March 8- Read Psalm 13
At first glance, the beginning and end of this chapter don’t really seem to go together. David is crying out to God asking when he will be delivered. Verse 3 especially stands out, where he says, “Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.” David needs God to help him understand all the trials he is going through so that he will not despair and become bitter. He’s also concerned that his state of weakness will give his wicked enemies a cause to blaspheme, as stated in verse 4.
Suddenly, the chapter turns around in verse 5. God gave David strength to trust in him and to rejoice in his salvation. This gave David so much joy that he can end the psalm by proclaiming that God has “dealt bountifully” with him, even though his earthly life is extremely difficult. As we are also taught elsewhere in scripture, our earthly situation shouldn’t be the barometer of our spiritual strength and joy.
Sing or pray Psalter #22.
March 9- Read Psalm 28
We just finished studying the ancient Greeks in history class. It was amazing to see how the Greeks were able to hold off a much larger Persian force at the battles of Marathon and Thermopylae. The secret to their success was the phalanx formation. Here, the Greeks stood shoulder to shoulder with their shields overlapping and their spear tips poking out. This meant that the Persian infantry was throwing themselves at a bronze wall covered in razor-sharp spikes. In addition, the fact that the Greek shield was attached at the elbow and the hand, instead of just held with the hand, allowed the Greeks to use it as a weapon and to plow the enemy over.
I thought about this as I read the first part of Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield.” God is our shield to protect us from the darts of our spiritual enemies and to fight back, like a hoplon shield with double grip. When God’s people are united and trusting in him the enemy can do nothing against them, but if some of those shields begin to come down the entire spiritual phalanx is in danger of crumbling.
Sing or pray Psalter #75.
March 10- Read Psalm 55
Psalm 55:12, 13 reads, “For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.”
Who could David be talking about here? One example that comes to mind immediately is Ahithophel. Ahithophel was a greatly respected friend and counselor of David who sided with Absalom when he rebelled. So respected was he that 2 Samuel 16:23 compares his advice to the “oracle of God.” However, Ahithophel was two-faced, as explained in Psalm 55:21. He acted like he loved God, but he actually hated him. Because of this, God’s judgment spoken in Psalm 55:23 became reality for Ahithophel when he hung himself after learning Absalom had taken the advice of Hushai, David’s spy. Many of God’s enemies may live a long life on this earth but still do not live “half their days,” in the sense that they experience everlasting death in hell, instead of heavenly glory.
Sing or pray Psalter #149.
March 11- Read 2 Samuel 16
What do you think we are to learn from the story of Ziba and Mephibosheth? Greedy Ziba comes to David with a gift and a lie, trying to gain Mephibosheth’s estate for himself. Instead of looking into the situation and talking to Mephibosheth about it, David just tells Ziba he can have all of it. A few chapters later, in 2 Samuel 19, David discovers he has been tricked, and, ashamed (according to Matthew Henry), he gruffly tells Mephibosheth that the two of them should share the land again.
What are we to learn here? One thing is certainly the importance of learning both sides of a story before passing judgment. Think about all the perceptions you have of people. Are many of those perceptions tainted by something you heard someone else say that person did or said? Sadly, we are often quick to judge others rashly and pass on hurtful rumors we don’t even really know are true. David fell into this trap, condemning righteous Mephibosheth unheard, and we must always be on guard against this sin in ourselves.
Sing or pray Psalter #120.
March 12- Read 2 Samuel 17
David is helped by three men in 2 Samuel 17:27. The first of these is Shobi, the son of Nahash. It’s shocking to see an Ammonite mentioned here, as it was the Ammonites that 2 Samuel 12:31 says David killed with saws, axes, and fire, because they had ripped open the pregnant women of Israel. Shobi must have spoken out against this gruesome attack, as well as the way that Hanun, also a son of Nahash, degraded David’s messengers in 2 Samuel 10:4. The second helper was Machir, who took care of Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth for a while, as we read in 2 Samuel 9:4. Third, there was Barzillai the Gileadite. David asked this kind, old man if he would come live with him in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 19:37), but Barzillai said he wanted to die in his own country and sent his son Chimham instead. In 1 Kings 2:7, David tells Solomon on his deathbed to show kindness to the sons of Barzillai, and we learn in Jeremiah 41:17 that the sons of Chimham were still living by Bethlehem.
Sing or pray Psalter #113.
March 13- Read 2 Samuel 18
As we can all imagine, even if we haven’t gone through it ourselves, the death of a child is one of the most difficult trials that we can endure on this earth. When a child dies in the church, the grieving is ongoing and severe, changing the lives of the family members forever. Still, even during intense sorrow, the parents have the wonderful assurance that their child is in heavenly perfection with God. Can you imagine what that trial would be like without that assurance? That was the reality for David. The grief he experienced was so much more intense than the typical grieving of a parent for a deceased child, because he didn’t have the assurance that Absalom had gone to heaven. Of course, parents in the church today sometimes have to face the death of a wayward child. What words of comfort could be brought to a fellow saint going through such a trial?
Sing or pray Psalter #117.
March 14- Read Psalm 26
David says he doesn’t want to commune with “bloody men” in verse 9 of this chapter. Wasn’t David a bloody man himself? In 1Chronicles 28:3, God tells David, “Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.” Wouldn’t that put David in the same group as those he’s speaking out against in this chapter? The difference is found in the fact that David and these “bloody men” were on opposing sides of the battlefield. God called David to fight his enemies, and he did so as a picture of how we fight our own spiritual battles every day. On the other hand, the men spoken about in this chapter are the enemies David was sent to fight. David is justified in the battles he fought, but these men are not. Their purpose was not to do God’s work, but to thwart it. We must always be on guard against “bloody men” in the world around us.
Sing or pray Psalter #69.
March 15- Read Psalm 40
The first thing I thought of when I read verse 2 was the story of Joseph. This verse reads, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” Joseph was literally thrown into a pit by his jealous brothers. He continued in that state even as he was plucked out, for then he was sold into slavery. Joseph struggled in the miry clay as he withstood the temptations of Potiphar’s wife and his subsequent time in prison. However, Joseph never lost his faith in God, and God set his feet on a rock, removing him from prison, and making him second in command over the kingdom.
There were times when David felt like he was stuck in a horrible pit and miry clay, such as when he hid in caves from Saul and when he was fleeing from his son Absalom. Matthew Henry also relates this to Christ, who suffered unimaginable agony all his life and especially on the cross. We can sometimes feel like we’re in miry clay, but must always trust that God will set our feet on a rock.
Sing or pray Psalter #111.
March 16- Read Psalm 58
Psalm 58:10 reads, “The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.” We wash our feet in the blood of the wicked? That reminds me of the Vikings who believed in a heaven where they drank blood from the skulls of their enemies. How can we teach our children this kind of language and defend it against those that speak out against us? God uses this graphic language to illustrate a picture. Just as a traveler enjoys having his feet washed after a long journey, so we rejoice when we see God glorified in all things, including the destruction of his enemies. In addition, maybe there’s something to the fact that seeing God’s judgment on the wicked causes us to grow in holy fear of him, thereby cleansing us, like washing one’s feet. Do you see a connection there? Can you think of anything else God is teaching us by using this type of language?
Sing or pray Psalter #156.
March 17- Read Psalm 61
In the last verse of this chapter, David states that he will daily perform his vows. What are these vows that David’s talking about? They are summarized in our baptism form. Here we read, “Whereas in all covenants there are obtained two parts, therefore are we by God, through baptism, admonished of and obliged unto new obedience, namely, that we cleave to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that we trust in Him, and love Him with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our strength; that we forsake the world, crucify our old nature, and walk in a new and holy life.” As those in the covenant, we are always under oath. From birth, we have vowed to love God and live according to his commandments. These vows are further confirmed when we make confession of faith, stating that we believe the truth that is being taught in this church, that we will live according to it and submit to church discipline if necessary. This public vow shows just how serious it is when one leaves the church after making that vow. We must live conscious of the weighty vows we have made.
Sing or pray Psalter #159.
March 18- Read Psalm 62
One of our study Bibles at home talks about how this chapter is a “psalm of confidence.” It brings out five nouns in the psalm that are used to describe God’s protection: rock, salvation, defense, glory, and refuge. Can you describe how these words show God’s protection? How about glory? This question came up when we read this chapter for family devotions. The other words were fairly self-explanatory, but we weren’t sure how “glory” could be used to describe God’s protection. One thing we came up with was that God’s glory shows his power and makes man tremble before him. What do you think?
We also wondered what the phrase, “I shall not be moved,” means at the end of verses 2 and 6. Charles Spurgeon says we cannot be moved from the point of view that God always strengthens us and never leaves us to despair. He compared it to an anchored ship on the water. The ship rocks back and forth with the waves, but it can never be swept away. We sometimes falter in times of great trial, but we are safely under the shadow of God’s wings and can never fall out of the covenant.
Sing or pray Psalter #161.
March 19- Read Psalm 64
Psalm 64:5 talks about how bold the wicked are in their sin, because they convince themselves that no one will find out. They forget that God is in heaven, can see all, and is directing all according to his purpose. One of scripture’s clearest examples of this can be found in 2 Kings 6. In this chapter, the king of Syria is attacking Israel. He isn’t very successful, however, because Elisha keeps telling the king of Israel where Syria is going to be, so there is no element of surprise. The king of Syria is livid when he finds out what’s going on, and he sends an army after Elisha. God wants to remind the Syrians that he knows all and is in complete control of everything. Upon Elisha’s prayer, God makes the Syrians blind, and then Elisha leads them right into Israel’s capital city of Samaria. In a very humbling display of hospitality, Israel simply feeds the Syrians and sends them on their way. 2 Kings 6:23 says that after this “the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.”
Sing or pray Psalter #165.
March 20- Read 2 Samuel 19
Isn’t it amazing what flattery can do? Evil flattery is a tactic often employed by God’s enemies, because it appeals to our old man. In this story, David promises Shimei he won’t kill him after the latter makes a show of being one of the first to meet David after he crosses the Jordan and bows before him, asking for forgiveness.
It’s kind of surprising that David fell for this performance, but not as surprising as Jehoshaphat falling for Ahab’s lies in 1 Kings 22. God has already made it clear that they will lose the battle and Ahab will die, yet Jehoshaphat agrees to go anyway. As if that isn’t enough, Jehoshaphat wears his kingly robes while Ahab goes into battle disguised. What? A little sweet talk and Jehoshaphat is completely blinded to the gigantic bullseye on his forehead?
We can see some humor in Jehoshaphat’s naiveté here, but we must realization that we are no better. Psalm 12:2 says of the wicked, “They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.” We must be on guard against those who flatter us into ways of sin.
Sing or pray Psalter #21.
March 21- Read 2 Samuel 20
Gertrude Hoeksema and Matthew Henry have opposing viewpoints on this chapter. Matthew Henry seems to think it was wise of David to put Amasa as his new captain, but Hoeksema thinks it was foolish. According to Henry, putting Amasa at the head showed the people that David was merciful. Hoeksema argues that this move was unwise, because Amasa was inexperienced; he was the defeated general of Absalom’s rebellion, and the people would probably be afraid of following him because of Joab. Regarding David’s reason for calling upon Abishai when Amasa took too long, Matthew Henry argues that this was done to rub it in Joab’s face, but Hoeksema thinks David was secretly hoping Abishai would pass the command along to Joab. According to her, David felt he needed Joab again, but couldn’t ask him directly, since he had just been deposed. With whom do you agree, or do you have a different explanation all together? One thing we can probably say with certainty is that David is trying to get around the problem of Joab without really punishing him, and God is showing that it doesn’t work to try and fix things our own way.
Sing or pray Psalter #253.
March 22- Read 2 Samuel 21
There are a few different things to be brought out in this chapter. First, how can verse 8 say that some of Michal’s sons were killed if 2 Samuel 6:23 tells us that Michal remained barren for mocking David’s dance of worship? Gertrude Hoeksema answers this by saying that the name should be translated Merub, another of Saul’s daughters.
Second, was it really right of David to let the Gibeonites murder these sons of Saul? The answer is yes, because God tells us in Exodus 20:5–6 that the sins of the father come upon the children, and God would not have “intreated for the land,” or sent rain (v. 14), if this had been the wrong thing to do.
Finally, it’s interesting to see that David is almost killed by a giant in this chapter, when it was killing Goliath that started his being a leader of the people. Do you think this might be used to show us that, along with the departure of his physical strength, David had also lost some of the faith of his youth? Faith was the weapon with which he fought Goliath, but now he needed Abishai to do it for him.
Sing or pray Psalter #134.
March 23- Read Psalm 5
One of our study Bibles said that this psalm is a morning psalm, in contrast to Psalm 4. This is clearly brought out in verse 3, which reads, “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Do we take David’s example and begin our day with prayer to God in this way? The substance of David’s morning prayer stood out to me. David began the day fully conscious of the serious trials he would face and the fact that his enemies had set out to destroy him. Because we have such extremely easy earthly lives at this time, we can quickly fall asleep spiritually. We begin to lose the battle against our spiritual enemies, because we aren’t really fighting. The danger doesn’t feel real. The danger was very real for David, and he cried to God to give him strength for the day, because he didn’t have it of himself. When we do that we can say with David in Psalm 4:8, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”
Sing or pray Psalter #11.
March 24- Read Psalm 38
There’s a TV series that aired in the UK a number of years ago called “Horrible Histories” that we watch clips from once in a while in history class. I don’t recommend all of their material, but it can be a humorous way to learn more about interesting facts from the past. One of the skits is about awful medical cures used throughout history. These are anything from drilling a hole in one’s head to relieve pressure from a headache, to smearing animal dung ointment over an injury, to sleeping by a human skull to ward off evil spirits.
In Psalm 38:5, David says, “My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.” Ancient “cures” often only led to the situation getting more serious than it had been before, which is a picture of how trials only increase when we try to do things our own way. David learned this hard lesson when Uzzah died while they were moving the ark of the covenant, and we must learn it as well. When we trust in God our wounds will heal and not become infected.
Sing or pray Psalter #103.
March 25- Read Psalm 41
Our study Bibles at home break up the psalms into five books. It appears that most, but not all, Bibles do this, although there is disagreement about how each group of psalms is linked together. According to our study Bible, the five books are the Genesis Book, the Exodus Book, the Leviticus Book, the Numbers Book, and the Deuteronomy Book. However, Bible.org names the five books David’s Conflict with Saul, David’s Kingship, The Assyrian Crisis, Introspection about the Destruction of the Temple and the Exile, and Praise and Reflection on the Return and the New Era. Those titles don’t look very similar, do they? Either way, Psalm 41 is said to mark the end of Book 1. The final verse of this chapter is seen as the doxology found at the end of each book. Of course, the ultimate Psalm-doxology is found at the very end of the book: “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.” As long as we have breath, may God’s praise be our goal.
Sing or pray Psalter #411.
March 26- Read Psalm 42
David says he will remember God “from the land of the Hermonites, and the hill Mizar” in verse 6 of this chapter. What area is this referring to? John Calvin says that the land of Hermon was very mountainous, and Mizar was likely one of the peaks in that range. He also makes known, however, that some believe the word “Mizar” should actually be translated “little.” Instead of referring to one of Hermon’s peaks, then, it could be talking about Mt. Zion. Although Mt. Zion was small compared to the mountains of Hermon, it was much greater in the eyes of God and his people.
David follows up this verse with “deep calleth to deep” at the beginning of the next one. His trials seem to pile up on one another and threaten to pull him under, but “the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime” (v. 10). When we remember God in whatever state he has placed us, whether in the mountains or in the valleys, then we will always experience his lovingkindness and blessings that are new each morning.
Sing or pray Psalter #115.
March 27- Read 2 Samuel 22
Buffalo farms are growing in popularity around the country. The meat is said to taste fairly similar to beef, but is much higher in nutrition. I remember listening to an interview with a buffalo rancher on the radio a while back. The man was explaining the difference between owning cattle and buffalo. Cattle are domesticated, but buffalo are wild animals, and you always have to remember that when you’re caring for them. He said they can do things you’d never expect, like jump sideways over a six-foot privacy fence from a standing position. Doesn’t that seem impossible?
Just like it doesn’t seem possible for a giant buffalo to spring nimbly over a tall fence, it can sometimes seem impossible for us to be victorious over our enemies, but God will provide us with all the strength we need to vault over an obstacle. This is expressed in 2 Samuel 22:30, which says, “For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.” As the well-known passage in Matthew 19:26 puts it, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
Sing or pray Psalter #230.
March 28- Read 2 Samuel 23
We recently studied Ancient Greece and Alexander the Great in history class. I remember one story where Alexander’s army was extremely thirsty while on the march. Finally, they came to a tiny pool of water. Quickly, a couple soldiers scooped up the water in a helmet and brought it to their commander. Alexander accepted the water graciously, and, as the men all watched, he poured it out on the ground.
This is similar to what David did in 2 Samuel 23:16. The difference between the two actions is found in the motivation. Alexander poured out the water simply because he was a savvy commander. He understood that his men would follow him to the death if he showed them he was willing to endure the same hardships they endured. David was also a savvy commander, but his motivation in doing this was glorifying God. David was sorry that his words had led his men to risk their lives for him in this way, and he wanted to show God that he would be a good steward of the loyal men God had given him and that he would be thankful for what he had.
Sing or pray Psalter #114.
March 29- Read Psalm 57
It’s neat to read the Foreign Mission Committee Report found in the most recent Acts of Synod. Our churches have an established mission field in the Philippines, consisting of three churches, which have adopted the name Protestant Reformed. The work there is directed by three of our ministers: Rev. Daniel Klein, Rev. Holstege, and Rev. Smit. In addition, there are a number of new fields our churches are investigating in Myanmar and India. The work in both these countries has been going on for some time, and numerous visits have been made to Rev. Titus in Myanmar and Rev. Paulraj in Vellore, India. Besides this official work going on in the report, we have contact with saints all over the globe. Besides our sister churches in Northern Ireland and Singapore, there are contacts in Australia, Ireland (Rev. McGeown), Germany, Namibia, and others I’m sure I’m not aware of.
Psalm 57:9 reads, “I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.” By God’s grace our churches have been able to spread the gospel among the nations, and we pray that God will continue to strengthen us in that aspect of our calling.
Sing or pray Psalter #155.
March 30- Read Psalm 95
In 1 Kings 20, we read about Benhadad, king of Syria, attacking Ahab, king of Israel. He came to Samaria with a huge army and plenty of confidence, demanding that the Israelites become their servants. Ahab was unsure what to do, but then God sent a prophet to tell him Israel would be given the victory to show them that God was in control. According to the command of God, seven thousand princes were sent out against Benhadad’s host. Benhadad was so sure of victory that he was getting drunk with his generals at the time and simply demanded the princes be captured alive. The Syrian soldiers didn’t know how to proceed without any leadership, and the Israelite princes each killed one of them as they stood in uncertainty. When the Syrians saw this, they fled before Israel and were slaughtered. When they returned home, the Syrians assured themselves that they had lost because Israel’s God was a god of the hills. Surely they would win if they fought Israel in the plains. This was foolishness, of course. Psalm 95:4 says, “In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.”
Sing or pray Psalter #256.
March 31- Read Psalm 97
I listened to a business organization book on our most recent drive to Iowa over Christmas break. One thing this secular author stressed was making sure we learn to enjoy work. Most of the population views work as a necessary evil we do as little as possible, so we can spend time doing what we really want. People that think this way often use the phrase, “Nothing personal, it’s just business;” one apparently used by President Trump on his previous TV show. This mantra becomes an excuse to live very wickedly in our work life, and then think everything will be ok if we make sure to show up in church on Sunday and act pious.
Psalm 97:10 tells us that those who love God hate evil. It’s impossible to do both. As Matthew 6:24 puts it, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Which master are you serving right now in your life? Which master am I serving?
Sing or pray Psalter #260.
April 1- Read Psalm 98
There are some fellow Christians we have close ties with that believe we shouldn’t have music accompaniment in the worship service. How can they defend this stance when many Bible verses, including verses 5 and 6 of this chapter, speak of instruments being used in praise to God? The stance they take is that using instruments ended with the Old Testament sacrifices. To support this, they quote verses like 2 Chronicles 29:28, which reads, “And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.” This supports the idea, they say, that there is nowhere in the New Testament where we’re commanded to use instruments. According to the regulatory principle, we keep the elements of worship limited to the things God commands us to do. Our churches respond that instruments are a circumstance of worship, not an element. They’re simply played while we are doing something that’s commanded, like singing psalms or taking collection. We enjoy the accompaniment during these times, but we don’t claim it’s necessary. What do you think? Does the regulatory principle become threatened when we add these circumstances of worship to the elements?
Sing or pray Psalter #264.
April 2- Read Psalm 99
Psalm 99:4 reads, “The king’s strength also loveth judgment; thou dost establish equity, thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob.” According to Calvin, the beginning of this chapter focused on setting God on his throne, and this verse delves into the way in which he rules over his kingdom, the church. He says there are two possible explanations for the phrase, “thou dost establish equity.” One explanation is that God commands us to practice perfect equity, while another possibility is that the phrase refers to God’s stressing of equity in his own dealings.
Either way, what is this equity referring to? Equity is defined as “the quality of being fair or impartial.” God commands us to deal with others in this way. Showing favoritism is no way to witness. Governments and consistories must also not judge people rashly or unheard. However, the way God works doesn’t always seem to be fair. God chose some and not others. How do we fit that truth together with God’s equity?
Sing or pray Psalter #265.
April 3- Read 2 Samuel 24
The first verse of this chapter reads, “And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.” We know that God was angry with David for numbering the people, but this verse says that David was moved to number the people because God was angry. In other words, God’s anger came first. This raises a few questions. First, did God really make David sin? This is answered in 1 Chronicles 21:1, the chapter to read for tomorrow, where we read that “Satan stood up against Israel.” From these verses we can understand that God directed Satan where to go, but Satan was the one that actually tempted David to sin. Second, why was God angry with Israel? This is tough to answer, because the few chapters before don’t really give us any clues. However, if we keep going back we can see that this was soon after the rebellions of Absalom and Sheba. Many Israelites had sided with these men, and God was very displeased with them for this sin.
Sing or pray Psalter #291.
April 4- Read 1 Chronicles 21
What was so bad about numbering the people? Did 70,000 men really need to die because of this? The truth is that there wasn’t anything inherently wrong about numbering the people. The membership of each congregation in our denomination is printed in the Acts of Synod, for example. David’s sin here was in his motivation. He wanted to number the people, not just for the sake of educating himself on the size of the kingdom, but because he wanted to see how great and powerful he had become. In addition, remember that God moved David to do this because he was angry with Israel in the first place, so it makes sense that many Jews were killed as a result.
Isn’t it interesting that Joab of all people was the one to tell David he shouldn’t follow through with this? The wicked are quick to show they recognize the difference between right and wrong when it works to their advantage. Joab the great warrior wasn’t too thrilled about having to travel around numbering people. Also, having reprobate Joab correctly rebuke David was more shameful for David than if a godly man had rebuked him.
Sing or pray Psalter #321.
April 5- Read 1 Chronicles 22
How does all this talk about temple building apply to us today? Well, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Our bodies are the New Testament temple, and we must take care of them. The world also preaches care for our bodies, but to glorify self. We care for these bodies because they belong to God, not us. Paul brings this out in 1 Corinthians 6 relating to fornication, but it can be applied to other ways of harming or defiling our bodies as well. Back in Leviticus 19:28, the Israelites were commanded, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” Self-mutilation is connected with pagan religion, as also seen in the story of Elijah and the Baal prophets on Mt. Carmel. May we care for these temples God has given us, that he might be glorified.
Sing or pray Psalter #133.
April 6- Read Psalm 30
Yesterday, we had a teacher in-service day about mental health. We learned how to spot mental health warning signs in students and what to do about it. We watched a series of videos about Kevin, a man with bipolar disorder. As an adolescent, Kevin continuously went through a cycle of mania and depression, not understanding what was going on. He got to the point where he decided the only way out was to end his life. He felt completely alone and thought no one cared whether he lived or died. As Kevin rode the bus to his chosen jumping point, he made a pact with himself that he wouldn’t do it if just one person asked him how he was doing.
Kevin ended up surviving his jump and becoming an advocate for helping people struggling with mental health disorders, but it was shocking to hear how full of despair he had become so early in life. God’s people can sometimes feel this way, but this psalm reminds us that God is our help. As verse 2 states, “O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.”
Sing or pray Psalter #79.
April 7- Read Psalm 108
In Psalm 108:1, David says he will praise God with his “glory.” What is our glory? According to Matthew Henry, it’s our tongue. It’s true that the Bible talks frequently about the tongue’s power, either to sin or to glorify God. There are a number of verses that contrast this. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Similarly, Ephesians 4:29 states, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” The tongue is a very powerful thing, which can move people to action. As Proverbs 15:1 puts it, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” We need to be aware of the tongue’s power and make sure that it’s our “glory,” not our disgrace. This begins by thinking before we speak, as stressed in Proverbs 10:19, James 1:26, and Psalm 141:3. Our tongue is a powerful tool, and may we use it to do the cause of the kingdom, not as “an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).
Sing or pray Psalter #299.