Watching Daily At My Gates

The Song of Zion

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

June 4 Read Psalm 139:1-12

Psalm 139:1-3 A well-known truth is “God is everywhere!” What is our reaction to such a profound statement? Do we, like David, comprehend the whole of its meaning? Do we want to know its meaning? There are three ways in which we can respond to this statement. We can shrug our shoulders and say, “So what?” and go on our merry way doing what we want to do. We can become afraid and act as if God is this terrible potentate waiting to snuff out our lives without warning. Or we can take comfort in the fact that God is everywhere. Yes, we live in holy awe before him, but we have the blessed comfort that he is with us in all things. God is God and there is none else. Let us find comfort in that statement and live a life pleasing to his ever-seeing eye. Sing Psalters 382:1 and 384:1.

June 5 Read II Samuel 2:1-12

Psalm 139:4-6 Even every word is known of God before we speak it! People of God, do you understand what that means? Even our thoughts are under his knowledge. We may not be careless with our thoughts or words, much less our deeds, for they are in God’s hand. When David truly understood the meaning of this idea, he was speechless. This knowledge was more that he could comprehend in his finite mind. He knew that God was greater than he was and that he could never be like God. What about us? How do we consider God? Do we try to be as gods? That is what Satan tempted Eve with. Do we try to take away from the glory of God by our daily life? Or do we confess our utter lowliness before his face and say “O God, how great Thou art!” Let us remember that we are creatures and he is the Creator. Let us do this now in prayer and in our daily life. Sing Psalters 382:2 and 384:2.

June 6 Read Jonah 1:1-10

Psalm 139:7-8 Running from God. Have you ever tried it? In our reading for today we have one of the most famous accounts of one running from God. Jonah had to learn the hard way that this was not a wise thing to do. Through the storm, the sailor’s questions, and the fish, he was taught that to run from God was fruitless. God sometimes must teach us that lesson. We like to run or hide from God. Sometimes our actions are such that we wish them to be hid from the all-seeing One. God, however, will teach us that we cannot run or hide from him. Then as Jonah did we must relish the thought of entering into God’s presence. Are we looking forward to the Sabbath? Sing Psalter 382:3.

June 7 Read Jonah 1:11-17

Psalm 139:9-10 Yesterday’s meditation talked about running and hiding from God. We saw that this is a fruitless activity. In verse 10 we see that God does not let us despair when we fall from the sense of his mercy. His loving hand is with us. He will not let us fall even when the way is rough and full of pitfalls. Like Jonah we will feel the loving hand of the Father. Like Jonah we must give thanks to God for his goodness. What better way is there to give thanks then to attend worship. This we can do today. This we must do. Let us go up to God’s house and say with Jonah, “Salvation is of the Lord.” Sing Psalters 382:4 and 384:3.

June 8 Read Psalm 139:1-12

Psalm 139:11-12 As creatures we see the light and darkness as opposites. And they are. Our Creator has given them to us as pictures of the antithesis that he has placed between good and evil. But when we use the darkness to cover up our clandestine activities, it is not a cover from God. He can see us no matter what the time of day or night. This is not because he has exceptional eyesight. Or because he has abilities to sense what is happening no matter what the time of day. God knows all because he is God. He knows each of our activities because he has ordained them in his sovereign will. This is both a warning and a comfort for us. It is a warning not to depend on night to hide our sin. It is a comfort that he sees and cares for us all the time. Sing Psalters 382:5 and 384:4.

June 9 Read Psalm 139:13-24

Psalm 139:13-14 “Fearfully and wonderfully made!” Every time that I consider the meaning of these words, I am filled with awe. To see the birth of a child, to look at each of its parts, and to know that God has directed each cell to be where it is is an awesome thing. To understand how a young child learns how to talk is past my feeble understanding. Birth and growth are truly a miracle wrought by God. Our response to such wonder must be praise to the Creator. We can know by the knowledge of faith that God has made us by his power. For that knowledge we must give thanks daily. Do we acknowledge that we are fearfully and wonderfully made? If so, let us praise God; if not, let us ask him to open our eyes in this matter. Sing Psalter 383:1.

June 10 Read Jeremiah 1:1-8

Psalm 139:15-16 Yesterday we spent some time looking at the physical aspects of growth and development and how they are all ordained in God’s council. In today’s verses we see that not only our bodies are ordained by God, but also the activities carried out by these bodies. Jeremiah learned that as he was called by God to be a prophet in Judah before the captivity. God has for us a plan for our lives. It is our duty to learn that way as he reveals it to us day by day. Each day we must pray for eyes to see that which God has ordained for us. Then we must also pray for the grace to accept the way we must go daily, and in our whole life. Let these ideas be constantly before us as we live our lives. Young people, as you seek the path that God has for you, remember to seek the path that he has ordained before you were even born. Sing Psalter 383:2.

June 11 Read Romans 11:26-36

Psalm 139:17-18 After being amazed about our beginnings, we now are amazed at God’s greatness. The Psalmist expresses his wonder at how God cares for him. We, too, must do this daily. Even when we sleep, God’s providential care is over us. His ways are past finding out. In math we sometimes use the terms infinite and infinity to describe some numbers. These are actually only very weak pictures of God who is truly infinite. Not only are his thoughts numberless they are precious. There is nothing on this earth that can compare with them. Let us consider our God and see how great he is in all his ways. Sing Psalter 383:3.

June 12 Read Job 21:7-18

Psalm 139:19-22 These verses are sometimes misquoted, misinterpreted, or misused. They do not give the child of God carte blanche permission to hate anyone. We may only hate, and these we must, those who hate God. Are we grieved with those who rise up against God in their actions? Do we reprimand those who take his name in vain? Do we talk to our neighbor about his desecration of the Sabbath? It seems as if David completely loses his train of thought when he pens these words. Nothing can be farther from the truth. First of all we must remember that it is the Holy Spirit who inspired David. Secondly we must know that we cannot appreciate God’s wonders and surround ourselves with those who hate him. Let us glorify God by hating his enemies. Sing Psalter 383:4.

June 13 Read Psalm 139:13-24

Psalm 139:23-24 This Psalm is ended with a beautiful prayer. After saying that he will hate those who hate God, David asks God to search him so that he can do this. We cannot hate anyone without having our own hearts examined by the mighty God to see what is in there. Sadly we know that we have all kinds of sin hidden in our hearts. We must pray for God’s grace to root that sin out of our lives and to walk in his everlasting ways. We cannot walk that way by ourselves. We need his fatherly hand to lead us upon each step of that path. Ask God to search your hearts, people of God, and listen to him when he tells you what he finds. Only in this way will we be able to praise him with our whole being. Sing Psalters 383:5 and 384:5.

June 14 Read Psalm 140:1-13

Psalm 140:1-5 This first section of the Psalm is David’s prayer for deliverance. Once again we can see that David did not have an easy life. He was beset on all sides by enemies. Sometimes the enemies were within Israel and even his family such as Saul or David’s own sons. Sometimes they were without Israel such as the tribes around his beloved country. David knew that his only hope was to turn to God. Do we know this? As we go to church today, will one subject of our prayer be deliverance from our enemies? Will we pray to be kept from those who hate us because we are the chosen ones of God? Think about these things, people of God. It seems easy to live now but what about in the days before our Lord returns. Are we ready? Are our children and young people ready? Sing Psalter 385:1.

June 15 Read Hebrews 10:19-21

Psalm 140:6-8 After bringing his plea for deliverance to God, David now gives the ground for such a plea. That ground is that God was his God. Is this our confidence? Many of our children have just finished another year of school. Did we stop to give thanks for another year of covenant education if we were so blessed to provide our children with that kind of education? Did we give thanks for help for our children who had to be educated in schools where little if any was taught from the Bible? We do have enemies. And these enemies may be seeking to destroy our children. Let us constantly bring the needs of our covenant children to God even as they are surrounded by enemies. Sing Psalters 385:2.

June 16 Read Psalm 140:1-13

Psalm 140:9-13 The first three verses of today’s texts are imprecatory in nature; that is, they ask God to bring vengeance upon his enemies. These are not popular thoughts in today’s “love everybody” world. To ask that God would bring evil is not the stuff you find in most churches and upon the lips of most who say they are Christians. Do we pray such things? David did and we must follow his example. The last two verses are words of thanksgiving for deliverance. David knew that God cared for his afflicted children. We can know this as well. Let us study this prayer and make it a model for our daily prayers unto our heavenly Father. Sing Psalter 385:3.

June 17 Read Psalm 141:1-10

Psalm 141:1 In reading the salutation to this prayer of David we get a sense of urgency from the words. David wishes for God to hear him and to answer him speedily. This is not a vain hope on David’s part. God will answer us. Sometimes his time is different than our time, but always his time is best. Do we cry unto God when we are in distress? I mean, do we pray daily because daily we are in distress because of our sins? David was not praying out of desperation and we should not either. Rather our prayers should be based on the wonderful knowledge that Christ is at God’s right hand making intercession for us. Let us pray and let us pray often. Sing Psalter 386:1.

June 18 Read II Chronicles 30:13-27

Psalm 141:2 Israel of old had set times in which they were commanded to pray. These set times were to guide them toward Christ. Sometimes they strayed from these times and had to be brought back to see the right way. Hezekiah was used by God to bring them back to a true worship of Jehovah. The Passover Feast recounted in this chapter shows us a right way of worship. Are we truly thankful for deliverance from sin and Satan? Do we show it in our daily worship of Jehovah? Let us pray not out of custom or superstition but rather out of a heart turned to God the Giver of all good. Sing Psalter 386:2 and 3.

June 19 Read James 3:1-12

Psalm 141:3-4 David’s first petition in this prayer is that God help him to keep his mouth from all evil. As we read in James, the tongue is an unruly member of our body. It can only be tamed by the grace of God. Children, do you ask God to help you choose your words carefully? When you talk about other children, what do you say about them? Do you think God is pleased by your words to and about your friends? Young people, what about the words that come from your mouths? Are they acceptable to your heavenly Father, or does filth spew out of your lips like sewage from a broken pipe? Parents, what about us? What do our children hear from our mouths? Are we good examples? God’s gift of speech is a good thing. How are we using it? To God’s glory or to Satan’s? Sing Psalter 386:4.

June 20 Read Matthew 16:21-28

Psalm 141:5 Are we willing to be rebuked or reprimanded by a fellow believer? Are we willing to listen and to make whatever correction may be necessary in our lives? Young people, if you have recently made confession of faith, you promised that you would place yourself under the discipline of the elders if it became necessary. We need to realize that rebuke is for our profit and is good for us. God uses these words in a way that will help us. Peter must have smarted at Christ’s words, but later he must have realized that they were for his good as he preached the gospel. Let us hear our neighbor when he rebukes us and let us ask God to open our hearts to such words of rebuke spoken in love. Sing Psalter 386:5.

June 21 Read Jeremiah 29:4-14

Psalm 141:6 At first glance David seems to be exulting in the overthrow of his enemies. He seems to be looking for revenge. We can understand this because how often have we exulted over the downfall of someone we envied? Looking closer at this verse in the context of the whole Psalm and the whole of Scripture, we can realize that David is jealous only for God’s cause. This is much different than exulting over the downfall of some rival. Let our words today as we attend church be sweet in God’s ears, and he will be pleased with us. Sing Psalter 386:6.

June 22 Read Psalm 25:12-22

Psalm 141:7-8 Once again we see the perilous place that David and the children of Israel were in. Looking at verse seven there seems to be no hope for them. But because David has tasted the goodness of the Lord he can say the words of verse eight. Are our eyes upon the Lord? Do we look to him no matter what the trials of this life? Some of us may have health problems which seem insurmountable. Others of us are afflicted by those on the job. Others may be in financial difficulties. In each and any circumstance our eyes must be upon the Lord, for he will lead us on the path of life. The path will ultimately lead to our heavenly home. Notice, that is David’s last thought. He is not concerned about his physical body’s end; he prays that his soul be not left destitute. Is that our prayer now? Tomorrow? Forever? Sing Psalter 386:7.

June 23 Read Psalm 141:1-10

Psalm 141:9-10 In the final verses of this Psalm David prays that he may not fall into the temptations of the wicked. Of course, these temptations are orchestrated by Satan against the child of God. This is also one of the petitions of the Lord’s prayer: “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” The last part of that petition can also be read “deliver us from the evil one.” This must be a constant part of the prayer of the believer. Notice, David also prays that the wicked fall into the traps set for him. This is also proper as we saw at the end of the last Psalm. Let us make these petitions part of our own prayers, and let us pray that God will hear us. Sing Psalter 386:8.

June 24 Read Psalm 142:1-7

Psalm 142:1-2 Once again we have a Psalm which is a prayer of David. This prayer appears to have been written when he was fleeing from Saul and hiding in a cave. The surroundings were dark and dismal. The situation almost intolerable. David did what every child of God must do when faced with difficulty. He goes to God in prayer. Young people, have you made this your habit? Have you learned to pour out your needs to God in prayer? Do you study the Bible so that you know how to pray and for what to pray? Prayer takes preparation. The best preparation is found in the pages of God’s Word. There is no trouble too small to bring before our God. Pour out your hearts before him and he will hear you. Sing Psalters 387:1 and 388:1.

June 25 Read I Samuel 22:1-2; 20-23

Psalm 142:3 David had just received the news that Saul had slaughtered the family of the high priest. Even though we know that this was ordained by God because of the sin of Eli and his sons, David felt responsible for what had happened. He felt he owed Abithar as much as he could give him. Doeg’s evil was a trap for David. David knew what to do. He turned to God in prayer. If David would have relied on his own strength, he knew it would have been hopeless. We, too, must learn to rely only on our heavenly Father even when it seems hopeless in our eyes. To do otherwise will bring much trouble. Sing Psalter 387:2.

June 26 Read Mark 14:43-53

Psalm 142:4 After looking within himself for help, David now looks to see if any man could help. He had a cave full of men maybe as many as four hundred. He saw none to help him. Notice that last line: “…no man cared for my soul.” Not only did David have no one to help him physically, he saw that spiritually there was no help to be found on this earth. In this way David is a type of Christ as we saw him in our reading for today. We must never look for salvation on this earth. Christ is our salvation, and he is in heaven. This is a comfort, is it not, people of God? We know the weaknesses of men. Even if they wanted to, they could not care for our souls. We must place our trust in our heavenly Father who has sent to us his Son to die on the cross. We can realize the fact of David’s predicament in this life. We may look around us but there will be none to care for our soul. None but Christ who loved us so much he gave his life for us. Sing Psalters 387:3 and 388:2.

June 27 Read Lamentations 3:22-32

Psalm 142:5 After looking around him for help, David turns to the Lord. No, God was not a last resort here. God was David’s sure aid. He knows that man could not help him. He definitely knew that he could do nothing in his own strength. Therefore he cries unto God for aid. Jeremiah had had the same experience as he prophesied in Judah’s last days. He was convinced that help came only from Jehovah. Is this our experience, people of God? Do we confess that our help can only come from him who made heaven and earth? Let us confess this daily, and more importantly, let us live out of that confession. God is our refuge both now and in eternity. Sing Psalters 387:4 and 388:3.

June 28 Read Psalm 116:1-9

Psalm 142:6-7a Even in David’s woe he remembers God. First of all, he remembers that God can help him. This is evident from his requests. They are made in confidence. What about us; do we have and do we exhibit the confidence to ask God for help when we are in trouble? Do we even remember to pray? Are our prayers such that they come from a true and living faith? These are no prayers in a foxhole. These are the prayers of one who is used to praying at all times. This takes practice, people of God. We must be praying as Daniel did—morning, noon, and evening. The last part of today’s verses speaks of the reason why David wants deliverance. He does not want this for himself. He wants deliverance in order that he may praise God’s name. Do we think of that when we pray for help? Sing Psalters 387:5 and 388:4.

June 29 Read Psalm 142:1-7

Psalm 142:7b David’s second reason for deliverance is that he thinks of God’s church. The church will gather around him. Why? To praise David? Because they are so relieved for his safety? NO! NO! NO! Oh, these thoughts may enter some minds, but these are not David’s thoughts. He realizes that his deliverance will cause the church to praise God. Think of the church in the New Testament when Peter and John, and then Peter again, were delivered. They offered prayers of thanks to God! Let us remember that. Our churches may not glory in what they have accomplished. They must glory in what God has accomplished! Let us pray for the grace to put all thoughts of pride from our hearts. Let us pray for the grace to glorify God in all circumstances of life. Sing Psalters 387:6 and 388:5.

June 30 Read Psalm 143

Psalm 143:1-2 Once again we consider a prayer of David. We should use these prayers to help us to know for what to pray. In these opening verses David declares himself to be a sinner. He realizes that he cannot go to God on his own merits. It is only through the righteousness and faithfulness of God that he dare approach his throne of grace. He knows that because of his sin he deserves eternal judgment. What about us? Do we know how to pray this way? Do we come to God’s throne like the Pharisee or like the Publican? Do we ask God to be merciful unto us the sinner? Let us make these words ours, and let us daily come before God’s throne of grace asking for his help in time of need. Sing Psalters 389:1 and 390:1.

July 1 Read I Samuel 23:13-18

Psalm 143:3-4 Is it too much for you, people of God? Are you so much in despair that you do not know which way to turn? Has the death of a loved one left you feeling lost, miserable, or despondent? Do you face sickness day in and day out? There is only one thing that we can do. We must cast all of our cares upon Jehovah. David felt this way as he was being chased by his enemies. He thought he could take it no longer. But then he went to God in prayer. This is what we must do. We have been saying this over and over the last few weeks. But it is true. It bears repeating. Pray, people of God. Pray often. He will hear us and will care for us in the way that is best. Sing Psalter 389:2.

July 2 Read Deuteronomy 32:7-14

Psalm 143:5-6 Do you like to reminisce on the past? Do you like to think about past happenings of your family? David did too. He saw this to be a good thing. His reminiscing was about God’s doings however. He was not talking about past glorious victories in battles. He was not thinking about beating Goliath or the bear and lion. He was thinking about what God had done for him. In doing so he found rest and comfort for his soul. God has done great things for us as well. He has given to us salvation. What a wonderful thing to reminisce upon! Let us do it often, and let us be comforted by such remembering even as David was. Sing Psalters 389:3 and 390:2.

July 3 Read Matthew 14:22-36

Psalm 143:7-8 Was it a long night last night? Was there something in your life that caused you not to sleep last night? For the people of God we may rest assured that whatever bothers us, it will not be a lack of the lovingkindness of God. Those mercies are sure every morning, as Jeremiah testified. After a long night the disciples were glad to see Jesus. Peter had to learn about Christ’s mercies even as he sank into the Sea of Galilee. The distressed in Galilee were touched by that mercy even as Christ healed them that morning. Let us lift our souls to God knowing that he will see us through the long nights unto the glorious morning in heaven. Sing Psalters 389:4 and 391:1.