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July 8 – Love for the Lord’s House

Read Psalm 27:1–6

When he was a young man, David lived as a vagabond in the wilderness, fleeing from wicked King Saul.  When he was king, frequent wars took him away from his home in Jerusalem.  Yet none of his troubles grieved him more than his absence from Jehovah’s house:  “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).  God dwelled with his people in the tabernacle.  Every element of its worship pointed to their gracious salvation.  There David knew he would be safe from his troubles.

Throughout his life David’s actions were consistent with his claim to love the Lord above all else.  When his battles ceased, he determined to replace the tabernacle with a temple.  Though God denied him that privilege, he still troubled himself to gather the materials out of which Solomon would build later build it (1 Chron. 22:14).

Can you confess that there is none upon earth that you desire beside the Lord (Ps. 73:25)?  Is your life consistent with that claim?

Sing or pray Psalter #71.


July 9 – One Thing

Read Luke 10: 38–42

Psalm 27 was my grandma’s favorite psalm.  She died when I was a child, and verse four was her funeral text.  She sought the one thing that David desired, and when she died she entered the glorious house of the Lord of which the tabernacle was only a dim picture.  The saints in heaven experience “fullness of joy” and “pleasures forevermore” in God’s presence (Ps. 16:11).  This text is not only a victory shout as we pass on, however.  As long as we’re members of the church militant, it is also our battle cry. We are prone to be like Martha, who was busy with and anxious about many things, but we’re called to be like Mary, who desired “the one thing needful.”  Mary sat undistracted at Jesus’ feet and heard his word.  Remember Paul’s one thing?  He pressed toward the mark because he desired the prize of full salvation: eternal life with Jesus Christ.

When you and I live with that singular focus, we can face our troubles as confidently as David does in Psalm 27.

Sing or pray Psalter #71.


July 10 – The Lord Will Take Me Up

Read Psalm 27:7–14

We live in the perilous times of which Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3.  All about us live men and women who are lovers of their own selves.  They are unthankful and unholy.  They lack natural affection, even affection for their own children and spouses.   Sadly, almost all of us know someone who has forsaken or someone who has been forsaken.  And even if you or I do not know personally the sorrow of being abandoned by parent or spouse, we’ve certainly experienced the pain that comes when one whom we love and trust sins against us.

Why is forsaking such an affront to our God?  Why does he hate divorce?  Our God is faithful.  Those who are unfaithful tell lies about him with their unfaithful examples.  Jesus is the bridegroom who never forsakes his bride.  Jehovah is the God who made an unconditional covenant with his people.  He is the gracious Father who pities them that fear him (Ps. 103:13).

Have you been forsaken by father or mother, or husband or wife?  The Lord will take you up.  He is a father of the fatherless (Ps. 68:5) and the husband of those whom he has redeemed (Is. 54:5).

Sing or pray Psalter #72.


July 11 – Mother Church

Read Isaiah 66: 5–13

We have a faithful heavenly Father.  That Father sets us in families (Ps. 68:6): his Son is the firstborn among many brethren (Rom. 8:29).  Our Father gives us a mother, too.  The mother of the Christ child – and therefore of his sisters and brothers – is God’s church as she has existed throughout the ages.  (See Rev. 12.)  The congregation to which you belong, though only a miniscule manifestation of that great and glorious church, is your spiritual mother.  She nourishes you through the preaching of the gospel and the sacraments.  When you go astray she disciplines you through the work of the elders.  When you lack she willingly and generously provides through the hands of the deacons.

Do you belong to such a mother?  Do you honor her?  Then this promise is yours: your days will be long in the land which the Lord thy God shall give thee (Ex. 20:12).

Sing or pray Psalter #72.


July 12 – In the Land of the Living

Read Psalm 27:13–14

David’s troubles were so great that he cried out, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (v. 13).”  David trusted that he would experience God’s goodness already in this life.

Do you see God’s goodness to you in your life?  He imparts the joys of health, family and friends, sunshine and rain, birds and flowers, and food in abundance.  He gives the blessings of faithful preaching and the communion of the saints.  Sometimes we experience his goodness in the way of trial or pain.  If God leads you in the difficult paths of illness or injury, death or depression, I pray that you trust his goodness in sending you those trials, too.  Even when we don’t understand his way, we can rest in the knowledge that he works all things for the good of those he’s called.  May that truth spur us on the path of obedience, for when we walk obediently we will have peace that passes all understanding.

Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart.  Here and now, in this life.  In the land of the living.

Sing or pray Psalter #72.


July 13 – Render to Them Their Desert

Read Psalm 28

The Biblical doctrine of double predestination, the truth that God saves some and some he damns, is a difficult truth to confess.  Many contend that this doctrine makes our God unjust, a God who delights in arbitrary and cruel spite.  Perhaps we are sometimes inclined to agree with that evaluation.  But the scriptures testify that God is just.  He punishes the wicked for their wickedness.  They deserve their terrible sentence.

According to Psalm 28:3, the wicked speak peace to their neighbors, but mischief is in their hearts.  They disregard the works of the Lord (v. 5).  Psalm 21:11 teaches that God destroys the wicked and their children because they intend evil against him.  Proverbs 21:12 declares, “God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.”  Do you remember this prayer from Psalm 7?  “Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.  My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.  God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (vv. 9–11).  He is angry with them on account of their wickedness, and he will render to them their desert.

Sing or pray Psalter #75.




July 14 – The Voice of the Lord

Psalm 29 begins with a command to the mighty: they must give unto the Lord the glory that is his due.  No man, no matter how powerful he may be, can compare to our God.  Jehovah is the one who spoke the universe into existence.  His voice continues to sustain his creation.  He ruled at the time of the flood, and he governs all things still today.  He is not only creator: he is also judge.  His just wrath against sin and sinful men is heard in thunder and seen in lightening.

Are you afraid of thunderstorms?  Several years ago our family experienced an incredible thunderstorm while we were camping.  The lightening flashed so brilliantly that it illuminated the terrified faces of our children as we lay trembling in our tent.  Again and again the thunder began as series of distant rumbles, then swelled to a roar that seemed to ricochet its way around the earth.

We do not need to fear the storm.  Jehovah’s voice is not only a creating voice and a judging voice: to us who are in Christ Jesus, his voice is also a saving voice.  To us He says, “Peace, be still.”

Sing or pray Psalter #76.


July 15 – Everything Beautiful

Read Ecclesiastes 3:1–11

In Psalm 27:4 David expresses his desire to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life, for he longs forever to “behold the beauty of the Lord.”  Psalm 29:2 commands the mighty to “worship in the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”  We are surrounded by beautiful things.  Flowers.  Birds.  Sunrises and sunsets.  Music.  Snow-capped mountains.  A bride on her wedding day.  The soft skin and sweet smile of a child.   We’re drawn to beauty and moved by it.  How much more shouldn’t we be moved by and drawn to God himself?  He is the infinitely and everlasting beautiful one.  Everything that is lovely – in creation and in his children – is a reflection of what he is.

To the natural eye, our Lord has “no beauty that we should desire him” (Is. 53:2).  But there is coming a day when all “shall see the king in his beauty” (Is.33:7).  On that day all that is ugly and evil will be vanquished from his kingdom forever, and those who are his will worship him for eternity in the beauty of holiness.  What a day that will be!

Sing or pray Psalter #76.


July 16 – God’s Wonderful Temple

Read Psalm 65

Toward the end of the Psalmist’s observations about the mighty voice of God in the thunderstorm and throughout creation, he inserts this phrase: “And in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.”  Perhaps you’ve noticed that Psalter #76 interprets the word “temple” in that phrase to mean “creation.”  In the third stanza of that song we sing, “And through all creation, his wonderful temple, all things he has fashioned his glory declare.”  According to the second article of the Belgic Confession, we know God by the “creation, preservation, and government of the universe; which is before our eyes as a most elegant book, where in all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to contemplate the invisible things of God.”

God’s temple is the place where his name is praised and his glory dwells.  God’s temple includes his creation, which earnestly longs to be delivered from the bondage of corruption (Rom. 8:19–22).  As they wait, the little hills rejoice, and the valleys shout for joy: they also sing.  Do you join them in praising our great Creator God?

Sing or pray Psalter #171.





July 17 – The Lord is in His Holy Temple

Read Habakkuk 2

Though the testimony of the elegant book of creation is enough to leave men without excuse (Rom. 1:20), we know God more “clearly and fully…by his holy and divine word” (BC, Art. 2).  That’s why Psalm 65, which speaks of creation praising God, also teaches, “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple” (vs. 4).  That’s also why John Calvin doesn’t equate the word temple in Psalm 29:9 with the creation:

“God’s voice fills the whole world, and spreads itself to its farthest limits; but the prophet declares that his glory is celebrated only in his church, because God not only speaks intelligibly and distinctly there, but also there gently allures the faithful to himself. His terrible voice…causes…men to…shrink from rather than approach him…The faithful sing the praises of God in his temple, because, being familiarly instructed there by his fatherly voice, they devote and consecrate themselves wholly to his service…In his word alone there shines forth the truth which may lead us to true piety, and to fear and serve God aright.”

Sing or pray Psalter #170.


July 18 – The Beauty of Holiness

Read Proverbs 31:10–31

The beautiful things that we see or hear are inadequate reflections of our God’s immeasurable loveliness.  Yet we must not follow nonbelievers in basing a person’s worth on his or her physical appearance.  We live in a culture that’s obsessed with figures and fashion.  We must take care of our bodies, but, like our heavenly Father, we must also value beauty that lies within.  “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).  “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:30).

In Psalm 29:2, we’re commanded to worship God in the “beauty of holiness.”  Holiness is separation from sin.  Hatred of sin and a desire to do what’s right: that’s what is beautiful to God.  Those who are renewed in his image exhibit righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24).  So let’s not obsess over our outward adorning.  Instead, let’s focus on adorning our hearts with treasures that cannot be destroyed.  Though our physical beauty made fade as we age, may our inward beauty continue to grow into something that is worth a great price to God.

Sing or pray Psalter #76.


July 19 – A Dedication Song

Read Psalm 30

Let’s say you’re a king, a mighty king, and you’ve just built a brand-new palace for yourself.  It’s an expansive, beautiful, and well-fortified home.  You’ve invited a host of guests to enjoy the first of many get-togethers there.  At that celebration, you plan to lead everyone in song.  What will you sing?

David hosted a similar celebration.  Here’s what he sang at his feast:


There was a time when I relied on my own feeble strength,

But worldly wealth cannot sustain, as God showed me at the length.

For Jehovah, intent on saving me from my self-centered pride,

Chastised me: the peace I had enjoyed was now by him denied.

I was troubled then and turned to him: I cried to him in prayer.

I recognized how I depend upon his gracious care.

Friends and fellow saints, he was not angry long!

He saved me from my sinful self and turned my mourning into song.

And so to him I dedicate this temporal dwelling place,

And all my wealth, and all my strength, for all my earthly days.

Sing or pray Psalter #79.


July 20 – Weeping May Endure for a Night

Read 1 Chronicles 21:1–13

1 Chronicles 21 records a specific incident in David’s life in which he was lifted up in pride and trusted in his own prosperity.  David exulted in the growing multitude over which he ruled, and in his arrogance he ordered Joab to number the people.  God demanded that David choose from three terrible punishments for his sin.  David chose three days of “the sword of the Lord,” because, as he said, “Let me fall now into the hand of the Lord; for very great are his mercies” (vs.13).

Do find comfort knowing that even as you face trials, you are in the Lord’s hand?  It is of his mercies that we are not consumed: his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is his faithfulness!  “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.  The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.  It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord” (Lam. 3:22-26).

For weeping may endure all the days of this night, but joy will come in the morning!

Sing or pray Psalter #79.


July 21 – Let Thine Hand Be on Me

Read 1 Chronicles 21:14–30

I’ve referred to David frequently as we’ve moved through the first 30 Psalms.  After all, he is credited as the author of most of them, and he typically writes his songs in the first person.  It’s important to remember, however, that Christ’s voice is the voice we hear above all others in the Psalms.  He is the Word of God.  All of the scriptures testify of him.  That’s true of 1 Chronicles 21 as well.  Unlike His father David, our Lord Jesus Christ never sinned, yet he requested our punishment: “Let thine hand, I pray thee, O Lord my God, be on me…but not on thy people, that they should be plagued” (v. 17).  Thanks be to God for granting that sacrificial request!

Christ speaks through David throughout Psalm 30, too.  He is the one who faced God’s anger, the one from whom God hid his face.  He is also the one whose cry God heard: “O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave” (v. 3).  It is on account of his atonement and resurrection that we can exclaim, “O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever!” (v. 12).

Sing or pray Psalter #79.


July 22 – Into Thine Hand I Commit My Spirit

Read Psalm 31

Yesterday we noted instances of Christ’s voice in 1 Chronicles 21 and Psalm 30.  I’m sure you heard his voice as you read Psalm 31, too, did you not?  Our Lord was rejected not only by his enemies, but also by his neighbors and his brethren.  On the night before his crucifixion, his disciples fled from him (v. 11).  His strength was consumed, not on account of his own iniquity, but on account of the iniquity he bore for the sake of His people – that is, on account of your sin and mine (v. 10).   His enemies conspired against him with lies and devised to take away his life (vv. 6, 13).  When his work on earth was finished, he prayed, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit” (v. 5).

Oh, how great is God’s goodness, which he has laid up for them that fear him!  How wonderful the salvation which he has wrought before the sons of men for all who trust in Him! (v.19).

Sing or pray Psalter #82.



July 23 – For Thy Name’s Sake

Read Isaiah 48

Psalm 31:3, “For thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me,” sounds a lot like Psalm 23:3: “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”  Not only does Jehovah lead us for his name’s sake, but he also blots out our transgression for his own sake (Is. 43:25).  He sends chastisements to us for his name’s sake (Is. 66:5).  Though our iniquities testify against us, he is faithful to us for his own name’s sake (Jer. 14:7–9).  What does it mean that God does all those things for his name’s sake?

God saves us so that his name may be honored.  He will be honored first in our being saved at all.  Secondly, he will be honored in the manner in which we are saved.  Finally, he will be honored in our lives, through which he desires to make known his own character and perfections (Barnes’ Commentary).

When we follow the way in which he leads, hearkening to his commandments, we will experience peace like a river, righteousness that overwhelms like the waves of the sea, and sons and daughters who willingly walk in his way after us.  All for his name’s sake.

Sing or pray Psalter #82.


July 24 – I Will Confess My Transgressions

Read Psalm 32:1–7

If you read Psalm 32 in a chronological Bible, it would be placed near the following three chapters: 2 Samuel 11, which records David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband, Uriah; 2 Samuel 12, which records God’s confrontation of unrepentant David through the prophet Nathan; and Psalm 51, which, like Psalm 32, is a penitential psalm that David penned at this time.  In the first verses of Psalm 32, David recounts the anguish that he experienced when he refused to acknowledge his sin, and the great peace that he knew when he confessed his sin unto the Lord.

Do you confess your transgressions to the Lord?  We’re far too prone thoughtlessly to tack the phrase “Forgive my sins” onto our prayers.  Take some extra time today to consider your sins.  Call to mind your more blatant sins.  Remember the sins you’ve committed in your thoughts.  Don’t forget the things God calls you to do that you’ve omitted, nor the respectable sins to which you’re prone.  Confess these sins in prayer to God.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Sing or pray Psalter #83.


July 25 – Repentance is Not a Condition

Read Luke 3:1–18

What is repentance?   Repentance is a change of mind: it is a change of mind that results in a change of actions.  That’s why John the Baptist commanded, “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:8).  That’s why Paul preached, “That they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20).  Most basically, repentance results in the action that is conversion.  One who converts turns around.  One who repents stops excusing his sin.  He turns from it and to God.

We must be careful to not treat repentance as a condition for salvation.  Though we experience God’s forgiveness in the way of repentance, repentance, like faith, it is not a work that we must do in order to be saved.  Repentance is the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in the totally depraved sinner.  It is God who graciously grants repentance unto life (Acts 5:31; 11:18).  Does he convict you of your sins?  “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

Sing or pray Psalter #83.



July 26 – Repentance Means Running

Read Psalm 119:25–32

Today I received a beautiful letter from a friend.  She wrote of a difficult trial in her life, and then she noted, “But I run in the way of God’s commands” (Ps. 119:32).  When presented with the temptation to doubt God’s sovereignty and his goodness to her, she turned around and ran the other way.

Repentance doesn’t mean that when we sin, we half-heartedly commit to “do better next time.”  It means that we prayerfully owe up to our sins, we form a battle plan to follow the next time temptation confronts us, and we turn 180 degrees around and whole-heartedly run in the way of God’s commands.  It’s a difficult run – a daily press, remember? – but it’s also a joyful run, an eager and energetic pursuit of a life of obedience. That kind of running is possible only when the Holy Spirit enlarges the heart.  He makes it free, delivers it from all hindrances to what is right, fills it with noble and holy purposes, and stimulates and animates it.  “The heart is contracted…by selfishness, pride, vanity, ambition, covetousness; it is made large by charity, love, hope, benevolence” (Barnes).

Which way are you running today?

Sing or pray Psalter #324.


July 27 – I Will Instruct Thee

Read Psalm 32:8–11

The inspired psalmist David speaks directly to you and me in Psalm 32:8–11.  Having experienced the restoration of the joy of the Lord’s salvation, he purposes to teach us God’s ways.  He desires that as a result of his experience, sinners will be converted to God (Ps. 51:13). He cries, “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul” (Psalm 66:16).

On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus foretold that Peter would shortly deny him.  Though Peter stubbornly objected, Jesus, knowing the grief that would soon threaten to overwhelm his disciple, spoke these beautiful, comforting words:  “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32).

As one who has also known the forgiving grace of God, do you share in David’s desire to teach transgressors God’s ways?  From what sins have you been converted?  Go, and strengthen your brethren.

Sing or pray Psalter #84.


July 28 – He Spake, and it was Done

Read Psalm 33:1–9

Several days ago I read a review of a book about the first chapters of Genesis.  This book was recently released by a popular Christian publishing company.  In it three authors share their opinions about the literary genre of Genesis and how they think the opening chapters of the Bible should be interpreted.  Strikingly, not one of the contributors to this so-called Christian book believes that God created the universe in six literal days.  We do well to heed Paul’s warning, O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith (1 Tim. 6:20–21).

God’s infallible, inspired word is one.  If one chooses to interpret Genesis 1 as myth, what does he do with Psalm 33?   “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth…For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (vv. 6, 9).

That powerful creator is the God we serve.  “Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (v. 8).

Sing or pray Psalter #86.

July 29 – The Counsel of the Heathen

Read Psalm 33:10–11

Psalm 33:10–11 refer to two counsels.  The first is the counsel of the wicked.  They set themselves together, refusing to acknowledge God’s rule over them and their accountability to him (Ps. 2:3).  God laughs at their counsel, for he knows that their plans will come to nothing.  “He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.  He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong” (Job 5:12-14).

That’s the teaching of scripture, yet we don’t have to look far to find evidence that seems contrary, do we?  Evil prevails: it seems the ungodly prosper (Ps. 73:3).  “The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted” (Ps. 12:8).  We must heed the admonition of Psalm 37:7-9: “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth” (Ps. 37:7-9).

Sing or pray Psalter #86.


July 30 – The Counsel of the Lord Stands Forever

Read Isaiah 44

In contrast to the futile counsels of the wicked, the counsel of the Lord stands forever, “the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Ps. 33:11).  As we read in Isaiah 44, the one who makes the wisdom of the heathen futile is sovereign over everything from the forming of life in the womb to the redemption of his chosen people.  He not only created, but he also decreed every detail of history.  He works all things, turning even the hearts of kings, to accomplish his purpose.  And what is his goal? “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:  in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Eph. 1:10-12).

Sing or pray Psalter #86.


July 31 – The Blessed Nation

Read Galatians 3

Psalm 33:12 reads, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”  In the Old Testament God’s chosen people were the nation of Israel.  That doesn’t mean that all of the Israelites were elect: they weren’t (Rom. 9:6).  Nor does it mean that God didn’t save any Gentiles in the Old Testament.  Melchizedek wasn’t a Hebrew, yet “he was the priest of the most high God” (Gen 14:18).  Rahab and Ruth, both Gentile women, are woven into Jesus’ genealogy.  So is Bathsheba, who, if not a Hittite herself, was originally the wife Uriah, a Hittite.  But the Israelites had this advantage: “unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Rom 3:2).  God saved the majority of the Old Testament saints from the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

God made the promise of his covenant to Abraham and “his seed.”  In Galatians 3 the inspired apostle Paul names Abraham’s seed: Abraham’s seed is Christ, and in Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Greek.”  Men, women, and children of all races are made one in Christ.  All who are Christ’s are Abraham’s seed and “heirs according to the promise.”

Sing or pray Psalter #49.



August 1 – Them That Fear Him

Read Psalm 33:12–22

Yesterday we considered the truth that Christ’s bride, the church, is composed of people from all races and nations.  Psalm 33 teaches that “the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.”  Every one of God’s children is precious to him.  He cares for his saints who face persecution, death and famine.  He provides for those of us who live in nations of material prosperity and spiritual dearth.  All of His saints make this confession, “Our soul waiteth for the Lord: He is our help and our shield” (vs. 20).

Practically, this means there is no room for racism in the life of the child of God.  It means we don’t esteem our Dutch neighbor higher than our Hispanic neighbor.  We don’t entertain derogatory jokes about those whose skin is a different color from ours.  We allow for cultural differences in worship.  Indeed, we seek to learn from the example of our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.  And we look forward to the day when all of the members of Christ’s body – red and yellow, black and white – will be united as one.  They are precious in his sight.

Sing or pray Psalter #49.


August 2 – The Fear of Man Brings a Snare

Read 1 Samuel 21

Psalm 34 bears this heading: “A Psalm of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.”  This Abimelech is likely Achish, the king of Gath in 1 Samuel 21.  David is fleeing from Saul.  He is frightened and hungry.  His hunger brings him to the tabernacle, where he asks the priest Ahimelech for the showbread, but not before he lies to him regarding his errand.  David continues on his flight, taking the sword of Goliath with him, and flees, ironically, to the land of the Philistines.  David is not in the Philistine city of Gath long before the servants of the king begin to grumble about his presence.  David resorts once again to deceit, pretending that he is mad.

Proverbs 29:25 reads, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”  David’s fear of men led him to sin.  We’re prone to the same lack of faith.  We fear what men may do to us; we fear what others may say about us.  We must fight that tendency, for the fear of man will always lead us to sin, too.

Sing or pray Psalter #90.


August 3 – Magnify the Lord

Read Psalm 34:1–3

David fled to Philistia because he sought refuge from one enemy – Saul – in the territory of another enemy.  The Lord led David to Philistia because he would have him learn this lesson: “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Ps. 118:8).  David learns his lesson well.  In response to his experience he pens Psalm 34, which exalts Jehovah as the savior of the righteous.

In the first three verses of Psalm 34, David employs five different synonyms to describe his adoration of God.  My study Bible includes definitions of these words.  We bless God when we speak well of him on account of all His benefits.  We praise him when we declare his divine perfections.  We make our boast in the Lord when we speak of his worth and value in the face of our own worthlessness.  We magnify him when we celebrate His infinite greatness.  We exalt him when we raise him above and beyond all others in our thoughts and words.

What a mighty God we serve!  He is infinitely worthy of all our praise.  “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!” (v. 3).

Sing or pray Psalter #90.


August 4 – O Taste and See

Read Psalm 34:4–10

I cook a lot of meals, but I’m often so preoccupied with filling plates and spoon-feeding others that I don’t even savor the food that I’ve prepared.  Perhaps that’s why I’m struck by Psalm 34:8a: “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”

John Calvin makes this assessment of unbelievers in his commentary on this text: “They devour the gifts of God without relishing them.”  In fact, they don’t even have a palate that’s capable of appreciating his goodness.  After all, the sun that warms their face and the rain that falls on their fields are not the gifts of a loving, heavenly Father.  In contrast, the righteous can taste the goodness of God.  His Holy Spirit enables us to recognize his benefits and experience his presence.  It’s true, we’re often also infected with the same “malady of dullness” that plagues the wicked.  Our own unbelief prevents us from being satisfied with the abundance of all good things that he gives us.  Daily he heaps our plates.  Do you savor those gifts, or do you merely consume them to satisfy your own lusts? (James 4:3)  “O taste and see that the Lord is good!”

Sing or pray Psalter #90.


August 5 – Praise the Lord for His Goodness

Read Psalm 107:1–15

Pretend you’re a wife and mother.  You’ve spent all afternoon cooking for your hungry family, and you set the food on the table with a sigh of relief.  Every dish has turned out just right!  But only a few bites into the meal, and you begin to feel disgruntled.  Not only has no one thanked you for your efforts; they’re grumbling about what’s on their plates instead!

Now let’s apply that picture.  Every gift that God prepares for his children and bestows upon them is good.  In fact, his gifts are perfect! (James 1:7)  He loads each of us with the particular spiritual and physical blessings necessary for our sanctification and salvation.  Yet we are ungrateful children.  Either we devour his gifts without tasting them, or we grumble about the fare that he’s given us in his grace.  “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:8)

Take time to taste all of the benefits that our Father has heaped on your plate today.  And then take the time to thank him for them.

Sing or pray Psalter #90.


August 6 – Desire the Milk of the Word

Read 1 Peter 2:1–3

Has your mother ever served food that didn’t look very appetizing to you?  Maybe instead of tasting it, you chopped it into little pieces and spread it around your plate, hoping that she wouldn’t notice.  But she noticed, and then she insisted that you try a bite.  Perhaps you nibbled the tiniest little bit, and to your surprise, it tasted good!  Soon your plate was empty.  That’s the experience of the believer with God’s word.  When we spend time reading the Bible and meditating on his promises, our appetite is whetted.  Not only do we clear our plates, we ask for seconds!  God’s word is an endless mountain of delicious, sustaining food, and the healthy believer has a voracious appetite.  When we taste his grace, our spiritual stomachs will cry for more.

When the Holy Spirit directs us in Psalm 34:8 “to taste and see that the Lord is good,” he immediately adds this promise: “Blessed is the man who trusteth in him.”  That means God will never disappoint those “who seek his favor” (Calvin).  “He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9).

Sing or pray Psalter #90.


August 7 – The Spiritually Sick

Read Psalm 107:15–22

Have you ever been sick with the stomach flu?  When you’re stomach’s upset, the mere smell of food can make you vomit.  Your family may be gathered around the dinner table, enjoying a feast, while you lie in the living room on the sofa, sipping ginger ale.  But not even a soda cracker sounds good to you.  As bad as the stomach flu is, it’s a picture of something far more terrible.  When we’re spiritually unhealthy, we have no appetite for God’s word.  We daydream through our pastor’s sermons and fidget during family worship and personal devotions – who has time for that?!

Yesterday we read from 1 Peter 2.  Did you notice the list of viruses that prevent one from desiring the sincere milk of the word?  Malice, guile (deceit), hypocrisies, envy, and evil speaking.  Psalm 107:17 reads, “Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.  Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.”  Sin causes one to lose his spiritual appetite.  Do you hunger for God’s word?

Sing or pray Psalter #292.