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The Songs of Zion

April 1

Read Psalm 15

Psalm 15:1 What a beautiful Psalm to use in our preparations for going to church next Sunday. What does it take to appear before the almighty covenant God? Do the questions in verse one appear on your lips? Do you desire to dwell in God’s tabernacle? Do you desire to dwell in His holy hill? David assumes that our answer is yes. He does not allow for not having these desires. He wants God to tell him how it can be possible to attain such a goal. The rest of the Psalm which we shall consider will instruct us in the life of gratitude for our salvation through Christ. This can only be because if the rest of the Psalm were conditions we would all fail miserably and not be able to go to heaven. Let us make these desires ours and thank God for giving us His Son as the way of our salvation. Sing Psalter 25:1 and 26:1.

 

April 2

Read Isaiah 33:13-22

Psalm 15:2 The first description of the man who will abide in God’s tabernacle is found in this verse. The man must walk uprightly and work righteousness. In his daily life he must seek to do only the good. There may no appearance of evil be found in his life and character. A businessman must be upright in all of his dealings. Every employee must give an honest day’s work. A student must study in a way that no hint of cheating or rebellion toward the teacher clouds his reputation. What about us, people of God? Do we strive to thank God for our salvation by walking uprightly? There is also a second characteristic. We must speak the truth in our heart. Some may say what good is this; shouldn’t we speak the truth so it is heard? The answer to that is, “Of course.” But Scripture also teaches us that out of the heart comes the issues of life. We will not speak the truth outwardly if we do not speak it inwardly. Pray for such grace today and every day. Sing Psalter 24:1 and 26:2.

 

April 3

Read Galatians 5:13-15

Psalm 15:3 Yesterday’s verse told us that we must speak the truth in our hearts. Today’s verse tells us about speaking the truth outwardly. Take the time today to read the Heidelberg Catechism’s exposition on the ninth commandment. It speaks of loving the truth and speaking about it uprightly. This love of the truth must be for God and the neighbor. Yesterday’s verse emphasized love for God. Today’s verse speaks of love for the neighbor. Children and young people how do you speak about your fellow students? How do you speak about your parents and teachers? Members of God’s church, are your mouths constantly full of love for every other member of that church? God expects no less from us if we are to abide in His holy hill. Sing Psalter 25:2 and 26:3.

 

April 4

Read James 2:1-9

Psalm 15:4 People of God, who are your companions? Who do you wish to be seen with in this world? What is your fascination of the wicked? Do you honor those who have no use for God? Do you go with them because it is convenient to do so? What about the members of the church? Do they “play second fiddle” to other “friends” that you may have? Do you find excuses to avoid God’s people so that you can socialize with those who you find physically more desirable? We must remember that physically we were unsavory in God’s eyes. Read Ezekiel 16:3-9 sometime to see this. Our friends and companions must be those who love God’s truth with their whole heart. By doing this we will be ready to dwell in His tabernacles. Sing Psalter 16:4 and Psalter 24:2, 25:3 and 26:4.

 

April 5

Read Psalm 15

Psalm 15:5 This final verse in the qualifications of an upright man again instructs us in our duty to our neighbor. In keeping the eighth commandment, we show our love to our neighbor. Sometimes we must go against good business sense to do so. Sometimes we must put our own desires aside for a while so that we reflect God’s love upon us toward our neighbors. What can we do for our neighbor? Or to use the language of Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan, to whom can we be a neighbor? There is a beautiful promise found at the end of this verse. When we make the qualifications of an upright man ours, we will never be moved from God’s tabernacle on His holy hill. Let us ask for grace to live lives pleasing to Him looking to our eternal reward in heaven. Sing Psalter 24:3, 25:4, and 26:5.

 

April 6

Read Psalm 16

Psalm 16:1 This Psalm begins with a plea of preservation from David to God. David had many troubles throughout his life. When we look at David’s experiences, we should be able to see parallels in our lives. We, too, are afflicted on every side when we confess the name of our God with our mouths and our lives. David bases his plea on the fact of his trust in God. Is God our trust? As we enter the house of God today, what is our reason for doing so? Is it because we trust Him to provide for us no matter what our situation in this life is? Do we desire to worship Him in the confident trust that He will supply our every need? Let us only trust in Him who is our help and our deliverer. Sing Psalters 27:1 and 29:1.

 

April 7

Read Jeremiah 31:1-14

Psalm 16:2 The late Rev. Harbach writes of the last clause of the verse that the Hebrew original is to be understood “O my Goodness there is nothing above Thee.” God’s goodness is beyond our comprehension. Sometimes we make light of it using the phrase “my goodness”. We have no goodness of ourselves. Even our best works are as filthy rags. But God, He is good, and He is the only Good. This is the God who is our Jehovah-our covenant God. Is this our confession as we make our way to school or work today? Was this our confession in our work today? God is good; let us thank Him for it and confess daily that “The Lord is our LORD. Sing Psalters 27: 1 and 30:1.

 

April 8

Read Acts 2:41-47

Psalm 16:3 Young people, in whom do you delight? Which boy our girl do you count as your special friend? Why do you count them as a friend? Is it because they have some physical or emotional characteristic which you find attractive? Our question must be is that special boy or girl a saint? Is he or she one that confesses the same God you do? It does matter, you know. Questions like this are important and may have a large impact on the rest of your life. After all, our life does not end here on this earth. Our lives on this earth need to be reflections of that life we wish to have in heaven. Make it part of your daily prayers, as do your parents, that your delight may be in the saints that God has placed around us. Sing Psalter 27:2.

 

April 9

Read II Chronicles 33:1-11

Psalm 16:4 Reading through the Old Testament provides us with ample evidence that God hates idolatry and will not allow it to go unpunished. The first and second commandments deal with the various aspects of this sin. God warned His people often about falling into this sin, and because of this sin both the nations of Israel and Judah were led into captivity. What about us? What about the idols we worship? When the minister preaches on the second commandment, is it easy for us to see that we are guilty of the sin of idol worship? If we do not seek forgiveness, God will chastise us for this sin. If we do not leave it, it will eventually weaken the spiritual character of our family and God will led us into captivity. Pray often for the grace to flee idolatry, and work to flee this sin. Sing Psalter 27:3.

 

April 10

Read Numbers 18:20-24

Psalm 16:5 Each of us has a lot in life. Each of us has a little niche in the history of this world. Each of our lots have been ordained by almighty God. David first of all confesses that the Lord is His inheritance. We will look more at this idea tomorrow. Today we must see that it is God that sets our little corner for us. This does not make us robots carrying out the whim and desire of a remote maker. No, God the living creator has made us for His glory. It is He that shows us the way we must go. This should give to us great confidence as we face hardship and struggle. This should give us confidence as we look to make decisions about the life ahead that to us lies unknown. We need to be glad that Jehovah is our portion, and we should know that He will be our portion forever. Sing Psalter 27:4 and 30:1.

 

April 11

Read Isaiah 58:8-14

Psalm 16:6 A goodly heritage is ours from eternity! This inheritance is not riches, influence, or tremendous power in this world. This inheritance is not able to be taxed or taken from us by unscrupulous men. This inheritance is given to us by God. It is insured by God. This inheritance is salvation. This inheritance is given to us in the pleasantness of the church. The verse tells us that it is a goodly heritage. Earlier this month we saw that goodness was an attribute of God. He imputes that attribute to our heritage-salvation. People of God, is your trust squarely founded on the salvation that is your heritage from almighty and everlasting God? This was David’s confession; is it ours? Sing Psalter 27:5 and 30:2.

 

April 12

Read Luke 2:36-39

Psalm 16:7 Because of his goodly heritage, David praises God. We see that he does this day and night. In the passage you read, we say that the aged saint Anna made God’s word her delight. We often see that our elderly saints in the church make God their delight no matter what the hour. This should not be confined to them. We who are younger should be driven to seek God’s Word by ourselves no matter what the clock says. The night is often a time of terror. Often death comes at night. Robbers and thieves choose the darkness of night to do their evil deeds. God’s people do not need to worry, because their hearts tell them that God has given them good counsel. Young people, you need to seek God often. Sing Psalter 28:1 and 29:1.

 

April 13

Read Proverbs 12:1-8

Psalm 16:8 It is easy to say that we have put God before us today because it is Sunday. If we cannot say this today, when can we say it? But what about last night and the night before? As we sought entertainment, was God before us? We know He saw what we did, but did we put Him before us? Did His word govern our choice of entertainment and friends? If we fell into sin in the last two days, it was probably because we did not put Him before us. Before we go to church today, we better stop and examine our lives this past week. If God was not before us, we better pray for the grace to do better this week and then go and worship Him. Otherwise, our worship will not be true. We also have His promise that if we put Him before us we will not be moved. Sing Psalter 28:2 and 30:3.

 

April 14

Read Romans 5:1-11

Psalm 16:9 Is God before us as we begin this work week? If we have placed Him before us we will be glad because we can be assured that we will prosper in this week. It may not necessarily be physical prosperity, but there will be prosperity nevertheless. We also have the basis for our hope. In Romans we read that “hope maketh not ashamed.” This is not hope in which there is no basis. This is hope that is based squarely on the promises of God who changes not. Our hope is found in the blessedness of our salvation. This is not an abstract doctrinal tenet. This is practical theology. We hope in the promises of God knowing that they will come to pass for our profit and His glory. Sing Psalter 28:3 and 29:2.

 

April 15

Read I Corinthians 15:51-58

Psalm 16:10 People of God, do any of you fear death? Sometimes this question is asked of the aged saint who knows that his time on this earth is short. Young people need to be asked this question as well. They need to know that death is not fearful. David faced death quite often throughout his life. His hope in God told him that even though his body would be laid in the grave there was something more glorious than life on this earth waiting for Him. He knew that God would take his soul to glory. The church has the resurrection of Christ on which to base this belief. It is its hope and confidence. People of God, is it yours? Do you confess that you know that God will deliver your soul from death? Sing Psalter 28:4 and 29:3.

 

April 16

Read Psalm 16

Psalm 16:11 This verse is a continuation of yesterday’s verse. Not only will our soul be delivered from the grave, but there is life for us at the right hand of God. There is a completeness of joy that we can never experience in this world. Each of us has pleasures which delight us greatly. These pleasures cannot match the pleasure that will be ours before the throne of God. The pleasures on this earth are temporal; some even die or break. The pleasures in heaven are forever. People of God, don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that heaven is only a state of mind. Heaven is a place where you and the whole church will throng around the throne of God singing His praises. Thanks be to God! Sing Psalter 28:5 and 30:3.

 

April 17

Read Psalm 17

Psalm 17:1 Once again we read a Psalm that is a prayer. David obviously prays this as he is being bothered by enemies. The words I wish us to consider today are found at the end of verse one. Here David describes his prayer as one “that goeth not out of feigned lips.” It should be our desire that our prayers come from true lips. If we bow our heads in prayer and not mean what we say, our prayers will go, as it were, no higher than the ceiling of the room in which we are praying. We must pray from a true heart. We must earnestly mean what we pray. We cannot begin the day by saying one thing to God while all the while we have plans to do the very opposite. God will not be mocked as we pray. He will not answer a prayer that comes from a deceitful person. Let us pray earnestly and truthfully now and always. Sing Psalter 33:1.

 

April 18

Read Genesis 6:1-8

Psalm 17:2: Do we dare ask God to look at us with His all-seeing eyes and ask Him to pass judgment on us? That is what David does in this verse. David knows that the only way he can ask this is through the mercy found only in Christ. He asks this because he must throw himself upon God’s throne of justice to avenge him of his enemies. David, like Noah, knows that he can find grace only in God’s eyes. It cannot be found in himself or in any other. Once again I ask, do we dare to ask God to judge us? As we go throughout the day which lies ahead or we look back at the day that is past, let us remember that our God is the righteous Judge. Sing Psalter 32:1.

 

April 19

Read I Peter 1:1-9

Psalm 17:3: David knew as he prayed that God had constantly tried his faith. He also trusted in God to deliver him from each trial and to bring him safely through them. We might despair and say, “How could David say such things?” knowing full well the sins into which David fell. But that should give us great comfort. If David could say the words of our text then God can deliver us from all sin into which we fall by His grace. Rejoice when you are tried, people of God! Our Father will deliver us. We can confidently go to the throne of grace knowing that we are cleansed by the blood of Christ. Sing Psalter 31: 1-2.

 

April 20

Read Proverbs 2:10-22

Psalm 17:4: Yesterday we said that it was only by the work of Christ that we can confidently approach the throne of grace. David continues that theme in today’s verse. David realized that it was Satan who was behind all of his enemies’ attempts to cause him to fall. We must know that, too. Satan would like nothing more than to have one of God’s sheep to fall into the deepest of sins. We, like David, must know that the only way of escape is through the word of God. We have that word written for us in the Bible. We must make it our constant companion in this life. From the earliest reader to the oldest man or woman among us, God’s word must be our delight daily. Is it yours? If not, pray that it might be. Sing Psalter 32:2.

 

April 21

Read II Samuel 22:31-40

Psalm 17:5: People of God, do you confess that the path that you walk is the path of God? Are you conscious of this fact as you look at the week that lies ahead? Do you make your plans with the words Deo Volentie (If the Lord wills) ringing in your heads? When you plan to do something, young people, do you plan an activity with the realization that God is with you wherever you go, whatever you do, and with whomever you do it? In order to ask God to not let your feet slip, you must not be walking knowingly in the paths of sin. We must be walking in His ways in order to make such a request. Such a request is necessary seeing that we are weak and sinful men. Let us pray this daily and let us conscientiously walk in the way of Jehovah. Sing Psalter 33:2.

 

April 22

Read Luke 18:1-8

Psalm 17:6: When a little child runs into the house and calls for mother, he does this knowing that if mom can hear him, she will answer. He also knows that if he goes to his father with a problem, Dad will fix it. It is this childlike faith and confidence that we must have as the children of the heavenly Father. David exhibits this in today’s verse. He knows that God will hear him and answer him in his distress. This must be our confidence as well, each time that we bow our heads in prayer. This is the confidence of faith. This is the confidence that we have through the faith given to us by Christ. Let us pray with confidence resting assured that the answer to our prayer will be good. Sing Psalter 33:3.

 

April 23

Read Jeremiah 32:16-22

Psalm 17:7: In this verse David extols the goodness of God’s loving-kindness as it is exhibited in the salvation that He has wrought for us. He calls that loving-kindness marvelous. As we stop and ponder this fact, think about all the sins that we commit whether in thought, word, or deed. Think about the depths of evil into which we plunge ourselves. Then think about the fact that God has delivered us from those sins and that great depth of evil. Truly His loving-kindness is marvelous! First of all, let us confess that fact with our mouths. Secondly, let us give thanks in prayer for such deliverance. Finally, let us live lives of gratitude for this deliverance by walking in accordance to the law of God. Sing the third stanza of Psalter 31 and 32 and stanza 4 of Psalter 33.

 

April 24

Read Zechariah 2:6-13

Psalm 17:8: In this verse we have two figures of speech to help us understand the grace of God. First of all we have the phrase, “the apple of thy eye.” God loves us as He loves Himself. When we use this figure, we are asking God to care for us in a way that only He can. In the second figure we have that of a hen and her chicks. Just as a hen will gather her chicks under her wings at any sight of danger, so David prays that God will keep him that safe. We can be comforted that in whatever situation we may find ourselves, God will care for us . He word is true and He is faithful. Sing Psalter 31:4.

 

April 25

Read II Timothy 4:14-18

Psalm 17:9: Yesterday we saw how great God’s care is for His people. He loves them so much that He sent His son to die on the cross for them. In today’s verse we again see the enemy that we face. Parents, are you conscious of the wicked world into which you send your children? Do you do all that you can to protect them from evil? You must start with prayer. Then you must teach them God’s word. Then you must by example show them how to keep from evil. Finally, you must discipline those who fall into sin. God protects our children and us from evil but only in the way of walking in His word. Sing Psalter 33:4.

 

April 26

Read II Peter 2:1-10

Psalm 17:10: Another description of the wicked is given in this verse. It is a very graphic picture. I believe that we see an example of an Hebrew parallelism here. The fat spoken of in the first part of the verse is a picture of the pride of man. Wicked man proudly proclaims that he is his own savior. Wicked man has no need of a crucified Christ for salvation because he can do it all. How sad is the picture of the death of the wicked. Let us learn from his folly and walk in the wisdom of God’s law. Even though his way may seem good now, it only leads to destruction. We must pray that pride never reigns in our hearts and that we only look to Christ for our salvation. Sing Psalter 31:5.

 

April 27

Read I Peter 5:1-11

Psalm 17:11-12: Most of us, if not all of us, have never met a lion as we walked about on our daily journeys. But yet most of us probably know what would happen if we would. We have seen pictures of lions, we may have seen them in zoos, or we may have seen them on videotape or film in the wild. A lion’s reputation is that he is a fierce hard fighting animal. David and Peter make the comparison of a lion to Satan for our benefit. They knew of the helplessness of the child of God before the devil in his own strength. Adam and Eve could not stand; countless others have not stood. We need God to help us fight the lions that roam the streets today. Young people, you cannot fight the lions that Satan sends out after you by your own power. Acknowledge this and walk in God’s ways alone. Then only will Satan slink back into his den beaten and defeated. Sing Psalter 31:5.

 

April 28

Read Revelation 22:13-21

Psalm 17:13: David expresses the truth of God’s sovereignty in this verse. David knows that God uses the wicked to carry out His plans for the salvation of His people. David’s prayer then is one of confidence. He prays for deliverance knowing that God is in control. We, too, must do this. We must pray for deliverance from the wicked around us. Then we must live lives of gratitude. I cannot express this enough. In our world we easily forget to thank those who help us. We must never forget to thank God through the way He has commanded us to use, that is to live God-fearing lives always. In the living of that kind of life, we know that God will bless us. Sing Psalter 31:5.

 

April 29

Read Ecclesiastes 6:1-12

Psalm 17:14: In this verse we again see the end of those whose “god is their belly.” The wicked may live a life which appears fulfilling on this earth. They may seem to have it all while the child of God who struggles to live righteously seems to struggle just to survive. But when they die all that they have accomplished is left to the evil children they leave behind. They have laid up treasure to earthly riches which “moth and rust doth corrupt.” The child of God, however, has treasure in heaven. Sure he leaves earthly goods behind. But they are not his inheritance. Our inheritance is in heaven as we sit at the feet of Jesus. Let this be our comfort even now as we live in this vale of tears. Sing Psalter 31:6.

 

April 30

Read Psalm 17

Psalm 17:15: We close this month with the beautiful last verse in this Psalm. Read it again. Is this your desire? I am sure that our aged saints would quickly say yes. But we who are younger must also have the same desire. This does not limit our lives. This does not make us able to do nothing here on this earth. But rather, this is the possibility to live. Our desire to awake before the face of God who sees all is all the comfort we need to live in this wicked world. People of God, do not despair. God will take care of us in this life and bring us to glory where we will be satisfied with the good things from Him “from whom all blessings flow!” Sing Psalter 31:7, 32:4 and 33:5.