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Watching Daily At My Gates

August 4 Read Psalm 147:1-11

Psalm 147:1-3 We continue with the group of Psalms which exhort us to praise Jehovah. These three verses have three parts. First of all, we are exhorted to praise Jehovah. This should be our goal with anything and everything that we do. Secondly we are told that the praise of Jehovah is beautiful. It must be beautiful. If it is not, it is not Jehovah’s praise. Of course our praise is only beautiful through the blood of Christ. Finally we are told the reason for our praise. We must praise him because of the great salvation he has given to the church and its individual members. Our covenant God cares for every member no matter what trouble they may be in. He cares for all those for whom the world, and sadly enough even the church, does not care. Let us praise our great God for his care for us. Sing Psalters 402:1 and 403:1.

August 5 Read Nahum 1:1-7

Psalm 147:4-7 There is contrasting language in these four verses. Can you find it? First of all in verses four and five the Psalmist makes several statements about God’s greatness. Our God is the creator of the universe—even of the multitude of the stars. We may think that their number is infinite. It is not! Only God is infinite. The multitude of the stars only gives us a small picture of his infinity. Then this great God who has created all things cares for the meek. That is the contrast. The greatness of Jehovah over against the meekest of men. This lifting up is salvation for those meek people. Notice two other truths in these verses. The creator is also the Savior. Take away creation and salvation goes away as well. Secondly not only is election spoken of in verse six but reprobation as well. Let us be thankful unto our creator God who saves us from our sins. Let us do this with the song he has given to us. Sing Psalters 402:2 and 403:2.

August 6 Read Matthew 6:24-34

Psalm 147:8-9 We continue with an exposition of who God is. He is the One who causes all kinds of weather to come upon the earth. God rains, blows, snows, etc. It is not the chance happening of weather patterns or air masses. Each weather condition has his fingerprint upon it. If drought is drying up the farmers’ crop now, it is his good work. If floods carry away our houses, it is by God’s design. If we are enjoying weather that we like; this, too, comes from God and is a reason that we must praise him. Not only does he give to us weather, he cares for all of his creatures. Every animal upon earth is in his hands. Because he does this, we can be confident that he will care for us in all situations of life. Let us pause and praise the Lord for such wonderful care. Sing Psalters 402:3.

August 7 Read Psalm 147:1-11

Psalm 147:10-11 Man is quick to boast over his accomplishments. In the upcoming summer Olympics we will witness great boasting about man and his accomplishments. Advertising is full of man and his goodness. What does God think about all this? Reread verse ten for the answer. It means nothing to him. What is his pleasure? God delights in those that fear Jehovah. Young people, what do you think about day by day? What God-glorifying activities are you going to take part in tonight, tomorrow, or the next day? To praise God we must glorify him. We may never take delight in ourselves, but only in his wonderful work of salvation. Let us fear Jehovah and hope in his mercy alone. Let us do this in every activity in which we may take part. Sing Psalter 403:3.

August 8 Read Psalm 147:12-20

Psalm 147:12-14 The last several verses focused on God’s care for his people as individuals. Now we see God’s care for his church. As we prepare for the Sabbath, do we have a care for the body of Christ? Are we thinking about the members? Are we physically helping those who need our help? Do we bring the needs of the members before God’s throne of grace in our prayers? He has cared for his church. We must imitate that care as best we can in this life. And we must praise him for caring for that church of which he has made us living members. Sing Psalter 402:4.

August 9 Read Job 38:22-30

Psalm 147:15-18 Today’s verses are an expansion upon the truth first stated in verse eight. Take a minute and reread that verse. Notice how God carries out his desires upon the earth. He does this by his Word. This is the truth of Genesis 1 and John 1. All things happen not by chance but by his Word. This Word is Christ. Christ was present at creation. Through Christ creation was carried out. This is the same Christ who died upon the cross to save us from sin. This is the powerful Christ who bore the wrath of God during those hellish hours upon the cross. You do not think Christ is powerful enough to create? You think he needs millions of years to accomplish all that is on the earth? If you think that, then your Christ is not powerful enough to save you from sin. What do you think about the Word, people of God? Are you praising the Maker of heaven and earth? Sing Psalter 402:5.

August 10 Read Psalm 147:12-20

Psalm 147:19-20 The psalmist continues with the idea of the Word. Here the idea is more toward the fact of election and salvation. What a comfort to know that we are chosen by the grace of God and not because of anything we have done. We can find the idea of the covenant in these two verses as well. There are definitely two kinds of people in this world—those who are chosen to experience the favor of God and those who are not. People of God, are you thankful for this truth? Do you live this truth? Do you praise God for this truth? As we go throughout our work week, let us do so in the knowledge that we are the people of God and must praise him in and through all of our lives. Sing Psalter 402:6.

August 11 Read Psalm 114

Psalm 148:1-3 In this Psalm, which again calls us to praise God, we see an emphasis on God’s works in his creation. Summertime is traditionally a time in which many people can and do spend more time in that creation. What do you experience, people of God? Young people, what are your thoughts about the outdoors? Do we stop and contemplate the various attributes of God that are shown to us in nature? Every facet of creation is called to praise God. Just as we must praise him in everything that we do; so, too, this is the calling of creation. Just as we anxiously await the coming of Christ, so does all of the creation. Let us look around us and see the wonderful works that God has wrought, and then let us break forth into the singing of his praise. Sing Psalters 404:1 and 405:1.

August 12 Read Hebrews 11:1-6

Psalm 148:4-6 God’s work of creation is not a temporary work. Oh, this world as we know it will be destroyed by fire at the end of time, but the new heavens and new earth will continue to reflect the everlasting goodness of our covenant God. Are we looking for this time? Or are we living lives that expect this present world to continue for ever? God’s Word and works are unchangeable. What a beautiful and comforting thought that is. We need not fear what may happen to this earth, because a better home has been promised to us by the unchangeable God. Even the body that we have now will be replaced by a much better one. In our new homes and new bodies we will perfectly praise the Creator of this temporary place. People of God, who are pilgrims on this earth, praise the Lord. Sing Psalters 404:2 and 405:2.

August 13 Read Isaiah 43:14-21

Psalm 148:7-8 In our reading for today we see God’s word to Israel through his prophet Isaiah. That word is one of rebuke, but also hope. Israel was rebuked for not following the paths that God had originally set forth at creation. In the passage in Isaiah as well as in our text for today we see that the creation will honor God. But God’s own people do not at times. What do we do? Do we observe from nature the wonder works of God, and then do we follow them, or ignore them? God’s people were taken into captivity for ignoring God and his commandments. What about us? There is hope as well, because we see that God has created a new way, the way of the cross for us. Let us be thankful and praise the Lord for this goodness. Sing Psalters 404:3 and 405:3.

August 14 Read Isaiah 44:21-28

Psalm 148:9-10 These two verses continue the lesson on God’s sovereignty that we have been observing in this Psalm. As the reading in Isaiah shows us, God is sovereign over all. In Isaiah we see that he is sovereign over our salvation, his creation, and the world of wicked men. Heathen kings like Cyrus have to obey God’s will. As our nation elects new leaders this fall, are we aware of this truth? Do we realize that this is part of our salvation? The doctrine of God’s sovereignty should be very comforting to the people of God. Do we bow to it in our daily lives? Do we see it in the working out of history? God is sovereign, and we are under his care from now until death or Christ’s return. Sing Psalter 405:4.

August 15 Read I Timothy 2:1-8

Psalm 148:11-12 In yesterday’s devotional I alluded to the rulers bowing before God. Today’s verse bring this truth home for us. God gathers his people from all classes of men and from every race. All kinds of people are commanded to praise Jehovah. As Christians, we sometimes shake our heads at the actions of those whom God has placed in authority over us. But we have two commands concerning that authority. First of all, we must obey them (Romans 13). Secondly, we must pray for the salvation of those rulers whom God has elected from all eternity. We must also see from these verses the necessity of each member of our families praising Jehovah. Our children must use the songs of Zion at home and in church to praise our covenant God. Sing Psalters 404:4 and 405:5.

August 16 Read Philippians 2:1-11

Psalm 148:13 God’s name is great! Of that there can be no doubt. Do a word study on the word name as it refers to God. You will find many places in Scripture where this truth is expressed. We open our worship services with the words taken from Psalm 124, “Our help is in the name of the Lord…” Do we glorify that name? Do we give proper praise to it? Quite often we will work hard that our names be not defamed. Do we work that hard to keep God’s name holy? Are we jealous towards his glorious name? What about it, young people, do you take God’s name in vain? Do you say nothing when your friends take his name in vain? God’s name should be precious to us. Let us take great pains to glorify it and praise him. Sing Psalter 405:6.

August 17 Read Psalm 148

Psalm 148:14 This final verse of this Psalm gives reasons why we should praise the name of the Lord. Those reasons can be summed up very simply: he has done great things for us. Are we constantly aware of those great things? Sometimes when we see a storm or witness a birth, we say that God is truly great. But what about some things which we may take for granted? What about every bite of food that we eat? What about every breath of air that we breath? What about the gift of language? God has done great things for his church. The greatest, of course, being Christ Jesus. He has done great things, so praise the Lord daily. We must do this in our prayers, in our words, and in our deeds. With every breath that we take, we must praise Jehovah. Sing Psalters 404:5 and 406:7.

August 18 Read Psalm 149

Psalm 149:1-2 The people of God should be a singing people. Throughout all of Scripture, we can find instances of the church singing. Israel sang at the Red Sea. Judah sang going into battle. David sang on the hillsides as he cared for his sheep. We do read of them not singing because of the sadness caused by the captivity. The Bible also speaks of the angels singing together at creation. Paul sang in prison. Finally, we find many places in the book of Revelation which speak of the singing in heaven. Young people, are you a singing people? Do you sing the songs of Zion that God has given for us to praise him? We will have a new song in heaven. This is the song of triumph which cannot be tainted by sin. Let us practice in this life to prepare to join the heavenly choir which praises God day and night. Sing the first stanzas of Psalters 406, 407, and 408.

August 19 Read Matthew 21:10-16

Psalm 149:3 God has given to us the wonderful gift of music. How are we using that gift? There are many ways in which music can be used. Some fall under Satan’s tempting and use it in very godless ways. It becomes the vehicle to promote sins of the worst kind. Sad to say, many people of God, some young and some not too young, have fallen to this temptation. Others, like those children who greeted Jesus as he made his entry into Jerusalem, use music as it was meant to be used. God created music. Jubal corrupted it. Christ has redeemed it for us. Not every type of music or musical expression has been redeemed. There is some, and you know what I mean, which remains in Satan’s control. Flee that type of music, people of God. Flee to the music redeemed by Christ and praise the glorious name of God with it. With that praise God will be pleased. Sing the second stanzas of Psalters 406, 407, and 408.

August 20 Read I Peter 2:1-10

Psalm 149:4 Once again we see a verse beginning with the word “for”. Once again we must remember the grammatical use of that word. That word, used in this way, means that a reason for the preceding ideas is being given. What is the reason why we must praise Jehovah? We must praise Jehovah because he loves us and has given to us salvation. Just because this thought is repeated often in Scripture is not reason to think it trite. Scripture repeats things in order to emphasize them. We must pay attention to this reason. I hope that you read the Scripture reading carefully today. Maybe we need to read it again. God has done much for us who are nothing. Let us praise his name today, tomorrow, and every day. Sing Psalter 406:3.

August 21 Read II Chronicles 20:20-30

Psalm 149:5-6 Here we have further exhortations for the people of God to praise him. We are to be joyful as we glorify God. Being joyful can sometimes be hard. It might be hard because of the circumstances that we are in. These circumstances might cause us to look upon the dark side of life. We may think that God has forgotten about us. But God calls us to be joyful. We might lie awake at night worrying about tomorrow and about the future; God calls for us to sing as we lie upon our beds. This call to be joyful must be answered by us. We must take a song upon our lips and his Word upon our hearts, and glorify him in whatever state that we may be in. Let us pray for that grace even when we might not feel like singing. Let us pray for the grace to sing songs of joy unto our gracious heavenly Father. Sing Psalters 406:4, 407:3, and 408:3.

August 22 Read Psalm 149

Psalm 149:7-9 The final verses of this chapter give to the people of God work to do. In verse six, we are commanded to take the praise of God in our mouths and his Word in our hands. These verses tell us that we must go in his service and conquer the evil and stand for the right. This is the battle that we are in everyday. At our workplaces we must stand up for the name of God. Positively we must exhibit the graces which become the child of God. Negatively we must rebuke those who scorn our righteous God. Young people, you must be busy about this work as well. Wherever you are, you must stand for God. You must fight sin and Satan. This is not easy, and it cannot be done in our strength. We must do this only with the Word of God in our hearts, on our lips, and in our actions. Let us serve God as he has called and commanded us to serve him. Let us do this in praise to the Lord. Sing Psalters 406:5 and 407:4.

August 23 Read Psalm 150

Psalm 150:1-2 We come to the grand doxology to the book of Psalms. In it the Psalmist makes one last grand exhortation to praise Jehovah the sovereign God of the covenant. Twelve times the word “praise” is used in this short Psalm. It is good for us to consider the idea of praise, as that is the meaning of the word “Psalm” in the Greek. Every Psalm, whether it be a praise Psalm, a Messianic Psalm, an imprecatory Psalm, or any of the other types is a Psalm of praise to our God. The word “praise” is paired with “him” nine times in this Psalm. We must praise him! Our God is worthy of our praise! In fact he is the only one worthy of our praise for all that he has done for us. Praise ye the Lord. Sing the first stanza of Psalters 409, 410, 411, 412, and 413.

August 24 Read Isaiah 38:16-20

Psalm 150:3-5 Once again we are called to use the musical instruments that God has given to us to praise him. We may not use these verses for a clamor to introduce all types of music into our worship service. The principles of solemn, Reformed, God-pleasing worship must be followed. But we are called to use all kinds of instruments to praise God. This can be done in the home, at school, at social occasions, and even at functions in the church building. But when we use them, we must praise God as he has commanded us to praise him. We may not be the judges of what praise is. Scripture is that judge. Let us praise the Lord using what he has given to us. Sing Psalter 409:2-4.

August 25 Read Psalm 150

Psalm 150:6 We come to the end of our journey through the Psalms and the Psalter. It is our desire that this has been as profitable and instructive for you as it has been for us. We have seen that God has given to us a book that covers most, if not all, of life’s circumstances. Whether young or old we may all profit from his Word as the Spirit has poured it out in this book. The last verse of the book calls everyone alive to praise the Lord. Are you attempting to praise the Lord, people of God, and especially our young people? Have you hid these precious words in your hearts so that you might not sin against him? Be God praisers, people of God, and know that he will surely be pleased with you in your praise of him, our almighty covenant God. Sing Psalters 409:5, and the second stanzas of 410, 411, 412, and 413.

August 26 Read Proverbs 1:1-9

We are going to spend some time in the book of Proverbs. Rather than travel through it verse by verse, we are going to look at various sections of the book. Sometimes we will focus on one verse, and sometimes we will look at more than one. This first section serves as an introduction to the book. God endowed Solomon with much wisdom. The Holy Spirit used this wise man as well as others to give to us this book. The book centers on wisdom as it must be manifest in our lives. Some of the book speaks of the life of sanctification that we must lead. There is much profit for young and old alike. In this first section we see that it is the duty of the child of God of all ages to seek after wisdom. We need knowledge which comes from having the fear of Jehovah. This wisdom must be seen by those around us, and it must be the beautiful wisdom found by grace. Sing Psalter 325.

August 27 Read Proverbs 1:10-19

Parents, make sure your young people read this section of Scripture. Grandparents call your grandchildren and teach them the knowledge found here. Young men and women, consent not to do evil. School is starting. With school comes social occasions for our young people. Sometimes these occasions lead our young people into sin. What must we do? Solomon gives to us the answer. “Consent thou not!” Don’t agree to walk into sin. Say no to those who would entice you to do evil. This is walking the way of the antithesis that is commanded by God. Adam and Eve had that commandment. The last man on earth will have that commandment. There is much evil to be found very near to us. People of God, “consent thou not!” Sing Psalter 27.

August 28 Read Proverbs 1:20-27

The wisdom that cometh from above is all around us. We can find that wisdom, first of all, in the Scriptures. But we can also find it in creation. God teaches us wisdom in the world around us. Are we studying those lessons? Are we learning those lessons? Are we paying attention to those lessons? Are we applying those lessons in our daily lives? This section also gives the results of not learning those lessons. If we do not walk in wisdom’s way, we will be of all men most miserable. We will have many problems in this life. Let us learn wisdom’s way and avoid sin’s pitfalls. Sing Psalter 114:6-10.

August 29 Read Proverbs 1:28-33

In this section we see a poetical device used often in this book. That device is called personification. It is most evident in verses 28 and 33. The word “me” refers to wisdom. Wisdom is speaking to all men. Some listen; some do not. What about you, young people? Do you listen to the catechism lessons that you have been taught? Are you ready to take up your work in school, catechism, and society with all your hearts? If you are not ready, you are ignoring the call of wisdom. You are called to be students. Some are more able and therefore are going to be held more responsible. Others do not have as many abilities, but they are still called to use those abilities to their fullest and to God’s glory. They must give account of themselves before God in the day of judgment. Wisdom calls; are we listening? Sing Psalter 71.

August 30 Read Proverbs 2:1-9

If you are reading this before church this morning, I hope that you are going to put its admonitions into practice. As the minister speaks, he is speaking the wisdom of Christ. Are we listening to that wisdom? Are we seeking to understand it? Are we working to learn more about its implications? Are we desirous to put it into practice today, tomorrow, throughout this week? There is much so called wisdom to be learned. But when it is weighed upon God’s balances, it will be found wanting. Stay away from that kind of wisdom, people of God, and seek the wisdom of the Lord. Sing Psalter 36:1-3.

August 31 Read Proverbs 2:10-22

One of the results of obtaining wisdom is the ability to be discrete. This attribute is mentioned in verse 11. People of all ages need to exhibit discretion in their lives. Parents must be discrete around their children. They must be discrete about many of life’s activities that are for adults only. This is not sheltering children and young people. Rather, this is not allowing them to be affected by things in life for which they are not ready. Young people must exhibit discretion when with their peers. Just because a matter is truth and fact does not mean that it has to be said. Young people must be discrete as they choose the clothing that they wear. Even our young children must learn discretion. Discretion’s reward is preservation in the life to come. Be discrete, people of God, and cultivate this grace in yourselves and in your children and young people. Sing Psalter 146:1-6.

September 1 Read Proverbs 3:1-12

This chapter, as well as others in this first section of Proverbs, begins with the words “My son.” Solomon gives instruction to sons of all ages. We do well to read these words often and see what instruction they have for us. Notice that in these words which admonish us to keep the law of the Lord is the requirement that we remember that our material wealth comes from the Lord. Our offerings must not be what is left on Sunday, but our offerings are to be from our paychecks before other bills are paid. This applies to you as well, young people. Giving to God from what he has given you is your responsibility as much as it is your parents. In doing this you will be honoring God and showing wisdom. Notice that there is a blessing in such an honoring. This blessing will be peace with God both now and in eternity. Sing Psalter 95.

September 2 Read Proverbs 3:13-26

From instruction concerning our material goods, Solomon goes back to instruction on wisdom. First of all he tells us that happiness is to be found in seeking and finding wisdom. This is a much different philosophy from that of the world. The world will tell us to seek after material wealth or man’s wisdom. This is not Solomon’s instruction to his son and is not God’s instruction to his sons. Seeking after God’s wisdom is more precious than any amount of money that we can obtain. Young people, during this school year, will your focus be on the wisdom of God or the world? You will learn worldly wisdom; by God’s grace you will also learn God’s wisdom. Pray for that grace. And parents, help your children and young people seek after the wisdom which comes from above. Sing Psalter 1.

September 3 Read Proverbs 3:27-35

Included in the instruction on wisdom is instruction on loving our neighbor. Can you help out those whom God places on your paths? Maybe the proper question is “Are you helping out those whom God has placed on your path?” Children, you have this opportunity in school. If your friend needs paper or a pen, do you willingly lend from your desk? Do you help those who have forgotten their lunches? Young people, are you characterized by your love for your peers? Adults, are you examples for your children and teenagers? There are many admonitions about loving the neighbor in Scripture. This is one of the ways in which we show our gratitude for our salvation. Are we truly grateful? Sing Psalter 305:1-5.

by John Huizenga

Psalm 31—“This song of mingled measures and alternate strains of grief and woe was intended for public singing, and thus a deathblow is given to the notion that nothing but praise should be sung” (Spurgeon).

September 4 Read Psalm 31:1 & Psalter 80:1

We can not know the great power and love of our sovereign covenant God if we don’t know the greatness of our sins and miseries. Once again, we find David in the troubles and distresses of this life which lead to God through Christ. Are you distressed with family troubles, great loss, money problems, or discontent with your lot in life? Do these things weaken your faith and leave you miserable? Does it seem as though the ungodly neighbor is more happy and content than you? May God so work in your heart by the Spirit that you turn to God with these words of David every day as you walk as a child of God with your creator and redeemer. Shame is experienced when we are found wandering away from God in pursuit of our own self fulfillment and lust. God delivers his people from shame in “his righteousness,” i.e., his covenant faithfulness in which he never departs from his eternal plan to save. Sing the Psalter.

September 5 Read Psalm 31:2 & Psalter 80:2; 82:1

David uses language that demonstrates familiarity with God. He knows God as a Friend. He knows God is exalted infinitely above him, yet he does not hesitate to request that God, as it were, stoop down and listen to his plea like a child to his father. He prays that God would be to him a rock and a house. God is often called a rock in the Psalms, but we need to experience what this means. David wants to experience security and contentment in God. Fear has taken hold of him, he is weak and unable to go on. Every one of us has reason for such distress when we realize how far short we fall in our love and obedience to God. Meditate today upon your sins and pray this prayer of David. Sing the Psalter.

September 6 Read Psalm 31:3, 4 & Psalter 80:3; 82:2

Notice the titles of the two Psalters from which we are singing: “God Our Resort in Trouble” & “Security in God.” These titles reflect the theme of the first 18 verses of Psalm 31 and our devotions through the next week. We will see how David’s persistent request in time of need is turned into praise of God’s goodness. While seeking security in God, David brings before God various details and truths about his covenant life with God. In the verses we consider today, David recalls the truth that God is his rock and fortress. There are many things that we know about God also, but that does not mean our feelings and life reflect this knowledge. We need to pray to God as we know him, and seek the work of God in our heart to open our eyes to him. God is pleased to use the meditations of his people to work assurance of salvation and covenant fellowship. Sing the Psalter.

September 7 Read Psalm 31:5 & Psalter 80:4

Do you give over your life to Jehovah? This is something you must do continually. By nature we easily imagine that success in school, work, dating, friends, or marriage depends upon our own abilities, and we have no need of help from the outside. Though one may prosper in earthly things, one really has not begun to live until he commends his life to God in all things. It is not enough to depend upon our own abilities until we fail, and then, as a last resort, hand over our messed-up life to God. It is sometimes easier to commit our life to God after we have utterly failed and can do nothing else, but a godly walk requires that we learn to commend our lives each moment of the day. Knowing that God has washed away our sins, we know that the afflictions we face will draw us near to God, we know that God will bring a suitable marriage partner, too, in the time appointed, or give grace to live as a single. Above all, when we commend our lives daily, we will be ready to commend our life to God in death. Sing the Psalter.

September 8 Read Psalm 31:6, 7 & Psalter 80:5

Ungodly men thrive on lies as they seek to advance themselves in life. We all face the great temptation to present a false image of ourselves to gain attention and friends. Are you attracted to the popular people who in reality are putting on a big show? Many will say they want to be friends with people who are honest and true, but they will not seek God or friends who love God, in whom alone is truth. These people love the false. The child of God hates those who love lying vanities. Separate yourselves from the crowd that hovers around the deadly fumes of lying vanities and put your trust in the Lord. Meditate upon his Word. Have fellowship with his people. Stamp out the fires of lying when they appear in your life and friends. In God and his mercy you will find happiness and joy. Sing the Psalter.

September 9 Read Psalm 31:7, 8 & Psalter 80:6

Did you find happiness and joy in God’s mercy yesterday? By nature each one of us has been wooed by Satan, forsaken God, and boarded the train headed for the concentration camp of Satan— hell. By nature our pride lifts us up so that we are willing to forsake the good purpose of God for us, in favor of our own idea of happiness in the thrills of this world. An enemy has never had better hold of his captives than the devil with man. Man has no hope of escaping by himself, because he does not want to escape and is even dead in sin and powerless to escape should he want to. Neither does God have any obligation to rescue man. God is perfectly just in sending us with haste to eternal damnation. This truth is gloomy and terrifying indeed. The only hope is God’s mercy; his desire to deliver, and to reveal his glory and power in doing so. He comes in the power of His Spirit to open our eyes and make us alive to see our plight. Do you see? Sing the Psalter.

September 10 Read Psalm 31:9, 10 and Psalter 80:7

Who is God? We must all have a ready and accurate answer. So many people who may even call themselves Christians think of God as a Being Who is more powerful than the individual man and influences man, but does not have sovereign control and leaves the destiny of man in a large degree to man himself. The role of Jesus in salvation is minimized to his being a good example. Their concept of salvation is based on man’s ability to direct the affairs of the world. But God himself makes very clear what he wants man to know. God is the One who has eternally decreed that man fall into the rebellion and death from which he would save. Who is God? He is the Creator of all things, and known by the children of God from day to day as the One who is constantly delivering us from our guilt and shame. He is our Savior. Sing the Psalter “God Our Resort in Trouble.”

September 11 Read Psalm 31:11-13 and Psalter 80:8

The way in which we walk in covenant friendship with God is not bustling with friends who want to include you in their fun all the time. God often makes our way lonely from an earthly point of view in order to impress upon us the richness of friendship with God. David is crushed under the burden of his sin, and afflictions and human companions have forsaken him. Jesus experienced the dismay of friends who turned away when the disciples fled and Peter denied him. Job’s friends turned against him when they came with their criticisms. Though earthly friends are important, God uses hard times to separate us from ungodly friends and strengthen our bond with Christ Who never forsakes his own. Sing the Psalter.

September 12 Read Psalm 31:14, 15 and Psalter 80:9

“My times are in thy hand” sang David. These words are a most beautiful expression of God’s providence, a doctrine cherished by every believer and strongly defended by the Reformers in the Canons of Dordt, Fifth Head of Doctrine. God upholds every sparrow. He sends hurricanes and tornadoes. He maintains life of every form, and every believer confesses that every aspect of his or her life is in the hand of God. There are no “accidents” that just happen by cold chance. Statistics may determine your chance of getting hit by lightning or living to be 100, but statistics only reveal the constant work of God in and through the means he has established to work out his eternal plan. God is intently playing the instrument of your life in the grand orchestra of the universe for his glory and your salvation. Submit to God and pray that he will show you the joy of salvation. Sing the Psalter.

September 13 Read Ps. 31:15, 16 and Psalter 80:10

“Make thy face to shine upon thy servant,” sang David, another beautiful desire placed by God in the hearts of his children. This desire and its fulfillment is the fruit of “serious repentance” as we read in the Canons, Fifth Head, Article 5. Speaking of the times when the saints fall into sin, we read in the Canons “By such enormous sins, however, they very highly offend God, incur a deadly guilt, grieve the Holy Spirit, interrupt the exercise of faith, very grievously wound their consciences, and sometimes lose the sense of God’s favor, for a time, until on their returning into the right way of serious repentance, the light of God’s fatherly countenance again shines upon them.” Take the time now or sometime today to meditate upon the Fifth Head of the Canons and Rejection of Errors in the back of your Psalter. Sing the Psalter.

September 14 Read Psalm 31:17 and Psalter 80:11

Shame overwhelms when the hope which we defend and upon which we govern our actions and words and direct our entire life, is shattered and we stand exposed and naked to all who laugh at our foolishness. We hope in God who has revealed himself and the way of salvation in his Word. We struggle our whole life to flee the life of sin which God forbids, but the world enjoys. We strive to crucify our pride and give God all the glory. We believe God’s promise of life with him in heavenly glory after death. The world laughs and says “this life is all there is, get all you can now or you will forever miss out on life.” God gives us a taste of heavenly bliss now through the preaching of his Word and a life of obedience, but when times of doubt and sin overwhelm, the fear of shame may be strong. The world’s trust in science often challenges our hope in order to bring us to shame. We can be certain that God’s work will never come to naught. May we ever call upon God that we may never be ashamed. Sing the Psalter.

September 15 Read Psalm 31:18 and Psalter 80:12

Lying lips surrounded David with their incessant blather, they surrounded Christ as he taught in the cities and died on the cross, and they surround us today. The discontented factory worker spews forth vulgarities in every sentence, the scientist relentlessly scours God from every discovery, the “theologians” never give up trying to make myths of God’s Word. God speaks in all creation and from the pulpit “I AM” and man responds, “He is not, I am.” Lying lips; do you hear them and cry out to God that he silence them, or are you listening to them with indifference or even interest? Listen for lying lips today and pray each time you hear them “Let the lying lips be put to silence.” Watch your own lips too that they join not in the grievous speech against the righteous. Sing the Psalter.

September 16 Read Psalm 31:19 and Psalter 81:1

The new Psalter number sets forth the tones of praise which always follow the cries of God’s people in distress. God answered David’s prayer in such a way that David saw the riches of God’s goodness. Sin—Deliverance—Gratitude. This is the pattern of the Heidelberg Catechism. This is the pattern of the Psalms. This is the pattern of life. The better we know this pattern, the closer will be our walk with God. God is pleased to show us the riches of his goodness in the way of the troubles and distress of life which he sends. When you find yourself walking the valley of the shadow of death, you know what to do: pour out your heart to God, read his Word, listen to his Word in church. He will reveal to you something that is not revealed to the ungodly. He will reveal not only that he is good in himself, but also the effect of his goodness, i.e., the salvation wrought by Christ and tasted here on earth. Sing the Psalter.

September 17 Read Psalm 31:20 and Psalter 81:2

What are the riches of God’s goodness? He hides us in the secret of his presence. The idea here is that he gives his people a share in his own hidden life. He brings them into covenant friendship; into the sphere of his fellowship, a region where the brightness of his glory shines from his face in Christ, a region into which the ungodly are unable to go. Presently we find this secret sphere of God’s presence in the hearing of God’s Word which is wisdom to God’s people but foolishness to the ungodly. In this sphere we have peace which can never be quenched by the pride of man and the strife of tongues. Do you long for the day when we enter into eternal life with God, being forever in his presence? Seek the shelter of God’s grace whenever the pride of man and the strife of tongues penetrate your life. Sing the Psalter.

September 18 Read Psalm 31:21, 22 and Psalter 81:3

These verses tell us about another of God’s riches—his marvelous kindness. In the Psalter we sing “His love beyond compare.” David came to know the love of God through the experience of distress. God’s love is at the heart of all the riches of his goodness. When David thought about the goodness of God, he was reminded of his weakness. Even though he had felt that he had failed and was cut off from before God’s eyes, God did not forsake him. God loves his elect people and will never forsake them. Though we often speak words of foolishness in our haste and weak faith, God hears us in Christ. Let us also bless Jehovah for his steadfast covenant love. Sing the Psalter.

September 19 Read Psalm 31:23, 24 and Psalter 81:4

At the close of this Psalm, David exhorts the saints to love Jehovah and be of good courage. What a marvelous conclusion to a Psalm which began with sorrow and shame. God sovereignly works this love in our heart by means of sin and deliverance. We do not love God blindly, we love in faith knowing all that God has done for us. We read in I John 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.” David recognizes the love of God in the doctrine of God’s providence. God preserves those whom he has cleansed in Christ. In preserving his people, God rewards the proud doers with their just destruction. Thus a clear knowledge of the doctrine of reprobation which serves the doctrines of election and preservation is necessary for our love for God. May you also find courage in the wonderful works of God. Sing the Psalter.

September 20 Read Psalm 32:1, 2 and Psalter 83:1

Psalm 1 speaks of blessedness in a godly walk, and the Psalm we begin testifies of a blessedness that comes after being forgiven an ungodly walk. The sin of David which was covered was his sin with Bathsheba and killing Uriah. David wrote Psalm 31 before he confessed his sin and while experiencing terrible guilt, but he wrote this Psalm after the heavy burden was lifted from his shoulders. God uses this Psalm in Romans 4:6-7 to teach us that the great blessedness experienced by David comes to the child of God in the way of knowing the doctrine of justification by faith alone and not of our own works. This was a favorite Psalm for Augustine who also was delivered of great sin. Martin Luther also expressed his great delight and peace found in the doctrine of justification by faith alone. May you also know the happiness of forgiveness by God in this day. Sing the Psalter.

September 21 Read Psalm 32:3-5 and Psalter 83:2

Guilty silence, what a miserable condition. We sin against someone, we know it, but we are too proud to admit it. We feign joy and peace, we may even speak and talk freely with the one against whom we have sinned, but a wall stands between, and true fellowship is virtually silent. Meanwhile inside we are being ripped violently apart. Though outwardly silent about his guilt, David roared inside and his strength was wasted; all because he was proud and wanted to live in his sin. Left to ourselves, our pride would bring us to death. In grace, God sent Nathan the prophet to bring the sharp word of God which cut his festering sore and let the poison of his unconfessed sin drain out. Confession of sin is the only way to experiencing the blessed forgiveness of God. Pray that God would crush our pride and open our hearts to confession of sin. Sing the Psalter.

September 22 Read Psalm 32:6, 7 and Psalter 83:3

The child of God who desires covenant fellowship with God must never procrastinate to enter into that fellowship in all its fullness. David’s misery only increased when he refrained from seeking God’s forgiveness. It is very foolish to seek your own pleasure while you are healthy and strong and wait until you are in desperate need before seeking God. God is near right now as you meditate upon this portion of God’s Word. He is near in the preaching. May God open our eyes to see the great blessedness we receive when we confess our sins immediately. God saves his people by means of his presence in the preaching of his Word. Woe is he from whom God removes the preaching of his Word. Seek him diligently now while he may be found. Sing the Psalter.

September 23 Read Psalm 32:8, 9 and Psalter 84:1

The doctrines of sovereign grace are often criticized as doctrines which force men to obey God so that men become machines and not willing, joyful followers of Christ. God’s sovereign power over us, however, works in such a way that we are given new hearts and made willing followers of Christ. Yet, the old man of sin remains to make us sluggish and ignorant. Except God constantly and graciously guide and teach us, we would become ignorant and stubborn like a mule. Let us be diligent to study God’s Word that we might not be ignorant of God’s marvelous grace. We can not expect to be found in heaven when we wander in beastly ignorance and indifference to the preaching of God’s Word. Sing the Psalter.

September 24 Read Psalm 32:10, 11 and Psalter 84:2

Under God’s gracious guidance, his mercy shall compass us about. This means that when we walk in obedience to God through the trials in our lives, God will always be present and ready to lift us out of our miseries. Don’t imagine that a godly walk, due to the demands of God which are contrary to our sinful nature, is a way of greater sorrow than a walk in our own sinful desires. We have sorrow because we know our sin, but when we strive to walk in obedience, we will always be near unto God’s Word, and the consciousness of God’s mercy will quickly restore the joy of our heart when we fall. The ungodly try to cover up sorrow with more pleasure. They may appear happy, but it is only a mask. Those who are cleansed in the blood of Christ have every reason to rejoice. May this be a day of joy for you. Sing the Psalter.

September 25 Read Psalm 33:1-3 and Psalter 85:1

Praise is comely, i.e. beautiful and suitable for the righteous. You and I could do nothing better than praise Jehovah. How must we praise God? With our voice moved by our love for God. Musical instruments in themselves do not praise God except they help train your voice to lift up the best music possible. Our love for God, not music, must inspire us to sing. Highest praise comes from the lips of the godly saint who sings from the heart without the aid of musical instruments. Sing as loudly as you can without distorting the quality of your voice. Sing a new song. A new song does not mean a different song, but it is a song sung with zeal that is newly inspired by a deeper knowledge of God. Take the time to learn the music of this Psalter and so meditate upon the words that you can sing it joyfully from the heart without musical accompaniment.

September 26 Read Psalm 33:4, 5 and Psalter 85:2

We sing praises to Jehovah because his goodness fills the earth. The Word of Jehovah is in the Bible, and also includes the entire decree of God’s counsel according to which he created all things and governs them for the salvation of his people. In all of his words and works, God is good. We live in a world in which lying, pain, hate, and distress bring sadness and death, but God loves truth and lives in eternal bliss. All the scientific wonders and history of the earth reveal his goodness. Even sin and its terrible effects on the world reveal God’s goodness, because it is the means whereby God reveals the fullness of his grace to his people. We have much reason to praise God. Show forth his praise as you sing the Psalter.

September 27 Read Psalm 33:6, 7 and Psalter 85:3

We sing praise to Jehovah because he has created all the wonders of this world and the universe. The Word of God is Christ (John 1) and his Breath often refers to the Holy Spirit. Thus we praise the triune God. The very existence of every atom and the energy and life within the living creature is upheld each moment by God. He spoke and the massive stars and galaxies of the universe came into existence. If you stand by an ocean you can see the curve of the earth and it appears as though the water is in a big pile. God holds the water in place by the mysterious force of gravity which he has created and upholds every moment of the day. We must remember that God continues to uphold the creation which he created. For this, too, is a reason to sing praise to our God. Sing the Psalter.

September 28 Read Psalm 33:8-9 and Psalter 86:1

This Psalm of praise began with an exhortation to praise God, and gave reason for praise in the goodness of God and the wonder of creation and preservation of that creation. In the section covered by Psalter 86 everyone in the world is exhorted to stand in awe of and fear God for his providence and grace toward his people. The God who gathers his people to be with him in heaven has created the world to accomplish this purpose. Because the ungodly hate this fact and seek ever to erase it from their minds, God declares it in his Word so that they are unable to hide from God. The doctrine of providence causes the ungodly to tremble, but makes the godly lift up their hearts in praise. Do you find peace and joy in the doctrine of God’s providence? Meditate upon this doctrine today and sing the Psalm.

September 29 Read Psalm 33:10, 11 and Psalter 86:2

It is very common today to find people who confess faith in God and his salvation in Christ, but deny that his will and plan for them and the world never changes. They do this because they want man to have some control. Some who see the clear language of God’s sovereignty in Scripture say God sovereignly decided in his counsel to give man a will that is free to choose Christ if he wants. But God makes it plain that even though man has a will and nations make counsel to do this or that, it means nothing as far as the goal and purpose of man is concerned. God’s plan, his eternal and sovereign good pleasure, his counsel according to which he has created all things and governs them, stands certain forever. Nothing which he has created will interfere and change it. Blessed are we who belong to God! Sing the Psalter.

September 30 Read Psalm 33:12 and Psalter 86:3

Indeed the eternal counsel of God is reason for praise! We can be at peace knowing that everything is in God’s hands. The world is so big and so many things are happening every day. We watch developments in the nations and peoples of the world, stand helpless when denominations of churches slip into apostasy, and fear the power of the world will influence our churches and persecute the faithful. But God is in control of every event and heart of man in the world. Woe is he whose God is not Jehovah, whose god is evolution and the “forces of nature,” whose god is man. But we belong to the God who created all things and governs all things for our salvation and to his glory. Blessed indeed are we when we remain near unto him. Sing the Psalter.

October 1 Read Psalm 33:13-15 and Psalter 87:1

The psalmist sets forth yet another reason to praise God: his omniscience and omnipresence, doctrines which comfort God’s people in the midst of an ungodly world. Jehovah is exalted above all that is created and looks down upon man which he has placed on earth to care for the earth and live in obedience to him in love. He gave to man a mind and body suited for his service. But what does he see? We know that God is angry with man, who has forsaken Jehovah and serves himself in pride and rebellion. Remember, God is also watching your every move. What does God see when he looks at you and considers your works? Does he see a humble and repentant sinner who hates his sin? Does he see one who seeks a refuge in Christ? Do not look to man for your salvation, come to Christ alone that your works may be seen in him. Sing the Psalter.

October 2 Read Psalm 33:16-19 and Psalter 87:2

Does not a king depend upon his army to deliver the kingdom from the invading enemy? Does not a man depend upon his strength to fight off the foe? Would not a horse be invaluable to escape from danger? Human strength and physical power may preserve earthly life for a time, but the preservation of life in time itself only brings every man closer to death. Forget earthly strength. Behold, look over here, look at Jehovah who rules over all. His eye is on those that fear him and hope in his mercy. His goal and his aim in all things is his glory in their salvation. Devote all your attention to that which is important: a right knowledge of God and his counsel. He is gathering his church. Are you busy in that work? Go to God in prayer and ask how he might use you and show you his great salvation. Sing the Psalter.

October 3 Read Psalm 33:20-22 and Psalter 87:3

Above all things, the child of God seeks God’s mercy. All the virtues and truths about God’s glory, righteousness, power, and providence bring fear to the sinner apart from the assurance of God’s mercy revealed in Christ. It is important that we know God as our help and shield. It is important to know God and put our trust in him. In all our spiritual growing and hearing God’s Word, we must always pray “Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” Our hope is rooted in our faith, which is given to us by God. Our hope grows as we grow in our knowledge of God. We must seek to know God’s mercy revealed to us in Christ with every particle of hope that we have. When we live in peace, our heart shall rejoice, and we will render the praise due unto him. Sing the Psalter.