The Daily Press

February 8—God is Love

Read 1 John 4:7–21

As a mother of small children, I don’t get out much.  When I do, I’m usually grocery shopping.  This time of the year, roses and chocolates crowd the entrance of our grocery store, and hearts dangle above the aisles.  The glamorous celebrities whose faces adorn the magazines at the check-out continue to flit from one romance to another.  However limited, my exposure to the outside world is enough to convince me that our world is as in love with the idea of love as it ever was, and it is as clueless as ever when it comes to knowing what love really is.

The Bible teaches us that God is love.  God is love first within his triune being.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in “the bond of perfectness” (Col. 3:14).  As love, God chose those who believe on him.  He chose them, that they should be holy and dwell before him in love (Eph 1:4).  John writes that it is impossible for one who doesn’t love to know God.  The reverse is also true: it is impossible for one who doesn’t know God to love.

Sing or pray Psalter #283


February 9—Love Defined

Read 1 Corinthians 13

We’re so quick to define love as a feeling, as that little thrill of joy that makes your heart skip a beat when one you love comes into view.  That delight can be part of love, but love is much more than that.  We also are quick to reserve love as an emotion shared by those who are dating, married, or family members.  Don’t forget that “the Love Chapter” is part of Paul’s letter to the congregation at Corinth.  He enjoins the believers there to exercise this love with their fellow church members.

I use the term love since it is the expression with which we are more familiar in our day, but the term charity, which is how the word is rendered in the KJV, is helpful.  Charity denotes action—typically volunteer work or philanthropic giving.  In contrast, the word love in our day is too often used in place of the word lust or to express one’s preference for everything from pizza to people.  Love as the Bible defines it is not “victim of our emotions” but “servant of our will” (Elisabeth Elliot).

Sing or pray Psalter #369


February 10—No Greater Commandment

Read Mark 12:28–34

We are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and we are commanded to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  To see how far we fall short from keeping this command, here’s an exercise for you.  I learned this from Elisabeth Elliot—it’s something she would do when she was feeling bitter toward her husband.  Consider 1 Corinthians 13 again, but as you do so, put yourself in place of “love,” only negatively.  The chapter reads this way when you do that:  I do not suffer long and am not kind. I envy; I vaunt myself and am puffed up. I behave unseemly; am arrogant and rude. I insist on my own way, am easily provoked.  I rejoice in sin, rather than in the truth.  I do not bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things.  My love fails.

                What a sobering, realistic evaluation of ourselves as we are by nature!

Sing or pray Psalter #141


February 11—Love Suffers Long

Read Psalm 106

God has redeemed you, and he has given you his Holy Spirit.  He sustains your life from day to day, and he preserves you as one of his saints.  What thanks do you give him in return?  Like the saints of the Old Testament, you and I resolve one moment to fight against our sin, God helping us.  In the next moment, our resolve is forgotten, and we turn from the service of God back to idolatry of self.  But “the Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy” (Psalm 145:8).  Were he not so patient with us, we would surely perish in our sin. “The longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (2 Pet. 15).  So be diligent that you may be found of him without spot and blameless, for “The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression,” but he will by no means clear the guilty who refuse to repent of their sin. (Num. 14:18).

Are you longsuffering toward your neighbor, your parents, your friend, your sibling, your spouse?  Jesus commanded us to forgive seventy times seven (Matt. 18:22).

Sing or pray Psalter #290


February 12—Love is Kind

Read Luke 6:27–36

A chalkboard hangs on the wall in our kitchen.  Periodically I write a Bible verse across its top, choosing texts that are especially pertinent to our family at the time.  Right now the chalkboard reads, “Love is kind” in big, bold letters.

Too often we forget that the neighbors we are called to love are those of our own house.  Frequently we’re kinder to strangers than we are to our own parents, children, siblings, or spouse.

A while back we considered the reality that we have enemies, and that sometimes those enemies are those of our own family. Love must be kind, even when it is love for our enemies.  We can sometimes piously proclaim that to love our enemies is to show to them their sin.  That is true, but we must show them that sin with kindness.  So walk in wisdom and kindness toward those who are within and without, and let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6).

Sing or pray Psalter #278


February 13—Love Does Not Seek Self

Read Philippians 2:5–11

Jesus gave three instructions to those who would be his disciples: Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him.  Those same three qualifications apply to anyone who would love.

John 3:16, perhaps the most familiar verse in the Bible, explains how God chose to reveal his love:  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.”  God gave.  And Christ, who is very God, gave.  He became a servant, humbling himself to the will of the Father.  He humbled himself even to the death of the cross.  We are called to follow his example, in love serving one another.

Does your love for neighbor manifest itself in sacrificial action?  True love demands that you deny yourself for their sake.

Sing or prayer Psalter #25


Feburary 14—Love Rejoices in the Truth

Read 2 John

I once read a beautiful analogy of marriage: that of a triangle.  Husband and wife are points “A” and “B;” God is the apex.  As each spouse strives to glorify God and know Him more fully, they move nearer the apex, growing closer to each other at the same time.  That analogy applies not only to marriage, but to all true love relationships.  That’s true because love rejoices in truth, that is, in the gospel.  In God, as he is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ.

When we delight in others’ failures and fail to commend the godliness that we see in them, we demonstrate that we rejoice in sin rather than in what is true.  When we harbor discontent or discouragement with regard to the life God has given us, we demonstrate that we do not delight in what God’s word declares to be true: that he does all things well, and that he will equip his children for the work that he gives them to do.

Love does not rejoice in iniquity: it rejoices in the truth.

Sing or pray Psalter #27


February 15—Love Does Not Envy

Read Romans 12:9–21

In its exposition of the sixth commandment, the Heidelberg Catechism states: “In forbidding murder, God teaches us that he abhors the causes thereof, such as envy, hatred, anger, and desire of revenge; and that he accounts all these as murder.”  How quick we are to envy others’ personalities, talents, looks, and possessions!  God commands to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice.  Not only do we fail to sympathize with those who sorrow: we envy those who rejoice rather than rejoice with them!

If love does not envy, how can God, who is love, call himself a jealous God?  The answer to that question is found in God himself.  Unlike our self-centered envy, God’s jealousy is a righteous jealousy.  God knows himself to be the only one worthy of our praise and adoration, and he desires the well-being of his bride.  When we give our love to other gods who are no gods—including the god of self—he is moved to jealousy for his own name’s sake.

Read or sing Psalter #260.


February 16—Love is Not Puffed Up

Read Romans 12:1–8

1 Cor. 13:4 reads, “Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” To be “puffed up” is to have an inflated view of your own importance.  Love is not puffed up.

Sometime ago I read the results of several studies of teenagers. They showed that young people are increasingly narcissistic, that is, irrationally vain or self-centered.  This trait characterizes not only those who are young, however: all of us think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.

The Bible uses a different word to denote our undue fascination with ourselves: idolatry.  Idolatry is the pursuit of anything other than the glory of God as one’s purpose for being.  When we are puffed up, we are as much idolaters as the one who prostrates him or herself before a piece of wood or stone.

But there’s hope for us.  That hope is found in Jesus Christ.  He was no idolater.  Because he made himself of no reputation, you and I have been set free from our absorption with ourselves to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Pray or sing Psalter #308.


February 17—Love Does Not Parade Itself

Read 1 Peter 4:1–11

The New KJV renders “charity vaunteth not itself” this way: “love does not parade itself.”  Not only does love not have inflated view of its own importance on the inside, it doesn’t attempt to draw outward attention, either.  This admonition is fitting in our day of social media.  Many today crave fame more than anything else. Even we are tempted to use social media to turn ourselves into faux celebrities with a multitude of “friends” or “followers.”

1 Pet. 4:8 says this to us who live in the last days: “Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves.”  How are we to manifest that charity?  By our hospitality.  In our day of abundant material possessions, we too often focus on “entertaining” rather than hospitality.  Those who entertain desire that they—or their home or cooking—is the center of attention; those who are hospitable focus on their guests.

Let’s follow the Friend worth following by using the technology and the possessions that he’s entrusted to us to seek his glory and not our own.

Pray or sing Psalter #369.


February 18—Love is Not Rude

Read Matthew 7:1–12

Love “doth not behave itself unseemly.”  I frequently paraphrase 1 Cor. 13:5 to my children this way: “Love is not rude.”  Love is not rude at the supper table.  Love is not rude at the grocery store.  Love is not rude when driving down the road.  Love is not rude to one who has sinned against you.  Love does not give a cold shoulder or the silent treatment.  Love does not refuse to make eye contact, nor does it do its best to embarrass another, snub them at church, act extra friendly to others in their presence, or belittle them  in public or in private.  In other words, one who loves treats his or neighbors in the way in which he or she would like to be treated.

When we treat others in the ways I mentioned above, we show that we really don’t understand the horrible reality of our own sin and the wonder of God’s redeeming love.   We also show that we forget that we will be judged according to our own standard.

Love is not rude: it is courteous, gracious, tactful.

Pray or sing Psalter #25.

February 19—Love Is Not Easily Angered

Read James 1:19–27

Love is not easily provoked: that is, it is not easily incited to anger.  As a mom, I sometimes respond to the slightest irritation my children cause by raising my voice and allowing frustration to replace any semblance of self-control.  I’m sure that you see the same tendency within yourself, no matter your age.  Maybe you’re a young person, and your parents really get on your nerves.  Maybe a habit of your spouse triggers bitterness in your heart. After all, anger doesn’t always manifest itself in violent outbursts.  It’s often more deadly when it smolders stealthily within the heart.  Our anger, writes the inspired apostle James, does not bring about the righteous life that God desires: not in us, and not in those with whom we are angry.

It’s true that there is a righteous anger. God’s righteous anger burns against sin (Psalm 90:7–11).  Jesus exemplified holy anger at hearts that were hardened in unbelief (Mark 3:5).  But we’re prone to be unrestrained and self-centered when we’re angry.  That’s why we’re cautioned, “Be ye angry, and sin not” (Eph. 4:32). That’s why, when Jesus says, “If your brother trespasses against you, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,” he first says this: “Watch yourself!” (Luke 3:5).

Pray or sing Psalter #26.


February 20—Love Bears All Things

Read Galatians 6:1–10

Love bears all things.  That is, love bears not only the burdens of weakness and sin that are its own; it also comes alongside others and shoulders their burdens with them.  So the wise preacher declares, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?  And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:9–12).

To bear another’s burden is not to indulge or overlook his or her sin.  Rather, it entails the loving correction of those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ and fervent prayers on their behalf.  When we bear one another’s burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ.  That law is the law of love.

Pray or sing Psalter #305.


February 21—Love Believes All Things

Read Ephesians 4

What does it mean that love believes all things?  It cannot mean that love is gullible.  Nor can it mean that love believes the lie.  After all, we are called to “henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”  We are called instead to speak the truth in love, and grow up in our knowledge of that truth.  The “all things” that love believes are all the promises of the gospel as revealed to us in the inspired word of God.  We believe that we have been justified.  We believe that God sanctifies us.  We believe the resurrection of the body.

Love believes these things not only for the sake of one’s self, but on behalf of one’s fellow believers as well.  Love believes that Christ saves a body.  This believing is accompanied by the renewing of one’s mind and evidenced in one’s life. It is demonstrated in kindness and forbearance toward others.

Too often our thoughts, words, and actions reveal that we do not believe the promises of God.  Then our prayer must be, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

Sing or pray Psalter #40.


February 22—Love Hopes All Things

Read 2 Corinthians 1

One who believes has hope: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 15:13).

When the word hope is used in the Bible, it does not mean “hope so” as we understand it.  It means “know so.”  As Paul writes in 2 Cor. 1:7, the hope of the Christian is a steadfast knowledge.  It is a steadfast, loving knowledge that can be applied to our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as to ourselves.  Like the saints in Corinth, we can be as sure of the heavenly consolation that awaits us as we are sure of the present trials that we face.

The Christian finds his hope in the Bible, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).  The written word reveals our Savior, Christ Jesus.  In him all the promises of God are “yea and Amen.”  That is, they shall truly and certainly be.

Sing or pray Psalter #87.


February 23—Love Endures All Things

Read James 5:7––11

Love not only bears all things, it bears them patiently, and for a long time: it endures them.  We who are believers are called to endure chastening, mindful that the chastening of God is evidence of his love for us.  James points to the prophets and Job as our examples.

With regard to fellow saints, love endures their weaknesses.  “Grudge not on against another, brethren.”  We’ve learned that when love bears, believes, and hopes all things, “all things” does not include the lie.  So too with the things that love endures.  Love endures all things “that ought to be endured…For we are not to bear with vices, so as to give our sanction to them by flattery, or, by winking at them, encourage them through our supineness [moral weakness]. Farther, this endurance does not exclude corrections and just punishments” (Calvin).

Happy are they who endure, even now, when iniquity abounds and the love of many waxes cold.  Happy are they, for they that endure to the end shall be saved (Matt. 24:13).

Sing or pray Psalter #98.


February 24—Love Never Fails (Part 1)

Read Ephesians 5:22–33

Before we were married, I had my husband’s wedding band engraved with the date of our upcoming wedding and these words: “Love Never Fails.”  I still remember when I first showed him his ring.  “I asked the jeweler to engrave those words not because my love will never fail you, “I said, “but because God’s love will never fail us.”

As we’ve considered the characteristics of love over the past couple of weeks, we’ve focused on love as it must come to expression among fellow saints.  That love has its source in the love of God in Jesus Christ for his people, Christ’s bride.  We are called to imitate Christ’s never-failing, sacrificial love.  In no relationship is this truer than in marriage.  When you marry, God, who loves those who are his for eternity, requires that you love as long as you and your spouse live.  By nature we are unable to keep this command, but God gives to us his Holy Spirit, who sheds God’s love abroad in our hearts and causes us to bring forth the fruit of love.

Pray or sing Psalter#125.


February 25—Love Never Fails (Part 2)

Read 1 Peter 3

Those who are married in the Lord experience the true blessedness of marriage when their spouse helps them carry their cross.  But other times your spouse’s sin will add to the burden you bear.  That’s when it’s important to remember that God’s goal for us, whether single or married, is not our happiness: it’s our holiness.  As co-heirs of eternal life, Christian spouses share a relationship that goes beyond this life, and God uses the earthly marriage bond to sanctify us, refining each of us for our place in his Bride.

The Bible teaches that God hates divorce (Mal.2:16).  Better for you, he says, that you not vow, than you vow and do not pay what you’ve vowed (Eccl. 5:4–5).  Yet divorce is increasingly common in the church.  We must not conform to ungodly notions regarding love and marriage, but put on the mind of Christ.  He gave himself for us, though we are most unworthy.

Dear Christian, cherish the one who gave his life for you, and imitate his sacrificial love in marriage or in single life.

Pray or sing Psalter #360.


February 26—Christ’s Efficacious Work

Read Philippians 3

I intended to return to the Psalms after our study of love, but before we do so, I would first like to take a few days to explain the rubric under which these devotionals are printed.  Why The Daily Press?

The subtitle of our rubric comes from the familiar, compelling third chapter of Paul’s inspired epistle to the church in Philippi.  This letter is Paul’s “little book of joy.”  He delights in these saints, and he desires that they also be full of joy in the Lord.

In this chapter Paul warns the saints to beware of those who maintained that righteousness was earned by keeping the law.  “Not so,” says Paul.  “I could boast in my outward conformity to God’s law more than any other man.  But I count all my works as less than nothing in comparison to knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord.”  Paul desired one thing: to know Christ, and to experience in his soul and life Christ’s efficacious work.  Christ’s death and resurrection are efficacious: that is, they are powerful and effective in the life of the believer.  They bring forth fruit:  the mortification of sin, freedom from condemnation, righteousness, the hope of heaven.

Are you able to say that you desire to know Christ and to experience the power of his death and resurrection more than you desire anything else?

Pray or sing Psalter #1.


February 27—Apprehended by Christ

Read Philippians 3

Sometimes people will say, “I found Christ,” or “I claimed Christ as my Savior.”  That kind of terminology and theology isn’t Biblical.  Instead, Paul describes his salvation this way: Christ apprehended me.

We neither hear nor use the word apprehend often.  We probably hear it most often on the news in reference to the arrest of a criminal:  “So-and-so has been apprehended and is now in custody,” or something like that.  And that’s Paul’s idea in this passage, too.  “I was a guilty, bloody criminal, intent on running my own way, and I was apprehended.  Seized in my tracks.  Arrested by the Lord of heaven and earth.”

But Paul doesn’t leave it at that, because Christ doesn’t leave it at that.  I was apprehended, writes Paul, for a purpose.  Jesus seized him so that Paul, in turn, would grab hold of Christ, clinging in faith to all the promises of God.  It’s our Father’s will that those whom he apprehends no longer live as lawbreakers but that they be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29).

That’s his will for me.  That’s his will for you, too.

Sing or pray Psalter #325.


February 28—A Singular Focus

Read Philippians 3

The Bible uses many metaphors to describe the Christian life: a battle, a wrestling match, a journey.  In Philippians 3 the Holy Spirit employs the metaphor of a race.  As we saw yesterday, a believer is one who has taken hold of Christ.  He’s done so because he was first apprehended, and his salvation is sure. Yet he knows that as long as he’s on this earth he has not attained the full stature of a perfect man in Christ: like Paul, he doesn’t consider himself to have arrived.  So he follows the apostle’s example, striving to walk worthy of his calling, of the name “Christian.”  He runs toward that goal like a sprinter, not allowing himself to be distracted, nor looking back over his shoulder, lest he trip.  Instead, he sprints with all his might, leaning for the tape, eyes on the prize.

How easily you and I can be distracted from the spiritual focus that should be ours.  Follow my example, writes Paul in verse 17.  Imitate my single-mindedness.  This one thing I do: I press toward the mark.

Pray or sing Psalter #234.


March 1—Provoked to Press

Read Philippians 3

Perhaps you’re beginning to feel as if you’ve memorized parts of Philippians 3.  Good!  That’s one of the ways in which a Christian presses toward the mark: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).  Personal mediation and memorization of the Scriptures is a must, as is regular attendance to the preaching of God’s word with the congregation of which you are a member.

Your attendance at church enables you to press on in another way, too. “Brethren, be followers together of me,” Paul writes.  God’s elect constitute a body, of which you are only one member among an innumerable company.   Have you, like Paul, taken hold of Christ by faith?  Consider Hebrews 10:24–25:  “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Pray or sing Psalter #225.


March 2—Imitators of God

Read Ephesians 5:1–21

How children love to imitate their parents!  I can’t help but smile when our daughters repeat my pet expressions.  Our sons can often be found with Dad’s tape measure dangling from a belt loop or a screwdriver stuck in one of their pockets.

In Philippians 3 Paul encourages the saints in Philippi to imitate his example.  He also tells them to follow the example of other devout men and women and warns them to note those who walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Do not follow their example!  Whom do you long to be like?  Godly brothers and sisters whom God has placed in your life or those who, though worldly, are successful in business, sports, or entertainment?  Do you lead a life that is worth imitating?  Can you truly say to your neighbors, friends, or children: “Imitate me!  Do what I do!”?

Ultimately, the one we are called to imitate is our perfect, holy Father in heaven (Eph. 5:1).  We press toward the mark when we walk as his children, the children of light.

Pray or sing Psalter #89.


March 3—Three Sufficients

Read Matthew 6

Paul describes how he presses toward the mark this way, “Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching for the things that are in front of me.”  Paul doesn’t allow the temptation to dwell on past sins—or past blessings—to hinder his progress.  Neither must we cling sentimentally to the past or despair over sins of which we’ve repented—sins that God has forgiven. Nor may we worry about the future.  The evil that you will face today is sufficient to the day: that is, it is the full amount that you are called to bear and that you are capable of bearing today.  You are capable of bearing it because there is another sufficient: God’s grace, the strength that is made perfect in weakness.  He has promised, “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” (Deut. 33:25).

Your days may be hectic or dull and lonely.  Whatever the case may be with you, God gives each of us sufficient time every day to be obedient. Do you find yourself unable to do things that he has commanded?  Then it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities and the way that you use the time that you’ve been given.

Three sufficients: sufficient evil, sufficient grace, and sufficient time.

Sing or pray Psalter #64.


March 4—The Prize

Read Revelation 21

Paul presses toward the mark, the finish line, because he desires the prize.  The prize of the high calling of God is realized in stages.  First, it is realized when one is redeemed, purchased by the death of Christ.  One who is redeemed is also regenerated: the power of Christ’s resurrection life is planted in his heart.  That one grows in his knowledge of our Savior, and he also partakes in the suffering that our Lord also endured.  The one who suffers for Christ’s sake rejoices in this truth: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Tim2:12).

The kingdom over which we’ll reign with our Lord is not an earthly kingdom.  It’s a heavenly kingdom, in which we’ll finally and fully realize what it means to be found in Christ.  Of those who live with that hope as the earnest desire of their hearts Paul says, “Our conversation is in heaven.”  By conversation he means not just their speech, but their entire course of life.  Is that true of your life?

Pray or sing Psalter #32.


March 5—God’s Foundation

Read Psalm 11

We considered Psalm 11 in part several weeks ago, focusing on the truth that the righteous Lord and his people love righteousness. Today we return to Psalm 11.

David pens this psalm as the city of God is under attack.  As the wicked ready their weapons, David wonders,   “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Those literal structures of which David spoke pointed to a New Testament fulfillment.  The foundation of God’s church is the doctrine of the scriptures.  “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20).  The foundation of God’s truth is attacked in our day as really as Jerusalem was being attacked by enemy troops before David’s eyes.  You and I are called to defend that foundation.  That calling requires that we have a thorough and accurate knowledge of God’s truth.  When his word is our foundation, we will withstand the attacks of the enemy like a house built on a rock withstands the storm.

Pray or sing Psalter #20.


March 6—The Foundation of God Stands Sure

Read Psalms 11 and 12

I’m currently reading the memoir of a woman who survived World War II.  As I read, I tremble at the cruelty she and her loved ones endured.  Yet through their trials they clung to this truth, “The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.”  They trusted that the Lord would recompense those who harmed them for their evil deeds.

Occasionally I take the time to check the news.  Every time, without fail, there are horrible headlines, headlines that detail gruesome murders, terrible wickedness, and the persecution of our fellow saints who live in other lands.  What David writes is true still today, “The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.”

Do you trust in God’s foundation even when you are confronted by the darkness of this evil world?  “The foundation of God stands sure,” declares the Holy Spirit in 2 Tim. 2:19.  “It has this seal: The Lord knows those who are his.”

Pray or sing Psalter #21.


March 7—Speaking the Lord’s Pure Words

Read Psalm 12

David cries out to the Lord in Psalm 12. It seems to him as if there are no more good men on the earth.  What is the defining characteristic of the unrighteous who surround him?  Their wicked and deceitful speech.

People of God, do you guard your tongues? Our tongues are capable of great evil or great good.  According to the Heidleberg Catechism, God’s ninth commandment requires that we falsify no man’s words, that we not backbite or slander, and that we avoid all lies and deceit as the work of the devil. Not only that, it also demands that we speak the truth and defend and promote the honor and good character of our neighbors.  “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, “ said our Lord in Matt. 12. “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

Knowing that, our prayer should be Psalm 141:3, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”

Pray or sing Psalter #386