July 12 Read Ecclesiastes 5
After examining life in nature, and then in pleasure, Solomon now looks at the life of worship. He realizes, as we must, that this is a serious business. We must not take worship lightly in any of its aspects. As soon as we do that, we bring dishonor to the sovereign God of heaven and earth. In worship, as in no other place, we come face to face with our God. All our inmost thoughts are laid out before him. It is a quieting place for those who worship in spirit and truth. May we seek to find our God in his holy temple each and every Sabbath. Sing Psalter 256.
July 13 Read Ecclesiastes 6
The next area of inspection by the preacher is that of wealth. Who better than Solomon to carry out this investigation? He had all that a man could want, yet he saw that this too was only vanity. Do we spend our lives seeking after the wealth that perishes on this earth? Do we give up what is good, namely, God’s favor, so that we can become more wealthy? Wealth, like all the other areas of Solomon’s investigations, is a good gift from God. How will we use it? Sing Psalter 97.
July 14 Read Ecclesiastes 7
We can find in this chapter from the Preacher similarities to his writings in Proverbs. After exposing the many vanities of life, he proceeds to provide some remedies for that malady. The main remedy is to retain the fear of the Lord in one’s life. By fearing God and worshiping him in a right way, we can live our lives under the sun in a way to prepare ourselves for the next life. The last verse of the chapter explains that God has created a good creation; how has man used it? How do you use it? Sing Psalter 65.
July 15 Read Ecclesiastes 8
In all of his searchings, Solomon has found that wisdom is the way to live life on this earth. Even in the face of wicked men, even if they be powerful government officials, we must use the wisdom afforded to us by God. Why is this so? We find that in the last verse. God’s work is unsearchable; his wisdom is too high for us. We use what he has given to us in his honor and to his glory. In that way we can live a peaceful life in our temporary dwelling place. Sing Psalter 223.
July 16 Read Ecclesiastes 9
There are two main thoughts in this chapter of Solomon’s discourse on life. First, there is the certainty of death to all who live on this earth. We now understand that there will be some alive when Christ returns, but in the general course of life’s affairs men die and their bodies decay. Second, we see that wisdom may excel other virtues in this life, but it is usually despised among men. However, Solomon sees its usefulness in God’s working out of his providence in all things. May we seek the wisdom that is from above, use it in our daily lives, and be ready when death takes us from this temporal life. Sing Psalter 28.
July 17 Read Ecclesiastes 10
In this chapter, which resembles some from the book of Proverbs, Solomon compares wisdom to foolishness. He does this using many aspects of man’s daily life. People of God, and especially young people, do you seek to apply wisdom in your life, or do you let foolishness direct your steps? When wisdom, the principal thing, guides our decisions, we will find our feet directed along the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal glory. If foolishness is found in our decision-making process, we will find ourselves on the path that leads to destruction. Choose wisdom and use it all day and every day as you traverse the path of your pilgrimage under the sun. Sing Psalter 23.
July 18 Read Ecclesiastes 11
In today’s reading we see that Solomon is preparing for the final words on his inquiry into life’s meaning. He encourages the child of God to be charitable to those around him. As the word bread in Scripture also denotes the word, we can see that charity is not just in things but also the comfortable words of God. Second, the preacher reminds us that God is sovereign in all the things of nature. We watch nature to learn about God. Finally, Solomon exhorts the young to be thinking about the end of their life and to live a life that readies them for the end, which is death. Sing Psalter 25.
July 19 Read Ecclesiastes 12
As Solomon ends his discourse, he admonishes those who are young to live lives pleasing to God, as they too will become old. After those familiar words in verses 1–7, he goes back to his original theme that all is vanity. Solomon can find nothing in life on this earth that has meaning apart from God. Finally, he makes that stirring conclusion in verses 13 and 14. We must fear God and keep his commandments. This is man’s duty. We must do that because there will come a day in which God will question and judge us concerning all that we have done here on this earth. Our lives under the sun must not be lived without the Son. Sing Psalter 65.
July 20 Read Song of Solomon 1
In this book of the king who prefigured Christ in all his glory, we have the story of love between Christ and his church. In this chapter we find various endearments that a bridegroom has for his bride and the bride for her bridegroom. How do we respond to the love that Christ has shown for us? Do we seek out our bridegroom? Do we respond to his unmerited love for us with a burning passion? This must be the tenor of our life. We must love Christ and the work that he has done for us. Sing Psalter 124.
July 21 Read Song of Solomon 2
Chapter 2 continues the dialogue between Christ and his church. Found in this dialogue are many references to creation. In verses 11 and 12 we have a portrayal of spring’s coming. As those in the northern climes know, the advent of spring is a long-watched for event. We wish spring’s warm breezes to waft away the cold of winter. Christ’s coming to us is pictured in those warm breezes. The pleasure we can gain from spring’s coming will be multiplied many times when Christ returns. Do we look for the harbingers of his return as earnestly as we look for the signs of spring? Sing Psalter 402
July 22 Read Song of Solomon 3
There are times in the life of the church and its members in which she loses the sense of companionship with her husband, Christ. This is what is related in this chapter. The Canons of Dordt describe this in the fifth head. When this comes upon us, we need to seek Christ where he may be found. That place is the Bible. In it we have his love letters to us in which he draws us to him. In seeking and finding him we regain the sense of his favor and can continue living our lives in such a way that we eagerly await the day when we will be personally united to him in heaven. Sing Psalter 325.
July 23 Read Song of Solomon 4
Throughout this story of love, the main characters, Christ and his bride, the church, take turns speaking. Christ speaks in most of chapter 4. He describes the fairness of his bride. This beauty is only because of the grace shed upon her by God. Of herself the church cannot be as pictured. She is only without spot because of the blood of the Lamb. In the last verse the church responds by calling upon Christ to come to her. May we show gratitude for our deliverance from sin by cleaving to Christ all the days of our lives. Sing Psalter 125.
July 24 Read Song of Solomon 5
There are times in the life of the church and its members that they make foolish decisions. Because of those decisions the sense of God’s favor is lost for a time. When those who find themselves in this strait realize what they have done, they are filled with remorse. This is the situation in this chapter. Notice the beautiful description given of the church’s bridegroom. May we walk in a way in which we do not lose the sense of his favor in our lives. Sing Psalter 135
July 25 Read Song of Solomon 6
When the church or its members regain Christ’s favor by grace, she extols him for who his is and what he has done for her. She is able to exclaim to others, “I am my beloved’s…” Here is a clear indication of the truth of the preservation of the saints. God’s elect, the bride of Christ, will never fall away from the place that they have been given through the blood of Christ. What a joy it is for us to hear the words of the bridegroom describing our beauty, which we have not of ourselves but through him who loved us with a love that never departs from us. Sing Psalter 106.
July 26 Read Song of Solomon 7
We have in this chapter evidence of the restored favor of Christ and his church. In the first nine verses, Christ describes the beauty of his bride. As we read these words, we must realize by nature that this is not the person whom we see in the mirror of God’s law. This description is only possible when viewed through the blood of the Lamb. In the final verses the church responds to the power of her bride and wishes to commune with him. May we be our beloved’s all the days of our lives. Sing Psalter 198.
July 27 Read Song of Solomon 8
Christ is not only our bride, but he is also our elder brother. All the exclamations of love become truer because of this relationship. God, as our father, has chosen us to be a part of that family. There is also a little sister spoken of in this chapter. Some speak of the little sister as the Gentiles who will also be brought into this family. If this is so, what a glorious heritage we have been given as described in this book of love! Let us live lives that show that we wait anxiously for the coming of our bridegroom Christ Jesus. Let us know that he will ride upon the clouds of heaven coming to receive us unto him. Sing Psalter 183.
July 28 Read Isaiah 1
The prophet Isaiah was sent to tell Israel of their sin of turning away from God. This first chapter describes the various ways in which Israel was unfaithful to him who had done so many good things for the nation. For their ingratitude they would be “redeemed by judgement”. That is the title of the commentary penned by Prof. H. C. Hoeksema. As we read this chapter we might find allusions to the way we treat our God. Let us be thankful for the redemption described in this prophecy. Sing Psalter 140.
July 29 Read Isaiah 2
Already in this second chapter Isaiah gives hints that God would be calling Gentiles to come into his church. Think of the dismay in Jerusalem when the people heard these words. Think of the joy we have because God has called us into the body of Christ. In verse 12 the day of the Lord is pictured. How will that day find us? Will we be found quailing in the caves hiding from God’s wrath, or will we be eagerly awaiting the day of the Lord as he will take us to our heavenly home. Sing Psalter 111.
July 30 Read Isaiah 3
This chapter and the one that follows are a continuation of chapter 2. Isaiah continues to prophesy of the destruction of Judah begun by Assyria and continued by Babylon. That destruction continued until Rome completely ended the nation of biblical Israel after Christ returned to heaven. However, that is not the end of the church. God would redeem unto himself a people. What a joy it is that we have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb! Sing Psalter 199
July 31 Read Isaiah 4
The first verse of this chapter is the end of the prophecy of destruction begun in chapter 2. Some say that it would more properly be the last verse of chapter 3. But it is fitting for the desperate times described in this verse to introduce the glorious salvation shown in the rest of the chapter. Those five verses tell us about Christ and his kingdom. In contrast to the disaster that would be found in the earthly kingdom of Jerusalem, the new kingdom will be one of glory and peace ruled by a king who saved his people. Are we ready for this new kingdom? Are we looking for it? Sing Psalter 200.
August 1 Read Isaiah 5
This chapter starts out with the familiar figure of the church being compared to a vineyard. This figure can be found in many other places of Scripture. After describing what God has done to establish such a beautiful place, the chapter goes on to say that God will bring judgement upon that vineyard because of the sins committed by its inhabitants. Isaiah had to bring hard words to Israel. Those words are for us as well. Are we listening to them? Sing Psalter 221
August 2 Read Isaiah 6
Our God is a holy God. This is what we see in the first four verses of this chapter. That thrice-holy God commissioned Isaiah to go to the people of God and prophesy of the destruction that would come upon them. Isaiah was fearful of the work. Who would not be? But the holy God fitted him for that work of describing what would happen to the rebellious people. The chapter is not without comfort, however. In the final verse God shows that he has ordained a remnant to serve him. That remnant would be redeemed even through the destruction of Judah. Sing Psalter 266.
August 3 Read Isaiah 7
Ahaz was one of the wicked kings who sat on the throne of God’s people. He desecrated the temple of God by destroying the articles of worship that God had commanded Israel to use. He refused to ask a sign from God of Judah’s deliverance from its enemies. Yet to this wicked man a beautiful prophecy of Christ was spoken. The prophecy of the virgin birth was scorned by Ahaz, it was scorned by those of Jesus’ day, and it is still scorned today. For us it is a beautiful prophecy, for the baby born of that virgin became our savior. Sing Psalter 388.
August 4 Read Isaiah 8
Israel had allied itself with Syria to fight against Assyria, the world power at that time. They came against Judah as a way to strengthen themselves and to show Assyria that they were not to be trifled with. In this chapter and the ones that follow, God through Isaiah promised that Israel and Syria would not defeat Judah. In fact, Assyria would take the ten tribes into captivity. Judah is urged to repentance by Isaiah in this sermon. We should read these words knowing that our sins, too, rise up against us. We also have the comfort that Christ has taken them away. Sing Psalter 83
August 5 Read Isaiah 9
In this chapter we see both God’s justice and mercy. For those who would not walk in his paths, there would be justice at the hands of enemies on all sides. But for those who feared God—and there was that remnant still remaining in Judah—there is the beautiful prophecy of Christ found in verse 6 and 7. As we read this chapter, do we see that we deserve the justice of God and not his mercy? But thanks be to him who has delivered us from the power of sin through the Prince of Peace. Sing Psalter 271.
August 6 Read Isaiah 10
In the first part of this chapter Isaiah continues to prophesy judgement unto those in Israel and Judah who willfully disobeyed God and would not walk in his ways. He then pronounces judgment upon Assyria, whom God has used to chastise his chosen people. Even though Assyria was doing God’s will, they were still subject to him. In verse 20 a message of comfort is given to the faithful remnant. Even though they were oppressed by enemies within their nation and from the outside of their nation, God would deliver them. This is a comfort for us as well. Let us take heed to the comfort and call upon God’s name in prayer for deliverance from our sins. Sing Psalter 407.