Watching Daily At My Gates

February 20 Read II Peter 1:1-7

Peter’s second epistle begins with a salutation that again shows that we are saved only by virtue of being called by God and washed in the blood of Christ. Because of this outstanding fact we are called to live a life of thankfulness. This is always the application made after partaking of the Lord’s Supper. This life of thankfulness is outlined in verses five through eight. Take time to look at each of the works of the Spirit found there. Even though Peter does not call them works of the Spirit as Paul did, that is obviously what they are, for we cannot do them of ourselves. If we walk in each of them, we will find that we will live a life of contentment pleasing to our God. This is the life of thankfulness that is required of us. Each of us whether we are old or young must do this. This is how we let our light shine in this dark and sin-filled world. Sing Psalter 287.

February 21 Read II Peter 1:8-15

Notice the word “but” which begins verse 9 in this section of II Peter. From the beautiful spiritual attributes that begin the chapter, we go to spiritual blindness. This shows to us that a right walk is important. Not, of course, to gain salvation, but to walk in the assurance of that salvation. That is the meaning of verse ten. Preservation of the saints is the petal of tulip that is important here. We have a certain way of living on this earth that is necessary. As Paul stated in Romans, we may not “sin that grace may abound.” We must live a life sanctified by the Holy Spirit. A life that is worthy of one who waits to enter into the glorious kingdom which is ours. This is Peter’s desire for the saints then, and it is the desire of every parent and elder today. Sing Psalter 384.

February 22 Read II Peter 1:16-21

The church of Peter’s day was told of Peter being an eyewitness of Christ. Peter said that that was good, but there was something better. That something better is what we have. We have the Scriptures. Those Scriptures are a more sure word. For us today this is a great comfort. We can turn to the Bible, read it, and know that it contains messages of joy and hope for God’s people. No matter what state or condition we are in, the Bible will show us the way. Witness the number of people who are in the hospital, who want to have a Bible with them. When you see a well-worn Bible at someone’s side, you know that they have the ultimate comfort. That Bible does not become well worn by itself. It becomes well worn when the Holy Spirit who inspired it directs us to read it, and read it, and read it some more. Know your Bible, love your Bible, use your Bible. I can give you no other excellent counsel. Sing Psalter 334.

February 23 Read II Peter 2:1-6

From the bright spot of chapter one comes this dark cloud. We see the change by the little word “but” which begins the chapter. Yes, we have good ministers, yes, we have the Word; yes, we have many advantages, but Satan will have his attempt at destroying God’s people. Like a country bent on destroying its rival, he will stop at nothing to cause God’s people to fall into sin. We must identify that enemy and fight against him in our lives. We must see that it does not matter what his “smooth” words may be, God will bring him to destruction. An ungodly life has its reward. We must flee from such a life, and live a life of sanctification. It does not matter what stage of life we are in, we must live that life. God will not be mocked; he will punish those who walk in an evil way. Sing Psalter 332.

February 24 Read II Peter 2:7-9

The above bright spot in II Peter 2 is really not so bright. First of all we see that Lot was not living where he belonged. Do you remember your Old Testament history? Secondly he continued to live there even, as we see above, when he knew he should get out. Finally he had to be pushed out losing most of his family in the process. But this, too, is all of grace. By grace Lot was delivered from all kinds of temptations. Peter knew this by example, and each of us knows that as well. We must be careful about where we walk in the world. We must be careful with whom we associate. God will not leave us in temptation, he will deliver us from those temptations, but sometime it will be with frightening results. Be thankful for such grace, and live a life that shows that thankfulness. Sing Psalter 202.

February 25 Read II Peter 2:10-17

We may wonder why Peter begins speaking of evildoers even as he is bringing comfort to God’s people. The reason is that these are the kind of people we will be encountering in the last days. These are the kind of people who will be oppressing us. We must not fall for any of their guile. Neither their smooth talking nor their contentiousness must take us in. In fact the time will come when we must ignore them. We cannot argue with them on their terms, and they will not allow us to use God’s word. We must strengthen ourselves in the knowledge of the Word and in God’s precious promises. Right now we are in the practice portion of this fight. The real fight is coming. Sing Psalter 392:1-3.

February 26 Read II Peter 2:17-22

While this is a stern condemnation to those who turn from the truth, it is a sobering thought for us to consider. By God’s grace we have been brought into his marvelous light. By his grace we can continue in that light. For us to turn from that grace, if it were possible, would be a horrible thing. But yet sometimes that is the way that we walk. We can hear the most beautiful sermon and agree with the truths brought forth, and then live a most vile life. We must daily and sometimes even hourly pray that God not take his grace from us, but rather make us more and more aware of that grace. We must daily pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Sing Psalter 392:4-6.

February 27 Read II Peter 3:1-4

After warning the church of those evil persons that inhabit the world, and also warning them to beware of falling into the same sin, Peter then turns to the idea of the end of time. The two thoughts are related. As the days march on, evil will grow. And that evil will attack the church. They will poke fun of the church. Much of this “poking fun” will come from those who have knowledge of doctrine. Their first attack will be on the certainty of Christ’s return. They will say that we live in a dream world thinking that Christ is coming back. We must recognize them for what they are-scoffers! And then we must turn to our Father in prayer and watch and wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is coming. Of that there is no doubt. Sing Psalter 28.

February 28 Read II Peter 3:5-12

There are two ideas that could hold our attention. The first is that of the destruction of creation. We will treat that tomorrow. The second is verse nine. Many in the church world misrepresent the meaning of that verse. They say that God will give all man a second chance to repent because he does not want any to perish. The verse does not say that. Rather the verse says that God does not want any of us—his people—to perish. To us he is longsuffering. He does not have to be longsuffering. It is only of his grace that he is. Because he is longsuffering, we should walk in a walk of sanctification. God is God. We should not try to apply man’s attributes of any kind to him. His mercy is great, and by that mercy we have been saved. Let us give daily thanks for that and show that in our daily walk. Sing Psalter 166.

March 1 Read II Peter 3:13-18

As we finish this epistle, there are a few things to be noticed. First of all, after the destruction of the earth that is only a destruction of things of this earth; it is not annihilation, there will be a new heaven and a new earth recreated out of the stuff of the old earth. Think of the world after the flood. Secondly, Peter reminds us to be diligent in the walk of sanctification even though there will be many temptations. Finally there is a beautiful doxology which is also a command. We must grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Savior. This means that in our walk of sanctification we must be busy with our Bibles. We must wear them out looking for that which he has given to us as an inheritance. Let God be glorified in our walk on this earth and we will be ready for the new heaven and the new earth. Sing Psalter 375.

March 2 Read Micah 1:1-5

The setting of this word of prophecy was in dark times in Judah. While they may have had prosperity in earthly matters, spiritually things were at a low. Even during the reformation of Hezekiah’s time many people ignored Jehovah. From the kings listed in verse 1 we see that Micah was Isaiah’s contemporary. From the words of verses two through five we see God’s justice shining forth. God is daily in his holy temple looking down upon us. What does he see? A people living in sin or in obedience to his ways? To this we must answer each day and when we come before him in heaven. He will come. Will we be ready? Think of Psalter 392. Sing Psalter 392.

March 3 Read Micah 1:6-10

The prophet continues with his words against Judah and Israel because of her past sins. This section is aimed mainly at Israel. You will notice some familiar images here. Notice verse ten. These words come from David’s mourning at the time of Saul’s death. David was worried about God’s church. The prophet is as well. During this time in history, Israel was making noises about overcoming Judah. There were times that she even attacked them. God’s church is often under fire from those who once were part of that church. However, they, like Israel, were part of the church institute; they will not be present with the church triumphant. But there is hope. That we will find as the prophecy unfolds. Sing Psalter 34:1-5.

March 4 Read Micah 1:11-16

There is much history recounted in these verses. If we would research each of these towns carefully we would learn of Judah’s plight and the cause of it. In short, Judah’s plight was attacks by Syria. In short, the cause was her sins. Notice verse twelve. Sometimes we say that “bad” things do not come from God. Verse twelve states the opposite in no uncertain terms. The last verse of this section tells Israel to mourn. Only in that way will she receive forgiveness and deliverance. Do we mourn our sin? We should and we must. Sing Psalter 34:6-10.

March 5 Read Micah 2:1-5

The prophet pronounces woe upon those in Judah who sin against their neighbors. This is just not a casual sin; it is premeditated. Micah prophesies of the captivity to come. For the sin of taking someone’s possessions, their possessions would be taken away. And then in the fifth verse, he tells us that they would not return from that captivity with the repentant. There is much here for our instruction. First of all, we must not be covetousness. Secondly, we must truly love our neighbors as ourselves. Finally, when we fall into sin, we must repent. These words are as applicable to us today as they were in Micah’s day. Sing Psalter 379.

March 6 Read Micah 2:6-13

Here we have in a nutshell Israel’s and Judah’s punishment and deliverance. In verse six we see their sin. They rejected God’s word. In verse nine we see the punishment. In verse twelve we see the deliverance. What about us? What do we say about God’s Word? Do we ignore the admonitions of elders and ministers? Do we look for Christ as the one who will break us out of this world of sin? While we know what the goal (heaven) is, do we live a life worthy of reaching that goal? Or do we like Israel of old reject that goal and live a life that is pleasing only to us? If we do, we cannot expect the good things. It is only by grace that we, like Israel, will be redeemed. Sing Psalter 339.

March 7 Read Micah 3:1-7

In these verses we see not only the necessity of office bearers to behave themselves in their offices, but also of all people of God who occupy the office of believer. God has entrusted us with a great office. How will we use it? None of us may say that we have nothing. Each of us has at least one talent in the church of God. What will he say to us at the end of our lives? If we do not use that talent well, he will not answer us when we pray. Even the young people in the church are part of that office. What are you doing with your talent? Sing Psalter 223.

March 8 Read Micah 3:8-12

In contrast to the false prophets, Micah declares that God sends him with the power of the Holy Spirit. In that power he proclaims the judgment of God upon first of all the leaders of Israel and by association the people of Judah. The judgment is not nice. Their beloved Jerusalem will be destroyed. The temple that they profaned will be smashed. There will be nothing for them, and they will be taken into captivity. This is a warning to us as well. When we do not walk in God’s ways, judgment will be brought upon us. God is not pleased when we do not walk in his ways. He will not hear us when we pray. These Old Testament prophecies are for our instruction. We must hear them, and say “Thus saith the Lord.” Then we must pray in repentance for forgiveness. “Is there no hope?” we may say. The hope is coming. The hope is Christ. Sing Psalter 352.

March 9 Read Micah 4:1-5

This is a beautiful part of Scripture. It is one that we can reread and gain more and more understanding each time that we read it. Micah not only looks ahead to Judah’s restoration after the captivity, but he also looks ahead unto Christ’s final coming. We see in verse two that he speaks of Gentiles being counted among God’s people. What a blessing and comfort that is for us! Let us be comforted, but let us pay close attention to verse five. All around us people are holding onto gods. It may be some idol god or it may be gods of their own making; for example, money, sports, pleasure or any other like thing. While they are doing that we must walk in the name of Jehovah. We must because we can. We can because God has made it possible through his Son. Thanks be to God for such a gift! Sing Psalter 53.

March 10 Read Micah 4:6-8

Even though God’s people have been in captivity, he will lead a part of them out. From that remnant he will make a strong people and his Son will rule over them. While this directly points to the birth of Christ, it also gives to us hope in the world in which we live. God will lead us into the new Jerusalem, the Zion which will be ours in heaven. What does that tell young people to do? They must repent and look for the coming of the King. There is hope for them, and there is a shepherd who will lead them through the valley of the shadow of death. Sing Psalter 53.

March 11 Read Micah 4:9-13

In the world in which we live, we sometimes think that evil has the upper hand. Look at verse nine again. Do we have no king? Do we have no counselor? Do we not receive preaching? The world thinks they have the upper hand over us, but we must know that they do not know God’s thoughts because his thoughts and ways are not man’s ways. In the way of leading us through this world, he will lead us to glory. In glory we will see the destruction of those who plot against us. This should not make us proud or complacent, but rather this should make us seek to live lives of thankfulness for the deliverance from the evil that is in this world. The end will come, and Christ will have dominion over land and sea. Sing Psalter 200.

March 12 Read Micah 5:1-6

In the trying times in which Micah wrote, he then brings to them this glorious prophecy. Verse two is one that is known by many out of all the verses in Micah. Jesus is the Prince of Peace who will bring to his people peace even against all those in the world who do not want his kind of peace. This is the point of Scripture. There is a Jesus, and he comes for his people. All of Scripture testifies to the fact. Whether it be the prophecies of the Old Testament or the prophecies of the return of Christ, Christ is coming, and he is coming for the good of his people. Sing Psalter 198.

March 13 Read Micah 5:7-15

There are two ideas to notice in this portion of Scripture. First of all, notice the nice similes in verses seven and eight. The comparisons are rich with meaning. Dew was important to the Judean farmer. Without it his crops would die from lack of moisture. To be compared to dew is spiritually very rich. The fact that the small remnant is compared to the lion is also spiritually rich. God does not and will not leave his people. He will be with them. Secondly, we see the contrast between those who obey God and those who do not. Just to be called a Christian is not sufficient. We must be called by God to live a life of sanctification. And that life we must live on this earth. If the church and its members do not, they will go lost even as Israel and Judah did. Sing Psalter 371.

March 14 Read Micah 6:1-7

God speaks through his prophet to the people. He asks them what has he done to deserve such treatment as they are giving him. He reminds them of several events in their history. Chief among them is their deliverance from Egypt. He reminds them of the attempt of Balaam to curse Israel and the failure of that attempt. Are we any better? God comes to us daily in creation and in his word and asks us what has he done to deserve the treatment that we give to him? Do we worship him in spirit and in truth? Let us consider these things as we go to his house each week and let us truly reverence our God who has done wonderful things for us. Sing Psalter 137.

March 15 Read Micah 6:8-16

After asking Judah if God was justified in showing their sins, he continues to point out from their history that he was. Verse fifteen is one that we must take to heart. If we do not walk in his statutes, those acts that we take for granted will not turn out so well at times. We must not be surprised if life is hard if we do not follow his commandments. The faithful, who heard Micah, and we of this age, must think back to the hope that was given in the earlier chapter. God did send his Son to Bethlehem. He has died for us. He is coming again. Yet, we must live by watching and waiting patiently for his return. Sing Psalter 214.

March 16 Read Micah 7:1-6

In this last chapter, Micah bemoans Judah’s state. He can find no comfort among those counted as God’s people. This can be our thought at times. Because of sin, either our sins or the sins of others, it feels as if we can find no friends. Some have problems during holidays with these feelings. But Micah knows the right answer. He implies it in verse five. He knows that trust must be in God alone. As we walk in this earth, we must trust in God to lead us through all difficulties. He will, you know. Oh, we sometimes do not understand that leading. But we must say with Paul, “All things work together for good…” Trust is a precious thing. As a little child trusts his father, so we must trust our heavenly Father. Sing Psalter 8.

March 17 Read Micah 7:8-13

After all of the despair we read about earlier in the book, the prophet confesses the hope that is the true child of God. The repentant sinner is able with confidence to know that his God will deliver him even when it looks as if all is against him. Even though Judah would lie desolate, Micah knew that God would restore his people, and the enemy would have to slink away in sin. This is great comfort to us. Christ will return and take us unto himself. The day will come when the evildoer will see that the church will be exulted unto her bridegroom. Until that day comes, let us wait with patience for his coming. Let us live prayerful lives praying daily, “Even so come Lord Jesus.” As Jesus himself told us in many parables near the end of his earthly ministry, we must watch and wait in prayer. Pray daily, and pray for the strength to endure. Sing Psalter 75.

March 18 Read Micah 7:14-20

Micah ends this beautiful prophecy with the words of verse eighteen through twenty. Read them again. First of all, we see confession of God’s greatness. This is where we must start. God is great. And why is God great? He is great because he can forgive our sins. We are slow to forgive our neighbor. We, who have done worse things, are forgiven by God. Secondly, we see that we must know that God does have compassion upon us in such a forgiveness. Yes, God is angry at the wicked every day. Yes, God’s justice must be satisfied. Christ has satisfied that justice for us so that we are not consumed. Finally, notice the reliance upon the covenant. That covenant is so precious to us. It is a gift that will never wear out. God remembers us in his covenant. Thanks be to God! Sing Psalter 36.