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July 8– Read Psalm 102:1–12

What makes hell so terrible?  It is full of God’s wrath. Psalm 139:8 states, “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.”  There is no comfort in hell, just the wrath of God being poured out eternally.

We go through trials in this life, but these pale in comparison to experiencing the wrath of God upon us.  The psalmist in Psalm 102 speaks of this.  He explains that he is old and withered, brought near to death.  He has been wallowing in his grief and despair.  Why?  Psalm 102:10 provides us with the answer.  It says, “Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.”  When we put our trust in him, God will give us peace in even the most trying of times, but there is no peace for those under God’s wrath.

Sing or pray Psalter #272.

 

July 9– Read James 4:13–17

There are many Bible verses that talk about how short our life is and how quickly it is gone.  One example is James 4:14, which says, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

Why is it so important for us to know that life is short?  When I hear of a tragic death, it always makes me want to hug my loved ones and tell them I love them.  At times like that, I’m scared by how quickly they could be taken from me.  However, God didn’t tell us how short our days are so that we will love our family more.  Psalm 90:12 gives the reason.  “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” We must fill our lives, however long or short, with the study of God and of his word.  That is wisdom and the reason we are here on this earth.  Ephesians 5:15–16 says, “See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Sing or pray Psalter #274.

 

July 10–Read Psalm 102:13–28

Psalm 102:20 assures us that God hears “the groanings of the prisoner.”  The amount of strength that God gives his people in times of trial is such an amazing testament to his care for us.  There are many stories in the Bible of horrible persecution that are stated so matter-of-factly.  The Bible does not need to dwell on the emotional aspect of it, making us feel how horrible this must have been.  All we need to know is that God gave his people the perfect measure of strength they needed for that trial, and he will for us as well.

Take, for example, the story of Paul’s being stoned at Lystra in Acts 14:19.  Here we read, “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.”  That’s it.  I can’t even imagine how terrifying something like that would have been, and, yet that’s all we’re told.  Then verse 20 goes on to state that Paul got back up, went back into the same city, and continue his journey the next day.

Sing or pray Psalter #275.

 

July 11–Malachi 3:1–6

Fashion is something that has never made any sense to me.  Three inches of fabric on the top of my sock can be the difference between my being socially accepted and being ostracized.  The same people that snicker and point at someone for their supposedly ridiculous attire will be sporting the same outfit within a few years.

Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”  Psalm 102:27 adds, “But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.”  We can be very thankful that our God never changes his mind on a whim as man does.  Imagine living in a world where God might decide to kick us out of the covenant at any moment and damn us to hell.  How terrifying that would be!  We have nothing to fear, however, for our God never changes.

Sing or pray Psalter #273.

 

July 12–Read Psalm 103:1–5

Sometimes we go a little bit overboard in our attempt to find the meaning behind verses, and Psalm 103:5 appears to be an example of this.  When I read this psalm the phrase, “so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” stood out to me.  I wondered, what event in nature in being described here?  As I started to research the topic I found that many others had apparently wondered the same thing. Christian preachers have taught for hundreds of years that this phrase refers to the fact that the eagle loses all of his feathers, as well as his beak and talons, when he gets old, so that they can grow back and allow him to live a number of decades longer.  Even Matthew Henry seems to be a proponent of this theory.  However, reason would tend to find the holes here, as John Calvin points out.  He explains that the simple picture is that just as the eagle is always filled with vigor throughout life, so God will always supply his people with the strength they need.

Sing or pray Psalter #280.

 

July 13–Read Psalm 103:6–14

Our final geography unit for the year is on India and the countries surrounding it.  As about 80% of the Indian population is Hindu, we are learning quite a bit about that religion.  The caste system, or ranking of society, is the core of Hinduism.  They believe that our souls are reincarnated again and again in a possibly never-ending cycle of death and rebirth.  Those who did good things in their life will be reincarnated into a higher caste, while those who are evil will be reincarnated into a lower caste.  Thus, there is no need to feel sorry for the awful living conditions experienced by the lowest castes, or the untouchables, because they are only getting what they deserve for their sins.

Psalm 103:10 says, “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”  If this were not true, no amount of suffering in this life could give us what we deserve for our sin.  We are wretched sinners, saved only by God’s grace.  We rejoice, knowing that our salvation is complete, and that our souls go to be with the one who has saved us immediately when we die.

Sing or pray Psalter #277.

 

July 14–Read Numbers 14:13–19

We’ve just completed a project, and I decide to give the students each a piece of candy as a small reward for their achievement.  As I’m handing it out, I start getting annoyed by the fact that many of them have neglected to thank me for it.  Some have the gall to complain about the piece they have been given, and one student even disgustedly declines the reward when he sees that it’s not what he was hoping for. By this time, I’m furious. How can they be so ungrateful?

It’s at times like this that I need to be reminded of what a longsuffering God we have.  In Numbers 14, God is ready to destroy Israel for their rebellion.  God has brought them out of Egypt and to the promised land, but once they see that there are giants there, they lose all trust in him.  In rebellion, they decide to choose their own leader to bring them back to Egypt, the house of bondage.  Yet God doesn’t desert them.  We constantly need to be humbled by the fact that, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy” (Psalm 103:8).

Sing or pray Psalter #278.

 

July 15–Read Psalm 104:10–14

Hindus worship the Ganges River.  Tourists flock to its banks every day to bathe in and drink its putrid waters, an activity which can be fatal.  Hindus believe that it is a blessing to have your ashes scattered into the river, and corpses are being burnt on shore around the clock for this purpose.  If a relative is unable to purchase enough wood to finish burning their loved one, whatever’s left is unceremoniously dumped into the water.

As brought out in these verses, water brings life, as a picture of Christ, who is the water of life.  Clean drinking water is necessary to sustain life, just as it is only through Christ that we can obtain eternal life.  How fitting it is that Hinduism’s warped view has even caused them to destroy the earthly picture.  The very water that has been created to nourish life now brings only death.  That’s what life without Christ is: death.

Sing or pray Psalter #286.

 

July 16–Read John 3:11–21

I saw a commercial recently for some new smartphone that’s coming out.  The main sales pitch was that this phone had a better dim light camera than its competitors.  The commercial provided a list of worldly entertainment that takes place in poorly lit locations.  It ended with something like, “the most fun always happens in the dark.”

We are children of the light.  Psalm 104:2 says that God covers himself “with light as with a garment.”  We are in that light through the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ.  On the other hand, those in the world are children of the darkness.  In Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus regarding the meaning of being born again, Jesus states in John 3:19b, “that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”  The invention of electricity and the nightlife it has created in our society is just another example of how each new technological advance gives the wicked more opportunities to sin.

Sing or pray Psalter #334.

 

July 17–Read Psalm 104:10–24

Living in a few locations around the country has brought me to a fuller appreciation of God’s creation.  Growing up in Michigan, I always wanted to live near the mountains.  Sometimes I thought my home state must have about the most boring landscape on earth.  Now that I live in arid Colorado, I’ve learned to appreciate a good thunderstorm.  Living in northwest Iowa led me to appreciate the woodlands I had taken for granted during my earlier childhood.  The bustling city life of Loveland and Denver sometimes makes me wistful for the rolling fields and small town lifestyle I had in Iowa.

My point here isn’t to sound discontented (I still love the mountains), but to show how clearly God’s glory shines forth in so many different aspects of his creation.  The psalmist here does a wonderful job of bringing this out.  God is seen in the running water that brings life to flora and fauna, in the trees where the birds make their nests, in the hills where the goats roam, in the sky where he controls the sun and the moon, and so much more.  As the psalmist states in verse 24, the earth is full of God’s riches.

Sing or pray Psalter #285.

 

July 18–Read Psalm 142

There aren’t many things in creation that give us a clearer picture of hell than caves do.  Imagine walking into an enormous cavern miles underground.  Your headlamp is barely able to penetrate the total darkness clinging to you.  As you swivel from side to side, the dim light catches some movement.  In disgust and horror you realize it is millions of giant cockroaches crawling over a landfill-sized pile of excrement.  A flutter of wings turns your attention to the ceiling where you find the source of the mess.  One bat falls into the guano, where he’s devoured within minutes by the roaches, while another is snatched out of the air by a writhing snake.

As I read about the leviathan in Psalm 104:26, it reminded me of an amazing documentary on caves I watched recently.  Caves are a picture to us of what life without God is like.  A hunted king David writes Psalm 142 from the depths of a cave.  He feels forsaken and cries out to God to deliver him.  He has been “brought very low,” literally and figuratively.  We cry with David, “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name.”

Sing or pray Psalter #287.

 

July 19–Read Psalm 105:1–3

Yesterday, the pastor from across the street came to our door, asking if the multi-tool he’d found lying in the road belonged to us.  He said that if we ever had an urge to come to church we would receive a warm welcome over at his.  I almost just thanked him and closed the door, but caught myself and explained that we did go to church at Loveland Protestant Reformed.  The pastor was excited by this and made it clear that his church was all about getting together with others that loved the Lord, not about teaching very specific doctrines.  After he left, I was left wondering if I should have said more.

Psalm 105:1 says, “O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.”  God calls us to be engaged in the difficult work of spreading the gospel every day.  We must be prepared whenever an opportunity arises.  I find that I’m often taken off guard in such a situation, and, by the time I recover enough to say something, the moment is already past.  May God strengthen us, that we might always be ready to give an answer.

Sing or pray Psalter #71.

 

July 20–Read Psalm 105:4–15

About how many generations would you guess there have been from Adam until now?  Reading Psalm 105:8 made me curious about the answer to this question, so I did a little research.  Here, it says of God, “He hath remembered his covenant forever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.”  Well, the genealogy found in Matthew 1 teaches us that there were a total of 42 generations from Abraham to Christ.  In addition, we can gather that there were 21 generations from Adam to Abraham, based on the genealogy recorded in Luke 3.  This gives us a total of 63 generations from Adam to Christ.  If we define a generation as the age at which a person usually has their first child, we can set that time at about twenty years.  That means that there have been about 100 generations since the time of Christ, giving us a grand total of about 163 generations from the beginning of time until now.  Sometimes we tend to gloss over these genealogies, but they are a wonderful testament to the fact that God preserves his people in the line of generations.

Sing or pray Psalter #289.

 

July 21–Read Numbers 16:23–35

God chose Moses and Aaron to lead Israel to the promised land, as stated in Psalm 105:26.  Korah, Dathan, and Abiram had a problem with that.  They didn’t see any reason why these two men had to be the leaders when there were plenty of other qualified people around for the job.  In fact, the only accomplishment they attributed to Moses was bringing them out of a land of plenty to die in the wilderness.

God did not take this rebellion lightly.  His judgment was swift and awesome.  The earth opened up and consumed these three men and their entire families before the people of Israel.  Then fire came from heaven and consumed the 250 men that had followed the company of Korah.

When we rebel against those whom God has placed in authority over us, we are rebelling against God himself.  We need to keep this in mind in the church, as well as in the state.  That hits home as we near the time for another presidential election.  No matter whom our next president is, God has placed him/her in authority over us, and we must respect him/her because of that.

Sing or pray Psalter #331.

 

July 22–Read Psalm 106

Psalm 106 is much like Psalm 105.  It gives us a brief recounting of the history of the Israelites.  However, whereas Psalm 105 focuses on God’s faithfulness and grace, Psalm 106 focuses on Israel’s faithlessness and God’s justice.

How like a naughty child those Israelites were!  How many times have we told our daughter not to throw her cup on the floor?  How many times have we told her to be quiet when we read and pray?  Even with admonitions and punishments, she keeps doing it again.  We suffer from the same sins and weaknesses as our children.  We are all like the Israelites.

How wonderful then that God gave us a psalm like Psalm 106 where we can see how God never will forsake us.  Psalm 106:45 reads, “And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.”

Sing or pray Psalter #291.

 

July 23–Read Psalm 106:1–5 and 47–48

Yesterday we discussed how God will always forgive us if we are truly sorry.  At the beginning of Psalm 106, the psalmist reminds us that the reason God saves us and forgives us is for his own praise and glory.  “Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise” (Ps. 106:47).  He does not save us because of anything that we have done, and yet pride is such an easy sin to fall into.  We so quickly start to think we are better than others.

I remember playing whiffle ball as a young child with friends.  They were going on and on about how good they were and showing off.  I finally just went inside and I told my mom how they were bragging and how “I would never say stuff like that.”  Sadly, I was proud of my supposed humility, and just as much to blame as they were.

Sing or pray Psalter #290.

 

July 24–Read Deuteronomy 6:1–9

Writing devotionals on Psalms has been harder than I had anticipated.  I often feel as if they repeat themselves and that my writing is starting to sound like a broken record.  Today, as I sat and tried to find something new to write about in Psalm 106, it crossed my mind that the repetition really shouldn’t bother me.   After all, God must have seen our need for repetition because he gave us all these psalms to read in the first place.  He must have known our need to hear about his mercy, grace, justice, goodness, love, and our terrible sinfulness over and over again.   He knew that we would need to be reminded every day about how much we owe him and how much we fail to praise him as we ought.

As a teacher, I should have thought of this right away.  It seems that I say EVERYTHING at least twice and most things more than twice to my students, and still they don’t remember the instructions or the answer.   God is our teacher, and I must admit that I often don’t follow his instructions or remember his word even though he has told me over and over again.

Sing or pray Psalter #292.

 

July 25–Read Psalm 107:1–32

In the children’s book Pollyanna, a young orphan girl plays a game called “the glad game”.  Her father taught it to her before he died, and the point was to look for something to be glad about in every situation.  For example, when the missionary barrels arrived and there were crutches in them instead of a doll, she was glad that she didn’t need the crutches.  Towards the beginning of the story when Pollyanna moves to live with her strict aunt, she meets several miserable people, whom she teaches how to play “the glad game”.  Then tragedy strikes Pollyanna again, and these same people have to come and help her find something to be glad about.

We, God’s people, shouldn’t have to think too hard about what we can be glad about.   After all, God’s “mercy endureth forever” (Ps. 107:1).  Just as he rescued the Israelites over and over again, God rescues us from our enemies every day.  Psalm 107 tells us four times, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

Sing or pray Psalter #297.

 

July 26–Read Psalm 107:33–43

These final verses of Psalm 107 tell us of many things that have happened, are happening, and will happen in the world.  Verses 33 and 34 speak of fruitful land being turned barren and barren land being turned fruitful.  Look at modern-day Israel.  What once was the “land flowing with milk and honey” is now a desert.  Verses 36 through 41 speak of the poor begin made rich and the mighty man being brought low.  The life of Job is a perfect example of one who was brought low through “oppression, affliction, and sorrow” (Ps. 107:39), and then once again restored to his former glory.  I Samuel 2:8 says, “He raiseth the poor out of the dust… to set them among the princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory…”  Interestingly, an important part of the poor being raised up is surrounding them with family.  “Yet he setteth the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock” (Ps. 107:41).  As a result of these things happening, the righteous shall rejoice, the wicked shall be struck dumb, and the wise shall meditate on these wonderful events.

Sing or pray Psalter #296.

 

July 27–Read Psalm 108

The whole of Psalm 108 is taken from two different psalms with little change in the wording.  Verses 1–5 are taken from Psalm 57:7–11.  Psalm 57 is the psalm that David wrote when hiding from Saul in a cave after just escaping from the Philistine city of Gath.  It is one of personal lament.  Psalm 108:6–13 is taken from Psalm 60:5–12.  This psalm is one of national lament when David is forced to split his army in order to deal with both the Arameans and the Moabites at the same time.  David seeks God’s help to defeat both these enemies who are attacking.

Surprisingly though, Psalm 108 is a psalm of victory, for it is made of the most positive sections of these two psalms.  David has weathered many trials and God continues to give him the victory.  He has confidence that God will help him defeat his enemies.  He says in verse 13, “Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.”

Sing or pray Psalter #294.

 

July 28–Read Psalm 108:1–5

David teaches us in these first five verses of Psalm 108 how to praise God.  First, we must praise God with fixedness of heart.  When we are in the act of praising God, every one of our wandering thoughts must be focused on him.  Second, we must praise God out loud with our tongue.  Our tongue is our glory when it is employed in praising God.  It must put to words the thoughts of praise we have in our hearts.  Psalm 45:1 states, “My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”  Third, we must praise God in a lively, joyful, and affectionate way.  It must not be done with a dull, sleepy tune (v. 2).  Fourth, we must praise God publicly and not show that we are ashamed in any way.  We must speak about him whenever we can and no matter whom we are with.  As Paul says in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.”

Sing or pray Psalter #298.

 

July 29–Read Psalm 85:7–13

The fifth reason that David tells us to praise God is one I would not have thought of.  Psalm 108:4 says, “For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds.”  We must praise God in a special way for his mercy in promising us all the riches of salvation and for his truth in keeping every one of those promises.  Whatever we know of God’s mercy and truth, there is always more to learn.

Finally, because we fall so short of glorifying God as we ought, we must beg him to glorify himself and to make himself a name.  Every act that God does is for his own glory.  Isaiah 48:9–11 says, “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.  Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.  For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? And I will not give my glory unto another.”

Sing or pray Psalter #299.

 

July 30–Read Psalm 108:6–13

Lake Victoria in Africa was once a beautiful lake full of cichlids, the catching of which was the livelihood of the people living there.  Then the fishermen decided that the enormous Nile perch should be introduced into the lake as a means of making them wealthier.  These fish quickly destroyed the cichlid population.  Therefore there were no more cichlids eating the lake plants, and the plants overgrew the lake.  Soon there were so many plants that they starting decaying and rotting in the lake.  Also, the fishermen who were catching the Nile Perch were cutting down trees around the lake so they could cook the fish right on the shore.  This caused erosion, and soon what God had made beautiful, man had destroyed.

Psalm 108:12 says, “Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.”  Man can do nothing.  In pride they think that they know what is best and how to fix things, but it often ends in failure and destruction.  Man likes to fool himself into thinking he’s in control, but he only manages to bring the world around him to ruin.

Sing or pray Psalter #99.

 

July 31–Matthew 5:38–14

When you Pray, written by Herman Hanko, is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it.  One thing he says in his book is that we may only ask for forgiveness of our sins once we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.  By forgiving others, we show true thankfulness to God for forgiving us, and only through the cross are we filled with the desire to truly forgive others.  This love for our enemies (and our neighbors) is a necessary sign of our salvation.

David prayed for his enemy at the beginning of Psalm 109.  He is surrounded by those who hate and ridicule him, even though he shows them love.  Christ did the same thing during his life and death.  Surrounded by the mocking Pharisees, Christ prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  Furthermore, Christ prays for us, who, because of our old man of sin, often act like his enemies.  Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to then that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

Sing or pray Psalter #301.

 

August 1–Read Psalm 109:1–20

During the time of John Calvin, you could hire a Franciscan monk or even a group of them to curse someone you didn’t like.  John Calvin tells the story of a wealthy French lady who was at odds with her only son.  She hired a group of monks to curse him every day, and the words they used to curse him were the words of Psalm 109.

It is a terrible thing to use the words of God in wrong and evil ways.  These monks, however, couldn’t have used more terrible curses than are found in Psalm 109.  In this psalm, David is praying for the destruction of one enemy in particular.  We don’t know who this particular enemy was, but he was worse than all others.  David does not wish evil upon this man because of a desire for revenge, but he desires justice against sin.  He prays that this wicked man be sentenced as a criminal and put to death, that his family should be outcasts and vagabonds with no mercy shown to them, that all his wealth should be given to others, and that his name should be blotted from history.

Sing or pray Psalter #300.

 

August 2–Hebrews 7:11–28

Psalm 110, the psalm most quoted in the New Testament, can be divided into three sections.  The first three verses speak of Christ and his place as sovereign king; verse 4 speaks of Christ’s place as eternal priest, and verses 5–7 speak of his role as victorious warrior.  I am going to focus on verse 4 and Christ’s place as eternal priest.

Psalm 110:4 reads, “The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art a priest…”  God the Father is talking to his son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus, our eternal priest, is the fulfillment of all earthly priests.  He is a mediator between us and God, fulfilling all the pictures of what the earthly priests did.

Christ was made priest by an oath, “The Lord hath sworn and will not repent…”  The earthly priests, like Aaron, were made priests without an oath (Heb. 7:21).  God the Father shows no reluctance about making Christ our priest.

Furthermore, Christ is our priest forever.  God will not “repent” from making him our priest, as he did concerning Eli’s priesthood (I Samuel 2:30).  Unlike the earthly priests whose priesthood ended when they died, Jesus, “because he continueth forever, hath an unchangeable priesthood” (Heb.7:24).

Sing or pray Psalter #303.

 

August 3–Read Psalm 110, Hebrews 7:1–10

Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, remains mostly a mystery to us.  He was the “king of righteousness” and the “king of peace” (Heb. 7).  He was “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life” (v. 3).  He sounds a lot like Christ himself.  Many use the titles “king of righteousness” and “king of peace” and the fact that it says he was “without father, without mother, without descent” as proof to say that Melchizedek was Jesus Christ in Old Testament form; however, neither Genesis nor Hebrews support this theory.  The phrases “made like unto the son of God” and “after the order of Melchizedek” make a clear distinction between the two men.  Moreover, Melchizedek was more of a title than a name.  Melek means “king”, tsedeq means “righteousness”, and Salem means “peace”; he was the king of righteousness and peace.  Likewise, there is historical evidence of other kings at that time with names ending with zedek (Josh. 10:1).  That he was “without father, without mother… having neither beginning of days, nor end of life” means simply that we are not told these things about him.

Sing or pray Psalter #302.

 

August 4–Read Psalm 110, Genesis 14:17–20

What do we know about Melchizedek?  We know that he was a priest of the Most High God, and he was so important that Abraham, to whom God had given the covenant promise, knew him and respected him.   Melchizedek received tithes from Abraham “and blessed him that had the promises” (Heb.7:6).  Also, Melchizedek was the king of Salem, which some believe was where Jerusalem was later located.

He was the one (not Aaron) of whom God said about Christ, “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Ps. 110:4).   For as Melchizedek was “without father, without mother, without descent,” so was Christ.  As Melchizedek had “neither beginning of days, nor end of life… abideth a priest forever”, so Christ is “the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Rev. 22:13).  As Abraham brought his tithes to Melchizedek, so we must bring our tithes of thanksgiving and repentance to our eternal high priest, Jesus Christ.

Sing or pray Psalter #50.

 

August 5–Read Psalm 111

The psalmist begins Psalm 111 by telling us to praise the Lord and by declaring that he will praise the Lord “with [his] whole heart.”  He goes on to tell us what the subject of our praise should be:  God’s works.  Mentioned are eight characteristics of God’s works that make them praise worthy.

First of all, God’s works are great and magnificent.  They are like God himself, full of infinite wisdom and power.

Second, they are spoken of as if they are one.   Verse 3 says, “His work is honorable and glorious.” They work together in perfect harmony according to God’s will.  It is similar to how the four wheels on a wagon or a car work together to go in one direction.  Ezekiel speaks of this in Ezekiel 10:10–13, “…they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel… As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel.”

Third, God’s works are interesting and entertaining to his people.  As God’s people, no subject will be more interesting or give us more delight than to think about and learn about the works of God.

Sing or pray Psalter #304.

 

August 6–Read Psalm 111

Fourth, God’s works are just and holy.  He has never done and will never do any wrong to any of his creatures.  His works are without any hint of lies or trickery.

 

Fifth, they will last forever.  Ecclesiastes 3:14 says, “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.”

Sixth, every one of God’s works is worth noticing and remembering.  Much that we do is trifling and better to be forgotten, but that is not so with God.  God has even made ways for his works to be remembered.  For example, Israel was commanded to celebrate the Passover feast in remembrance of God’s deliverance of them from Egypt.  We celebrate the Lord’s Supper to remind us of Christ’s work for us on the cross.  Psalm 77:11 & 12 says, “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.  I will meditate also on all thy work, and talk of thy doing.”

Sing or pray Psalter #166.

 

August 7–Read Psalm 111

Seventh, God’s works are kind and full of compassion.  God’s pardoning of our sin was the most compassionate of all his works.  God also shows compassion by giving us our daily bread, by helping us to defeat our enemies, and by giving us the assurance of our salvation.

Finally, God’s works are proof that he will keep his promises and his covenant with us.  Though we have many weaknesses and are often unmindful of his commands, yet God will be ever “mindful of his covenant” (v. 5).

Those are eight characteristics of God’s works for which the psalmist is exhorting us to praise God.  We must praise God because he deserves it and because it is beneficial to us.   We cannot have wisdom unless we praise and fear God.  This last verse of Psalm 111 reminds me of Proverbs 9:10, which says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

Sing or pray Psalter #180.