FILTER BY:

The Daily Press

January 8- Read I Chronicles 11

I have a couple quick observations regarding David’s mighty men listed in this chapter.  First, I find it interesting that Joab isn’t mentioned, although his brothers, Abishai and Asahel, are.  Joab was the leader of David’s army, a man feared by many, yet it appears that his wickedness keeps him from being listed here.  Second, Uriah the Hittite is listed among the mighty.  This means that when David betrayed and murdered him he wasn’t just doing it to a random soldier, but one of his best and most trusted men.

On another note, do you think it was right of David to pour out the water his mighty men had worked so hard to get for him?  I can’t imagine being too happy with David if it had been me who fought for that water, but the Reformation Heritage Bible seems to say it was a good thing for a couple reasons.  First, David is showing his focus on God by dedicating this “sacrifice” to him.  Second, David is demonstrating that what he really needs is much more important than earthly water.

Sing or pray Psalter #210.

 

January 9- Read I Chronicles 12

Isn’t it amazing to see all the Benjamites who came to David in Hebron ready to fight against the house of Saul, a king from their own tribe?  God worked even in the hearts of the people of Benjamin to see that he had given the kingdom to David.

Something else I want to point out is that verse 26 of this chapter talks about 4,600 Levites who were ready to help David fight for the kingdom.  This was puzzling to me, because I had read recently that Joab didn’t bother to count the Levites when David numbered the people, because they didn’t go to war.  Have you ever heard that? It doesn’t appear to be true, because here is an example of the Levites going to war with David.  It was true that the Levites were distinct from the other tribes.  Their calling was to care for the worship in Israel.  With this in mind, they didn’t have their own homeland, so they wouldn’t be involved in individual battles of conquest, like the other tribes.  However, when all of Israel was called to fight God’s enemies, it appears that the Levites would have been included as well.

Sing or pray Psalter #16.

 

January 10- Read Psalm 133

This chapter speaks about the importance and blessedness of unity in the church, a topic on which I recently heard a sermon. One great point made in that sermon was that we don’t create unity, we just keep it.  God has perfect unity within himself, and we are merely brought into that.  We can promote that unity by remembering that God refers to the communion of the saints, not of the family.  Yes, it’s true that our earthly families are a beautiful picture of the covenant, but we must not fall into the trap of exalting them above our church family.  It is vital that we learn to love all our fellow saints in the church.  This is a difficult task, because we can have very different opinions about certain things, but our spiritual oneness demands it.  We must strengthen others in times of trial and also be able to receive that strengthening ourselves.  By nature, we like to think that we can handle something ourselves and don’t need to get the rest of the church involved, but an important aspect of unity is being able to pray for and bring comforting words to each other.

Sing or pray Psalter #371.

 

January 11- Read Psalm 106

We’ve been studying Ancient Egypt in history this last marking period.  The Egyptians worshipped hundreds of gods, but one of the main ones was Osiris, god of the river.  The Nile River was an integral part of Egyptian life, as it brought them water and fertile soil from the mountains for their crops.  Osiris was credited with bringing them good harvests, and he was believed to take on the form of the Apis bull when he went on land.  Our history book makes the connection between this bull and the golden calf worshipped by Israel in the wilderness, as recounted in verses 19 and 20.  Moses was taking too long on the mountain, so the people decided they’d better come up with a new god to lead them.  Naturally, the first god they’d turn to would be one they were familiar with from their days in Egypt.  Israel would revert back to this god again during the reign of Jeroboam, when he made two golden calves in Israel for the people to worship (I Kings 12:26–30).  Just like the Israelites, we need to be on constant guard against the gods of this world that appeal to our sinful nature.

Sing or pray Psalter #308.

 

January 12- Read Psalm 107

A few years ago, we studied The Great Depression and The dust bowl in American History class.  It was a very interesting time period to learn about.  In the 1920s, the economy and the American Midwest were booming.  Photos were being circulated showing gigantic fruits and vegetables, which convinced more and more people to move west and farm the fertile land.  Unfortunately, the crops were performing so well that man’s greed took over, and he stopped caring for the ground in an effort to make as much money as possible.  This weakened the soil, bringing disaster when the winds came.  Seemingly overnight, what had been extremely lush farmland became a vast expanse of rolling dunes.  Many families had to pack up and leave, because their land and even their homes were getting covered in sand.

Psalm 107 speaks of how God is in control of all things, and verses 33–34 talk about how he is the one who makes fertile land into a wasteland.  Just like God showed the world at the time of the dust bowl that he was in control, God is doing the same today with all the natural disasters that have been taking place.

Sing or pray Psalter #296.

 

January 13- Read 1Chronicles 13

Lord’s Day 35 of the Heidelberg Catechism talks about how we are to worship God only in the way he has commanded us.  The idea that we should only bring things into the worship service that are commanded in God’s word is called the regulatory principle.  I learned about this during the Reformation conference we had here in Loveland.  At the time of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church had long since abandoned the regulatory principle.  They worshipped idols, corrupted the teaching of the sacraments, and sold indulgences.  Preaching was done in a language that the people didn’t even understand.  John Calvin and other reformers restored the primacy of the preaching and guided the true church back to worshipping God exactly as he has commanded.

That’s the point made in this story as well.  At first glance, it might seem a little harsh of God to strike Uzzah dead just for reaching out to steady the ark.  After all, he had good intentions, didn’t he?  However, this story serves to illustrate just how important it is that we do things God’s way, not our own.

Sing or pray Psalter #1.

 

January 14- Read 1 Chronicles 14

We recently had a lively discussion in young adults’ Bible study about lying and deceit.  What exactly is a lie?  Is there any situation in which we should lie?  Is there a difference between lying and deceit?

Many would say that a lie is trying to convince someone of something that isn’t true.  This is always wrong, some claim, even if it is only a lie of omission (not telling a key part of the truth in an effort to deceive).  After all, we confess in Lord’s Day 43, “I avoid all sorts of lies and deceit, as the proper works of the devil.”

The problem comes in when you start considering specific situations.  In this chapter, God commands the Israelites to go around behind the Philistines and attack when they “hear a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees” (v. 15).  Wasn’t this deceiving the Philistines?  Wouldn’t that be a lie?  Obviously, this was not a sin, because God commanded them to do it, but can you explain why it was proper?  What does this mean for lies like Rahab’s?  Are there times God commands us to say something that’s not true?

Sing or pray Psalter #60.

 

January 15- Read 1 Chronicles 15

After the death of Uzzah, David made sure he transported the ark exactly as God commanded.  First, the Levites sanctified themselves.  The Levites then carried the ark between poles on their shoulders, instead of on a cart pulled by oxen.  The Levites continued to show the proper reverence by offering sacrifices of thanksgiving when everything had been prepared safely.  In addition, they provided music for the procession.  David wore his priestly robe and danced with spiritual joy as they travelled.  When they arrived without accident, David pitched a tent for the ark, offered burnt offerings of thankfulness, and blessed and fed the people.

As we talked about with the story of Uzzah, this history brings to light the absolute necessity of worshipping God exactly as he commands.  This means being mindful of who it is that we are coming to and doing so with the proper awe and reverence.  David did this by listening to God’s commands and directing all praise to his holy name.  How must we do the same when we come to our God in congregational worship and in prayer?

Sing or pray Psalter #250.

 

January 16- Read 1 Chronicles 16

1 Chronicles 16:34 says, “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.”  We just had a sermon about that word “good.”  We tend to use it so flippantly to describe how we are doing in general, someone’s basic morality, or anything that we mildly enjoyed.  However, when it comes down to it, God is the only one who is truly good.  As Jesus himself says in Mark 10:18, “There is none good but one, that is, God.”  Those who sin are corrupted and have no goodness of themselves.  That’s why we don’t use the world’s phrase, “my goodness.”

Verse 9 also stood out to me in this psalm of David, which says, “Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.”  The command to talk about God’s wondrous works is so simple, and yet such a great reminder for us.  How can we really be a witness in this world if we don’t talk about God’s works?  Simply living a “good” outward life isn’t enough; the Mormons can do that.  We must seek opportunity to glorify our Father in heaven by talking about our faith.

Sing or pray Psalter #378.

 

January 17- Read Psalm 1

Psalm 1:2 speaks of the righteous man, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”  Do you meditate on God’s law “day and night?”  Do I?  The world rejects the idea of meditating on anything today, much less the word of God.  Meditating requires siting and pondering, a foreign concept to our “connected” generation.  At this past teacher’s convention, I heard an excellent sectional about what technology does to the brain.  We need to realize that our brain is constantly being rewired, and we should be mindful of the content we’re rewiring it with.  With all the constant messaging, popups, and short videos that constitute social media, our brains are quickly losing the capability to have a sustained, concentrated thought.  We need to care for the mind God has given us.  As a recent Beacon Lights article stated, the devil lost the battle in 1517, but we are winning it for him 500 years later.  We must guard ourselves and not be like the child who continues making mud pies in a slum when he’s been offered a glamorous vacation at the ocean (C. S. Lewis).

Sing or pray Psalter #42.

 

January 18- Read Psalm 2

When we talk about the sins of the righteous and the wicked in Bible class, the question often arises, “Why did they do that if they know it wouldn’t work?”  There are so many examples of this.  Pharaoh kept rejecting God’s demand to let the people go, even though he was destroying his own kingdom by doing so.  Pharaoh led his army into the Red Sea, even though he knew he was placing his life in the hands of the God he’d rejected.  Hiel rebuilt Jericho, even though he knew his sons would keep dying as a result.  Shimei leaves Jerusalem, even though he knew Solomon said he’d be killed for doing so.

Although history has made it clear that man is powerless before God, yet the wicked continue to try and defeat him.  Psalm 2:4 says of God’s reaction to their vain attempts, “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”  God holds everything in the palm of his hand and it’s ludicrous to think man has any power over him.  Yet we do the same whenever we sin blatantly against God’s law.

Sing or pray Psalter #3.

 

January 19- Read Psalm 15

Psalm 15:5 describes the righteous man as, “He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.”  There are many other passages in the Old Testament that also talk about lending money and charging interest.  Leviticus 25:35–37, Deuteronomy 23:19, and Exodus 22:25 are a few passages that also command the Israelites to lend to the needy brother without usury or interest.  In addition, the debts that Israelites did owe to their brethren were all forgiven at the seventh year, as explained in Deuteronomy 15:2.  However, Deuteronomy 23:19 states that interest may be charged on a loan given to a foreigner.

So is it wrong for Christians today to charge interest when they loan fellow Christians money?  It is true that there is a great warning for us here.  Countless relationships have been destroyed because of money that was owed and not repaid.  Still, it would be going too far to say that charging interest is evil.  Sometimes these loans can benefit both parties.  The real message for us here is that we must be careful not to take advantage of those in need.

Sing or pray Psalter #24.

 

January 20- Read Psalm 22

It is amazing to see how God worked in David to write this psalm as a type of Christ hundreds of years before our Savior was crucified.  In verse 15 he says, “My tongue cleaveth to my jaws.”  Nearing the end of Jesus’ crucifixion, he said “I thirst,” and a sponge filled with vinegar was placed on his lips, as stated in John 19:28–29.  Going on to Psalm 22:16, we read, “They pierced my hands and my feet.”  Even our smallest children know the story of how our Savior Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross.  We also know the story in John 20:24–29, where Thomas believes Jesus is risen when he’s able to touch the holes in Jesus’ hands and feel where the spear thrust into his side.  Finally, verse 18 continues by saying, “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”  This event is recounted in Matthew 27:35, which states this took place “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet,” apparently referring to King David, the author of Psalm 22.

Sing or pray Psalter #47.

 

January 21- Read Psalm 23

Reading excerpts from the book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 helped me understand this passage more fully.  I had always thought of the rod and staff as the same instrument, but they are not.  The rod refers to the carved club every shepherd carries, which pictures power and authority.  This club is used to protect the sheep against predators, either by striking out or by throwing it at them, a skill that shepherds spend a lot of time mastering.  Another way the rod can be used is to discipline the sheep who wander astray.  Finally, the rod is used at times to help part the wool and carefully examine the health of the sheep, as denoted in the phrase “under the rod” (Ez. 20:37).

Whereas the rod shows authority, the staff pictures kindness.  The staff is a long, slender stick with a curved end specifically designed for sheep.  Whenever the sheep start to wander off in the wrong direction, the shepherd uses the staff to gently lead them back to the right path.  In addition, the staff is also used to reunite a lamb with its mother and to gather up an individual for special inspection.

Sing or pray Psalter #52.

 

January 22- Read Psalm 24

I have a couple things to note in this chapter.  First, verse one is used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:26 and in 1 Timothy 4:4 to explain to the New Testament church that everything belongs to God and previously unclean foods weren’t to be viewed as such anymore.  Now that Christ had come the time of types and shadows were no longer needed, so Christians had no reason to feel guilty about the type of food they were eating.

Second, verses 7 and 9 repeat the words, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.”  What are these everlasting doors that are being lifted?  Spurgeon explains this by saying, “Doors were often taken from their hinges when Easterns would show welcome to a guest, and some doors were drawn up and down like a portcullis, and may possibly have protruded from the top; thus literally lifting up their heads.”  This imagery demonstrates how we will always be welcomed into heaven through Christ’s shed blood.

Sing or pray Psalter #58.

 

January 23- Read Psalm 47

The power of music is undeniable.  A study done at Western Washington University found that students who were given a difficult word puzzle got a song stuck in their head more than those whose puzzle was easier.  The conclusion was that our brain searches for rhymes and patterns to help solve problems, while also seeking a distraction when we feel overloaded or bored.  Because of this, our brain tends to store songs quickly, which might make it difficult to store other forms of information later.  Although our brain has plenty of storage space, it can be hard to convince it that songless content is important enough to wire into our long term memory, according to a study in Scientific Reports.

Psalm 47:6 commands us to sing praises to God.  As was stated in a recent Reformation Day lecture, singing is a natural response to the gospel.  The joy of our salvation makes us want to express that happiness, and what better way to do that than with song?  It’s amazing to see what even small children can remember when the content is put to a tune.  Music is an extremely powerful tool, so we must be careful to use it correctly.

Sing or pray Psalter #130.

 

January 24- Read Psalm 68

I like to talk about current events once a week in class.  I think it’s important that we understand what’s going on in the world around us in order to learn more about God and his plan.  The problem is that due to so much of today’s news being absolute trash, it’s very hard to find news sites that are appropriate for kids to browse.  With this in mind, we searched and found a few sites with decent current events quality.  One of these sites is worthynews.com.  As I looked the website over, I saw a lot of articles about Christian persecution around the globe.  One that stood out was an article about two pastors in Myanmar, where Rev. Titus is minister, who were sentenced to prison on false charges.

Psalm 68:19 says, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits.”  Even though God’s people in other parts of the world and throughout history experience fierce persecution, yet they are still daily loaded with benefits.  God always preserves them and teaches them to set their eyes on heaven, their true home.  How much easier it should be for us, who have so much, to count our blessings!

Sing or pray Psalter #183.

 

January 25- Read Psalm 89

In my Bible, the heading for this psalm reads, “Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite.”  So who was Ethan the Ezrahite?  He is also mentioned in 1 Kings 4:31 as a one of the wise men of the day, though he wasn’t as wise as Solomon.  According to the Institute for Creation Research, it is this Ethan that is listed in 1 Chronicles 2:6 as a son of Zerah, which is probably where the term “Ezrahite” comes from.  This verse also refers to Heman as another son.  It is this Heman that is another one of the wise men listed in 1 Kings 4:31, and who wrote Psalm 88.  It is believed that these brothers were lead singers with Asaph at the tabernacle.  1 Chronicles 15:19 talks about an Ethan the son of Kushaiah, who was a magician.  He was also one of the Levites involved in bringing the ark to Jerusalem, and some people believe that he’s the same Levite as Ethan the Ezrahite of Psalm 89.

Sing or pray Psalter #241.

 

January 26- Read Psalm 96

Charles Spurgeon brings up a good point in his commentary on this chapter when he says that we must explain the truth to the heathen in the face of so-called Christians who corrupt it.  The world is always looking for an excuse to attack God’s people, so we must be careful whom we allow ourselves to be associated with and be quick to condemn those spreading the lie under the guise of Christianity.  One example of this would be President Trump.  The media loves to associate white evangelicals, a group nearly every member in our churches would be lumped into, with the president.  Although we can support some of his conservative decisions, we mustn’t give the heathen reason to believe we’re wholeheartedly behind his disobedient lifestyle.  Similarly, the world loves to make Christians the scapegoat when confessing Christians perform heinous acts.  News of the latest shooting always makes me apprehensive that the shooter will turn out to be a radical Christian with a warped understanding of scripture.  We need to be ready to give an answer when the wicked look at passages in the Bible about hatred and murder and claim we are supporting this kind of abominable behavior.

Sing or pray Psalter #257.

 

January 27- Read Psalm 100

We are reading a book titled “… and now Miguel” in reading class right now.  This story is about a Hispanic family of shepherds.  It’s interesting to see how a number of things we know about sheep from the Bible are confirmed in the book.  Scripture tells us that we are like sheep in the sense that we are so weak and easily wander off into ways of wickedness.  The sheep on Miguel’s ranch are very dumb and need to be watched constantly.  They are so dumb, in fact, that ewes and their lambs easily get separated from one another and can’t find their way back, so the family has to brand each mother-child pair with the same number.  There’s one scene where a mother and her lamb are bawling in search of each other, even though they are no more than ten yards apart and looking directly at one another.  Speaking of dumb sheep, Miguel also confirms the words of Isaiah 53:7, “as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,” when he tells about the shearing time.  He laughs at how the sheep just stand there looking proud and lazily chewing their cud while the men sharpen their blades.

Sing or pray Psalter #268.

 

January 28- Read Psalm 101

Earlier this month, we talked about lying and deceit.  Psalm 101:7 brings us back to this subject with the words, “He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.”

I have always believed that lies of omission are sinful.  However, when I tried to find some passages that directly state this, I found nothing.  From what I see, there are no passages in the Bible that condemn lies of omission.  I think some of you will find that fascinating.  I know I did!  What we do have, however, is an intriguing passage in 1 Samuel 16, where God tells Samuel to say he’s going to offer a sacrifice if asked where he was going, omitting the fact that he was also anointing the new king.  I think it’s important to note, though, that God never told Samuel to say something that was false.  There are no passages in the Bible where God commands his people to say something false, even if it’s for the “right” reasons.  On the other hand, it appears that good activity can be concealed when necessary, without saying a lie.  What do you think?

Sing or pray Psalter #271.

 

January 29- Read Psalm 105

This chapter talks about God’s care for Israel throughout history, including during their time in Egypt.  Our ancient world history book also has a short section on Israel’s time there.  It is likely during the reign of the Hyksos that Joseph was sold into slavery and became a key figure in the empire.  No one know exactly where the Hyksos came from or what happened to them after they were pushed back out, but we know that they ruled Egypt from 1782–1570 BC, according to the Ancient History Encyclopedia.  Their name has been mistranslated to mean “shepherd kings,” a mistake our textbook makes, but it actually means simply, “rulers of foreign lands.”  This explanation provides the answer for why “shepherd” kings would see shepherding as an abomination, a question which one of my students stumped me with.  Well, the Hyksos might have respected the Israelites, but the native Egyptians did not.  Exodus 1:8 says, “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph,” and he decided to enslave them.

Sing or pray Psalter #289.

 

January 30- Read Psalm 132

My study Bible summarizes this psalm with the words, “David expresses his zeal for the ark of God that it might be in its rightful place.”  As I was reading through the chapter, I started wondering if there was a connection between the ark of the covenant and the one that saved Noah’s family and the animals during the flood.  As it turns out, they are different words in the Hebrew, one could be translated “box” and the other “chest.”  These words are similar, however, as both point to an object used to store things.  The ark of the flood stored the church, while the ark of the covenant stored the tables of a law and a couple other things.  In doing so, both arks are a symbol of God’s covenant with his people.  Those who obey God’s commandments are saved, just as Noah’s family was preserved in the ark.  Today, those are saved from death who have God’s law written within their heart.  Can you think of any other similarities between these two famous arks of scripture?

Sing or pray Psalter #367.

 

January 31- Read 2 Samuel 6

The teaching of common grace was at the center of the controversy that led to the formation of the Protestant Reformed Churches in 1924.  At that time, this false doctrine was laid out in three points by the Christian Reformed Church.  While the second and third points talked about restraint of sin in the wicked man and his ability to do some good, the first point claimed that “there is also a certain favor or grace of God which He shows to His creatures in general.”  After all, the rain falls on both the just and the unjust, does it not (Matt. 5:45)?

It is true that God gives material things to all men, elect and reprobate alike, that are good from an earthly perspective.  However, while those things are a blessing to God’s people, they’re nothing but a curse to the wicked.  This story is a great example of that.  The ark was only a curse to the Philistines.  It destroyed their god and many of their lives.  On the other hand, that same ark was a blessing to the house of Obededom for the entire three months it was there.

Sing or pray Psalter #368.

 

February 1- Read 2 Samuel 7

The beginning of this story serves as a reminder for us not to think we can know the mind of God.  When David approached Nathan about building God a permanent house, the prophet immediately told him that God was with him in this endeavor.  Nathan didn’t even bother to ask God before responding, because he felt that God’s approval was rhetorical.  It must have been a bit of a humbling experience for Nathan to have to go back to David and explain why it wasn’t God’s will that he proceed.

God sent Nathan to tell David that he wasn’t going to be the one to build the temple for a few different reasons.  First, God brings out the fact that he hasn’t needed a permanent house up to this point, and he doesn’t need one now.  Second, Israel had been in a state of nearly constant war under King David, and the temple needed to be built at a time when they had stability and peace.  Third, God had preordained that Solomon would build the temple.

Sing or pray Psalter #363.

 

February 2- Read 1 Chronicles 17

David wasn’t the one God chose to build the temple, but Gertrude Hoeksema convincingly argues it could still be called David’s temple just as much as Solomon’s.  David was the one who organized the remaining Canaanites in the land to help with the manual labor.  He was the one who gathered much of the cedar wood, iron for nails, gold, silver, and brass for the building.  In addition, David also gave much of his personal wealth for the temple (1 Chron. 29:3) and called upon the people to help.  Furthermore, David put together a work schedule by which the 38,000 Levites over the age of 30 would perform their duties at the temple.  This rotating schedule ensured the Levites ample time to spend at home with their families when they weren’t needed at the temple.  It was very detailed, even scheduling when each Levite would perform certain temple tasks.  Most importantly, God gave David the plans for the temple, which he then gave to Solomon (1 Chron. 28:19).

Sing or pray Psalter #402.

 

February 3- Read Psalm 25

There are always new teaching strategies being pushed in college education classes around the country.  Each one is supposedly revolutionary and provides the answer to our education woes.  I remember one of the ideas really pushed in my college days was turning the teacher into a mere facilitator.  Instead of telling the students what they should know, the teacher’s job, it was taught, is simply to guide the students in their own discussion on the topic.  Now, with this strategy as with most of the others, there are good elements that we can glean from it to incorporate into our own teaching, but it should not be looked at as the magic bullet.  Psalm 25:6 says, “Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.”  God’s love for us never changes, and neither does the way in which he speaks to us.  God spoke to his people in simple sermons thousands of years ago, and he continues to do the same today.  Just as we oppose bringing new approaches into the preaching, so we should be wary of teaching strategies that reject what has worked for generations.

Sing or pray Psalter #67.

 

February 4- Read Psalm 29

Psalm 29 speaks of God’s power.  No one can hide from him, not even in the densest of forests, as mentioned in verse 9.  This is true of all mankind, elect and reprobate alike.  We see a direct example of this all the way back at the fall.  Adam and Eve were ashamed of their sin, so they tried to hide from God among the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:8), but their sin was discovered.  Another example of man attempting to hide from God in a forest would be Absalom.  This wicked man rebelled against his own father, God’s anointed.  When his men started losing the battle they fled to the wood of Ephraim, as recounted in 2 Samuel 18.  However, Absalom’s army could not hide from God’s wrath in the forest, and verse 8 says “The wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.”  In addition, Absalom himself was destroyed as his hair caught in the boughs of a tree, leading to his murder at the hand of Joab.

Sing or pray Psalter #76.

 

February 5- Read Psalm 33

Psalm 33:10 reads, “The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.”  When I read this verse I immediately thought of Ahithophel.  Ahithophel was David’s trusted adviser, whose advice was so good it “was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God” (2 Sam. 16:23).  Although Ahithophel was very wise, he was also wicked, which he showed by siding with Absalom when he rebelled against David his father.

After overtaking the palace and sending David on the run, Absalom was eager for advice on how to proceed next.  Ahithophel smartly advised Absalom to run and attack David as quickly as possible, while David’s men were still scattered and unorganized.  This was the right move to make, but God worked in the heart of Absalom to take the advice of Hushai, David’s spy, instead.  When Ahithophel saw that Absalom was going to sit back and allow David to round up his troops, he knew that all was lost, so he went home and killed himself.  The despair of a wicked man when his counsel is brought to naught is utter and complete.

Sing or pray Psalter #86.

 

February 6- Read Psalm 36

When we understand God and his perfect plan, our eyes are opened to the pictures of spiritual things we see in creation.  This is brought out in verse 9, where it reads, “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.”  The sun setting in the west is a picture of the Son of God dying on the cross and descending into hell.  The rising of the sun in the east pictures Christ rising from the dead in the victory over sin.  The dying of organisms in the fall is a picture of death entering the world after the fall of our first parents, making us totally depraved.  The winter snow pictures the cleansing that’s ours through Christ’s shed blood, and the renewal of life in the spring pictures the new heart we’ve been given.  The constant battle going on inside us against parasites and viruses is a picture of our internal spiritual battle.  This warfare usually can’t be seen outwardly, but it’s going on within us throughout our whole life.  These infections start small, but they can quickly take over the entire body, just like sin can when we don’t fight it.

Sing or pray Psalter #93.

 

February 7- Read Psalm 39

This chapter talks about how short our life is.  David calls upon God in verse 4 to show him how frail he is.  Verse 5 goes on, “Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.”

Both the wicked and righteous speak of life’s shortness, although they apply that truth to themselves in opposing ways.  The wicked man’s answer to life’s shortness is to live it up and gain as much wealth and prestige for himself as possible, as mentioned in verse 6.  The “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” (Eccl. 8:15; Isa. 22:13) mentality is celebrated in the world around us.  Since God doesn’t exist, and this life is all we have, we should enjoy it while it lasts.

In contrast, the response of the righteous man to life’s shortness is to come to God in repentance asking for forgiveness, as stated in verse 8.  We have been created for one purpose, to glorify God.  Life is so short and when we walk in ways of sin, we’re wasting the time God has given us to glorify him.

Sing or pray Psalter #105.