August 6 Read Psalm 137
Obviously this is a Psalm written about Israel’s captivity. It is a Psalm some would dismiss as unnecessary because of verses 7-9. But yet we should look at its words often. We are no different than Israel. We, too, deserve their fate because we walk in the same sins. We treat God as no more than an idol at times. We need to look at verses five and six frequently. God has given to us songs of praise. Do we use them? Do we prefer the church above all earthly joys? Consider also those last verses. They serve to remind us that in this world there are those who are not God’s people. We must not get too cozy with them. We need to see that our eternal home is not on this earth but in the New Jerusalem. Sing Psalter 379.
August 7 Read Psalm 138
There are a variety of thoughts in the Psalm that we should ponder. First of all we see that God is God and must be worshipped by us in the way that he has ordained. Secondly, we see that our God is great and glorious and deserves the praise of all levels of society. Next, even though our God is mighty, he cares for even the lowliest of his people. He has care for us in the highest manner. He gave his only begotten Son to die for us. For what more can we ask? Finally, we see that his mercy is towards us in all situations in this life. We will not be forsaken. Let us pray that he complete the work he has begun in us and take us to glory. Sing Psalter 381.
August 8 Read Psalm 139:1-6
What doesn’t God know about us? He has made us and watches over us each day. He knows our every thought and word. In that knowledge he knows when we need him. He knows this before we do. When we think about all of this, like David we must see that this knowledge is more than we can comprehend. We cannot be like God, and we cannot be God. Let us confess that God knows us in all that we do, and let us flee to him in all things. Sing Psalter 382.
August 9 Psalm 139:7-16
The Psalmist continues with the knowledge that God sees over his every move in this life. There is no escaping the sight of God. This should give to us a feeling of comfort, not a feeling of terror. With God knowing our every move and watching us in all places, we can be comforted that he will not let us fall. God has known us from the moment of our conception. Not only has he known us, he has ordained us from all eternity. Our place in his book is secure. No matter what happens to any of his children from the moment of that conception, the loving arms of the heavenly Father cares for them. Thanks be to God! Sing Psalter 383.
August 10 Read Psalm 139:17-24
After considering that God knows his people from conception and in any place on this earth, the Psalmist realizes that God’s thoughts are with and for those people. God’s thoughts are limitless, and they are able to care for us at all times. David also realizes that his enemies, and they were many, had no sway over him because God cared for him. We can have the same comfort as we go through life in this wicked world. David’s final wish in this Psalm is that God would search him and root out any wicked way found in him. Is this our prayer? Sing Psalter 384.
August 11 Read Psalm 140
Once again we see a Psalm of David where he pours out his thanks to God for deliverance from enemies. We know from Old Testament history that David faced many enemies from within and without. All of these enemies were instigated by Satan to try to cause David to fall so that Christ could not redeem his people. Satan works in different ways today, but his goal is still to make God’s people fall. We must pray for deliverance from all enemies of God’s cause. We must know, like David, that God is on our side and will preserve us until the end. Let us give thanks unto him knowing that we shall live with him forever. Sing Psalter 385.
August 12 Read Psalm 141
Do we pray the words of verses 3 and 4 often? We should do this daily, because we are inclined to sin in this way every day of our lives. Our mouths can get us in trouble because of what they say about both God and our neighbors. In our hearts we strive with God and with the neighbor. We must want the discipline of a friend knowing that it is God’s blessing upon us. When we pray this way and live this way, we will escape Satan’s traps. As we finish our prayers let us remember to have our eyes upon Jehovah God who will protect us throughout our pilgrimage on this earth. Sing Psalter 386.
August 13 Read Psalm 142
The Psalm’s title says that David was in a cave. It is thought that the experience that brings on this Psalm is while he is fleeing from Saul. Even though David had as many as six hundred men around him, he knows that his only refuge is in God. David wishes to be removed from this trouble so that he can join his fellow believers in praise to his God. Is this our desire? Do we look for help so that we can praise God, or are we looking out for ourselves? God has directed our paths throughout all of life. Let us look to him for our help and our refuge no matter where we are or what we are doing. Sing Psalter 387.
August 14 Read Psalm 143:1-6
David is in some difficulty as he pens this Psalm. He sees no escape from that difficulty in his own strength, and so he does what we must do when we are in difficulty. He goes to God in prayer. He asks for help on the basis of God’s faithfulness and righteousness. In doing this he realizes that his own work and experience are for nothing. He looks back on his life, he remembers that God has helped him in prior difficulties. This must be our thought as we go through trials and troubles in life. We must fall upon God’s mercies that are new every morning. He will give to us a drink of the water of life, and we will be refreshed as nothing else can refresh us. Sing Psalter 389.
August 15 Read Psalm 143:7-12
David continues his prayer in this portion of the Psalm. He asks God to hear him and show himself to him. In doing this he asked for the way that he should walk. It might not be an easy way but it is God’s way. We, like David, must ask the Great Teacher to teach us his will for us. In his will and way we will find the land of plenty and peace. In walking in that way we will live. Finally David confesses that he is God’s servant. Is this our confession? Do we acknowledge that God is the master of our life? Let us go to him for all the help that we need every day. In that way we will find the blessings of Jehovah. Sing Psalter 391.
August 16 Read Psalm 144:1-8
Throughout his life on this earth, David was bothered by enemies both within and without the nation of Israel. He learned by experience that his help had to be Jehovah. He starts off this Psalm by blessing Jehovah for such help. Like David we, too, must fight battles. While our battles are not with the physical weapons of war, we must be well versed in the spiritual weapon, the Bible. Like David we must learn that we cannot fight the battles alone. Daily we must use our Bibles and use the means of prayer to seek help from our refuge who is in heaven. God has given to mere men a great treasure in his Word. Let us know it, and let us use it each day. Sing Psalter 392.
August 17 Read Psalm 144:9-15
After realizing the source of our victories over the enemies of God and his cause, we must break forth into singing for such victories. The songs that we sing must be the songs of Zion which speak of the salvation we have from Satan and all his hosts. This salvation gives to us the quiet rest that we need to bring up children in the Lord. Those who know the joyful sound of salvation can be happy. They can be happy because their God is Jehovah of hosts. He is their covenant God, and he will help them in all of their needs. Sing Psalter 393.
August 18 Read Psalm 145:1-8
As the title indicates, this is a Psalm of praise. As David looks back over his life, he finds many reasons why he should praise Jehovah. As he looks at God’s greatness, he sees the covenant being worked out in his life. We see this in verse four. The greatest reason for praise is found in verse 8. Jehovah has been gracious toward David, and he will be gracious toward us. Even as David realizes this, we must realize that we do not deserve the least of God’s greatness to be given to us. We deserve his anger; we get his love. Should not we praise him?
August 19 Read Psalm 145:9-21
After speaking about God’s greatness toward him, David now looks at God’s attribute of goodness. We see that God in his providence cares for all of his creation. All creation joins in singing a psalm of praise to its Creator. Do we do this daily? As we ponder the beauties of the creation, whether small or large, do we praise their maker? God is not only good to us, but he also cares for us. When we fall, he sets us on our feet again. When we call unto him we can be assured that he will hear us and give us a good answer. As we consider the way of our life, let us turn to Jehovah in praise for all that he has done for us.
August 20 Read Psalm 146
As we make our way toward the final doxology, we come to another song of praise. The first and last sentences could be written: Hallelujah. We praise him, first of all, because there is no one else who deserves such praise. No one on this earth has done enough for us to deserve the praise that our God does. Look back at the list of all that God does for his people on this earth. He cares for all classes of them. Not one elect person, no matter what their state is on this earth, escapes his love and attention. These are no strangers to God. He loves them. We can trust him because he does and will reign forever. Let us join his people constantly praising Jehovah!
August 21 Read Psalm 147:1-11
When we doubt the wisdom of singing the Psalms of Zion, we need to go back and reread verse one. Singing those words is a beautiful practice. While the church may not agree which Psalter to sing, those who are faithful Psalm singers do agree on the practice’s value. We sing those songs because they tell about our wonderful God who alone does wonderful things. He is an awesome God in that, for example, he alone is able to know the number of the stars. But he is not limited; from knowing the number of stars, we also have a God who cares for the lowliest of his people. He, by his providence, cares for his creation. We must fear him, for in that way he takes pleasure in us.
August 22 Read Psalm 147:12-20
In this portion of the Psalm the church is specifically called to praise God. As we have looked in nature around us, we have seen many signs of his power. Floods have covered the earth from Australia to Missouri. Storms have ravaged towns throughout the United States. Earthquakes have reminded us that Christ is returning. As the seasons cycle from year to year, we remember who our God is. He is not everyone’s God. That is clearly seen in this Psalm. He is the God of a specially chosen people. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
August 23 Read Psalm 148:1-6
As we come to the close of this book of praises, we see God inspiring one of Israel’s poets to write this grand doxology of praise. In calling on these parts of creation to praise Jehovah, the Psalmist reiterates God’s greatness. Praise begins with the angels in heaven. Those creatures who are called upon to serve God are called to praise him. Once again we see evidence of the very truth of creation. Creation is not a myth; evolution is Satan’s lie concocted to sway the believer. What a great comfort it is to know that God’s decree concerning this world and his church will not fail! Hallelujah!
August 24 Read Psalm 148:7-14
Not only the angels and the created lights of heaven are called to praise God, those created earthly beings are given the same command. After going through the list of those who are called to sing the grand hallelujah, God inspires the Psalmist to call upon men of all stations in this life to praise him. Why are we to praise him? First of all we are to praise him because his name is above all names. More importantly, we are to praise him because he alone is the Redeemer of his people. This is the meaning of verse 14. Christ is the horn, the salvation, of his people. Let his name be praised because he is God.
August 25 Read Psalm 149
Every time we receive mercies from our heavenly Father, it is fitting that we sing a song of praise to him. We see this idea throughout Scripture culminating in the new song that we will sing in heaven as the whole choir of the elect is finally brought together after Christ’s return. We praise him because he takes pleasure in us to whom he has given salvation. This Psalm also speaks of the destruction of the reprobate. You cannot have one without the other. Christ’s return will bring heavenly glory to the elect and eternal desolation to the reprobate. What should our response be? Hallelujah!
August 26 Read Psalm 150
It does not matter to us who wrote this final Psalm. It is a Psalm of God calling us to praise him. It begins with the call to praise God in his sanctuary, that is, the place where he dwells with his people. In the Old Testament that was the temple. For us it is the place where we gather with fellow believers on his day to commemorate the mightiest of all acts—our salvation wrought by him alone. In our worship we are called to bring all parts of that worship to praise him. Man is not to be praised in God’s worship; God is! Let us praise him for his greatness which he has graciously extended to us who are nothing. Praise ye Jehovah!
August 27 Read Genesis 1
Genesis is the book of beginnings. In fact, the meaning of the word is beginning. In this chapter we see a description of the creation of all things. All things were created by God by the word of his mouth. All things from the minutest atomic particle to the largest object in the universe were brought into being when God called them. This is the belief that God’s people have had from the beginning. Scripture is sprinkled with that belief. The confessions extol that belief. Is it yours? After God created all things, he pronounced them very good. God has given to us a good creation. Let us use it aright. Sing Psalter 287.
August 28 Read Genesis 2
Genesis 2 not only recaps the events of Genesis 1, but it also gives to us more information about the crown of creation—man. Man is the crown. Creation was made for us so that we can glorify God with it. Is this our goal in life? Is this how we view creation? Is this how we view our creation? This chapter also gives to us the institution of marriage. God ordained this solemn vow between one man and one woman. That is the only way that marriage can be viewed in order that God may be glorified. Unions between those of the same gender are not marriages and are certainly not God-glorifing. Neither does the God of marriage sanctify unions between those who have a living spouse. Let us keep our vows made at marriage, and let us marry in the Lord. Sing Psalter 14.
August 29 Read Genesis 3
We move from the beauty of the creation story to the ugliness of sin to the beauty of the promised redemption. Adam and Eve lived in the garden until they committed the original sin. With that sin the beauty of the garden which was a picture of heaven was marred. Man also was plunged into despair. God did not leave him in despair. In verse 15 God promised a savior who would crush the head of Satan and bring his people to salvation. As we live in this life fouled by sin, let us look to Christ the author and finisher of our faith and salvation. Sing Psalter 83.
August 30 Read Genesis 4
In this book of beginnings we see the beginning of the strife between the seed of the woman and the seed of Satan. Not only does Cain kill Abel, but he also ushers in the antichristian warfare that will continue until Christ returns. After we read of the martyrdom of Abel, we are told of Cain’s line with all its inventions and wickedness. In the last verse we are told of Abel’s replacement, Seth, and the beginning of public worship. Are we fighting the fight of faith, meeting our God in worship, and looking for the return of Christ? Sing Psalter 99.
August 31 Read Genesis 5
Throughout the Old Testament we come upon these chapters which are a list of names. We tend to read through them quickly or to skip them all together. There is a time for that practice, but there is also a time for the practice of examining the list for the nuggets found within those lists. In this list we see the line of Seth. In yesterday’s chapter we saw the line of Cain. That line was filled with sinners and boasters. This line also contains sinners but it contains those saved by grace. Examine the nuggets found in verses 24 and 29. What more do we sinners need? Sing Psalter 69.
September 1 Read Genesis 6
When God’s sons and daughters marry the sons and daughters of Satan, quite often monsters of sin are created. Now this is not always the case, but the truth of the first sentence is found in this chapter. Out of the world of sin and corruption was found Noah, a man who found grace in God’s eyes. This was definitely not Noah’s doing; this finding of grace was only by grace which is the gift of God. That grace allowed Noah the strength to build an ark when there had been no rain. It allowed him to raise a covenant family in the midst of the wickedness around him. It also gave him strength to prepare for the catastrophe that would change the world and prove to be a precursor to the final catastrophe. These are only catastrophes in the world’s eyes; for God’s people they are the way to salvation and eternal life in heaven. Sing Psalter 285.
September 2 Read Genesis 7
In this chapter we have an account of destruction and grace. First of all, we must notice God’s hand in the whole chapter just as we must notice God’s hand in all of our life. God brought the animals to Noah. God shut Noah, his family, and the animals into the ark so that they could not be harmed by the catastrophic happenings outside of its doors. God brought the waters from all parts of his creation to inundate the world and destroy all but eight of its inhabitants. It was by God’s grace that the church was preserved. It is by God’s grace that we are preserved until Christ comes for us either through death or through the final destruction. Sing Psalter 211.
September 3 Read Genesis 8
Yesterday we saw that it was all God’s doing in the preservation of the church and the destruction of the world and its wicked inhabitants. Notice verse one of today’s chapter: “And God remembered….” God was not finished with Noah’s education as yet. He had to wait for many months until the world was ready for habitation once more. God could have made it ready much quicker but he did not. After Noah steps on dry land, he takes some of his precious clean animals and offers them for a sacrifice to God. This, too, was by grace, and God accepted that sacrifice and made the promise never to completely destroy the world by a flood again. When we see devastating floods, we must be reminded of this promise, and know that by grace God will always protect his church. Sing Psalter 378.
September 4 Read Genesis 9
Here we have another “And God….” This one is “And God blessed Noah and his sons….” After saving them and remembering them, now he blesses them. In this blessing is comprehended not only Noah but also the church of all ages. We see this in the sign of the rainbow as it shines brilliantly all over the earth when God dictates through the proper weather conditions. We also see this wonderful blessing in the covenant promises also given in this chapter. In contrast to the beautiful rainbow is the ugly reminder that sin is still present in this world. Let us look forward to the final cleansing of the world when God and his Son will make a new heavens and new earth not tainted with the ugliness of sin. Sing Psalter 241.
September 5 Read Genesis 10
Here we have another list of names in Scripture. Did you catch the reference to most of us? If not, look again at verse 5. In verses 8-10 we see a precursor to the next significant event in the history of the battle between the forces of Satan and the forces of God. Nimrod was more than a great hunter. He was a political leader who set up a political body that would oppose God. In this history of Noah’s sons we see the beginnings of world history throughout the ages. This history would contain many battles between the forces of Christ and the forces of antichrist. Are we fighting this battle? Sing Psalter 206.
September 6 Read Genesis 11
In the first part of this chapter, we find the carrying out of the building of the Tower of Babel. Even though God stymied Satan’s attempt this time, Satan has continued building various towers of Babels throughout history. The confusion of languages has been overcome through the many means of communication that we have today. Satan will use the present technology to gather his forces together to attack the children of God on this earth. But we need not fear. In the end of the chapter we see the beginnings of the line of the covenant of which we are a part. Thanks be to God! Sing Psalter 425.
September 7 Read Genesis 12
We move from the account of Noah to the account of Abraham. First of all we see obedience. God told Abraham to leave the land of his birth, his relatives, and all that were familiar to go to a strange land. He obeyed; would we? As he leaves, he is given a rich blessing. In fact he is given the richest blessing. He is given the promise that Christ would be born in his generations. When he comes to that land, he worships his God. Are we willing to worship God in a strange place among a people who care little for the things of Jehovah? Abraham also shows that he is in need of a Savior when he leaves the Promised Land and goes to Egypt. Let us learn from this history how we must live in this world until we reach the Promised Land. Sing Psalter 218.
September 8 Read Genesis 13
Each chapter of this portion of Scriptures is a building block for the formation of the nation of Israel, the Old Testament church. In each chapter we can and must learn how we must live in obedience to God. We must not be like Lot and move away from the body of Christ even when we think we would gain from such a move. We must stay or move to the place where we can build an altar and worship God as he has commanded us. God’s promises are sure; let us be patient until he carries them out. Sing Psalter 245.
September 9 Read Genesis 14
Here in the account of Lot’s capture and rescue, Abraham and we are afforded a little insight into Christ’s identity. Lot is chastised for his abandonment of fellowship with the people of God. But he is not forgotten and Abraham rescues him by doing battle with his captors. Abraham then shows his allegiance to God by refusing to take spoils from the kings that he helped. In meeting Melchizedek he is blessed by God. As we know from the books of Psalms and Hebrews, Melchizedek is a type of Christ provided for our instruction. May we seek the priest-king who saves us from all our sins. Sing Psalter 302.
September 10 Read Genesis 15
Once again God shows to Abraham the truth of the covenant which he has promised to give him and his seed. Humanly it was hard, well nigh impossible, for Abraham to comprehend this truth. He was seemingly beyond the age at which childbearing was possible. Yet God showed to him the stars as a picture of the seed which would be his. Abraham believed by faith—not his faith, but the faith given to him by the covenant God. The picture at the end of the chapter is again not only for Abraham’s instruction, but also for our instruction that we may learn about our covenant God and our Savior Christ Jesus. Sing Psalter 65.
September 11 Read Genesis 16
Here we find Sarah guilty of running ahead of God. Her motive was good, we might think. After all she wanted the seed promised to her. Her method, while approved by the world in which she lived, was not approved by God. We are no different. When we want a certain thing to come to pass, sometimes we run ahead of God to get what we want. We, too, might be guilty of the sin of using methods not approved by the sovereign God. Motive is not the key; obedience is. When we run ahead of God, we find ourselves in Sarah’s predicament. Let us be patient and wait for God’s will to be carried out by him in his time. Sing Psalter 27.
September 12 Read Genesis 17
In this chapter God repeats his covenant promise to Abraham. He also gives the Old Testament sign of that covenant in circumcision, the forerunner to baptism. Notice verse one. Abraham is commanded to walk before God and to be perfect. It is not a condition to the covenant promise which follows in verse 2; it is truly a command. It is a command to us as well. We must walk before God and keep his commandments. God also reveals to Abraham and Sarah that Isaac will be born in the next year. To believe all of this takes faith. May we pray daily to have the faith to cleave unto the promises of God that he has given to us in his word. Sing Psalter 7.
September 13 Read Genesis 18
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Notice the use of God’s covenant name Jehovah in this text. As the Old Testament Christ and two other angels visit Abraham, he is reminded of those covenant promises that God has told to him even when he was in his hometown of Ur. Abraham shows himself to be hospitable to these strangers who appear to him one afternoon. They remind him of the promise of a child. Then Abraham is told of Sodom’s looming destruction. Lot would be caught up in that destruction, and so Abraham successfully pleads for the life of his nephew. Are we praying for those of our family caught up in sin? Remember, nothing is too hard for the Lord. Sing Psalter 208.
September 14 Read Genesis 19
Sometimes in Scripture it is hard for us to understand God’s ways. Chapter 19 is one of those chapters. Sure, we understand that Sodom and Gomorrah needed destruction. We can understand Lot’s wife’s demise as she showed that she loved the wickedness of Sodom more than the obedience of God’s command. We might even say that Lot deserved his problems for moving away from the church. But then we have the ugly end to the chapter. In the New Testament Lot is called righteous. We are prone to say, “How can that be?” But then we must remember God’s ways are just. We, too, deserve the end of the wicked of Sodom and Gomorrah. Thanks be to God for the gift of his son, our Savior. Sing Psalter 253.
September 15 Read Genesis 20
Abraham had a besetting sin of not trusting God when it came to difficulties. This happened when he went to Egypt to escape a famine. This happened when he took Hagar to be his wife. And now we see it happening again. This time, like the time in Egypt, God uses someone to chastise Abraham and set him on the right path. Abimelech must rebuke Abraham for the troubles caused to his people. Sometimes this happens to us. We must be careful to live lives above reproach so that God’s name is not blasphemed by those around us. Let us trust in God to care for us in all manners of adversity. Sing Psalter 347.
September 16 Read Genesis 21
God is faithful; of that there is no doubt. First of all in this chapter we see his faithfulness as he fulfills the promise to Abraham and Sarah to give to them a son. Isaac is the seed for which they looked for many years. He was the seed in which God’s covenant to them would be fulfilled. He was the seed through which Christ would be born and our salvation realized. Right away Satan protests through the mocking of Ishmael. Abraham has to do what we have to do; keep the church separate from the seed of the serpent. The world also sees this fulfillment, as Abimelech desires a covenant of peace. May we look to our faithful covenant God who keeps his covenant with us. Sing Psalter 168.
September 17 Read Genesis 22
God led Abraham from gladness to a trial of his faith. Think of that three-day journey as Isaac talked with his father as any son would. Abraham’s mind was on the end of that journey. And then think of that climb up Mt. Moriah when Isaac asked the question, “Where is the lamb?” Think of Abraham’s wonderful answer, “God will provide.” Is this our faith day by day? Do we have faith that God will provide for us in any difficulty? God did provide for Abraham and Isaac. In that ram, caught in the thicket, was the picture for us. God provided his own Son for us that we may appear before him without spot. What a blessed day that will be! Sing Psalter 358.
September 18 Read Genesis 23
Is there anything harder than laying a loved one in the grave? There is if you are not a child of God. Those who are not accounted for in God’s covenant have no hope as they stand by the grave of a loved one. God’s people look at death as the passageway to glory. We can be assured that our loved ones’ deaths are just a beginning of an eternal glory in heaven. That was Abraham’s hope as he bargained for that cave which would be the final earthly resting-place for several Old Testament saints. Let us go to the grave in the hope of the resurrection. Sing Psalter 33.
September 19 Read Genesis 24
Are we as careful about marriage for our children as Abraham was? Do we see the seriousness of whom they marry? Or do we leave it to “chance” that every thing will turn out all right? Abraham did not do that. He was careful that the promised seed would have a wife who loved God. He also was careful that his son would live where God had commanded them to live. Is this our desire? Do we instruct our young people in this aspect of marriage? Let us follow Abraham’s example for the good of our children and God’s church. Psalter 360.
September 20 Read Genesis 25
We have in this chapter two of life’s most touching events: death and birth. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” That is the truth expressed as Abraham dies and is buried by his children. He is buried in the land of promise, the picture of the place of glory, heaven. Do we remember this as a loved one leaves this life and goes to glory? Are our tears dried by the hope of life in heaven? The contrasting scene is the birth of a covenant child. Even though Rebekah knew that God did not love Esau, she had the hope of the promise in Jacob. While we do not know the eternal destiny of our little ones, we have the beautiful covenant promise to sustain them as we work to bring them up in the fear of his name. Sing Psalter 359.
September 21 Read Genesis 26
God knows what is good for his people. When Isaac attempted to leave Israel to escape a famine, God stopped him. God knew that it would not be good for Isaac to go to Egypt. As we go through this life we must be confident in God’s leading. We must neither run ahead of God nor think that we are wiser than God is. Even when Isaac resorts to his father’s trickery in Philistia, God was watching over him and turns his problems into good for him. Esau could not see this, as God’s grace was not in him. His choice of wives shows this. Let us walk in God’s ways in our pilgrimage on this earth. Sing Psalter 312.
September 22 Read Genesis 27
There is much to be learned from this familiar chapter of Scripture. First of all the truth of “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,” is borne out most clearly. Secondly we see that God’s people have weaknesses. Isaac tries to put his favorite over God’s choice. Do we fall into this pit on occasion? Rebekah tries to use earthly means to gain God’s blessings. We, like her, will be sorely disappointed by the outcome of using our strength instead of faith in God. Never would she see her beloved son again. We must trust in God to give us what is good for us each step on our pathway of life. Sing Psalter 63.
September 23 Read Genesis 28
Notice the contrasting scene in verses 7 and 8. Esau’s rebelliousness is contrasted with Jacob’s obedience. Esau in his wickedness falls further and further into sin. Jacob, on the other hand, is blessed by God himself at Bethel. He is given a vision into the house of God and the way into that house. It would not be by his strength that he would come back to Canaan, though he would try to do it his way. It would be by God’s grace alone that he would come back to the place where he saw Jehovah. Let us seek God’s blessing in Bethel, House of God. Sing Psalter 65.
September 24 Read Genesis 29
As we read through the various events of Jacob’s life, we see that he constantly wants to take things into his own hands. We might think he would have learned from his mother’s trying to manipulate Isaac so that he could obtain the blessing. We are no different. Quite often we think that we know better than God. This is a serious error, and there are serious consequences which come from it. By not being content with the wife God gave him, Jacob would have to endure much hardship in his family. While we might want to say, “It was Laban’s fault,” we must always remember that God is sovereign. Sing Psalter 106.
September 25 Read Genesis 30
Jacob’s troubles continue as his wives vie for his affection and compete to bear him sons. Jacob knows what is right. That we see from verse 2. Out of all of this, however, we see God building his church. From Jacob’s sons would come the twelve tribes that would make up Israel. From one of those sons, Judah, would come the Christ child. The events of the last part of the chapter would soon precipitate Jacob’s leaving Laban’s house and returning to Canaan, the land of the promise. Sing Psalter 237.
September 26 Read Genesis 31
While the circumstances of Jacob’s leaving are far from happy and far from being without sin, they bring forth a beautiful word for the child of God. That word is Mizpah. That word means “The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” Is not there more feeling in Mizpah than in just a simple goodbye? Think about all the times that we leave our loved ones. Do we pray that God will watch over us as we are apart from them? Even a simple trip to a store may turn out differently than we expect. We must always remember that God’s ways are best, and that he is sovereign over all parts of our lives. Sing Psalter 204.
September 27 Read Genesis 32
Trying to live our lives in our own strength means that we will spend a lot of time wrestling with God. In a nutshell that is Jacob’s life. From the time he grabbed Esau’s heel to the time he made elaborate plans to escape from Esau’s wrath, he tried to run ahead of God. We must avoid this temptation at all costs. It does not matter what our age is; we must see God’s love for us in whatever way he leads us. Jacob finally learned, and was named Israel—God’s prince. Sometimes God gives to us a daily reminder of our futility, just as he gave to Jacob a limp that would last the rest of his life. We need to pray for help so that we may avoid trying to live in our own strength. Sing Psalter 159.
September 28 Read Genesis 33
There are times that Satan will come to the child of God and pretend that he is acting in the child of God’s best interest. We see that here. Esau did not love his brother. He still held the theft of the birthright against Jacob. His “good” offer was not good at all. Jacob realized that and did not go along with Esau’s plan. Jacob continued to Canaan. When he reached it, he offered to God on an altar named God the God of Israel. We must be vigilant when the world offers to “help” us. As Solomon in Proverbs states, “The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” May God be our God all the time that we spend on this earth. Sing Psalter 271.
September 29 Read Genesis 34
Because Jacob did not go back to Bethel as God commanded him, he had to endure the sad and shameful events of this chapter. Obedience to God is the way we must walk in this life. Notice how verse 1 starts. Dinah goes out to see the daughters of the land. Our covenant seed are tempted through many types of media to see the world and its young people. They can be taken in by the wiles of Satan in this way. We must help our young people see the evil around them, and we must often forbid them to see the daughters of the land. This is not an easy task, but it is our calling as we rear covenant children in God’s name. Sing Psalter 106.
September 30 Read Genesis 35
In order to go to Bethel, Jacob had to rid his family of idol worship. Do we do this? As we prepare to go to church, are all forms of idolatry removed from our lives? We must do this weekly, even daily. Then we can worship God in the way that he has commanded. We also see in this chapter the birth of Jacob’s final son. The church fathers are now complete. The church of the old dispensation will grow from those twelve sons. Two deaths are also recorded. The church militant is marked by births and deaths. Happy will be the day when all of God’s elect are gathered in the house of God in heaven. Sing Psalter 140.
October 1 Read Genesis 36
We may wonder why God uses an entire chapter to show us the descendants of he who typifies the reprobate. I think, first of all, that this is so we see that the reprobate seed develops right along with the elect seed. Even as Jacob’s children bore children, so did Esau’s. This teaching is brought forth in Christ’s parable of the wheat and the tares. Secondly, we see that Satan will not give up in his fight to stop the birth of Christ. Later on he will use Esau’s wicked seed to persecute the church. We must mark those who are against the cause of Christ and have no fellowship with them. Sing Psalter 300.
October 2 Read Genesis 37
Long before the Heidelberg Catechism was written, Joseph experienced the truth of LD 1: “What is my only comfort in life and in death?” His brothers hated him as the son of Rachel who became more godly than they. His father favored him, which gave to him more grief with his brothers. Now he was taken and sold into a land far away. A land where it appeared that God was not present. Yet, as we know from further chapters, Joseph felt the comfort of Jehovah. We must remember the words of this question and answer wherever we are. By remembering them we can have a peace that passes understanding. Sing Psalter 187.
October 3 Read Genesis 38
Similar to a chapter full of names, we might be inclined to skip over this chapter which may bring embarrassment to us as we read it out loud. But as we saw with Noah’s family after the flood, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, sin had not been eradicated from the church and the world. Out of this ugly chapter of sin shines the brilliant light of God’s grace. If we trace the history of this particular family, we will come to our Savior, Jesus Christ. We may not sin that grace may abound, but grace abounds in spite of sin. Sing Psalter 198.
October 4 Read Genesis 39
Young people, do you ever think that God cannot see you? We could ask this question of any age group. Joseph knew that God could see him even in Egypt. He knew that to sin in the matter of his master’s wife, was to sin against his master and especially against God. God had given to Joseph a faith that allowed him to withstand Satan’s wiles. Even when it landed him on what may have been death’s row, he remained strong in the faith. Just as grace shone through yesterday’s chapter, so it shines brilliantly in this one as well. Be strong in the faith, people of God, and flee sin. Sing Psalter 24.
October 5 Read Genesis 40
God teaches his people patience. We need to learn to wait on him. After Joseph was unjustly put in prison, it seemed that God was making a way for him to get out. He was, not in Joseph’s time but in his. After Joseph, with God’s help, successfully interpreted the dream, he remained in prison for two more years. Are we patient and wait for God’s ways? God’s ways are always best. “All things work together for good to them that love God,” are the words of Romans 8:28. That chapter also talks about hope and patience. Let us pray for that patience as we walk through this life. Sing Psalter 107.