The Daily Press

March 8­­­­  Read Psalm 61

Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 instructs us to “pray without ceasing.”  Are we fulfilling this calling?  What does praying without ceasing look like, and how can we improve in this area?

Matthew Henry points out that this command of Paul immediately follows the command to rejoice.  The more we pray and talk with our God the more reason we will have to rejoice.  Henry goes on to explain that the meaning here is not that we must only pray all day, but that we must never do anything that hinders our prayer life.

I’ve noticed a tendency I have to convince myself that this or that problem is too insignificant to require prayer.  Do I really need to make such a big deal out of this little problem by praying about it?  Can’t I just handle it on my own?  This method of reasoning fails to recognize the truth that God ALWAYS answers our prayers.  In addition, this thinking implies that I have strength of myself to deal with the problems of life.  We must always remember that all our strength comes from God alone, and we are nothing of ourselves.

Sing or pray Psalter #161.

March 9 Read John 8:42–47

“William, you are NOT the father.”  William leaps out of his chair and starts dancing uproariously, as the woman who is bearing someone else’s child collapses to the ground in tears.  The host bends down and places a comforting hand on her shoulder as the crowd cheers.

This is public television, family entertainment.  I saw a clip of this show a number of years ago, and I know that there are many more like it out there.  The idea of taking real-life lying, cheating, and adultery and morphing it into entertainment really shows us how far man has fallen.

In John 8:44, Jesus says that the devil “is a liar, and the father of it.”  The father of lies passes this on to his children, as we see in Psalm 62:4.  Here we read that the wicked “delight in lies.”  The sin of lying is always a danger to us, and we must be on constant guard against it in a world where it is glorified.

Sing or pray Psalter #162.

March 10  Read Matthew 6:19–21

Did you know that if your household income is $34,000 or more a year, you are in the top 1% of wealthiest people on the planet?  That means that out of one hundred randomly selected people on earth, you would probably find only one person in that group that makes as much money as you do.  This statistic, which comes from a report by the Canada-based Fraser Institute, helps put things into perspective for us.  It’s true that part of this can be explained by the fact that the cost of living isn’t nearly as high in developing countries as it is in this one, but the point still stands— we are rich.

David in Psalm 62:10 instructs us not to set our hearts on riches.  Jesus, in his sermon on the mount, commands man to lay up his treasures in heaven, and not on this earth.  It is important that we realize this is a real danger for all of us here in the modern world.  Sure, there will always be plenty of people around who appear to be much wealthier than we are, but that doesn’t mean that they are the only ones who need to be fighting this temptation.

Sing or pray Psalter #97.

March 11- Read Isaiah 26:4–7

We studied Africa in geography class this year, and I read the students a book about the Rwandan holocaust.  The book, entitled Left to Tell, is a true account of how a Tutsi girl survived for three months in a tiny bathroom with seven other women, while outside the Hutus ran around with machetes chopping up their family and friends.  I had to paraphrase parts due to the brutality of it, but it’s quite an amazing story.

Psalm 62:8 brings to us the command to trust in God “at all times.”  It’s hard to imagine a more difficult time than the one described in this story, but the main character spends her days in the bathroom praying and communing with God.  There are many things she holds to that we wouldn’t agree with (she’s Roman Catholic), but it’s a wonderful reminder to us of the fact that God will always give his people the perfect measure of strength they need for each trial.

Sing or pray Psalter #72.

March 12  Read Proverbs 14:29–35

We are commanded in Psalm 62:10 to “trust not in oppression.”  Trusting in oppression is characteristic of the wicked world around us.  It amazes me how much money is made by preying on the poor in this country.  Payday loans immediately come to mind.  If you have never heard about the interest rates charged on these loans, you may want to do a little research, because it’s truly unbelievable.  The people who get these loans are desperate, and the lending companies use this to enslave them.  If these people needed this money that badly in the first place, then how are they ever going to pay back a bill that is many times the amount they borrowed?  The obvious answer is that they can’t, and the companies know it.  This practice of robbing those in need is in direct opposition to the teachings of God’s word.

In contrast, God’s people are commanded to care for the poor, as God cares for us.  As Proverbs 14:31 states, “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoreth him hath mercy on the poor.”  We care for one another as God cares for us.

Sing or pray Psalter #113.

March 13- Read Romans 9:9–16

We are saved because God knew we would believe when others would not.  God gives us the gift of salvation and all we have to do is accept it.

These false teachings are everywhere today, but we know that man truly did nothing to merit his salvation.  As Romans 9:16 states, “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”  How then can we explain a verse such as Psalm 62:12, which says, “for thou renderest to every man according to his work”?

Article 24 of the Belgic Confession and Lord’s Day 24 explain this well.  In Article 24 of the Belgic Confession we learn that although we perform good works, those good works do not merit anything.  Lord’s Day 24 goes on to clarify that our good works are still rewarded, “but this reward is of grace, not of merit.”  This means that when we perform good works God gives us grace to perform even more.

Sing or pray Psalter #338.

March 14  Read Matthew 25:31–46       

Yesterday we talked about how God rewards our good works with grace.  God gives us a good illustration of this truth with the stars in the heavens.  All the stars are out there together, but some shine more brightly than others, just as some of the elect perform more good works than others, although all of them have been saved solely by God’s grace.

Jesus addresses the issue in this passage in Matthew.  These verses talk about how the righteous and the wicked will be separated at the end of the world.  Those who have performed good works will be rewarded, and those who have not will be punished everlastingly.

Taking a passage like this by itself could easily make us proud of our good works, but we must always remember the words of Philippians 2:13: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Sing or pray Psalter #15.

March 15  Read Revelation 22:8–15

Before we move on from the subject of good works, I thought I’d point out a few others passages that address it.  The section we read for today begins right after an angel has revealed to John the glory of heaven.  John is in such awe and wonderment after this tour that he falls down to worship the angel, but the angel reminds him that he is a “fellowservant”.  He instructs John to spread the two-edged sword of the gospel, as the end of time is fast approaching.  Soon, God will come on the clouds of glory “to give every man according as his work shall be.”

The fact that God rewards our good works in this and the life to come is also clearly stated in 2 Corinthians 5:10 and Matthew 6:6.  The first of these verses talks about how we will all be judged at the end of time, and each will be rewarded “according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”  In the latter passage, Jesus teaches us that our heavenly Father will reward us “openly” when we worship him in humility.

Sing or pray Psalter #360.

March 16- Read Psalm 63

When I first started teaching, I remember the students asking me at least once a week if we could read our book outside.  When this question was first posed to me, I couldn’t really think of a reason why not, so I agreed.  It wasn’t long before we were reading outside fairly regularly.  Then, one day a student asked the usual question at reading class, and I told them we were just going to stay inside this time.  You would have thought I’d told them we wouldn’t be changing desks for the rest of the year!  They had come to expect that they would be able to read outside, and were no longer content to have it otherwise.

It is our nature to become discontented, no matter what our age, and we must fight that temptation every day.  This psalm reminds us that we have God’s lovingkindness, which “is better than life.”  No matter what our lot is in life, we must always be content, for we have been given the free gift of salvation.  Even as the wicked “go into the lower parts of the earth,” so we will be brought up to eternal life in heaven.

Sing or pray Psalter #163.

March 17  Read Philippians 3:13–21

Psalm 63:8 says, “My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.”  David speaks here of an earnest desire to keep up communion with God.  We must always have our eyes set on God, reaching towards him as our prize.  Paul writes in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  We must never lose sight of God in life.

We can follow hard after God only if he is helping us.  We would fail if God’s right hand did not uphold us.  In his grace, God not only gives us the desire to follow him, but strengthens that desire and keeps it burning in our hearts.  This is an assurance to us of our salvation; for God would not put those desires in our heart and keep them strong if he wasn’t going to grant them to us.  Then we will say with Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day…”

Sing or pray Psalter #164.

March 18  Read Psalm 64

Life in Sparta, a major city-state in ancient Greece, was pretty rough.  Babies were left on a mountain to die if they were viewed as weak, boys were taken from their mothers by age seven for military training, and a soldier’s diet consisted of stale bread and pig-blood porridge.  Under these harsh conditions, young Spartans were encouraged to steal as a means of survival, but they were punished severely if caught.

The world loves to convince itself that a sin isn’t really a sin if you don’t get caught.  Psalm 64:5 says that the wicked “encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them?”  They forget that God sees all things, and his justice will be satisfied.  We, on the other hand, confess that God knows even our innermost thoughts, and we pray for strength that all these might be pleasing unto him.

Sing or pray Psalter #165.

March 19  Read James 3

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” states Proverbs 18:21.  James 3:5–6a says, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things.  Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity…”  So much evil can be found in our tongues: gossip, lying, cheating, boasting, unkindness, etc.  They are even compared to a sharp sword and a bow that shoots bitter words, like arrows (Ps. 64:3).

As a teacher, I quickly noticed a tendency among students to follow up an unkind comment with “Just kidding.”  When confronted about this they’d say, “I was just joking.”  I have also heard spouses speak of each other in belittling ways, with a little laugh in their voice like they are “just teasing”.  “Just teasing”, “just joking”, and “just kidding” hurt just as much.  Remember Thumper, the little rabbit in Bambi?  His father gave him some good advice: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say [any]thing at all.”  “For he that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile” (1 Peter 3:10).

Sing or pray Psalter #13.

March 20  Read Psalm 65

God is mighty in creation.  He sets fast the mountains, stills the noise of the seas and the tumult of the people, makes both morning and evening beautiful, waters the earth, makes the harvest plentiful, and provides cattle and corn in abundance.  These earthly blessings are but pictures of the heavenly blessings he bestows upon his people.  Just as he sets fast the mountains, he also upholds the believer.  Just as he stills the noise of the seas, he quiets our enemies.  Just as he provides a bountiful harvest to feed our bodies, he also provides his word as food for our hungry and thirsty souls.  Psalm 107:9 says, “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”  The Holy Spirit, as a river, flows over our hard, sinful hearts and makes them fruitful unto good works.  “Wherever the Lord passes, by his preached gospel, attended by his Holy Spirit, his paths drop fatness, and numbers are taught to rejoice in and praise him.” (Matthew Henry)

Sing or pray Psalter #169.

March 21  Read Matthew 26:59–64

Psalm 65:11 refers to the clouds as the “paths” of God.  This name can be explained when we look at a few references to clouds in scripture.  During Israel’s exodus from Egypt, God went before them in a cloud, leading the way.  God also descended in a cloud to strengthen his Son at the time of the transfiguration, as we read in Matthew 17:5.  Later, a cloud would receive Jesus up into heaven at the ascension, as recounted in the first chapter of Acts.  Finally, Jesus tells his accusers in Matthew 26 that at the end of time the Son of man will be “coming in the clouds of heaven.”  Then we will have the joy of riding back with him on the clouds to our everlasting home.

Sing or pray Psalter #168.

March 22  Read 1 Kings 17:1–6

In vocabulary class, we learned the word “commodity,” meaning “something of use or value.”  Water is definitely a commodity.  While the human body can survive for a number of weeks without food, a few days without water is enough to kill us.  Water brings life, something that often goes unappreciated in a place like Michigan, but is very apparent to those living in extremely dry climates, such as California.  In Psalm 65:9–10, God is praised as the one who brings water upon the earth to feed the crops and cause the pasture grass to grow.

With this in mind, think of the weight of the grim prophecy that Elijah was called to bring to King Ahab.  It would not rain for years, a situation that brought about the deaths of many in the land, as evidenced by the story of the woman from Zarephath in the following verses.  This drought was a picture of the living water, God’s word, being taken away.  The people had rebelled and God would judge them.  To emphasize this point, Elijah himself was told to leave as well.  Israel needed to be reminded of its need for the water of life.

Sing or pray Psalter #167.

March 23  Read Psalm 66:10 and Zechariah 13:7–9

I read a short story that went something like this.  Some women met to study scripture.  They came across Malachi 3:3, which begins, “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”  One lady offered to visit a silversmith and ask him about the process of purifying silver.  After the silversmith told her all the details, she asked, “Do you sit and watch while the refining is going on?”  “Oh yes,” he replied.  “I must watch the fire carefully.  If it gets even a tiny bit too hot, the silver will be ruined.”  The lady saw the picture here.  God is watching over us every moment, and he will never let a trial become more that we can bear.

Later, the silversmith remembered that he had forgotten to mention one thing: the only way he knows when the process is complete is when he can see his reflection in the silver.  Proverbs 25:4 says, “Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the [re]finer.”  When we are purified, we will reflect the beauty of God.

Sing or pray Psalter #174.

March 24  Read Psalm 67

This psalm is a prayer for blessings upon the church.  Verse one is a benediction similar to the priestly benediction of Numbers 6.  Verse two is a clear prophesy of the gospel going to the Gentiles.  God will show them the way of his “saving health” of salvation.  As Jesus said in John 17:3, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God.”  Then, as stated in verses three through five, all the world, Jews and Gentiles alike, shall praise God.  Concerning verses six and seven John Calvin writes, “Notice is next taken of the temporal blessings which he confers upon his children, that they may have everything necessary to complete their happiness.”  He goes on to explain that God would also use those blessings to attract the attention of the surrounding nations to him.  This would increase the fear of his name and cause many nations to submit to him after seeing his fatherly care for his people.

Sing or pray Psalter #176.

March 25  Read Psalm 68:1–6

David begins Psalm 68 with the same words that Moses spoke in Numbers 10:35: “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.”  Just as Moses spoke these words when the ark was carried before Israel through the wilderness, many interpreters believe David wrote Psalm 68 when he moved the ark from the house of Obed-edom to Mount Zion.

God through the ark led the way for Israel, and we must also seek God to lead our way.  We could pray the same prayer as David and Moses— a prayer for God to go before us and for our enemies to be scattered. Although our enemies might not be the same as Israel’s, we still have enemies, powerful enemies that are often more subtle than the wicked nations that surrounded Israel.  However, we must not forget to rejoice as well, for we are the righteous, and God has promised to drive away our enemies like “wax before a fire” (v. 2).

Sing or pray Psalter #179.

March 26  Read Exodus 15:1–21

Psalm 68:4 says, “Sing unto God, sing praises to his name…”  Singing is a very important part of our worship.  There are many examples of saints in the Bible who sang: Paul and Silas sang in prison (Acts 16:25), Moses and the Israelites sang after crossing the Red Sea (Ex. 15), David sang and played the harp.   Psalm 33:1 says, “Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.”  Our songs, the songs of the righteous, are beautiful to God.

But is this true all the time?  There are many times when I stand in church and sing, not thinking about the great God I am praising, but thinking about earthly worries and joys.  Then our songs do not please God.   Our songs should come from our heart and should reflect upon God’s great name, as it says at the end of Psalm 68:4, “Extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH.”  Moses spoke similar words in Deuteronomy 33:26: “There is none like unto the God of Jershurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.”  May our songs always be pleasing to God!

Sing or pray Psalter #259.

March 27  Read Psalm 68:7–14

Psalm 68: 7–9 speak of God’s goodness toward Israel on their journey through the wilderness to Canaan.  He led them, gave them the law on Mt. Sinai, and fed them with manna or “rain” from heaven.  After many of God’s great works, the people of Israel published them in songs of praise and thanksgiving.  Verse 12 speaks of how Israel’s enemies fled before them and left so many spoils that even the women and children who had done no fighting received riches.  Verse 13 remembers how Israel had gone from being slaves in Egypt to being a powerful and rich nation under the reigns of David and Solomon.

Matthew Henry compares this to the New Testament. Just as Israel defeated its enemies, so Christ conquers sin and death and his resurrection makes our spiritual enemies flee.  Just as Israel sang in praise of God who gave them their victories, so the disciples and ministers today proclaim Christ’s victory to the world. Just as the women and children received spoils from the battle, so we sinners experience the benefits of Christ’s victory.

Sing or pray Psalter #182.

March 28  Read Psalm 68:15–23

These next verses talk about Mt. Zion, where the ark is being taken.  Mt. Zion was not by any means the most beautiful mountain in Jerusalem.  The psalmist contrasts it to the mount of Bashan, a very tall mountain, known for its soft, rich soil, oaks, and wild cattle.  Mt. Zion was not tall and fertile like Mt. Bashan, but it was even more important because it was God’s mountain.  Verse 16 says, “Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever.” The other mountains had nothing to boast about because God hadn’t chosen them.  Matthew Henry says, “It is much more honorable to be holy to God than to be high and great in the world.”  Spiritually, the Lord abides eternally in Zion, his chosen church, and “there is no kingdom in the world comparable to the kingdom of the Redeemer, no city comparable… to that in which God dwells and will dwell forever” (Henry).

Sing or pray Psalter #183.

March 29  Read Amos 9:1–10

There is a children’s song that goes like this:  “You cannot hide from God, His eye is fixed on you, wherever you go, whatever you do…”  Psalm 68:22 talks about how God will “bring again from Bashan” and “from the depths of the sea.”  The words “my people” were added by the translators because of the next verse, which speaks of God awarding vengeance to his oppressed people.  However, it is true that God will find the wicked also and judge them.

There is no escape from our God.  Neither the heights of Bashan nor the depths of the sea can hide us from safety in our God and the wicked from his hand of justice.   This is a comfort for us, but not for the wicked.  Amos 9:1-4 speaks of the hopelessness of the situation of the wicked.  They can’t hide in hell or in heaven, the top of Mt. Carmel, or the bottom of the sea.  They may flee to the utmost ends of the earth, but the Lord will arrest them and lead them back to face his judgment.

Sing or pray Psalter #181.

March 30  Read Psalm 68:24–35

The rest of Psalm 68 can be divided into three small sections.  Verses 24–27 describe the procession of the ark as it winds its way through the countryside and city to Mt. Zion.  There were musicians, singers, and representatives from several different tribes in the procession.  Verses 28–31 tell of a powerful command given to those without to come in and join themselves to the church.  Some will submit willingly.  Others will submit outwardly in fear.  Those who refuse to submit at all, God will scatter over the earth.  Then verses 32–35 tell those who submitted to join with the Israelites in praising God.  We are part of this joyful throng as the New Testament Israel.

Sing or pray Psalter #180.

March 31  Read Psalm 69:1–15

Quicksand is pretty terrifying stuff.  The idea that you can sink into death by suffocation is not one we like to think of.  In reality, quicksand found in nature is often only a few feet deep, and it doesn’t actually suck you down, but it still isn’t something to take lightly.  Struggling will get you nowhere but down.  The amount of suction pinning your legs beneath you is enormous.  You have nothing to grab onto to help haul yourself out.  Escape seems impossible.

This is the feeling David was referring to when he says in Psalm 69:14, “Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink.”  David saw that he relied completely on God for his deliverance.  There was no way that he could make it through this trial on his own.  Attempting to would only increase his desperate situation.  David needed God to draw him out of his trial, just as we need God to deliver us from ours.

Sing or pray Psalter #185.

April 1 Read Psalm 69:1–15

How far down into the ocean do you think sunlight can travel?  Well, that can be a little difficult to pinpoint exactly, but photosynthesis isn’t possible at depths deeper than about 650 feet.  How deep do you think the ocean gets?  The answer is a staggering 6.77 miles!  Isn’t that amazing?  This means that there is an entire world of complete darkness on this planet that we still know almost nothing about.

In this section of Psalm 69, David uses the depths of the ocean to illustrate his point, as well as the quicksand that we talked about yesterday.  As we learn more about these huge bodies of salt water all around us, we can better understand how easy it would be for the deep to swallow us up, as David fears will happen if God does not deliver him speedily.  There are temptations on every side, and David knows his weaknesses.  Thankfully, we and David have the assurance that God will always hear his people.

Sing or pray Psalter #184.

April 2  Read Romans 6:12–23

To the child of God, slavery is beautiful.  That is because we are God’s slaves.  As we confess in Lord’s Day 1, “I am not my own, but belong unto my faithful savior Jesus Christ; who with his precious blood hath fully satisfied for all my sins…”  He owns us.  Even our very bodies belong to him.  In becoming his slaves, we were delivered from slavery to sin.  The world around us is indeed enslaved to sin, and we see that in their pollution of slavery throughout history.  Being enslaved to God means that we have the freedom to worship him.  The wicked will never be able to make this vital connection between slavery and freedom.  To them, the two are polar opposites.  To us, this is our only comfort.  In times of trial, we find strength in verses like Psalm 69:33, which says, “For the Lord heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners.”

Sing or pray Psalter #186.

April 3  Read John 2:12–17

As I read Calvin’s commentaries to help in writing these devotionals, I am continually amazed at the spiritual fervor the heroes of faith throughout history have exhibited.  The amount of writing Calvin did is astounding.  His commentary on the Book of Psalms alone is thousands of pages long!  In addition to these commentaries he did a lot of other writing, including his Institutes of the Christian Religion, in which he developed the Five Points of Calvinism we know so well today.  Just as Jesus showed in his casting out of the money changers and as David states in Psalm 69:9, Calvin was truly “eaten up” by his zeal for the house of God.

God has given us lives of ease here in the modern world at this time in history.  May we not set our hearts on the things of this life, but pray that God grant us strength to be eaten up with zeal for the cause of the kingdom.

Sing or pray Psalter #187.

April 4  Read Psalm 70

According to Matthew Henry, Psalm 70 is a psalm of remembrance.   We, like the psalmist, must remember past afflictions, so that we also remember how God comforted us and gave us relief.  If we are visited by affliction again, we might want to use the same words of prayer that we used before.  Christ prayed the same words three times in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32–42), and David also prays words he used before.  Psalm 40:13–17 is very similar to Psalm 70.  Both show David’s need for God.

First, David wants his enemies to be so filled with shame for seeking his hurt that they turn in repentance to God.  Psalm 83:16 says, “Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Lord.”  Second, David prays that God will fill the hearts of his friends, those that love God, with joy.  “Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord” (Ps. 105:3).

Sing or pray Psalter #189.

April 5  Read Psalm 70

“Make haste!” David exclaims several times in Psalm 70.  He wants God’s help quickly.  Was he sinning by asking this? After all, we must wait patiently for God’s time even though sometimes it seems as if God is taking forever.  David is not showing impatience towards God.  Instead, he’s manifesting his belief that God will deliver him in due time and provide him with the immediate strength he needs to persevere while the trial is still upon him.

According to Matthew Henry, God sometimes allows his children to suffer longer in order for them to come to the same point as David is here: in need of God’s help immediately.  We must realize that God is the only one who can help us, and we must not seek help or escape by any temporary earthly means.  We depend on God alone for our help, and sometimes we need his help quickly.  “Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice when I cry unto thee” (Ps. 141:1).

Sing or pray Psalter #188.

April 6  Read Psalm 71

In Psalm 71 and many other psalms, David expresses his extreme confidence and trust in God.  He trusts in the God who has never failed him since the day he was born.  “Thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels” (v. 6).  God was always with him in his youth.  “Thou art my trust from my youth” (v. 5).  Now David is an old man, and he can say with confidence, “In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust…I will hope continually and will yet praise thee more and more…” (vv. 1, 14).

We have this same confidence.  Those of us who are old can look back on our lives and see all that God has done for us.  Those who are young can read the Bible and see how God has always taken care of and provided for his people.  Then we can all sing the beautiful hymn of Isaac Watts, “O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come…”

Sing or pray Psalter #190.

April 7  Read 2 Samuel 18:1–5

It’s difficult even to imagine what David was going through at this time.  His world was crumbling around him.  Just think about everything that had happened in the last decade of David’s life.  His son had died as a result of his adultery with Bathsheba.  His son Amnon had raped his daughter Tamar.  His son Absalom murdered Amnon for this sin.  Absalom has declared himself king and publicly humiliated David by sleeping with his concubines.  Wickedness has saturated the family to its core.  Now, he finds himself about to go into battle against his own son.

David speaks about the weight that all these things have placed upon him in Psalm 71.  He places his trust in God, praying for deliverance and the judgment of his enemies.  He prays as one who is sure his petition will be answered.  By God’s grace, we also have David’s confidence and are able to pray with him in verse 21— “Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.”

Sing or pray Psalter #192.