The Song of Zion
“A Psalter–Psalm Devotional of Praise to Our Sovereign Covenant God”
August 16 Read Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 68:18 Several months ago we celebrated the Lord Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven. Have we thought about it since? Christ’s ascension was part of our way of salvation. Christ had to ascend into heaven. He could not remain on this earth. He ascended into heaven and sits at God’s right hand. He makes intercession for us daily. What a blessing this is for the child of God! He sits in heaven waiting for the day that He will come back to this earth and gather all the elect unto Himself. Are you waiting for that day, people of God? Think about the ascension and its benefits for you. Do that today as you enter into God’s house of worship. Sunday is an excellent day to ponder these things. But also ponder them all the days of your life. Sing Psalters 180:8 and 183:1.
August 17 Read Matthew 6:25-34
Psalm 68:19 In this part of David’s prayer he blesses God for the benefits which God has given him. The word bless means to speak well of. It is good for us to speak well of God for all things that we have come from him. Our reading today speaks especially of physical benefits, but David obviously means more than this. He speaks of salvation in the second part of the verse. David knew what physical salvation was as he was chased often by Saul and God saved him. But David also knew that there was more. That is why he wanted the ark and eventually the temple to be at the center of Jerusalem. We, too, must bless God because of the many gifts he gives to us. We must remember that he daily blesses us with many things; not the least of which is our salvation. Let us bless God in song and prayer daily. Sing Psalter 181:1.
August 18 Read Job 1:13-22
Psalm 68:20 David’s exultation unto the God of his salvation continues in today’s verse but with a different aspect. David understands that his salvation will not come to him on this earth. He realizes that he must go through the valley of the shadow of death and even unto death itself. But even this does not cause him to fear. He knows that God will make his salvation sure even through death. People of God, death is a reality. Those of you who have reached seventy or eighty understand this well. Those of us who seemingly have much of our lives before us must realize that unless Christ comes we must enter the grave. But there is no need to despair. Death and all its accompanying sorrows are in the hands of God. Because of Christ’s resurrection death and the grave have no sting for the child of God. Blessed be the God of our salvation even unto death! Sing Psalter 183:2.
August 19 Read Revelation 20
Psalm 68:21 The difference between the elect and reprobate can be obviously seen in this passage. David speaks of the blessedness that God’s people enjoy and then he speaks of the hopelessness of those whom God hates. This is for our instruction and our comfort. We are instructed to see that even though the wicked seem to profit in this life their end is destruction. We are also instructed not to continue in sin because its end is destruction. Even the child of God will feel the pain caused by sin. We must stay away from sin and cleave unto righteousness. Our comfort is that we have the beautiful hope of heaven. Christ has paid for our sins and we must eagerly look for the day of the wicked’s destruction and the exultation of the righteousness. Flee sin, young people, and look for the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sing Psalter 181:2.
August 20 Read Obadiah 17-21
Psalm 68:22-23 The depths of the suffering of God’s people can extend quite deep. Think of David fleeing from Saul. Think of the various times that Israel was attacked by enemies. Think about Paul as he suffered much at the hands of his tormentors. Think of the reformers and their sufferings. God’s people today also suffer. It may not be as physically graphic or distressing in our country. Though saints in some parts of the world suffer much. God’s people live a life of suffering. In this suffering God has prepared a way of escape. David knew that God meant it for good and for His glory. He had tasted of suffering and deliverance from that suffering. Thank God for such suffering because He has provided a way of escape and glory for Himself and His people. Sing Psalter 181:2.
August 21 Read Psalm Joshua 2:8-11
Psalm 68:24 The wicked know who God is. History bears this out. Today’s reading is a confession of faith from one who saw the power of God even when she remained in sin. Even today the world knows who the church is. They should because we should lead a different life. Our church parking lots should be full twice on Sunday while the world plays golf, camps, swims, and attends things which are for their enjoyment not that of God. God has a purpose in making sure that the world knows who He is and who his people are. That purpose is that they are left without excuse in the final judgment. Do not be ashamed, people of God, of proclaiming God’s name before men. Do not be ashamed to be different. Be counted among those who go by the name Christian. Let the world know that God is God and that He is your God. Sing Psalter 181:3.
August 22 Read Psalm Mark 11:1-10
Psalm 68:25 Music has been a part of the worship of God in both dispensations. Music expresses the joy that the child of God expresses as he blesses God. It was with music that Israel marched around Jericho. It was with music that the ark was moved up Mount Zion. The children sang as Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Does music attend our way as we praise God? Can the wicked tell by our music that we praise the sovereign God who created the heavens and the earth? Let us sing the songs of Zion as we worship Jehovah. As we go to God’s house tomorrow let us give special emphasis as we praise God with singing. In this way we can be ready to hear the preaching of the Word, and we will be ready to rightly worship Jehovah. Sing Psalter 181:3.
August 23 Read Psalm 68:15-27
Psalm 68:26-27 As we look around the church auditorium this morning we cannot help but seeing the evidence of God’s covenant faithfulness. We see in the families with which we have been blessed the evidence that God saves in the line of continued generations. Every family in the church is evidence that God is pleased to dwell in our midst. As we worship today let us bless God for His covenant faithfulness. The worship of Jehovah is one of the benefits of salvation. Let us be glad and rejoice today, the day which the Lord has made. Let us use this day which He has separated for this purpose of blessing God. Sing Psalter 181:4.
August 24 Read Psalm 68:28-35
Psalm 68:28 Many students and teachers will be going back to school in the next few weeks. For some of us God has given the blessing of parental covenant schools. These schools are a strength to those who have them. David prayed for God to strengthen that which He had given Israel by His presence. We, too, need this prayer as we begin our school year once more. Teachers need the strength of Jehovah as they carry out the work of teaching the covenant seed. Students need the strength of Jehovah in order to do all their work to God’s honor and glory. The work of both teacher and student is part of the council of God. Strengthen that work, O God, so that we may do it for Thy glory. Help us to work to show ourselves approved unto Thee and to Thee alone. Sing Psalter 182:1.
August 25 Read II Chronicles 32:21-23
Psalm 68:29 As David prayed this prayer, he had no idea of the victory God would give to Hezekiah many years later. He also did not know that foreign kings would bring presents to Jerusalem. We see here David prophesying of that which would happen. Because it was the will of God, it did happen. What was the reason that these heathen kings brought presents? They did it to glorify God. Was this an act of faith? By no means, but rather it was an expression of God’s sovereignty over all of His creation. As we study history in this school year, let us remember that our God is a sovereign God. All things are in His hands. And all things work for His glory and the good of His church. Even wicked rulers must bow before God. Comfort yourselves, people of God, with these words even when it looks the darkest for the church. God is in control. Sing Psalter 182:2.
August 26 Read Obadiah 10-16
Psalm 68:30 Those of you who have been following these devotionals will have noticed that I have had us read the whole chapter though not in order. By now you realize that the focus of this chapter is the condemnation of Edom for going against the people of God. They had done this many times in their history. But as we saw yesterday, God is sovereign. His sovereignty over the wicked should give to us much comfort. Not the comfort that delights in “getting even”. This comfort is the comfort that comes from obedience to God’s covenant. Esau was brought up in a covenant household. But because of his rebellion, he was cast out and eventually destroyed by God. Obey, young people. Obey God’s covenant and He will bless you with all the blessings of salvation. Sing Psalter 182:3.
August 27 Read Acts 8:26-39
Psalm 68:31 We live in the day and age where we see the fulfillment of this prophecy. Oh, it was begun shortly after Pentecost, but the full realization is happening now as the gospel is spread to the four corners of the earth. God has given to us a great heritage. We need to remember that we must spread that heritage to all lands. One of the signs of Christ’s return is the spread of the gospel. He will use us to do this. We must not ignore the opportunities that we have to spread the gospel. It may be down the street, across town, or in distant lands. We must seize the opportunity knowing that this is the will of God. Let us spread His name by what ever means He is pleased to give us. Sing Psalter 182:4.
August 28 Read Isaiah 35
Psalm 68:32 It is interesting that the call to all nations is to sing. We take for granted the gift of music. Or we disregard its usefulness in the cause of the kingdom. This verse, however, states that the kingdoms of the earth are to sing to God. The content of that singing never changes. That content is the praise of God. After we see these two commands, we see the word Selah once again. If a pause is indicated, we need to contemplate the importance of the preceding commands. What does God want? He wants us to praise Him in song as the almighty One that He is. Let us heed these commands and teach others to heed them as well. Sing Psalter 182:5.
August 29 Read Job 37:1-14
Psalm 68:33 In the time between the writing and reading of these words, I am sure that God’s voice has been heard on this earth. There has probably been a storm that has seized the attention of the world. Maybe there has been an earthquake. Maybe disease or famine has broken out. God speaks through these things. These are not natural disasters as the news media likes to call them. These are the voice of God. Are we listening, people of God? Are we seeking to know what God is saying to us? His voice is mighty. It has power. Its power is more than the destructive nature of a storm or earthquake. In those things He speaks to both the wicked and the church. Are we listening? Sing Psalter 183:3.
August 30 Read Revelation 12:7-12
Psalm 68:34 Does God’s power have meaning for us today? I mean this more than in a physical way. Do we acknowledge the strength of God in our daily spiritual life? A battle was fought in heaven, and Satan was thrown down from heaven. Today, God fights spiritual battles in our lives for us. This is a great comfort for us. If we had to rely on our own strength to fight against Satan, we would have no chance. We must realize that there is such a battle in our lives. The battle against sin is a daily one. God is powerful. By His power which He has and shows to the church, we will win the battle against sin, Satan and all evil. Confess the power of God and glory in it. Sing Psalter 182:5.
August 31 Read Psalm 68:28-35
Psalm 68:35 We come to the end of this month, this prayer of David, and this Psalm. Throughout the month we have learned of God’s power and how He has used it for His people. This closing verse is a confession that not only is God a God of power, but that He has also given power to us. How will we use that power in the upcoming school year? How will we use that power from week to week at work? How will we use that power as we interact with those around us? That power must be used for the service of the all-powerful King. Any power we have, only comes from Him. This is not an easy confession to make. We would rather have the power ourselves. We would rather proclaim ourselves as number one. With David we must speak well of God with the closing words of this Psalm, “Blessed be God.” Sing Psalters 182:6 and 183:4.
Reprinted from September 1998.
Watching Daily At My Gates
The Song of Zion
“A Psalter–Psalm Devotional of Praise to Our Sovereign Covenant God”
September 1-9 Devotional by Mike Feenstra
September 1 Read Psalm 69:1-12; Psalm 69:1-2
“With the exception of Psalm 22, there is no other psalm that is quoted so often by the Holy Ghost than this one to describe the suffering of Jesus.” Such were the words of the late Rev. Gerrit Vos in O Taste and See (211). Considering that this Psalm was written by David in the Old Testament, we can surely see that the Scriptures are the Holy Spirit’s work to testify of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, as Rev. Vos states, “David suffered something like (Christ’s suffering), and I tremble when I write this last sentence down. The similarity is so insignificant. It may refer to the throne of Israel which he gave up to Absalom, fleeing the while. That entailed much for David: his house, his peace, his wives, his household stuff, his people. But when we look first at David when writing this pitiful tale in Psalm 69, and then at Jesus in Gethsemane or at the cross—words fail us. The first instance is but a shadow, the latter is reality” (215). Sing Psalter #184:1.
September 2 Read Matthew 27:39-49, Psalm 22; Psalm 69:1-3
Oh, the suffering of our Lord was an intense suffering; like unto (and even worse than) a weary man caught in deep waters that penetrate the soul so that his only hope is to cry for help between each overwhelming wave and each draining cough. This suffering by way of the insults and condemning words of the world was terrible and wounding to our Lord, but the thought that He was forsaken of God hurt the most and caused Him to cry out the words of Matthew 27:46, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” These words spoken by David in Psalm 22:1 also illustrate David’s wearisome crying in Psalm 69. There he beseeches God to deliver him from his deep affliction: “My constant calling wearies me, My throat is parched and dried; My eyes grow dim while for my God Still waiting I abide.” While on this earth below, this is also our state because we belong to Christ. In our suffering let us learn to call upon our sympathetic Savior Who sustained the highest suffering possible—the wrath of the Almighty God. Sing Psalter #184:1-2.
September 3 Read John 15:25, I Peter 2:23, Isaiah 53; Psalm 69:4
For today we cite an excerpt of “Absolute Abnegation” from O Taste and See by Rev. Vos on the powerful words of Psalm 69:4b:
“Then I restored that which I took not away!
Properly translated from the Hebrew it should read: that which I did not rob!
Jesus never robbed anyone of anything. It was rightfully His.
But as soon as He appeared among us the howling mob of creditors came upon Him. And they never left off demanding from Him. They finally demanded the very heart beat of Jesus. They asked and got His blood. His blessed body, His clothes, His natural modesty, nailing Him naked on the accursed tree, His life, the few square feet of terra firma: He hung suspended between heaven and earth.
And though He could have destroyed all His enemies, men, and devils, He gave and restored, He returned and surrendered all His possessions” (213). What did He restore that He did not take away? He restored righteousness and life to us, His elect, who are so undeserving (Heidel. Cat. Q&A 17). What a powerful verse! Sing Psalter #184:3. (If you would like O Taste and See: Meditations from the Psalms please write the Reformed Book Outlet, 3505 Kelly, Hudsonville, MI 49426.)
September 4 Read Psalm 139; Psalm 69:5-6a
Young People, are we making the same confession as David does in Psalm 69:5? Are we searching our souls to see whether there is any sin in them? Or are we deceiving ourselves into thinking that God can not hear our immoral fantasies or our murderous thoughts? While in deep affliction, David thinks the opposite. He proclaims before God that wherever he flees (See Psalm 139), God is there because God is the All-knowing God. He does not try to cover his sins as Adam tried in the garden of Eden, but he confesses them before God. In that confession, he beseeches God for deliverance from his present distress because he knows that he cannot cover his own sin. That covering can only come in David’s Anti-type, our Lord Jesus Christ. In Him, our sins are hid forevermore from God’s eyes so that we may be reconciled to Him. Sing Psalter #184:4.
September 5 Read Psalm 69:6
David’s petition in the verse for today is that God would save His people from shame. While King David bore reproach at the hands of his enemies (See Verse 7), the temptation to despair and feel ashamed surely came to David’s subjects. “Why do you confess God’s Name when you can see that it will be unrewarded? Look at your King, he is defeated!” must have been the devil’s temptation to the children of Israel. Knowing well that this temptation was before God’s people, David prayed that he might be delivered from his enemies and vindicated before the world so that God’s people would not be ashamed for their confession. Therefore, we must see that David was concerned not about himself, but with those that wait on the Lord God of Hosts. His prayer was for the elect alone. His prayer was that God glorify Himself through the vindication of the elect in Israel by saving him. For, “If the king of believers shall find his faith unrewarded, how will the feeble ones hold on their way” (Spurgeon). Praise God that our King, the Lord Jesus Christ, has His reward! Because He has been exalted at God’s right hand forevermore, we shall never be ashamed! Sing Psalter #184:5.
September 6 Read Romans 15:3; Psalm 69:7-8
Today is the Sabbath day, the day when we go up to God’s house chiefly to worship Him. But, we also go to God’s house because we desire to, “bear the infirmities of the weak, and not please ourselves.” We are commanded to do this, “for even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproachest thee fell on me” (See Psalm 69:7, 9). What an incentive to live a life that promotes the other members of the congregation! Jesus came into this world as God’s Christ in order to give His life for us! His zeal for the holiness of God’s house and God’s glory caused Him to be rejected of all His fellow men. This rejection culminated in his shameful sacrifice on the cross. There He despised the shame (Heb. 12:2) and rose victorious. Out of thanksgiving to God, let us follow after Christ by giving God all the glory even though we may be persecuted. Sing Psalter #184:6.
September 7 Read John 2; Psalm 69:9
“For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” These were the passionate words of David. The passion that burned in David’s heart was remembered by our Lord’s disciples when they saw our Lord cleansing the temple in John 2. What was that zeal? David’s and especially Jesus’ zeal was exactly for the glory of God and the holiness of God’s house. Calvin says that Christ, “burned with such zeal, that this single feeling swallowed up every other.” This zeal would not allow any pollution in the house of God for God’s House is to be holy, that is, separated from sin. In the New Testament reality, this means that God’s Church, which the OT temple typified, must also be characterized by holiness. Therefore, we must also have this zeal to keep God’s house holy by insisting that our churches proclaim that great Reformation theme: Soli Deo Gloria. This zeal only flows from God, the God Who will glorify His Name in His church. “For though God is sufficient for Himself, and needs not the services of any, yet He wishes that His glory should be displayed in the Church. In this way He gives a remarkable proof of His love towards us, because He unites His glory—as it were, by an indissoluble link—with our salvation” (Calvin). Sing Psalter #184:7.
September 8 Read Heb. 4:14-18; 5:7-10; Ps. 69:10-11
Earlier in our treatment of Psalm 69 we said that Jesus is our Sympathetic Savior. Young People, do you know what that means? Have you experienced what that means? It means that Christ can sympathize with our troubles because he has experienced and endured every sorrow, every pain, and every temptation that we may face in this life. He knows what it means to lose a loved one. He knows what it means to suffer at the hands of wicked men when He bowed His soul with fasting. He has endured every temptation that we have in our lives. And those temptations to Christ were severe and very serious. Just think of the temptations which our Lord endured at the hands of the devil in Luke 4:1-13. If this is so, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Sing Psalter #184:8.
September 9 Read Psalm 69:12
If we would describe an upright young man in this world according to the Scriptures, how would we describe him? Would he be one that gets drunk at a wild beer party on the weekend? In his car on a Friday night, would he be listening to ungodly rock music on the radio while he cruises the circuit? Or, would he be a young man whom everybody mocks at the local hangout because he reproves the sin of his fellow men (See Eph. 5:11)? How about a godly young woman? Would she be a woman that seeks to entice men by what she wears? Would you find her at a friend’s house watching the latest movie on video? Or, would she be a young woman who is outcast because she desires to walk modestly and humbly with her God (See Micah 6:8)? Young People, what description do we fit? David was made the song of the drunkards (Psalm 69:12). The same was ultimately true of Christ. If we are called to imitate Christ, will not our walk in this world yield the same results? It surely will. The truth of the antithesis demands this. If this is true, let us therefore walk not to seek the approval of the wicked of this world (See Luke 6:26, Eph. 5:11), but let us seek the approval of God. And if the world makes us their proverb, let us realize they do so because we belong to Christ (See John 15:18-25; Psalm 69:4, 12). Sing Psalter #184:9.
September 10-30 devotionals by John Huizenga
September 10 Read I Peter 2:18-23; Psalm 69:13
Today we find a sharp contrast between the believer and the unbeliever, another dimension of the antithesis, a dimension that often breaks down in the weakness of our sinful flesh under the great pressure of wicked men. What do you do when men revile you? What do you do when you suffer wrongfully at the hands of men? The unbeliever will not be able to cool the burning coal of hurt and injustice and will seek revenge sooner or later. He will speak out, protest, revile back, and have no rest until the wrong is corrected according to his own satisfaction. But the child of God is different. While the wicked reviled David, he turned to God in prayer. He prays not on the basis that he deserves to be heard, but on the basis of God’s mercy and saving grace. Our Savior Jesus Christ also is an example for us in such times. We read that He also committed Himself to Him that judges righteously. May we also learn to bear injustice with quiet patience and turn to God in prayer. Sing Psalter 185 verse 1.
September 11 Read Mark 14:26-26; Psalm 69:14-15
Despair and depression can be described as sinking down into mud that is very sticky and dark and bottomless. The harder one struggles, the deeper he sinks and the more hopeless he becomes. The grave itself slowly smothers all life. Such despair is death. Christ our Lord experienced this sorrow in the garden while he prayed. He said His soul was exceeding sorrowful even unto death. That was the weight of our sins pressing Him down as He stood before the righteous and holy God. No matter what the immediate cause of our despair is, all despair ultimately is the result of sin and there is only one way to get out of the mire. No man can pull us out with his own strength, only God is able to deliver. He is the only source of hope and life. He breaks the bondage of sin by the work of Christ crucified. He pulls us out by the power of His grace. Sing Psalter 185 vs. 2
September 12 Read Titus 3:1-7; Psalm 69:16
Why does God look upon the sinner with love and favor? So many who call themselves Christians say He smiles upon those that do good things and frowns upon those who do bad things. Such is a very simplistic, human, and therefore false idea of God. David did not ask God to deliver him because he had done this and that good work. He asked God in prayer to deliver him because of something in God: His mercy. Mercy is the will of God for the weak and helpless sinner to be perfectly blessed in Him; and what God wills, He accomplishes in sovereign power. The believer knows that God wills to save and is powerful to save because God reveals it in His word and therefore the believer comes to God on the basis of His mercy, that’s all! Further revelation of God makes known to the believer that this mercy and power to save is accomplished in the believer through Christ. This truth is clearly taught in Titus 3 as well as all of Scripture. Sing Psalter 185:3
September 13 Read Matthew 29:39-46; Psalm 104:29, 30; Psalm 69:17, 18
The face of God is a matter of life or death for the creature. The showing of God’s face to the creature is the revelation of His favor and grace. The hiding of God’s face is the revelation of His wrath. Apart from the favor and grace of God all is hopelessness and death. The believer, knowing the greatness of His sin and misery, is immediately plunged into darkness when he loses sight of the face of God. The face of God communicates His love for us and forgiveness in Christ. The face of God is the word of God. May God never remove His word from us. It is not enough just to have the Bible in your house. Neither is it enough to read the Bible every day. God must show unto us His face in the reading of His word. We see His face only by faith. Let us also pray that He hide not His face. Sing Psalter 185:4.
September 14 Read Isaiah 53; Hebrews 12:1-2; Psalm 69:19
Reproach is when one puts you to shame. Those reproaching appear to have the upper hand while the one reproached wallows at their feet in shame. David comes before God knowing that He sees the condition in which he is in. Not only does God see His people being reproached, He knows reproach Himself. Christ was despised of men and suffered the reproach of the cross. While He hung on the cross, His enemies surrounded him appearing to have the upper hand as they mocked One Who could save the life of another but would not save His own life. But the enemies of God are absolutely wrong. Christ would not be destroyed in shame; He despised shame and now sits on the right hand of God. The way of the cross was the way for the destruction of the power of sin and death. When wallowing in the reproach of men we come to God where we see and know life eternal. Then the reproach of men means nothing and becomes the way to our salvation. Sing Psalter 185 verse 5.
September 15 Read Mark 14:35-50; Psalm 69:20
In this life filled with sorrow and tears, we learn the beautiful truth found in these verses: God will never forsake His people. In our day to day life and interactions with people we may come to learn that even the best of friends can forsake us. It may even be that God sends you through a time when everyone forsakes you and you are completely alone and despised. This is when God opens our eyes to the truth that He will never forsake us. Then this truth will fill us with awe and reverence for God unknown to those who have never been forsaken by men. In the way of despair before men we are brought into closer covenant fellowship with God. We will never be forsaken because Christ was forsaken for us. He took upon Himself the curse due unto us as he languished, forsaken by God upon the cross. Sing Psalter 185 verse 6.
September 16 Read Matthew 27:33-50, Psalm 69:21
These words from Psalm 69 are prophetic of the suffering and events surrounding Christ’s death on the cross. The wicked fill up the cup of God’s wrath when they trample upon that virtue of God so fundamental to His being: His mercy. Sin is essentially a turning opposite to the way of God and opposing Him. The wicked tormenters of Christ mocked mercy itself as they pretended to be merciful only to torment Christ further. May we see the great wickedness of man for what it is that we may be humbled before our holy God. Every sin of ours is worthy of the wrath of God. Every sin of ours was put upon the shoulders of Christ as he bore the suffering there on the cross for us. Sing Psalter 185 verse 7.
September 17 Read Romans 11:1-13; Psalm 69:22-25
Our God is sovereign in election and reprobation. This truth is denied by most today. While many claim to believe God chooses the elect, they deny the logical conclusion that therefore He also reprobates the others. We need not conclude the doctrine of reprobation by logic alone, for God plainly teaches this in these passages. We also are made to understand by this word of God that reprobation serves election, for it was in the way of the reprobation of ungodly Israel that the gospel went out to the Gentiles. As we saw yesterday, verse 21 is prophetic of Christ dying on the cross. The words of verses 22-25 are also the words of Christ. As He hung there to pay the price for the sins of His people, He also condemned all others to hell. These are the words of our God, if you deny these words, then you deny the God Who also saves by sovereign election. Sing Psalter 185:8.
September 18 Read Isaiah 53; Psalm 69: 26-28
We read Isaiah 53 again because we read here the truth that God is the one that sends affliction. David hesitates not to confess that it is God that has afflicted and smitten him. While man by nature stands up in shock and ridicule when he hears that God, Who is supposed to care for and protect His people beats upon them with afflictions, David finds no contradiction or offence. The child of God knows the holiness of God and therefore the wickedness of his sin. He would gladly suffer a life of beatings from God when he comes to realize the terribleness of his sin. The God of the Scriptures is a just God. Sin must be punished. To this end God Himself in Christ laid down His life for His people. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Sing Psalter 185 verse 9.
September 19 Read II Corinthians 8:1-9; Psalm 69:29
Are you poor and sorrowful? God does not address the problem of earthly poverty of goods here, but rather the problem of spiritual poverty of knowing God. In comparison to life in heaven with God, our whole earthly life is one of spiritual poverty. In His loving kindness God gives to us faithful preaching and the Holy Spirit to lift us up and give us a taste of those heavenly riches, but we all the more long for life in heaven. Let us bring these needs before the Lord in prayer. He knows our poverty for He also became poor for us. God came down from heavenly glory, put aside the riches of that glory and took upon himself the flesh of man that we might be brought to God in Him. In our deliverance from poverty we come to know the mercy and love of God. Sing Psalter 186:1 & 187:1, 2
September 20 Read Eph. 13:1-15; Psalm 69:30, 31
The Lord loves nothing more than the song of praise that wells up in the thankful heart of a forgiven sinner. A song of praise from the heart of His children is the goal and purpose of all the work of God since the beginning of creation. It is the fruit of His work. A song of praise is so simple, yet so profound. A little child and an old man can sing the same song over and over again, and yet bring new praise to God each time. A song of praise is the melting and fusing together of all your sorrows and experiences from the day of your birth and transformed by the power of God’s word into a song of praise. This is a wonder that we will more fully comprehend when we are taken into heaven for an eternity of praise. Let us sing Psalter 186:2 in the knowledge of our wondrous salvation.
September 21 Read Zech. 9:11, 12; Ephesians 3:1-7; Psalm 69:29-31
From the moment Adam fell into sin, every man, woman and child is a prisoner of Satan. By nature we serve Satan and can do nothing but sin. Many of these prisoners belong to Satan, but not all. Some belong to God; they are God’s prisoners. Unlike those who are not God’s prisoners, those who belong to God are prisoners of hope. God opens our eyes, He makes us alive, He shows us the Door and by the power of His grace He brings us out of prison. So powerful and complete is this deliverance, that we can never return to that prison. But because the prison of Satan is so big, essentially covering the whole earth, and the child of God is separated from it, it is as though we now enter the prison of God that prevents us forever from ever living freely in the world of sin. Paul gives expression to this wonderful truth when he confesses that he is a prisoner of Jesus Christ. Does this truth make you glad? Sing Psalter 186:3 & 187:3.
September 22 Read Isaiah 44:21-23; 49:13; 55:8-12; Psalm 69:32, 33
When we meditate upon the garden of Eden and the wonderful life of Adam and Eve with God, it is easy for us to give praise to God, but when we see the corruption of this world it is not so easy to see the wonder in the unfolding of God’s plan for a new heavens and new earth. The salvation of God’s people is far more wonderful even than the garden of Eden. The accomplishment of God’s purpose is reason for all creation to rejoice because then every part of creation will have served the purpose for which it was created. All things work together for the salvation of God’s people. Everything that moves from the stars to the jellyfish to the vibrating atom is called to sing praise unto God. He has created each one, He upholds the existence and life of each one, and He directs each one to serve His purpose in salvation. In all His works, God reveals His wisdom and glory. Let us join the creation and sing Psalter 186:4 & 187:4.
September 23 Read Acts 2:29-40; Psalm 69:36
The institution of the family is an integral part of God’s plan of salvation. God does not randomly choose individuals from the earth as though it were just one big group of people and then bring them into the church to be instructed in the knowledge of God. He does pluck individuals out of non-Christian backgrounds at times, but then He begins to work with them as a graft that can grow and become a family. He is pleased to use the family to provide a godly atmosphere and instruction for elect children who become firmly rooted in the truth from an early age. He is also pleased to give the joy to parents of seeing covenant children grow up in the fear the Lord. This does not mean there are not branches that are reprobate and eventually pruned off. This brings extreme sorrow, but the joy of our salvation and the faithfulness of God to save His people will overcome all sorrow. Sing Psalter 186:5 with the hope of the Psalmist.
September 24 Read II Samuel 17:1-24; Psalm 70:1
The history recorded in II Samuel 17:1-24 is an answer to David’s prayer recorded in Psalm 70:1. That David’s prayer was answered does not mean that he was free from all his troubles. Absalom continued to pursue him and it may have appeared to David that God did not answer his prayer. Through it all, God did preserve David and eventually established His throne as a picture of the coming reign of Christ. Christ also prayed to God in the times of His great distress, and God confounded Satan by giving Christ the victory over death. Here too the way was not easy. When we pray for deliverance, we must not expect an answer that makes our life easy. God will always hear our prayer: He will never let His elect slip into the hands of Satan. He will make every attempt of wicked men to harm or lead us astray turn to their destruction and our salvation. Let us sing this prayer with Psalter 189:1 & 190:1.
September 25 Read Isaiah 41:1-14; John 18:1-6; Psalm 70:2, 3
The pride which lifts a man against God will always be met with shame and confusion because pride against God is absolute foolishness. This pride is manifest every time we sin. Sin is the willful stepping off the path to which God has directed our steps. Though we all sin and fall in shame and confusion, there is a difference between the reprobate and the elect. The reprobate can be smashed down in shame and confusion, but they get up again and persist in sin to an even greater shame and ultimate destruction. The elect are pricked in their heart and repent. In Christ they are washed clean and made precious in God’s sight. They are taken within the covenant fellowship of God so that God brings shame and confusion to those who rise up against His people. The church is gathered for the glory of God, and anyone who would rise up against this work of God will be destroyed. Sing Psalter 188:2 & 189:2
September 26 Read John 16:20-28; Psalm 70:4
In the midst of great distress, David does not only pray for the destruction of his enemies, but he also prays for all believers asking that they may rejoice and be glad. Here again, among other things, we see the great theme that runs through all Scripture, of joy and salvation in the way of sin and misery. We may not always see why it must be this way, but this is the will of God. In this way, and in no other way, is the love of God manifest fully to His people. In heaven we will understand this truth which we now see but dimly. Christ directs our attention to the picture of this great theme in the birth of a child. The joy of receiving a new child can only come in the way of pain and travail. Our minds forget the pain and suffering of childbirth, but the experience is intertwined forever in the love and joy that we have in the child. May we never forget that our puny created minds will never fathom the depths of the wisdom of the eternal God. Sing Psalter 188:3 & 189:3
September 27 Read Hebrews 10:1-37; Psalm 70:5
We know God does not delay His return to deliver His people, and yet we pray “make haste.” We also pray for the forgiveness of sins knowing that Christ has already blotted them out. We pray knowing that God knows everything we need. Would we not be better off keeping quiet and trusting that God will come, that our sins are forgiven, and our needs will be met? Some would have us believe that prayer will cause God to do certain things. We must hold steadfast to the truth that God is in complete sovereign control and unchangeable, yet we must also pray without ceasing because God is a covenant God and we are covenant people. The covenant is a bond of friendship, and there is no friendship without fellowship. In the friendship between the sovereign God of heaven and earth and frail, created, sinful man, such a fellowship in prayer is necessary and pleasing to God. God wills to come quickly, God wills to forgive our sins, God wills to supply our every need, and we confess that our will is knit with His when we ask for these very things. Sing Psalter 188:4 & 189:4
September 28 Read I Peter 2:1-10; Psalm 71:1, 2
We have seen in the Psalms a number of times now where the Psalmist prays for confidence and steadfastness on the basis of his faith and trust in God. Knowing our God to be unchangeable and faithful, like a solid rock that can never be moved, we also pray that God sets us firmly upon that rock. What exactly is that rock? The Old Testament saints had only the promise of salvation as their rock. They prayed for faith to believe that promise. The Rock is Christ. We are delivered from sin on the basis of His death and resurrection. He is the only way to renewed fellowship with God. We are saved in His righteousness which is imputed unto us. He is our only hope. All other ways will only lead to confusion and death. In him we will never be confounded. Sing Psalter 190:1.
September 29 Read Revelation 7; Psalm 71:3
Today we focus our attention upon the words “thou hast given commandment to save me.” These words are very personal and reassuring. The God who commanded the world to come into existence also commands our salvation. Nothing can hinder this commandment. It is a command that has been given from all eternity. The passage from Revelation teaches us that God sends His angels into the world to gather His people in time. The elect are sealed with a seal that distinguishes them from all other and guarantees their entrance into heaven. In this connection God gives to us the reassuring picture of Himself as a strong rock. Not only does He command our salvation, He also gives to us His word to comfort and shield us all our life until we are gathered into heaven. Let us put our trust in God our Rock. Sing Psalter 190:2
September 30 Read Romans 15:1-13; Psalm 71:4, 5
Hope is expectancy or expectation. It is a thing that one longs for with expectation. Hope is not a wish. You might wish that you would find a new car in the garage in place of your old one, but there is no expectancy and therefore no hope. Hope is based on something known for certain. David expected God to deliver him from his enemies because God had done it before and He knew God is a God Who saves. Today we might hope for rain on the basis of a weather prediction for rain, and the fact that it has rained in the past, but we can’t be certain because God also sends drought. Hope in God has an absolutely certain basis. God is unchangeable. He reveals Himself as “the God of hope.” We are filled up with the hope of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, and in His hope we have peace and joy. May you be filled with the hope of God. Sing Psalter 190:3
Devotional by Cornelius Jonker
Watching Daily At My Gates
“Whereas ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:6, 7). We have a paradox here, that is, a statement that appears contradictory, yet is true in this case. Sometimes our lives are relatively easy. But this can soon change when calamities come, when a loved one dies or persecution is thrust upon us. God knows our way and our desires, and when He sends us trials, it must serve to strengthen and purify our faith. Then, at the funeral of a loved one we can sing amidst our tears, “Hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” By grace we can rejoice through our heaviness, for we possess that which gold cannot buy, the promise of an eternal inheritance purchased by Christ our Savior. Psalter 398.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). This text contains a great contrast. It proclaims mercy and forgiveness to those who are sorry for their sins, who seek pardon at the foot of the cross, and who no longer embrace those sins. It also warns those who attempt to cover their sins with a so-called confession, but are determined nevertheless to continue living in them. One common example is the marriage of divorced persons, who claim that they confessed their sin of divorce and the breaking of the marriage vows. However, they continue to live in this sin of adultery, thereby refusing to forsake that sin. And anyone who either openly or covertly continues to hold to or cherish certain sins, will not find mercy, but stands condemned before the face of God. Oh let us pray the prayer of Jeremiah: “turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God.” Jeremiah 31:18(b) Psalter 110.
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).This is a text that affords much comfort to the believer. Dear reader, whether you are young or old, take these words to heart with introspection, which means to examine one’s own inward thoughts. What do you find there? Do you see the fruits of God’s work in you? Are you sorry for your sins and have a desire to walk antithetically over against the world and its wickedness? To be sure, our sins beset us daily and we often see only a small beginning of that new obedience. But God never begins a work that He does not also finish, and therefore we have full confidence that we will persevere to the end. Let us go forward then, not in our own strength, but in the assurance that God will lead us all the way to our eternal home, because this work of grace is based on the finished work of our Savior who loved us and gave Himself for us. Psalter 185.
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy Word” (Psalm 119:9). A searching and important question is asked and a beautiful and significant answer is given. Who is asking this question? Obviously it is a young man. However, cleansing of the way is not for the young man only, but also for the young woman. This cleansing is also necessary for all of us even up to the time we draw our last breath. This is a unique and beautiful question, young people. A youth’s way is his path of life as he travels his earthly journey. There are many sidetracks that beckon the young traveler to turn aside and enjoy the pleasures of the wicked world. These so called pleasures are tainted by the smut and filth of ungodliness. The answer to the question is one of grace. That answer is to take heed to the Word. That Word is the precepts and testimonies of Scripture. That Word is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That gospel causes us to flee to Him for forgiveness and cleansing. There is delight in that way for young and old, for it is the way of the cross that leads to a glorious home. Psalter 322.
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22). Ever since the dawn of history, the church could echo the above words, and it will repeat them until Christ comes at the end of time. Countless examples could be mentioned how Satan and the world harassed the church and were determined to blot out their very existence. From bondage in Egypt, rebellion in the wilderness, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, which gave rise to the lament of Jeremiah, the church has been frequently cast in the furnace of affliction, yet never destroyed. Can we ascribe to this remnant some inherent strength in itself that can withstand all the onslaughts of the powers of darkness? Not at all, for we read that it is only because of God’s mercies that we are not consumed. His compassion or pity is a sovereign and eternal compassion that cannot possibly fail. What a comfort for the church of all ages to know and experience that great truth. Because Christ, on the cross, redeemed that church and because He now reigns victoriously, not one of that church shall ever be lost. Thank the Lord that you are privileged to be a member of that church and humbly praise Him for His mercies. Psalter 378.
“I will both lay me down in peace and sleep; for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). What a beautiful expression of serene tranquility and quiet confidence that we do well to repeat each night as we lay our heads on our pillows. Our lives usually are so busy that our heads are filled with all sorts of worries about the present and the future. The farmer may worry about the weather, the rich about the security of his wealth, the poor about his empty cupboard, and the student about tomorrow’s lessons. We do not mean to infer that we should not be concerned about the things in our lives that affect us very deeply, but “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”. The ungodly may rightly toss and turn during the night, for we read, “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked”. But the child of God goes to sleep with a prayer on his lips for the peace that only God can give. Then all anxious questionings cease, and we can rest in the arms of the Almighty, faithful covenant God who never slumbers nor sleeps and who will keep us in safety. Psalter 7.
“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (I Peter 3:12). What a warm and comforting assurance this is for the righteous who must walk daily in a world that is hostile to God and filled with evil and wickedness. Who are the righteous? Those are you and I, and all who are clothed in the garments of Christ’s righteousness, who have been redeemed by the wonderful power of His sovereign grace. Sadly, however, we often stumble and fall into sin each day anew. But thanks be to God, He does not leave us in our sins, but convicts us by the Holy Spirit, so that we cry out “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” God’s face is against them that do evil. Those are the unregenerate wicked who delight in evil. Against those, the Lord sets His face in consuming judgment. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God, Who is a consuming fire. But He is ever merciful to His children whom He sees with loving eyes and whose prayers He hears with attentive ears. Psalter 74.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart. O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17). What is a sacrifice? Do we still bring them to God? The Old Testament church knew much about sacrifices, for in this way they worshipped God. Their sacrifices were commanded by God Himself and required an offering of something precious, such as a lamb with no imperfections. These of course pointed to the perfect sacrifice of the perfect Lamb, namely Christ. Do we still bring sacrifices to God? Most surely we are required to do so, not with a bloody offering, but that of a broken spirit and a contrite heart. A broken spirit is that which is emptied of all pride and haughtiness of sin. A contrite heart is a heart that is filled with genuine remorse and penitence because of our corruption and guilt. By nature we are proud and have to have the preeminence. Do we flaunt our appearance, our possessions or our intellect? God despises proud looks and all boasting of self. All we are and all we have are from God alone, who desires truth in the inward parts. Let our prayer be, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23, 24). Psalter 384.
“He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel; the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them” (Numbers 23:21). Such beautiful words uttered by such a despicable hypocrite! Balaam, the false prophet, was hired by the king of Moab to curse Israel. Oh, certainly, the nation of Israel as a whole, was worthy of curses. Didn’t they murmer against God despite His repeated signs and wonders? They trampled His commandments under foot and rebelled numerous times. Balaam perceives how imperfect this people were, and since he covets the earthly reward from King Balak, he agrees to this wicked maneuver. But God has other plans, and because God is sovereign, even over the wicked, He turns the intended curses to blessings. What a comfort for you and I, dear reader. Despite our sins and rebellion, God beholds us, and all His elect children, as righteous in Christ. The King has engraved His people in the palms of His hands and loves them with an eternal love. Shall we not then give thanks to that King and strive to walk in thankfulness and obedience all our days? Psalter 239.
“And unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). What are you looking for, dear reader, and how does this affect your life? This text refers of course to Christ Who appeared once on the earthly scene, but then disappeared. The first time He came with sin. Indeed not with His own sin, for He had none. But He took on Himself the sins of His dear elect children and laid down His life as a perfect sacrifice to redeem them. The second appearance of the Redeemer will be glorious for those who look for Him in faith and blessed expectation. Oh, He will appear to the wicked also, for every eye shall see Him and every knee shall bow before Him. These wicked do not want to see Him for He comes with a dreadful judgment. But those who look for Him shall not be disappointed. In the meantime, do not look for earthly riches, for prestige in the eyes of the world, or anything else that would disturb your focus on His appearance. Look by faith at all the signs of His coming that take place in the world around us and listen to our Savior Himself who said “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28). Psalter 276.
“I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart” (Psalm 119:32). This is quite a commitment that the psalmist makes in this verse and it is the same for us as we take it on our own lips. Notice that we will not only stand or walk in the way of God’s commandments, but we will run. Running takes much effort and exertion in order to reach a certain goal. That is how we must seek to serve and love God, zealously living for His sake, keeping His commandments and loving Him with all our hearts. The psalmist realizes that this can only be possible when God enlarges his heart. To enlarge one’s heart, which is the center of our spiritual life, means to make it more spacious and more receptive to the things of God’s kingdom. By nature our hearts, even though regenerated, are small, and do not seek the commandments of God. But God enlarges our hearts and makes us willing to live for Him. Pray daily for this work of grace so that our lives may manifest to everyone we meet that our one desire is to run in the way of God’s commandments. Psalter 38.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as he hath chosen us in him” (Ephesians 1:3, 4). What a doxology of praise to our God this is, as we take these words upon our lips. To bless, means “to speak well”. God, from all eternity loved us and spoke well of us in His eternal counsel of election. He blessed us in Christ, and because of that divine work we in turn bless God. We speak well of Him because we taste that He is good, merciful and sovereign in all His words and works. We may have doubts sometimes and wonder if this blessedness can actually be ours. Our sins overwhelm us, and we realize with sorrow, our hopeless condition. But God does not leave us in our sins. He causes us to sorrow because of them, and works repentance and conversion in our hearts by His Holy Spirit. He is always the Giver; we are always the receivers. Because He has blessed us in Christ, who redeemed us by His blood, we are already in principle citizens of those heavenly places where Christ reigns as eternal King. Blessed be our great God! Psalter 280.
“From that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?” (John 6:66, 67). Jesus had just performed a great miracle, the likes of which the people never before had beheld. Five loaves of bread and two fish were multiplied in sufficient quantity to feed five thousand people. Prior to this, the multitude witnessed great miracles of healing. Is it any wonder that they wanted to crown Him their king? With this king to lead them their stomachs would be full and sickness banished. Jesus then preached a powerful sermon, the subject of which was, “My kingdom is not of this world”. What a disappointment for those whose hope was centered in an earthly kingdom. As a result they walked no more with Him, but forsook Him. Jesus turns to His twelve disciples and asked, “Will ye also go away?” This question comes to us today also, dear reader. Will you hold fast to the truth of the gospel of sovereign, particular grace and unconditional covenant views, Biblical concept of marriage and prohibition of remarriage of divorced persons? Many do like to pay the price of the truth and so they leave and find teachers that will tell them what they like to hear. People of God, let your answer by grace be that of Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” Psalter 94.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). The context in which this verse appears describes us in our natural state, namely that we walked in disobedience, fulfilling the desires of the flesh. But God who is rich in grace, quickened us according to His mercy, and showed us the riches of His kindness in Christ. Then we are told that by grace alone we are saved. That grace is never earned by our works and is never bestowed upon us because of our goodness, for then salvation would be by man and not by grace. Rather it is a free gift by pure and sovereign grace through faith. Oh, there are those who claim that salvation is all of grace and that it is made available to all those who fulfill the condition of faith and accept this grace. If that were true, then it is not of grace, but of man who determines his fate. And man is fickle and given to change and foolishness. Thanks be to God, salvation is a free gift, bestowed on the elect through Christ, the objects of which are kept by the power of faith, so that they persevere unto the end. All praise and thanks be to God alone! Psalter 187.
“Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I will keep it unto the end. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments: for therein do I delight” (Psalm 119:33, 35). We all know what paths are, don’t we? The most common definition would be a laid out track or route upon which we walk. It can also refer to a way of life or conduct. Our text today is a prayer for divine instruction as we travel our pathway of life. Young people, you are beginning a journey, a journey that will take you through life. You have never traveled it before. What is your road map? Who is your guide? We are so often inclined to follow our sinful desires and stray into paths of sin. But that way ends in death. Listen to these directions: “Teach me the way of thy statutes, Lord. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments.” That is a wonderful and blessed way. By God’s grace we pray this prayer, and in this pathway we take delight. God will keep us on that path until we reach our glorious destination. All praise and thanks to Him! Psalter 321.