redemption. We can have confidence that he will deliver us from the depths of deepest despair. Wait on Jehovah, people of God, and he will afford to us deliverance. Sing Psalter 362.

July 27 Read Psalm 131

David like all children of God did not always walk in this truth. It is so against the nature of man not to be proud. We wish to insert “I” into every sentence and every conversation. Daily we need to pray for humility of spirit. Only in this way can we truly love God and especially love our neighbor as ourselves. We need to be weaned away from the “me first” attitude. This is done only by grace. When we do this, then we can hope only in Jehovah for all things. Let quiet humility be our prayer and desire in this life. Sing Psalter 366.

July 28 Read Psalm 132:1-10

Do we have as much concern for God’s house as David did? Now it is true that the church buildings in which we worship do not have the symbolism as the tabernacle or temple and their furnishings had for Israel of old. We do not live in the age of types and shadows that those saints did. Christ has come and we must worship God “in spirit and in truth” as Jesus taught us. However, we must be concerned for the church. Not the building but the body of Christ must be our concern. Do we find rest within that body? Are we concerned about it so that we can find that rest? Sing Psalter 367.

July 29 Read Psalm 132:11-18

We continue on with this beautiful Psalm about the church, the body of Christ. God had made a promise to David that he and his descendants would remain on the throne until Christ came. Christ has come, but God still promises to his people peace in that church. He will remain in that body. He will care for all of its members from the very old to the very young, from the officebearers to the poor. All of us are comprehended under Jehovah’s covenant promise. Let us show our thanksgiving as we care for the church of Christ. Sing Psalter 368.

July 30 Read Psalm 133

For Israel of old this Psalm had much significance. For us to realize the beautiful meaning of this Psalm we must understand the pictures found within it. As each officebearer was anointed, the sweet smell of the oil that wafted over the crowd reminded them of the sweetness of the love God had given to them, and that they must show to each other. The moisture that settled from the mountains over their fields reminded them of the same thing. Do we desire that unity in the church? Do we work to keep that unity? Do we seek that unity as it is found in the Word of God? Do we seek it each week and even each day of that week? There is a blessing found in that unity. It is the blessed life in heaven united with Christ and his whole body. Let us seek that unity and its blessings. Sing Psalter 371.

July 31 Read Psalm 134

In this Psalm we are called, first of all, to bless Jehovah. We are called to speak good things about him. We must do this in our prayers both private and public, and we must do this as we engage in conversations with each other. The Psalmist calls us to do this, but he also pronounces a blessing upon God’s people. We must do this as well. We must proclaim to each other that our creator God will bless us only in the way of the church. Notice the progression from Psalm 132 to 133 to this one. Let us seek the good of the church by blessing God and seeking his blessings upon us. Sing Psalter 372.

August 1 Read Psalm 135:1-14

Here we have another Psalm of praise. There are many reasons given in this part of the Psalm why Israel and we should praise Jehovah. Notice what the first one is. Jehovah has chosen us. What a wonderful thought that is! What a precious thought that is! As we continue down life’s pathway we can know that he will care for his precious treasure. The God who is in control of all things will care for us no matter what the circumstances are. Is this not comforting? Let us praise the Lord whose name is everlasting, and let us remember him in all that we do. Sing Psalter 374.

August 2 Read Psalm 135:15-21

We might be inclined to think that the first part of this section has little meaning for us in the Western world. We might think that our brothers and sisters in the East should read this often, but all of God’s people must consider it. There is much idol worship in this land. We are prone to fall into that sin as well. Just think about the program American Idol. When we are inclined to fall into this sin, let us remember the last three verses of the Psalm. Our God is in the heavens. We must speak good things about him at all times. Finally, we are called to praise him and him alone. Sing Psalter 375.

August 3 Read Psalm 136:1-9

This Psalm is antiphonal in nature. It was used for some of the special celebrations in Jerusalem. Imagine half of the congregation on one side of the city chanting or singing the first half of the lines, and half on the other side doing the same with the second halves. Or imagine a choir of Levites doing the same thing. The verses have synthetic parallelism for the poetic effect as well. The oft repeated “for his mercy endureth for ever” gives the reason for all that is done. May we remember the great Creator’s mercy that he has shown to us. May we do this every day. Sing Psalter 376.

August 4 Read Psalm 136:10-22

History lessons are always good for God’s people. Israel needed them; that is why we have so many historical or national Psalms. Not only are these types of Psalms good for us, but they also show us the merciful loving kindness of our God in the church’s history. We, like Israel, do not deserve the least of the benefits God has bestowed upon us. God’s care for his church throughout the ages is unsurpassable. It is another picture of how limitless his grace is toward the church. Let us give thanks to the God whose mercy endures forever. Sing Psalter 377.

August 5 Read Psalm 136:23-26

As we end this Psalm whose words give to us great reason to give thanks unto Jehovah, let us contemplate the great things God has done for us. In our sins we were in a very low estate. He has not only redeemed Israel from its physical enemies, he has redeemed all his church from Satan and his hosts. He cares for us both physically and spiritually. Our God sits in the heavens reigning over all. Our sovereign God cares for each of us every day. Give thanks to him! Sing Psalter 378.