The Song of Zion
“A Psalter–Psalm Devotional of Praise to Our Sovereign Covenant God”
June 18 Read Psalm 61
Have you ever been far away from home where everything and everyone around you is strange and unfamiliar? The loneliness quickly turns to panic when trouble arises and there is no one around to help. It is at a time like this when the truth of God’s omnipresence brings comfort to the believer. Communion with God is never cut off by distance nor height nor depth. God is present in every part of the creation so one who is united to God by faith in Christ is always very near unto his covenant Friend. This confidence in God to be near does not belong to all who call themselves Christian. If you walk in unrepentant sin and put your trust in earthly help, then you may find yourself very much alone in time of need. Turning unto God is an act of faith; it does not proceed out of the heart of man by nature. May God so work faith in your heart that he is there with you in time of need to lead you unto Christ our rock. Sing Psalter 159:1 and 160:1.
June 19 Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-10; Psalm 61: 2-4
We are born sinful, our souls sold into the cruel bondage of sin. Many churches today would have us believe that multitudes of unbelievers are by their own free will groping blindly to seek shelter for their souls, but that is not true. The sinner seeks shelter for his naked guilty soul under the filth of more sin. God sovereignly chooses to be a shelter for the souls of his people. Having been taken into that shelter we realize and rejoice in the fact that our souls find rest. It is the believer, who knows and has tasted of the rest found within God, that cries out to God for help when in time of need. He knows God as a refuge, a strong tower, and a God of sheltering wings. With the apostle we also put our trust “in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.” Sing Psalter 159:2, 160:2, 3.
June 20 Read Luke 1:26-33; Psalm 61:4, 5
Why does the child of God have such confidence and trust in God? The reason is found in the verses upon which we meditate today. David and we also confess that God has heard our vows and confers to us our heritage. Our vow is to walk in newness of life by the power of God’s grace. Our heritage given us now is that new life in Christ as the tokens of eternal life in heaven. In this connection, David speaks of his being anointed unto an everlasting kingdom which comes to fulfillment in Christ. Christ rules by the power of his grace and Spirit in the hearts of every believer. He gives us the will and strength to serve our creator and redeemer in this life. In him we are able to fulfill our purpose in life. In him we continue through this life on our way to perfect covenant life with God in heaven. There is no greater joy or peace. Let us rejoice and give thanks to God. Sing Psalter 159:3.
June 21 Read Hebrews 9:22-28; Psalm 61:6, 7
David speaks on the basis of God’s promise of a Redeemer of that Redeemer himself. He shall abide before God forever. You will notice that the Psalter puts the believer who sings this Psalm in the place of him who abides before God forever. The believer can be included understanding that we are in Christ also made kings and priests, but it is Christ first of all Who lives in perfect covenant friendship before God. The eternal love and righteousness of God has placed Christ in this position as head of the redeemed. All who abide before God are sustained by the mercy and truth of God. For this reason the believer is assured that his prayer is heard and answered. In this knowledge the believer sounds forth praises and lives a life of thankful obedience. Let us live by faith in this day and make our vows to walk in thankful obedience. Sing Psalter 159:4.
June 22 Read Luke 2:25-32; Psalm 62:1, 2
Does your soul wait in awed silence upon God? The world surrounds us with noise and sights to arouse our attention and response. Our souls are continually aroused by this or that problem, hurt, or distress to cry out for justice and attention. God alone is able to bring a hush to the soul. In terror wicked men are put to silence when God reveals himself in powerful earthquakes or storms. In peaceful assurance, the believer stands in quiet patience before his sovereign God. Putting all our trust in God, we know that all things are in his hands. The aged Simeon waited quietly and patiently upon God though nations raged and it seemed impossible for Christ to come. Let us pray for this soul quieting dependence upon God. Be diligent in your study of God’s word to know him and the greatness of his salvation. Sing Psalter 161:1.
June 23 Read Isaiah 30:8-17; Psalm 62:3, 4
Sometimes when we think about our enemies, those who come to mind are the neighbors who rarely go to church or criminals. The most dangerous and cruel enemies, however are people right in the church: ministers who preach lies, people who come to church but lead wicked lives and want others to go with them, and people who condemn pure preaching. Isaiah came straight to the congregation of Israel which was full of such hypocrites with his word of God’s judgment. These rebel against God and seek to destroy the soul of the child of God as well. Be assured that such are as a wall that is bending and ready to burst and as a fence ready to tip. God will destroy them in fierce judgment except they repent and submit to him in humble obedience. May we never join in the sins and ever see their plots to destroy the godly. Sing Psalter 161:2.
June 24 Read John 6:37-69; Psalm 62:5, 6
How do you react to the doctrines of sovereign election and reprobation, total depravity and salvation by grace alone? Are these words of God to us too hard, as were the words that Jesus spoke to the people? Are you inclined to speak out against the preaching of these truths and demand softer preaching? These doctrines have been since the fall of man a source of bitter rebellion against God. The Psalmist lives in close fellowship with God and knows it is foolish to react so against the plain word of God. Though he may not fully comprehend the depths of such doctrine, he does know that God is his rock and tower. He waits in quiet trust. May we also wait in quiet trust and confess with Peter “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” Sing Psalter 161:3.
June 25 Read Philippians 1:12-30; Psalm 62:5-7
The Christian life demands that we put our trust in God alone. Many in the world, who do not believe in God as he reveals himself in Scripture, will, in a time of great fear, pray to God just in case he really is the true God. Some try to believe in many religions at one time so that they have the best chance of believing in the right one. Others confess that God is God alone, but franticly save money and buy huge insurance policies just in case God does not take care of him as he promises. But the child of God must live in the absolute assurance that God will care for his every need. Like Job, the child of God must be able to lose everything, and yet trust that God will uphold him. We must speak with the assurance of Paul that all that we believe is true and we will never be ashamed. This may seem impossible, and indeed it is apart from the power of God’s grace, but this blessed gift of full assurance is ours in Christ. Sing Psalter 161:4 and 162:1.
June 26 Read Philippians 4:1-7; Psalm 62:8
How often do we pour out our hearts before God? How often do we bring before him all our fears and cares and ask for the grace that draws us into close fellowship with God? It is a beautiful act of faith to pour out your heart unto God. We must put our trust in him at all times. When we are happy, we must sing thankful praise to God with all our heart. When sad, we must desire to come first of all to our God and bring all our sorrows to him. When we search our souls and find there the iniquity of our sinful natures, then we bow before him in humble repentance. All the varied aspects of our life are things to bring before our God. We do not try to hide anything. Such is the life of covenant friendship of God with his people. It is the life given to us through the death of Christ our Savior. Do not disparage the life of covenant friendship with God. Pour out your heart to God each day. Sing Psalter 161:5.
June 27 Read Isaiah 40:1-18; Psalm 62:9
So quickly we put our trust in banks, insurance, jobs, doctors, our own wisdom, the government, and material wealth. For many people, these things are all that there is. When any of these things in which they trust fail, then they are thrown into deepest despair. If we could, however, put these things on a scale that measures value and worth in life, they would not even register. All things created are created for a purpose, and are of no value apart from God who is glorified in them. Even the mighty nations of the world that boast of their culture and great achievements do not tip the scale in the least. The worthlessness of the greatest achievements of man is compared in Isaiah to the infinite value of God, his word, and the church that he gathers by the power of his word. When we meditate upon these things we are amazed. We are humbled to think we are a part of this wondrous work of God. We find comfort when it appears to us that the world is ready to swallow up the church. Sing Psalter 161:6.
June 28 Read Luke 12:13-21; Psalm 62:10
When we lose sight of the insignificance of earthly wealth and power and the great value of God’s word and covenant life with him, then we will most certainly begin to put our trust in earthly riches. That is what we do by nature. When we begin to trust in earthly riches, then we also begin to use oppression and means not ordained by God to gain those riches. Wealth may be attained righteously, but then the temptation is to set our heart on it. But let us remember the value of those riches in the eyes of God as we saw yesterday. They are as nothing in the balance of God. Let us rather be rich toward God. Study his word. Listen carefully to the word preached in church. Listen carefully in catechism. The knowledge of God is everlasting life. Knowing God brings peace which passeth all understanding in this life also. Sing Psalter 161:7.
June 29 Read Isaiah 26:1-11; Psalm 62:11
“Power belongeth unto God.” The power of God is that virtue of God “according to which he is able to accomplish whatsoever he pleases” (Reformed Dogmatics, Hoeksema). God alone has this kind of power. All other power is given by God to others to serve his purposes. The Psalter directs our attention to the saving power of God. We who are dead in sin find great comfort knowing that God certainly accomplishes his purpose to deliver us from death and bring us into eternal life. We read in Isaiah 62 that “Jehovah is everlasting strength.” Knowing this, the believer puts his trust in him and has perfect peace. Our little children sing “they are weak but he is strong.” May we also come to God in childlike faith confessing that we are weak and helpless. God reveals to us throughout his word that he is strong to save. Sing Psalter 161:8.
June 30 Read Micah 7; Psalm 62:12
Mercy is also an attribute which finds its only source in God. Mercy is “the virtue of God according to which he wills [his people] to be perfectly blessed in him, to taste his own blessedness, and according to which he leads them through death to the highest possible life of his covenant friendship” (Reformed Dogmatics, Hoeksema). In his tender love and mercy, God sent his Son to bear the just judgment upon sin. In this wonderful act of salvation God reveals to us his mercy. The way of sin and death is a way that brings this attribute into the heart and soul of the believer. We will continue to grow in our knowledge of this attribute forever in heavenly glory. May we who have tasted of God’s mercy also show mercy to one another. Sing Psalter 161:9.
June 31 Read 2 Corinthians 4:1-9; Psalm 62.
In this life we continually fight the temptation to put our confidence in earthly things, and then when that fails, to cry unto God. This Psalm teaches us that we must look to God alone. He is our rock, our salvation, our defense, our glory, and our refuge. He is everything to us. In his mercy and power he reaches out to us and sovereignly accomplishes his purpose with us. Never once in this Psalm does the Psalmist express fear and despair. May God write this Psalm upon our hearts. May we sing this Psalm with all our heart. Sing Psalter 162.
Devotional by John Huizenga
Reprinted from July 1998.
Watching Daily At My Gates
The Song of Zion
“A Psalter–Psalm Devotional of Praise to Our Sovereign Covenant God”
July 1 Psalm 63
Psalm 63:1 This Psalm was written while David was evading Saul near the town of Keilah. After protecting the town from the Philistines, David was betrayed by the town to Saul. He had to escape into the wilderness of Judah for safety. David truly found what needing God meant during this incident. He found that man’s fickle feelings could not be counted on. David turned to God in prayer for help and safety from his enemies. This must be our response when we feel that there is not help for us. We must remember that our help comes from our covenant God who made the heavens and the earth. We may and will go through trying times in this life. We must remember to go to God through his Word and by prayer. Only then will we find the refuge we need in this dry and thirsty land. Sing first stanza of Psalters 153 and 164.
July 2 Read I Chronicles 16:7-14
Psalm 63:2-3 Our Scripture reading for the next several days is taken from a Psalm of David composed as the ark was returned to Jerusalem. David as he was running from Saul knew what it meant to be away from God’s house. He longed to be in it. He hoped for the day that God would return him to Jerusalem so that he could praise his heavenly Father. Is this our desire? As we spend the summer enjoying God’s creation do we sometimes “vacation” from God’s house and his worship? We may not, you know. Each week we must long to be in the places where the Word is purely preached. To see God’s power and glory must be done on the Lord’s Day in the house of God. It is only there that we will find that his “lovingkindness is better than life.” Let us resolve to seek God in his house every Lord’s Day so that we can experience his goodness. Sing Psalters 163:2 and 164:2, 3.
July 3 Read I Chronicles 16: 15-19
Psalm 63:4-5 This is a continuation of yesterday’s thought namely attendance in the house of God. First of all, we must bless God through prayer. To bless means to speak well of. People of God, is this your goal as you pray? If we do speak well of God, he will bless our souls with the spiritual good as found in the first part of verse 5. David’s desire to bring the ark back to Jerusalem was founded in the knowledge that the ark was the symbol of God’s presence. He knew that God’s presence brought spiritual good to Israel. God’s presence in our lives will also bring spiritual good to us. Another activity to be found in church is singing. Singing is one of the chief means that we have to glorify God. Sing God’s praises, people of God. We must attend the divine worship services so that we can sing his praises with the congregation of saints in the presence of God. We must also make sure that we sing songs that glorify God and his attributes not man and his failures. Sing Psalter 164:4, 5.
July 4 Read Ephesians I, Chronicles 16:20-29
Psalm 63:6-8 People of God, as you lay down to sleep at night, do you meditate upon the goodness of God in your lives? Do we remember what he has done for us in that day and in the days gone past? Tonight is Saturday. We go unto the house of God tomorrow. We need to stop tonight and meditate upon the bountiful mercies that God has showered down upon us in the past week. “Oh,” you say, “I had a bad week with no good in it.” Then you must turn to Romans 8:28 and read that “all things work for good to them that love God.” Then reevaluate your week and prepare to enter the house of God with praise on your lips. God is our help. Through all troubles he lead us by his almighty hand through all dangers. We will be safe under the wings of our heavenly Father. Meditate tonight, people of God, and ready yourself to enter his presence on his day. Sing Psalter 164:6-8.
July 5 Read I Chronicles 16:30-36
Psalm 63:9-11 As we enter the house of God today we will notice many who desecrate the Sabbath. Some may even tempt us to desecrate it ourselves. Others may mock us or even cause us to lose our job because we keep the Sabbath holy. David felt these sorrows as he hid in the wilderness from Saul. Maybe this was one of the reasons he worked hard to reinstate the worship of God at the ark and wished to build a temple for God. We must have the same zeal for Jehovah. We must know that God will reward the evil doer according to his works. This is a comfort because we also know that he rewards us according to our works. This is the testimony of Scripture in Ecclesiastes 12. David could rejoice in God in his troubles; can we? Sing Psalter 163:3.
July 6 Read Psalm 64
Psalm 64:1-4 In these four verses we run head long into the truth that there are people who hate us. You do not feel it? Do they know that you are a child of God? Do they know how you spent yesterday? Or was it not any different than many of your neighbors’ lifestyle? Is your television viewing governed by the eighth commandment? Or do you partake in the most heinous sins by watching the movies of the world in your home or at the theater? If you live an antithetical life, the world will hate you. Should that cause us to fear? Absolutely not! We must bring our cares to God in prayer. He will hear our prayers and deliver us from the wicked and the wicked one. God will protect us and lead us in safety to our heavenly home. Sing Psalter 165:1.
July 7 Read I Samuel 23:7-15
Psalm 64:5-7 We saw in the last Psalm that the men of Keilah schemed to deliver David to Saul. Wicked men are scheming again today, as well. Oh, it might not be so evident in the world today, but Satan is not idle. The time will come, and it is coming soon, that he will work to make life difficult for the child of God. As the child of God lives an antithetical life, hatred will grow against him by those with whom he works or plays. We had better be ready for it. David went to God in prayer. We, too, must go boldly to the throne of grace knowing that our God will hear us and answer us. God will shoot at the wicked and they will fall. That is his promise to us. Believe it child of God and go to him in prayer for help in all difficulties. Sing Psalter 165:2.
July 8 Read Philippians 4:1-9
Psalm 64:8-10 The answer to the prayer of the righteous is that God will protect him. The day is coming in which all men will bow before the glory of God. The wicked will call for the mountains to protect them, but no protection will be found there. We must consider that which is godly and remember those things. We must seek that which is honest and of good report and know that it is from God alone. When we do this we will be glad in the Lord. Then we will trust him to deliver us from all evil. This cannot be done if we enjoy the things of this life. This can only be done by thinking on those things which are from above. Consider the Lord’s doing. See how good it is. Go to him in prayer. Be thankful for the victory Christ has wrought for us. Then we can glory in the Lord and in all his works. Sing Psalter 165:3.
July 9 Read Psalm 65
Psalm 65:1-2 The Psalmist begins by addressing God as he dwells in the church. He is acknowledged as the only one to whom prayers are to be addressed and as the only one by whom prayers are answered. Is this our attitude as we come unto God in prayer? Do we pray with utmost confidence in the one to whom we pray? Are our prayers expressions of that confidence that he will hear us and answer our prayers. Do we acknowledge him as the only one who hears our prayers? If we do not pray with such confidence, we will not have the assurance for which we crave. We need to pray daily. We need to do this so that through the work of the Holy Spirit God will answer our prayers. Let us pray often, let us pray sincerely, and let us pray confidently to the one who hears and answers prayers. Sing stanza 1 of Psalters 166, 168, 170, and 172.
July 10 Read Hebrews 9:11-15
Psalm 65:3 After acknowledging God as the one who hears and answers prayer, David realizes that because of his sins it is hard for him to pray. Is this our realization? How many times do we pray and then wonder if the prayer rose higher than the ceiling? Our sins cause us much doubt. Our sins leave us with a lack of confidence in our prayers. We wonder how we dare pray to such a holy God in the conditions we find ourselves. David had the same feelings, but David had the confidence that God would purge his sins from him so that he could pray in confidence. We have the same blessed assurance. God can and will forgive our sins so that we can boldly come to the throne and seek the grace that we need. Pray, people of God. Pray often. Pray for repentance and then for help knowing assuredly that our God will forgive our sins and hear our prayers. Sing Psalters 166:2, 168: 2-3, and 172:2
July 11 Read John 15:1-11
Psalm 65:4 There are at least two major truths described in the verse. First of all we find the truth of election’s blessedness. Being chosen to dwell in God’s presence is not the work of any man no matter how noble he may be. Being elected by God brings happiness. This is the happiness that can not be found anywhere on this earth. This is the happiness that belongs to those who have been chosen by God and redeemed by the land. The second truth is the truth of the goodness of the house of God. On this earth we will participate in a picture of this goodness tomorrow as we attend church. People of God, are you anxious for tomorrow? Young people, do you look forward to the Sabbath so that you can be helped to prepare for the eternal rest. The house of God is a phrase signifying heaven. We see this in the last verse of Psalm 23. For this we should long. For this we should earnestly seek after. Let us enjoy the blessedness of our election tomorrow and in the days and years to come in heaven. Sing Psalters 166:3, 170:2, and 173:2-3.
July 12 Read Exodus 19:16-25
Psalm 65:5 When we read the word “terrible” in this verse we must not get the wrong idea. The words “terrible” or “awful” show the power of God over against the wickedness of man. Israel saw the terrible things of God as they came to Mount Sinai. The elect were comforted that their God was almighty. The reprobate were truly terrified of God’s might against their sin. We can see God’s terrible acts when we see a summer thunderstorm. The crash of thunder which accompanies the flash of lightening gives to us a good picture of his power and might. We need never fear because our God is able to deliver us from the storm. Today as we attend church let us bow before our terrible God who is our confidence and salvation during any troubling storm on this earth. He will deliver us and lead us to heaven. Sing Psalters 166:4 and 170:3.
July 13 Read Mark 4:35-41
Psalm 65:6-7 We find more evidence of God’s power in these two verses. Yesterday we meditated on God’s help through storms. We see this expressed in our reading for today as the disciples were delivered from a powerful storm by Jesus who is Lord of all. Yesterday we attended church. There we were safe from the world. God has given to us that refuge from the storms of evil which rage about us. He can keep us safe because he is our creator. Those who have replaced a creator God with one who works through some system of evolution can have no confidence in God. Those who say that changing Genesis 1-6 has no effect on the salvation of God’s people are wrong. Through creation God provided the way of salvation. Let’s not lose our comfort by believing any other doctrine than that of a comforting Creator. Sing Psalters 166:5 and 168:4.
July 14 Read Job 35:1-16
Psalm 65:8 God is omnipresent. There are times when we forget about this attribute of God. We sometimes think that God does not see us and our sins. This is not true. God is everywhere and knows what happens everywhere. This is an awesome idea. But it is also very comforting. This God who is omnipresent sees what happens to his people where ever they are. He not only sees them; but he also sends help in accordance to the measure his people needs. Ponder this attribute of God and rejoice in it. Sing Psalters 167:6, 168:5, and 171:1.
July 15 Read Leviticus 26:1-13
Psalm 65:9-10 God is our Lord is the truth spoken of in these two verses. Those of us who live in areas where agriculture is an important part of our daily life can understand these two verses well. Farmers understand very well their dependence upon God for the proper growing conditions needed to produce a crop. They are given the grace to understand that God controls all weather conditions. There is a spiritual parallel found here. In order for the people of God to prosper spiritually, there are growing conditions which must be satisfied. The child of God will only prosper when God sends showers of blessings from on high. Sometimes we do not understand how a spiritual condition will help us prosper. But as we read in the Psalms affliction is for our profit. We also can confess with Paul that all things work together for our good. Sing Psalters 167:1-2, 169:1, and 171:2.