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The Song of Zion

A Psalter-Psalm Devotional of Praise to Our Sovereign Covenant God

 December 1 Read Psalm 76

Psalm 76:1-3 Notice the four names for the church of God found in the first two verses. It is a great comfort to us that God is in our midst. With Him we do not need to fear anything any enemy might bring against us. Because He is known, and His name is great, we have no reason to doubt the salvation that He has wrought in Jesus Christ. The word Selah at the end of verse three indicates a pause in the music. This pause can give to us a chance to truly comprehend the meaning and thrust of this section. Let us be glad that God is in our midst and that He will fight all our battles for us. Sing Psalters 207:1 and 208:1.

December 2 Read Ezekiel 38:1-13

Psalm 76:4-7 After pausing to consider the truths of the first three verses the Psalmist continues to extol the greatness of God in His victories over the powers of evil. Quite often these powers use means that we ourselves appropriate. When we do this, we must not put our trust in them; but rather we must put our trust in our mighty God. Many in the church world like to extol the God of love. That is true; He is a God of love-for His people. Verse seven shows us a God angry at sinners who attack His beloved church. We can be thankful for such an angry God, for then we can really appreciate our election and salvation. By nature we are no better than the world. By God’s grace we find a peace that passeth understanding. Pray for peace but only for your soul and not for the world. Sing Psalter 207:2.

December 3 Read Ezekiel 28:14-23

Psalm 76:8-10 In verse eight we see the truth that God is God over all the earth. This includes not only the world of men but also the brute creation. All the earth, men and beast, will be stilled and are stilled by His appearing. In verse nine we see the glory of salvation for the meek. The meek remember are the citizens of the kingdom as delineated in Matthew 5. Much of the world is preparing for Christmas. Only the meek ones look to rejoice in the birth of a Christ child who died on a cross, arose, and will come again. When our God comes all men will be forced to praise Him because all men will know that He is truly God and must be feared. These are awesome truths, people of God. Let’s take a Selah and reflect on them. Then let us pray and thank the God who judges the earth and brings salvation to the meek. Sing Psalters 207:3 and 208:2-3.

December 4 Read Psalm 76

Psalm 76:11-12 Today is the end of our work week. In two days we will go up to the house of God. One required aspect of our worship services is the giving of our offerings to God. Are we considering this as we bring home our paychecks? Yes, this means you, too, young people! All of God’s people have an obligation here. The vow can be something special, but it also includes our weekly gifts. We pay these as tokens of our gratitude for our salvation. We do this because we know how great and how terrible our God is. We do this out of a cheerful heart knowing that “the Lord loveth a cheerful giver”. Let us ponder this truth even as we ready ourselves for the Lord’s Day. Sing Psalters 207:4 and 208:4.

December5 Read Psalm 77:1-9

Psalm 77:1-2 Verse one gives to us the certainty of prayer. Asaph cried and God heard Him. Is this our experience? Do we cry often to Him going boldly to the throne of grace? In verse two the Psalmist gives the occasion for his prayer. He had a problem of some sort of trouble. It was grievous and he could not be comforted even at night. Sleep would not come. He found no comfort awake or asleep. He had only one thing to do. He prayed. People of God, do we remember to pray in times of trouble? Do we pray even before trouble, or does God use trouble to drive us to our knees in prayer? Pray, people of God, and pray without ceasing. Sing Psalters 209:1-2 and 210:1.

December 6 Read Ezra 9:1-8

Psalm 77:3-4 Complain, complain, complain! Young people, does this describe you. Older people of God, does this describe us? Do we complain about the station and calling that we have on this earth? Do we complain about what happens to us? Complaining is blaming God for our troubles. Troubles that may have been brought about by our sins and weaknesses. As we enter the house of God today, are we complaining as we do it? Would we rather be somewhere else? Do we complain because the professional football game is off limits as dishonoring to God? If we complain, we will be troubled and our spirits will be overwhelmed. If we complain, we will be struck dumb in our troubles. Let us leave complaining behind and enter into the presence of the Lord with cheerful hearts. Then let us vow not to complain as we live our lives throughout our week. Sing Psalters 209:3 and 210:2.

December 7 Read Ezra 9:9-15

Psalm 77:5-9 As Asaph continues his contemplation over his troubles, he looks back over past history. He knows that God has been merciful toward His people. What has gone wrong? Is it possible that God has forgotten to be kind? Is He so angry that His kindness is locked away within Himself? Asaph knows that the church and its members give to God many reason to be angry with them. He ponders and ponders and can find no answer. Is this our way, people of God? Do we wonder whether our God has forgotten us? Do we think our sins are so bad that there is no mercy for us? Just the thought points us to the way of hope. When we know our misery, we will know our deliverer. We must take heart in that and know “that all things work together for good to them that love God.” Sing Psalters 209:4-6 and 210:3- 4.

December8 Read Psalm 77:10-20

Psalm 77:10-12 Asaph knows his troubles. But he also knows that the way of escape is not within himself or any other on this earth. He must continue to meditate on the ways of God. He must continue to talk of God’s doings. People of God, when we are in such a state, do we think only about God? Do we talk to others about Him and what He has done for us. Wallowing in self-pity will do no good. Traipsing to one earthly counselor after another will be fruitless. Only in the way of meditation upon God and speaking of Him will we find true peace within our souls. Let us do that. Let us not shun the communion of saints, but rather seek it out and we will be blessed. Sing Psalters 209:7-8 and 210:5.

December 9 Read Ezra 10:1-8

Psalm 77:13-15 What is the way for our deliverance? Where will we find peace for our troubled and weary souls? The text is plain. “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary.” We are in the middle of the week. Are we longing for church, or are we dreading the coming Sabbath? Asaph found his answer in the fact that God was sovereign,. He was strong. He could do all and did all for His people. That same almighty God would be His help and redeemer even in this trouble. What about us? Can we come to the same realization? Not without meditation upon God’s word. Not without attendance to the means of grace on the Sabbath. God’s way is in the sanctuary. Long for it and understand the necessity of being in church twice on the Lord’s Day. Sing Psalters 209:9 and 211:1.

December 10 Read Exodus 15:1-10

Psalm 77:16-18 Yesterday we saw that Asaph saw where He could find solace in his troubles. That way was in the sanctuary of God where He saw God’s goodness for His people. Today’s text contains a continuation of that thought. Our God is so great that even nature must bow before Him. This is true because He is its creator. Creation not only glorifies God but it must also obey Him. This comforting truth will not be found in the doctrine of evolution. There can be no comfort found there. Even today creation does God’s bidding for the good of His people. Observe creation and see the way of your salvation. Sing Psalters 209:10 and 211:2.

December 11 Read Exodus 15:11-19 and Psalm 77:1

Psalm 77:19-20 We come to the end of the Psalm whose main idea is in its first verse. God heard Asaph in his prayers. God heard Israel as they cried in distress by the shores of the Red Sea. And God will hear us when we cry to Him. Troubles, whether caused by sin or by some other reason, must be brought to our heavenly Father. He will hear us. While deliverance may not be as dramatic as Israel’s from Egypt, God will bring deliverance to His people. Often this deliverance will be in the way of confession of sin and the experience of forgiveness. God will often use faithful office bearers to help us through our troubles. Call upon God, people of God. Call upon your God, young people. He will hear us and give to us deliverance. Sing Psalters 209:11 and 211:3.

December 12 Read Psalm 78:1-10

Psalm 78:1-3 In this Psalm Asaph begins to teach the people of God the specific truths to which he alluded in the last Psalm namely the wonders done by Jehovah. These are things which Israel passed down from father to son. What about us? What are we passing down to the generations following? Are they learning from us greed, the love of sports, or materialism? Or are they learning about the fear of Jehovah? Have they learned from us the Scriptures which are able to make them wise unto salvation? Are they learning to love God and their neighbor as themselves? We have been given a great treasure in God’s truth. What are we doing with it? Sing Psalters 213:1 and 215:1-2.

December 13 Read Deuteronomy 4:1-9

Psalm 78:4-5 Every parent and teacher should be familiar with today’s two passages. They give to us solemn instructions concerning covenant child rearing. To hide something means to place it where it cannot be seen. Where is our Bible knowledge? Have our children seen the praises of God, His strengths, and His wonders? Do they see them as we sing in church today, or are our mouths barely open? Notice covenant child rearing is not an option; it is a command from God Himself. It is not something to do when we have time, It is something to do all the time. Young people, you, too, have the calling to prepare yourself for this obligation. If you wait to start working at it when you take your first baby home from the hospital, you are sure to struggle. As we attend worship today, let us individually and corporately pray for the grace to carry out this calling. Sing Psalters 213:2 and 215:3-4.

December 14 Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Psalm 78:6-7 First of all I wish for us to ponder the truth that one of the reasons for covenant education is for the good of the covenant children who have not yet been born. In teaching today’s covenant seed, we prepare for the next generation of learners and teachers. Then we see that the purpose is so our children may hope in God. This is the well-founded hope that makes one not ashamed. This is not the wishy-washy hope of the world. Finally according to these verses we teach our children the things of Jehovah so that they may obey them and Him. Where do we stand? Are we teaching? Are we teaching by word and example? Sing Psalters 213:3 and 215:5-6.

December 15 Read Deuteronomy 6:13-25

Psalm 78:8-10 After giving to us positive reasons for teaching God’s law to our children, Asaph turns to the negative. This is unheard of in today’s psychological and education world. But the Holy Spirit in His wisdom uses the technique. Some of those who had been called Israel had gone astray and God removed them from His sight. Our children need to know this so they can walk in the good paths. Our children must be ready to fight the battle of faith and never turn back. We must constantly be on the vigil for slackness in our children, and if God permits, eradicate it from their lives. The good weapons will never be used if our children refuse to fight. Sing Psalter 213:4.

December 16 Read Psalm 78:11-20

Psalm 78:11-14 With today’s text we begin the account of Israel making its way to Canaan. In each of these verses Asaph recounts the wondrous works that God has done. These wondrous works should have inspired Israel of old as well as serving to inspire the church of today. We, like Israel, have a journey to finish. This journey is a spiritual journey. This journey like theirs is arduous. But we, like Israel of old, have wonders of God to encourage us upon our path. Some of these wonders can be found in creation around us. Others we must recognize in our own lives. Look for these wonders, people of God, even as the wise men looked for the Christ child. Be encouraged by them and run with patience the race that is set before you. Sing Psalter 213:5.

December 17 Read Isaiah 41:10-20

Psalm 78:15-20 As Israel traversed the wilderness God took care of them. Sometimes His care was not to their liking. They did not like the food and drink that He gave them. They wanted other food more to their desires. The food, drink, and refusing are symbolic of spiritual food, drink, and refusing. The heavenly manna which God has given us in His Word is all that we need. But because we get used to the food and drink of the Egypt in which we live we sometimes murmur against God and His Word. Sermons are too dry. Catechism is boring. Scripture memorization is pointless we think. Then because we provoke God, He gives to us spiritual famine. He chokes us with the worldly quail around us. How do we react? Do we run to the Word or away from it? Sing Psalter 213:6.

December 18 Read Psalm 78:21-32

Psalm 78:21-24 Today’s text gives the consequences of not wanting the spiritual food which is good for you. If we refuse to eat nutritious foods, we will suffer. If we refuse nutritious spiritual food, we will suffer as well. Notice how grievous Israel’s unbelief was. They did not believe in God or trust in His salvation. At this time of the year we hear much of salvation. Christmas songs inundate us like flood waters. How many people of the world and even of the so-called church world believe the thoughts of these songs or trust in the salvation that the songs proclaim? What about us? Is the true meaning of Christmas foremost in our thoughts or are we caught us in the celebration of the season and not the celebration of the Christ and the salvation He gives His people? Sing Psalter 213:7.

December 19 Read John 6:32-44

Psalm 78:25-28 Israel of the Old Testament had manna from heaven and rejected God. The Jews of Jesus time had the bread of life in their midst and they rejected Him. What about us? On each of our tables and from Sunday to Sunday we have the Word which the manna signified. We hear the Word which is Christ. As Jesus said to His disciples, “Will ye also go away?” They had the right answer. Jesus had the words of life. Do we desire those words of life. Can we find peace anywhere else but in His word? The opportunity for us to study that Word is great. How is your society attendance? What is your memory work grade like? We have angel’s food in our presence. What are we doing with it? Sing Psalter 213:8.

December 20 Read John 6:45-58

Psalm 78:29-32 People of God, what do you desire? As Christmas approaches we must constantly be warning and teaching our children about proper desires. They must learn about the true meaning of Christmas. This task is not easy considering how they are bombarded with temptations on every side. Israel had failed to teach their children while they were in Egypt and now they were reaping the consequences. Today is Sunday. How are we spending it? Is their a Christmas party which takes away from the peace and rest of the day? Christmas parties may have a place, but they must not displace Christ or the Sabbath. As soon as we allow our desires to be worldly, God will choke us in those desires. Let us contemplate these thoughts as we worship today and celebrate Christmas. Sing Psalter 213:9.

December 21 Read Psalm 78:33-42

Psalm 78:33-36 Why do you obey traffic laws? Is it the law or the consequences? When Israel saw the consequences of their sinful actions, they turned back to God. But we read that it was lip service only and not from the heart. We can see ourselves in these verses. We are quick to obey when someone is looking, but do we remember that God seeth all? Do we confess with our mouths truthfully that God is our rock and our redeemer? A rock is a place of refuge. A redeemer saves us from our debts. Having the Rock and the Redeemer is good, but He is only ours when our confession is true and holy. We must pray for the grace to confess these things with both our lips and our hearts. Sing Psalter 213:10.

December 22 Read Nehemiah 9:1-17

Psalm 78:37-40 When Israel returned from captivity, they fell into some of the sins of their fathers. As Ezra and Nehemiah were teaching them the law of God, they read to them from the history of Israel. Throughout Israel’s history God showed himself to be a God of compassion and loving kindness. Ezra once scolded the people severely for walking in their father’s sins. In a sense he said, “Won’t you learn now!” It is good that God is a God of mercy other wise we would be consumed both in and for our sin. But God who sent His Son to the earth for us loves us and cares for us. Let us remember that at this season of the year and praise Him for His loving kindness which endures forever. Sing Psalter 213:11-12.

December 23 Nehemiah 9:18-38

Psalm 78:41-42 “Limiting the Holy One of Israel” What a terrible thing to have said about you! Now of course mere man cannot limit almighty God’s counsel! But in this instance that’s what it appears to be. God uses this type of language to help us understand the depths to which we fall. We must never limit God. The New Testament calls it “quenching the Spirit”. Because of grace this is ultimately impossible. We must consciously live lives which promote the glory of God and not limit Him. Sing Psalter 213:13.

December 24 Read Psalm 78:43-55

Psalm 78:43-50 God brought deliverance to Israel from Egypt by means of Egypt’s destruction. At the season of the year, we hear many Christmas carols proclaiming a God of love. Is this true? It is, but only for His own people. God is angry with the wicked everyday. What is our response to this truth? It must be one of gratitude. Our deliverance from the spiritual slavery should and must fill us with gratitude. We must be thankful for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel’s deliverance is a picture of our deliverance. Let us be glad that we have a God who loves His people. Sing Psalter 213:14.

December 25 Read John 10:11-18

Psalm 78:51-52 The final plague upon Egypt was the destruction of its first born. Through those deaths God wrought deliverance for His people. There were deaths in Israel which were connected with that final plague. Those deaths were lambs that were slain and whose blood marked the houses of the people of God. Those lambs pointed to another lamb-the Lamb of God. God sent His Son who was sacrificed so that we might be passed over. As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember that we are commemorating the birth of the Lamb of God who was slain that we might live. Sing Psalter 213:15.

December 26 Read Joshua 4:1-9

Psalm 78:53-54 As Asaph continues recounting the story of Israel’s journey through the wilderness he comes to the part when they enter Canaan. First of all God brings Israel to the Jordan, the final picture of the separation of the world and heaven. Then after crossing the Jordan, he brings them to Jerusalem on Mt. Zion the picture of the church. Today is Saturday. We stand at the door to the Sabbath. Are we ready to cross? Are we ready to spend the day preparing for the eternal Sabbath in heaven? Israel had to ready themselves; we must, too. How? With prayer, meditation, and eagerness to enter the doors of the sanctuary. Let us ready ourselves for the morrow when we are privileged to go into God’s house Sing Psalter 214:1-2

December 27 Read Joshua 4:10-24

Psalm 78:55 Verse 55 of Psalm 78 serves as the positive conclusion to the account of Israel’s history. Notice I said positive account. The Psalm is not finished. Israel would fall away time after time. God would have to bring them back. It is good for us to review this history. In the reading for the last two days, we have seen that God commanded Israel to leave a memorial for the purpose of instruction. We have those memorials for us as well. No, not the stone pillars. But those things which the church service provide for us to teach our children about our God’s goodness and justice. Let us do that today as we enter into His house. Sing Psalter 214:3.

December 28 Read Psalm 78:56-64

Psalm 78:56-60 Yesterday I gave you a hint of what was to come in this Psalm. Israel would fall away often. In fact they fell away soon after gaining the land for which they did absolutely nothing. What was God’s final remedy at this time? He took the picture of His almighty presence out of their midst. What a terrible thing! In the book of Revelation one of the seven churches is warned that unless it repents, God will remove the candlestick from its midst. Were we happy with the lively preaching yesterday? Do our lifestyles show our love for God and His ways? We must take heed to Old Testament history lest God removes our candlestick from our churches. Sing Psalter 214:4.

 

December 29 Read I Samuel 4:1-11

Psalm 78:61-64 When we read a book to our children, are there not times that they say “no, don’t do it” to a character? I have that feeling when I read the history of today’s reading. Israel was doing as much wrong as could be done. It is almost as if the final straw was to take the ark out to battle. In order to teach them, God had to chastise them severely. As we end this calendar year, we sometimes look back over what has happened to us. We must ask, “Are we being chastised for some shortcoming in our life?” Even though we know that Christ has died for our sins, we also know that because God, our Father, loves us he chastens us. Let us think about this in the days to come. Sing Psalter 214:5.

December 30 Read Psalm 78:55-72

Psalm 78:65-69 Notice the word picture found in verse 69. God has established His church as strongly as He has established the very foundations of the earth. That should afford us great comfort and trust in almighty God. Even though we fall into sin, He has mercy upon us and delivers us from all evil. Even when the road seems rough and hard, we can be comforted because it leads to heaven. We have a sure foundation in God’s church; one that will last forever. As we finish the year we do not worry about what lies ahead. We can know that whatsoever comes to pass will be for our good. Sing Psalter 214:6.

December 31 Read Micah 5:1-7

Psalm 78:70-72 This Psalm closes with a short history about King David. These verses are also a prophecy about another king- Christ. Like David, Christ is a shepherd. Like David, Christ cares for His people from His heart. Like Israel of old, we can rest in confidence that Christ will skillfully lead us. As we finish 1998 and look ahead to the last year in the 1900’s, we can know that our shepherd will lead us through this year and into as many as it is His will. For some of us this may be the last New Year’s Eve we see. For others it may be another of more until Christ returns. Whatever the case, we can have great confidence in our Savior who like a shepherd leads us in the green pastures. Let us end this year in prayer to our gracious God who has established His church for His glory. Sing Psalter 214:7.