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The Song of Zion (July Devotional)

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

 

July 1 Read Isaiah 29:18-24

Psalm 22:26 In Matthew 5 we read that one of the characteristics of a citizen of the kingdom of heaven is meekness. We also read in Galatians 5 that meekness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. In today’s verse we read that the meek will be satisfied by God both physically and spiritually. He will care for their every need. The meek will be known because they praise Jehovah because they seek him. People of God, are you meek? Young people, if a character sketch were written about you, would meekness be one of your traits? Children, do you get along with your brothers and sisters? Did you fight today because you wanted your way? Meekness is a characteristic which needs to be cultivated. There is great blessedness in being meek. Pray to God for this precious fruit of the Spirit. Sing Psalter 48:4, 50:1, and 51:3.

 

July 2 Read Matthew 28:16-20

Psalm 22:27 The Jews of the Old Testament could not conceive of a church that encompassed all kinds of people. Sometime we as believers of the new dispensation have the same problem. But yet there are many evidences in both the Old and New Testament that the church of Jesus Christ is truly a catholic, that is universal, church. In the church triumphant are members from all places in the world. There are members of all skin colors. There will be many nations represented around the throne of God in heaven. But there will be one church. We sometimes forget this truth. We would like everyone in the church to look like us. Sometimes we are no better than the Pharisees of Jesus’s day. Let us remember our missionaries as we pray today. Let us remember those people of God who are in other lands. Let us pray that the gospel may be spread to all nations and realize by doing so that the day of the Lord draws closer and closer. Sing Psalter 48:5, 49:1 and 50:2.

 

July 3 Read Revelations 4:1-11

Psalm 22:28 The kingdom is the Lord’s and He is King. Is this our conception of heaven? Are we looking for the new Jerusalem in which God will reign and we will bow to His sovereign will? Or, are we looking just for an earthly utopia without sin and its related troubles? This was the disciples’ conception of the kingdom even up until Christ’s ascension into heaven. As elect who have matured by much study of scripture, we, too, must realize that heaven’s glory will be found in God. We must be looking for that place in which God rules and we will enjoy that rule. It is hard for us who are earthly to conceive of this. Let us work at it by daily study of the Bible and by prayers that ask for help in this idea. Sing Psalter 48:6, 49:2, and 50:2.

 

July 4 Read I Timothy 2:1-8

Psalm 22:29 People of God, do you pray for the salvation of those elect who are governing you? The passage in I Timothy is often misrepresented as teaching that God wants all men saved. This is not so as can be easily demonstrated from other parts of scripture. Our verse for today tells us that God gathers His church from all parts of society, as well as all nations which we saw two days ago. As we celebrate our country’s birthday, let us remember that among its leaders may be God’s people and we have a duty to pray for them. We must pray for government that it carry out the will of God. This, too, is fact. But we also must pray for the salvation of those in authority over us who belong to the church. Sing Psalter 48:74, 49:3, and 50:3.

 

July 5 Read Psalm 22:23-31

Psalm 22:30-31 These final two verses of this Psalm indicate another group of elect believers. This is the covenant seed which God graciously gives to the church. We sometimes use the term church latent to refer to those yet to be born. God’s covenant faithfulness is evident here. He is faithful to His church. Do we reflect this faithfulness as we make decisions in our lives? Do we make decisions in marriage that show we wish to bring forth covenant seed and pray for a quiver full? Do we work hard to give to all of our children the covenant education that God demands of us? We read in these verses that the covenant seed will come. Will it come from us or will God remove our candlestick from our midst and raise up another generation to serve Him. These are serious things, and God’s counsel will be done. Pray for the covenant seed that we have, and pray for future seed who will declare God’s righteousness. Sing Psalter 48:8, 49:3, and 50:3.

 

July 6 Read Psalm 23

Psalm 23:1 This familiar Psalm has comforted saints young and old from age to age. David undoubtedly composed this as he sat with his sheep on the hillsides near Bethlehem. Is his confession your confession? What a beautiful thing to know that because Jehovah is our shepherd, we will want nothing. Even the youngest of our children can understand these words. As we enter God’s house today, let us seek His word so that we truly can understand what it means to want nothing. Let us cast our every care upon Him because He careth for us in every situation in life. Teach the Psalm and its meaning to your families and they will walk in the green pastures all the days of their lives. Sing Psalter 52.

 

July 7 Read Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23:2 Yesterday we began our study of this familiar short Psalm. Today we wish to consider the idea of our Shepherd. Our Shepherd is heavenly, meaning He has none of the frailties of earthly shepherds. We can count on Him to guide us in all ways. We can count on Him leading us in the places which are good for us. He will take us to the pastures which are lush with the good things for our spiritual lives. He will brings us to water which is good to drink; water which is living water. Are you following this shepherd? Are you staying on the paths marked out by His gracious care? Pray for the grace to do so and give thanks for the faithful shepherd that we have. Sing Psalter 53.

 

July 8 Read Luke 15:1-7

Psalm 23:3 In today’s passage we read that our Shepherd is a seeking shepherd. We see this in the third verse of Psalm 23 as well. Our Shepherd not only looks after our physical needs, he also cares for our souls. Satan wants our souls, you know. He will try anything to capture them. But our Shepherd is caring for us. The second part of the verse speaks about leading us on the paths of righteousness. People of God, are you content to be led upon these paths? Are you willing to forsake the paths of pleasure in order to walk upon our Shepherd’s carefully ordained paths? He does this for His name’s sake. He does this so that He will be glorified. But for us the benefit will be the eternal dwelling place He is preparing for us. Walk those paths with the comfort that they are good paths and for a good purpose. Sing Psalter 54.

 

July 9 Read I Corinthians 15:51-58

Psalm 23:4 Death is all around us. We are born beginning to die. There is much evidence in creation that the punishment for sin is death. But we as the people of God do not have to fear death. We may mourn the death of a loved one. We will feel the pain that his death brings to us. But we have no fear of the consequences to the soul after death. Even as we traverse this world and its reminders of death on every side, we need not fear. Our Shepherd is near us. He watches over us. He gives to us the comfort needed to bear the pain the death of a loved one brings us. He does this because He loves us. The death of believers is precious in His sight. This should give to us the confidence to live our lives completely to the glory of God knowing that afterward He will lead us into that glory that is His now. Sing Psalter 55.

 

July 10 Read Joel 2:21-27

Psalm 23:5 A sheep has many natural enemies. Some of them are the parasites which inhabit its body and slowly drain its life force from it. Some of them are predators who seek to kill the sheep for food. God’s people have enemies as well. Satan has his predators and parasites whose goal is the kill the sheep of God. Our Shepherd knows this very well. He has experienced all of the temptations known to man except sin and has conquered them for us. He will lead us through the battles. With His word in our hearts and mouths we can fight off sin and Satan and rule victoriously with Him in heaven. Fight against sin, young people. Do not give into Satan and his wiles. Look to your Shepherd who will help you in all troubles. “Without Him we can do nothing,” Sing Psalter 56.

 

July 11 Read Psalm 23

Psalm 23:6 We come to the victorious conclusion of this most comforting Psalm. Our Shepherd at the close of our lives or at the end of this world will lead us home to heaven. No matter what troubles caused us grief in this life, goodness and mercy will be ours in the life to come. We have this assurance now. That the victory is our is sure because of the death of Christ. Of this we have no reason to doubt! What a comfort it is to know this. Do not doubt that heaven is a real place. Do not doubt that we will spend eternity in the house of our God in covenant fellowship with Him and the Lamb. Rejoice in this, confess this, and above all put your trust in the Shepherd who knows His sheep and will not let one of them be plucked from His hand. Sing your favorite of Psalters 52-56 or all of them if you are so inclined.

 

July 12 Read Psalm 24

Psalm 24:1-2 Do you believe in God? Do you believe that He created the heavens and the earth? The first two verses of Psalm 24 state creation as a fact and not an option. There is no maybe about whose earth we live on and who made it. It is God’s, and all of it is God’s. What a comforting fact this is to the people of God. We have a God who is so mighty that He created the earth on which we live. He sustains it by His providence, and it continues to exists. A God that is this powerful and mighty can surely ordain our salvation and carry it out until the end. Never let Satan snatch this comfort from you, people of God. Hold on to this truth, and it will sustain you all the days of your lives. Sing Psalter 57:1 and 59:1.

 

July 13 Read Matthew 5:1-12

Psalm 24:3-4 Are you a citizen of the kingdom of heaven? Do you follow the rules of that kingdom? That is the thought of today’s verses. We read the passage commonly called the beatitudes. While sometimes they are held up as good guidelines for man, they are more than that. They are an expansion of the thoughts of Psalm 24:3-4. As you go or have gone about the day’s work, were your hands clean and your hearts pure? Will God judge you as worthy of appearing at His holy hill? Have you determined to use only pure words in your business or play? If so, then God will give you an audience in His holy place. How is this possible? Not by our works, as we know that they are nothing but filthy rags. It is possible only by faith in Him who made heaven and earth. Sing Psalter 57:2 and 59:2.

 

July 14 Read Ephesians 2:1-10

Psalm 24:5 In the meditation for the first verses of this Psalm I alluded to the fact that the creator God is also the God of our salvation. This is more fully brought out in today’s verse. First of all we must see that verse 5 is a conclusion of yesterday’s thoughts. The man of clean hands and pure heart will receive a blessing from the Lord. That blessing is nothing less than salvation. Notice that this salvation is not earned, but it is received. This salvation can only be found from God. The passage in Ephesians made this abundantly clear. What a benefit it is to have clean hands and pure heart. Pray to God for the grace to have these things and live the life of the true citizen of the kingdom. Sing Psalter 57:3.

 

July 15 Read Isaiah 55

Psalm 24:6 Young people, is it said of you that you are the generation that seeks after God? Do you look for the face of God daily and hourly? This is an important concept. Parents, you can not begin at too early an age to teach your children about seeking the Lord. This seeking is not a prerequisite to election, but rather this seeking is the walk of sanctification and gratitude for salvation. Young people, as you look for entertainment, is it entertainment that seeks the glory of God? As you look for a husband or wife, will he or she be someone who will seek Jehovah with you? To do anything less is not seeking the God of Psalm 24. As we read in Isaiah 55 seeking Jehovah has beautiful benefits. Let us seek Him with our whole being. Sing Psalter 59:3.

 

July 16 Read II Chronicles 14:1-8

Psalm 24:7 Many texts in the Old Testament speak of the city of Jerusalem’s picture of the church of God. The walls of that physical city served as defenses from many enemies. The gates had two purposes. They were used to not only keep out unwanted intruders, but were also used to let in the King. Today’s church has the Word and the doctrines of that Word to serve the same purpose. Even as Asa was diligent in building up Jerusalem, so we must be diligent to learn the Word of God so that we may fight Satan and his hosts. Sometimes we think that summer time is a time for resting from studying. Satan never rests! Should we? Sing Psalter 58:1 and 59:4.

 

July 17 Read II Chronicles 14:9-15

Psalm 24:8 Yesterday we read how Asa built up Judah’s defenses. Today we read how he fought a war, and won that war by the power of God. God is the King that lives forever. His Son is the King who will make a triumphal entry into heaven with the whole church. Our King of glory is mighty. Israel of old had to see that in a very real physical manner. We must believe it as we read the accounts of the battle and know that He is fighting no less hard for us in our daily battles. That we are in a battle, there is no doubt. That God will fight for us is also sure. Are we thankful? Do we want a mighty God who fights spiritual battles for us? Do we confess daily that He truly is a King of glory? Sing Psalter 58:2 and 59:5.

 

July 18 Read Matthew 21:1-11

Psalm 24:9 Yesterday I alluded to the triumphal entry of Christ. Today we read the account of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The church of the old dispensation could not appreciate the true meaning of this event. God has given to us His Word and we must appreciate its meaning. Do we? Do we truly believe in the King that we have been given? Do we confess Him in and by our lives? Do we hold our heads high and proclaim that we are Christians waiting for the coming of our King? Are we ashamed of having the King that we do? Young people, will those around you know that Christ is your King tonight as well as every night? It will not be easy to do this in the final days on this earth. But that we must do this; of that there is no doubt. Sing Psalter 58:2 and 59:6

 

July 19 Read Psalm 24

Psalm 24:10 Yesterday we spoke of the necessity of confessing the King of Glory. We also saw that this is not an easy task. People of God, we do not have to do it alone. God does not require that we face the wiles of Satan by ourselves. We see in today’s verse that our King of Glory is the Lord of Hosts. First of all we can see that those hosts are the many other Christians in the world. Do not forsake them in your lives. Young people, make them your friends and companions. Fighting Satan and evil will be much easier. Secondly we know that there are hosts of angels encamped about us. God has given His angels charge over us. By His Spirit He will help us during all the battles that we face. Pray for the grace to trust in the King of Glory-the Lord of Hosts. Sing Psalter 58:3 and 59:7.

 

July 20 Read Psalm 25

Psalm 25:1-3 David begins this prayer asking that he and other people of God be not ashamed because they are believers. People of God, young people, are you ashamed because of your faith? Do God’s enemies cause you to hide your faith as you go about your daily work? How can it be possible that we might not be ashamed as we may be ridiculed for believing the way we do? With what confidence can we take a stand that is clearly opposite from what most people may do? The answer is found in verse 2. Because we can trust in God, we will never be ashamed. True, our faith may waver at times; we may become weak and be ashamed, but yet by trusting completely in our heavenly Father, we can have confidence in Him. Let us say with the apostle, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:” Romans 1:16a. Sing Psalters 60:1-2 and 64:1.

 

July 21 Read Proverbs 8:12-21

Psalm 25:4 & 5 To not be ashamed of the gospel necessarily demands that we only walk in the ways of God. With David we must make the request to be lead in the paths of truth. This means that we must seek the wisdom that is found only in God. This means that we must be well acquainted with His Word and seek it all the days of our life. Church attendance, catechism preparation, and other Bible studies should not be a chore but should be a delight. In asking for God to lead us means that we will walk that path even when it may not be physically appealing. Each of us, no matter what our age, must wait upon God. When we pray for such help, and when we with contentment walk His paths, we will feel His blessing. Sing Psalter 60:3-4 and 67: 1

 

July 22 Read Isaiah 63:7-14

Psalm 25:6 In reading this verse, we might be inclined to say that this is only the experience of the aged saint. It would be only one who with experience has felt the loving kindnesses for a long time. David was probably not so old when he penned these words. He knew of God’s mercy because of the experiences of Israel of old. His parents had taught him about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the children of Israel. He knew there experiences, and by faith he knew that just as God kept them, He would keep him. Is this your confidence, young people? Do you see that God has given us history to show these attributes of mercy and loving kindness? Because they have been of old, they are good. Sing Psalter 60:5, 64:2, and 67:2.

 

July 23 Read Isaiah 63:15-19

Psalm 25:7 The first line of this verse is hard for any child of God to say. First of all we must confess that we have sinned. Who among us can easily admit his faults? When we are young we feel we know it all and what we are doing must be right. According to this verse we must stop and realize the paths of youth which we walked were probably not so good. We can confess these sins only by the mercy of God. Our old man of sin would try to cover our sin. The new man asks God for help in this difficult way. The new man also knows by grace that God’s mercy is good. Young people, confess your sins now. It will make it easier when you are old. Sing Psalter 61:1,64:3, and 67:3.

 

July 24 Read Mark 6:1-6

Psalm 25:8 & 9 While Jesus walked on this earth much of His time was spent teaching and preaching. His parables were constructed for this very purpose. Even the miracles were more than acts of healing or help. In those miracles the child of God must see grace. David knew that he needed God to teach him. Do we know that? Do we confess that? Are we willing to listen to the great teacher? Who does He teach? He teaches the meek sinners who turn to Him in their distress. Turn to Him, people of God, and find the rest that He has prepared for us. His teachings are good and refreshing. Sing Psalter 61:2 and 67:4.

 

July 25 Read Proverbs 19:13-29

Psalm 25:10 Yesterday we saw who the teacher was. Today we see who the successful students are. These students are not necessarily the most intelligent. They may not be voted most likely to succeed. They may never make the honor roll of the world. But they will make God’s honor roll. How will they do that? Not on their own strength of course. But rather, by God’s grace which will let them keep His covenant and obey His testimonies. These students will seek Him through the help of the Holy Spirit. People of God, are you striving to be such students? Are you praying for the help needed in God’s classroom? Sing Psalter 61:3, 65:1, and 67:5.

 

July 26 Read Romans 7:12-21

Psalm 25:11 After describing the teacher and student, David returns to an earlier theme. This theme is the necessary pardon for sin. After seeing the way he must go, he realizes that he has departed from that way often. This is our experience as well. After hearing the law each Sunday, we see our sin and know that we have need of a savior. Not only do we see sin, we see great sin. Paul’s experience was no different. Neither is the experience of any other saint. I have heard many of them confess with Paul that they are the chief of sinners. We must confess that our sins are great. But we may not stop there. By God’s name sake we can ask for pardon in the confidence that He will abundantly bless us. Sing Psalter 61:4 and 65:2.

 

July 27 Read Luke 12:13-21

Psalm 25:12-13 The passage that we read in Luke spoke of a man who thought his soul would dwell in ease. He thought he had it made. His life was before him, and he would have not troubles. How mistaken he was! David speaks of a soul resting in ease as well. But this soul will rest in ease only because he is elect of God. Only because he fears the Lord and walks in His ways. This should be our desire. We should look for the ease that obedience to God’s Word brings. Only in that way will we find contentment. Only in that way will we see the blessing of God’s covenant upon us. We see the evidence of that covenant in the last part of verse 13. This is God’s sure promise to us. We must establish schools for our children in the faith that God will cause them to prosper and our children will inherit the land which is heaven. Sing Psalter 62: 1 and 68:3.

 

July 28 Read I Corinthians 4:1-6

Psalm 25:14 Do you enjoy secrets? I am speaking of good secrets. I am not talking about secrets which will hurt someone when they are told, or secrets which are about someone’s sin. I am talking about a secret in which someone is surprised because something good happens. Our God has a secret for us. It is a secret that is so wonderful that when we find it we will be happy forever. This secret is not for everyone. This secret is only for those who fear Him. This secret is only for those who walk in His covenant. What is that secret? Of course, it is salvation. It is the promise of living in eternal covenant fellowship with the Holy Trinity in heaven. What a secret! Look for it to come true. It will. Sing Psalter 62:2 and 68:4.

July 29 Read Exodus 14:10-20

Psalm 25:15-16 Once again David reminds us of the plight he was in and we are in. Egypt is always around us. It may take the form of Pharaoh, Goliath, Saul, Absalom, the Pharisees, or any of the cruel tricks that Satan plagues us with. Satan’s traps are around every corner. He is looking for the opportunity to cause every child of God to sin-from the youngest to the oldest. No age group is immune from his wiles. But we like David need not fear. With our eyes on Jehovah, we can have the confidence that he can pluck us out of any net which is entangling our feet and is about to trip us up. God may use Satan to chastise us, but He will never let us fall from grace. Sing Psalter 62:3-4 and 66:1-2.

 

July 30 Read II Samuel 16:5-14

Psalm 25:17-19 In this account from David’s life we see the truth of God explained. David, even as he was fleeing from Absalom, was cursed by an enemy. David, like Christ, did not revile his enemies. David saw that God by His sovereignty had even this incident planned. Even this was for David’s good. In the verses we consider from Psalm 25, we see that even though his experience is that he is oppressed by Satan, he needs to ask for forgiveness for his own sins. David is not ready to blame those around him for all of his troubles. He sees the necessity of pointing the finger at himself and asking God for help. We, too, must not blame our troubles on those around us. We must examine our lives and make sure that they are lives pleasing to God. Sing Psalter 63:1-2 and 66:3.

 

July 31 Read Psalm 25

Psalm 25:20-22 As David finishes his prayer he teaches us one more lesson. We have learned that we must trust in God at all times. We have learned that God is our teacher and his lessons must be learned well. We have also been instructed in the necessity of asking for forgiveness for every one of our sins. Now in these verses we see that we must remember God’s church in our prayers. Even though this is a very personal prayer which we would do well to model, it is also a prayer for God’s people everywhere. God’s church has troubles even as the individual has troubles. Because we are members of that church, we must pray for it. Each of us at what ever age has that responsibility. We do this in the realization that one day we will all be joined together around the throne with the Lamb who has redeemed us from all of our troubles. Sing Psalter 64:3-4 and 66:4.