Beacon Lights now begins its 14th year of publishing devotionals for our readers. We hope that many of you have found them to be a profitable tool in your spiritual growth. The series began with the theme “Watching Daily At My Gates” taken from Proverbs 8:34-35 “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.” Such a devotional life is essential in our covenant walk with God. Jesus often sought a quiet place to meditate and pray.
Mr. Hunter began the series and continues to contribute willingly. According to the introduction in the January, 1993 issue of Beacon Lights, Mr. Hunter was in his 15th year of teaching at Northwest Iowa Protestant Reformed School in Doon. He continues to work there as teacher and principal. I would like to thank him for the hours and hours of his spare time writing wonderful devotional material. Along the way, others have labored to provide new material for meditation. Everyone’s help has been much appreciated.
Eight years ago, we began a series of devotionals that used the Psalter as a theme and guide, and I plan to reprint this series in the months ahead. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, we sing the Psalms on the Lord’s Day and throughout the week and our hope was that meditating on the words would help us to sing with better understanding and love for this treasure. Secondly, this will give our writers a break from their diligent and faithful work in this area.
Psalter-Psalm Devotional by John Huizenga
The Blessedness of the Godly
January 1 Psalm 1:1
The man who is blessed is filled with joy and happiness. Look around you. Do you see many happy people? Don’t be deceived by all the laughter. Often laughter is a mask to cover fear, insecurity, and despair. Psalm 1 tells you how to find those who are filled with joy and happiness. Look for one who avoids the activities and company of the ungodly. Look for one who refuses to participate in activities that lead one into temptation and sin. Look for one who flees from those who openly mock the Christian faith. That man is blessed. He does not flee from sin in order to seek happiness, no, he already has a happiness that is so deep and overpowering that he sees only misery in all the sinful attempts of man to find happiness. The happiness that he has is rooted in his knowledge of God’s love for him in Christ. Hence we sing “who fearing God” and “who loves God’s precepts.” Do you have that happiness? Sing Psalter Number 1:1 and 2:1
January 2 Psalm 1:2
One who is blessed does not only shun all man centered, sinful, attempts to find happiness; he also is actively pursuing the source of his happiness: God. God puts a new heart in him so that he becomes alive spiritually and knows his God as a loving and merciful Father who reveals the way of heavenly blessedness. He therefore seeks to know every detail about that way: the law of Jehovah. The law is the whole of God’s word. King David had this blessedness. He meditated on that word day and night, in prosperity and despair, and his blessedness is expressed by divine inspiration in the psalms. Let us also make the Psalms our expression of blessedness. Sing Psalter Number1:2 and 2:2.
January 3 Psalm 1:3
The one who lives in blessedness is like a tree planted by the rivers of water. He has been chosen by God and is carefully cultivated to grow and produce spiritual fruit. The flowing river is a picture of the abundance of God’s Word that causes him to grow in his knowledge of God. A cultivated tree must also be pruned to cut away that which is dead and unfruitful, but its leaf is ever green and it will bear fruit in due season. God will never forsake His people, but will finish the work which He has begun in them. Sing Psalter Number1:3 and 2:3 (you may want to try the second tune).
January 4 Psalm 1:4
Psalm 1 expresses in clear language the basic theme found in the whole book of Psalms: the blessedness of the godly in contrast with the misery of the ungodly. The Psalms express in song the response to the good news (gospel) of salvation in Jesus Christ from the misery of sin and death. God is pleased, for the sake of His glory, to elect and reprobate. The wickedness of the ungodly and God’s wrath against them continually reminds the blessed of the wonder and power of God’s grace. In contrast to the tree well planted and cared for, the wicked are like the unwanted chaff that is carried away by the wind. If it were not for God’s mercy, we too would be the wicked and fit only to be destroyed. Sing Psalm 1:4
January 5 Psalm 1:5
You have noticed that stanza 4 of Psalters 1 and 2 includes Psalm 1:5 also. Jesus taught the truth of this verse in the parable of the wheat and the tares. While we live on this earth, we must live among the wicked, but in the day of harvest, the wheat is gathered into the barns while the tares are separated and cast into the fire. The wicked are also compared to the chaff which serves the wheat as it grows, but is separated and destroyed in the harvest. Those who know that their sins are washed away by the blood of Christ do not fear the judgment and are therefore free and most blessed in life on this earth. Sing Psalter 2:4.
January 6 Psalm 1:6
The way of the righteous is Christ. It is the way of justice and mercy in the forgiveness of sins. It is the way of knowing God as Christ leads us in green pastures and through deep valleys. Christ walked the way Himself. Jehovah our covenant God knows every detail of the way we must walk and guards us all along. The way of sinners far from God is the way of seeking happiness apart from God. It is the way of serving Satan and believing his lies. The way of the wicked is directly opposite the way of the righteous and it will be destroyed along with all its travelers who have departed far from God. Sing Psalter Number 1:5 and 2:5
January 7 Psalm 2
Like the first psalm, Psalm 2 gives instruction about the book of the Psalms as a whole. David was a type of Christ, and Psalm 2 makes it clear that his inspired songs in the whole book of the Psalms are all about Christ and His victory. We sing Psalm 2 in the Psalter under the titles “The Kingship of Jesus Christ” and “Christ’s Inheritance.” Christ reigns in the way of destroying His enemies, and the peoples from every nation are His inheritance. Zion is redeemed through judgment. The beautiful oratorio by George Frideric Handel “The Messiah” includes a section from Psalm 2 which concludes with the Hallelujah Chorus from Revelation 19:6 ; 11:15; 19:16. “Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. King of Kings, and Lord of lords. Hallelujah!” Read Psalm 2 ; listen to or sing “The Messiah.”
January 8 Psalm 2:1
The question in this verse is asked in angry interrogation, not ignorance. All the peoples of the earth, the creatures of God, are raging against their Creator! What a striking description of the effect of sin and display of the totally depraved nature of man! They “vainly dream that in triumph they can wage war against the King supreme” (Psalter 3:1). By nature we all foolishly wage war against God with Satan as our captain. But God graciously opens our eyes and gives us new hearts and wisdom to see the truth. Sing Psalter 4:1.
January 9 Psalm 2:2-3
As a type of Christ, David experienced throughout his life the plotting not only of many in Israel, but also kings all around who tried desperately to dethrone him. Acts 4:27, 28 reveals how the nations took counsel against Jesus. The plotting of nations and rulers against David was not against David as an earthly power, but out of hatred for God, they “wage war against the King supreme,” God’s anointed. They say “let us break free from the law of God, be our own gods, and do what we want.” Do you hear these war-cries today? Our own sinful nature tempts us to join them. Some would criticize the Psalms for their endless bloody war language of days gone by and unfit for the modern Christian, but every believer who knows his sinful nature knows about spiritual warfare. Sing Psalter Number 3:1.
January 10 Psalm 2:4
We turn now from the wicked counsel chamber and raging of man to the sovereign counsel of God. Acts 4:28 reveals that the wicked who gathered in order to destroy God’s anointed and cast his yoke away did not succeed, but even in this they did “whatsoever thy counsel determined before to be done.” When David speaks to his enemies he uses vivid language to make clear how foolish they are to imagine war against God. God laughs at them. We sing “the Lord will scorn them all, Calm He sits enthroned on high.” Those who are washed of sin, sheltered in Christ from God’s holy wrath against sin, and called the children of God can never give Him enough thanks and praise. Sing Psalter Number 3:2.
January 11 Psalm 2:5, 6
God does not need to exert Himself in battle against the wicked. He speaks His sovereign counsel and they know that all their own plans are vain. God has determined from eternity to place His Son on the throne of heaven and earth. Adam’s fall into sin and every act of rebellion thereafter did nothing to frustrate those plans, but rather were a part of God’s plan all along. No effort of man could be more vain than to dethrone Christ. The vain struggles of man are turned into their own punishment as they vex themselves day and night. Psalter Number 4:2 reads “He speaks and judgments fall on them who tempt His wrath and scorn His love.” We rightly sing these words when we understand that the love which the wicked scorn is not a general love for all men, but the love and mercy which God reveals in Christ to the elect. Sing Psalter Number 4:2.
January 12 Psalm 2:7
We have been to the counsel chamber of the wicked, and to the throne of God, now we hear the voice of our risen Redeemer Himself declaring the eternal counsel of Jehovah ( Acts 13:33 ). When David at last sat upon the throne, he made manifest to the world that God had eternally decreed his kingship as a picture of Christ. When Christ arose, He revealed clearly that He was indeed the eternal and only begotten Son of God. Let us sing this verse with Christ’s resurrection in power in mind. Sing Psalter Number 3:3.
January 13 Psalm 2:8-9
Essential to the decree of Jehovah concerning His Son is the good news that Christ will gather His church from all the nations of the world. This is the gospel! In the way of nations raging against Christ, Christ saves His people from those nations in such a way that His people see His great love and sovereign rule. God also reveals His justice and wrath by destroying the wicked as a smashed clay pot. Our forefathers were from nations that raged and continue to rage against Jehovah’s anointed, but God has chosen us in mercy from them to be His people. Let us also be diligent in the work of spreading the gospel by our walk in life and support of the mission work of the church. Sing Psalter 4:3.
January 14 Psalm 2:10-12
Having declared the truth of God’s sovereign counsel, the psalm preaches the gospel to the nations. It is a message that goes out with urgency, like the preaching of John the Baptist “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Even the kings and rulers who lead nations against Christ are commanded. It is a command, not a pleading request. The preaching of the gospel to the nations serves to deliver the children of God and condemn the wicked. Those who do repent and put their trust in God enter into the blessed fellowship of God. They are the blessed who now walk not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stand in the way of sinners nor sit in the seat of the scornful. Sing Psalter Number 3:4 & 1:1.
January 15 Psalm 3:1-2
This is a psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son. Absalom had persuaded most of Israel to rise up with him against king David to overthrow him. In addition to the great sorrow of having a rebellious son, there were those who reminded David of his sins and told him that even God had forsaken him. We have noticed in the two introductory Psalms that the blessed salvation which God gives to His people comes in the way of much spiritual warfare for the people of God. Isaiah sums up this truth with the words “Zion is redeemed with judgment” ( Isa. 1:17 ). David’s life was filled with troubles, and being delivered, he sang beautiful praises to God. Let us also learn to seek God as David did. Sing Psalter Number 5:1.
January 16 Psalm 3:3, 4
Though his enemies taunt David saying God would not even help such a bloody sinner as he, David knows that Jehovah his faithful covenant God is a shield over him. The word for “shield” means a buckler round about protecting him on every side. David certainly has no earthly glory being chased as a wild animal, but his glory is in Christ and the office of king which he has of God. May God also lift up your head to see Christ when your sin and guilt brings you low. Cry out to the Lord with your voice, He will hear you. Sing Psalter Number 5:2.
January 17 Psalm 3:5, 6
Perhaps as a child you prayed before bed, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray thee Lord my soul to take. Amen.” This was David’s prayer. His trust in God brought peace to his soul and rest in sleep. Awaking he is renewed in strength and courage. He is not ignorant of the great power of the enemy, but proclaims that he is ready to fight ten thousands of enemies. We also must know the power of the enemy. Does the world and its development in sin frighten you? Trust in the Lord and your heart will be unmoved as David’s. Sing Psalter Number 5:3.
January 18 Psalm 4:7
David knows well that he can not fight ten thousands of enemies by himself. When he awakes and considers his predicament, he turns immediately to God. His faithful covenant God has never failed to destroy those who oppose David because David’s enemies are God’s enemies. The devil goes round about like a roaring lion to attack and kill the people of God, but David knows that the victory is God’s who has already broken the jaw and teeth of the devil with His eternal decree of Christ. Sing Psalter Number 5:7.
January 19 Psalm 4:8
Salvation belongs to Jehovah our covenant God. It does not depend upon man’s will or decision for Christ. Man does not contribute to his salvation. God chooses His people, calls them by grace, and saves them. As king of Israel David does not merely think about himself as he struggles and prays to God. He is thinking about the people of God over whom he has been anointed to reign. David knows God will not abandon His people and plan of salvation. Sing Psalter Number 5:8.
January 20 Psalm 4
We can sing this Psalm using three different Psalter numbers. Number 6, entitled “A Trustful Appeal to God” includes all the verses of the Psalm. Number 7 is entitled “Quieting Thoughts” and includes verses 3-8. Number 8 is entitled “Faith and Peace” and includes verses 3, 4, 6 and 8. The heading of this psalm indicates that it was sung to the accompaniment of hand instruments. It is a psalm about joy and peace in the midst of great trials and tribulation. David is yet being vexed by his enemies. He is either being pursued by his son Absalom or Saul when he is inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this psalm. Hum the tunes of these Psalter numbers.
January 21 Psalm 4:1
In the first verse of this psalm David mediates upon God’s salvation, covenant, and faithfulness in the past. He addresses God as the God who is the author, judge, and rewarder of his righteousness. Psalter Number 6 does not indicate the idea of our righteousness, but gets at the source of our righteousness which is in our “righteous God.” Righteous never originates in ourselves. This confession of faith is David’s shield which he takes up before confronting the enemy. God is also merciful and ready to hear the prayers of those in distress. Let us also take up this confession upon our lips before we continue our day and sing Psalter Number 6:1.
January 22 Psalm 4:2
David now rebukes his enemies in verses 2-5. He tells them that they love making up lies about him to make him look bad and themselves good. In doing so they drag the name of God in the dirt. David has just prayed to the God who is righteous and imputed righteousness to David in Christ. Those who scorn David are not interested in truth at all but continuously make up lies and stir up the crowds to ridicule him. At the heart of such foolishness is man’s sinful nature and hatred against God. The wicked never do seem to realize that they can not fight God so David asks “how long?” Unless God takes out their heart of stone, and regenerates them, they will never cease their folly. Praise God for his mercy toward us! Sing Psalter Number 6:2.
January 23 Psalm 4:3
Those who walk in foolish lies never do learn the wisdom of God, yet they must be told the truth. They must know that the godly are those who have been chosen by God. They were not chosen because they were godly, but they are godly because they were chosen. The ungodly have been reprobated. The doctrine of election and reprobation is hated by the ungodly because they hate the doctrine of God’s sovereignty over all things. God’s sovereignty is a comfort, however, and an assurance for the child of God that God will hear his prayer. When people blaspheme God to your face, they must know that they foolishly fight the sovereign God. Sing Psalm 6:3 .
January 24 Psalm 4:4-5
We must also exhort the ungodly to repentance. The passionate anger and madness stirred up by lies must cease and they must be quiet and tremble before God. They must put away the lies and consider the truth. While David was away from Jerusalem, sacrifices continued in the temple and those who opposed David claimed a false and hypocritical righteousness, but they must repent and find true spiritual righteousness in the sacrifice of Christ. Psalter Number 7:2 speaks of “good and loving deeds” as our sacrifice, but that is incorrect. Psalter Number 6 captures the sense of Psalm 4 beautifully. Perhaps Number 7:2 could be changed to “Turn from outward worship, Sacrifice in truth.” Sing Psalter Number 7:2 with these words, and sing Number 6:4.
January 25 Psalm 4:6
David ends his rebuke and exhortation and gives expression to his own contentment and peace. Those who complain “who will show us good” could be either those who are very weak in faith among the men of David, or the ungodly who never find satisfaction in earthly goods. Psalter Number 6 calls them “the faithless multitude.” David prays that the weak in faith might see that that joy and contentment is found only in the love of God revealed in the face of Christ. Can you confess the goodness of God in your circumstances in life. Pray for His enlightening Spirit and the true knowledge of God in Christ. Sing Psalter Number 6:5.
January 26 Psalm 4:7-8
David confesses here that God has put more joy and peace in his heart than the best of earthly prosperity could ever give. When our wealth increases, we may experience some sense of security, but along with it comes the fear of losing what we have. God’s love is altogether different. The believer who knows God has graciously chosen him, knows that God will never forsake him. The strong in faith also are able to sleep in peace knowing that God will care for him. Though no man is able to help you, may your trust in God alone be your comfort. These are the treasures which moth and rust can not corrupt. Pray for faith that you can sing the last verse of Psalters Number 6, 7 and 8 as David did.
January 27 Psalm 5
This psalm is a morning prayer before going to the house of God. The first seven verses consist of David’s plea to be heard by God. Then David prays for guidance as he seeks to walk in righteousness among wicked men. He concludes the prayer with a petition for joy and peace to all who put their trust in God. The Psalter numbers based on Psalm 5 are entitled “An Entreaty for Guidance,” “Confident Access to God,” and “Prayer for Protection.” Jesus also offered up such prayers and supplication with strong crying and tears. Let us also learn from this instruction. Read through the psalm and become familiar with the tunes of Psalter Numbers 7, 8 and 9.
January 28 Psalm 5:1
David first addresses God as “Jehovah.” In the KJV we read “LORD” in all upper case letters. “Jehovah” is the name of God held in such awe and respect that the translators of the KJV felt it better simply to write “LORD.” The leaders of the Old Testament people of God also used this name with such reverence that they refrained from writing the vowel sounds in the Hebrew language. “Jehovah” is the name of God by which He is known as our covenant God. David addresses God on the basis of the covenant. The covenant is God’s loving bond of friendship with His people in Christ. This is the name dearest to the child of God. Sing Psalter 11:1.
January 29 Psalm 5:2
David then addresses God as his God and his King. He knows God as the Ruler in his life. To Him who is exalted over all things as the sovereign creator and provider, David humbles himself and cries out loud with tears. Because David belongs to God as His servant and child, he is confident that God will hear his cries. We also must address God with such close and personal language. Closeness with God is not manifest in the shallow flippant prayers of many today who address God as they would a buddy on the street. God is God and King, but he is my personal God and personal King. Let us strive to pray with proper awe and reverence for our covenant God. Sing Psalter Number 9:1
January 30 Psalm 5:3
David prays first thing in the morning. The covenant fellowship of Jehovah with His people is so close that David thinks of his God first thing in the morning and speaks with Him in prayer. The language of this prayer is the same as the language used when the priests made the morning sacrifice and looked for the answer of God’s grace and favor. The relation to sacrifice is noted in Psalter Number 11:2. Like the sacrifice, David’s prayer is carefully presented with meditation and without haste. Let us also set aside time in the morning for prayer with our faithful covenant God. Sing Psalter Number 11:2.
January 31 Psalm 5:4-6
Do you welcome murderers, robbers, and foul mouthed liars to live in your house with your family? Neither does God. God is holy, free from every evil, set distinctly apart from sin. God hates all who sin and rebel against Him. God drives them far from His house—His sphere of perfect covenant fellowship and happiness. “Evil shall not dwell with [Him]” Psalter 9:2. God would drive you and me away too, but He has chosen a people from every tribe, tongue and nation that is cleansed from sin in the blood of Christ. The wicked hate God’s people just as they hate God. Do the wicked tempt you, mock you, and persecute you? Does your own sinful nature afflict your new man in Christ? Cry out as David does to your covenant Friend in prayer. Sing Psalter Number 9:2; read the Standard Bearer Vol. 2, 167; 16, 86 for further meditation.