Watching Daily At My Gates

December 15 Read Psalm 8

Who Am I?

The vast expanse of the sky never seems bigger than on a clear winter night. As one gazes at the stars and the smoky trail of our galaxy, he cannot help but feel insignificant, and if that one is believer, he cannot help but marvel at the greatness and the glory of his God. For although the sky may seem limitless, we know that the heavenly bodies are but creatures of our God, who spoke them into existence by the word of his power. Though we may be in awe at the distance of the stars or the beauty of the moon, we know our God to be infinitely more glorious and far above these works of his hands. Such wonderful knowledge causes us to exclaim with the Psalmist David, “Who am I, O Lord, that thou art mindful of me?” And yet, by faith we believe that this excellent God, the creator and sustainer of all things, does take thought of us, his elect. More amazing still, his thoughts toward us are thoughts so gracious that he who is exalted above the heavens stooped to redeem sinners whom he made from the dust of the earth. By grace, this great, transcendent God is our Lord. Praise him, young and old! Sing Psalter 14, vs. 1, 3, 4, and 7.

December 16 Read Psalm 51

I Acknowledge My Transgressions

With each new day, the ungodly around us revel more and more openly in sin. Their blatant immorality poses two threats to the Christian person: the first threat is the possibility that the child of God falls into their sin. The second danger is that he becomes immune to his own sins, many of which are “private” or seem mildly offensive when compared to the world’s wickedness. In order for the child of God to rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ, he must first recognize his need for a Savior. The Heidelberg Catechism refers to the human state in relation to God as a state of misery. When you examine yourself, do you see that you stand before the transcendent, holy God as one who is miserable? When the Lord visited King David through the prophet Nathan and accused him of his sin, a contrite David penned the repentant Psalm 51. Our Father comes to us through the preaching and the reading of his word, convicting us of our transgressions. We must strive to know the Scriptures, for God uses his law to open our eyes to our miserable state and bring us before him with this confession, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.” Sing Psalter 142.

December 17 Read Genesis 3

Thou Shalt Surely Die

The ninth question of the Heidelberg Catechism asks, “Doth not God then do injustice to man, by requiring from him in his law, that which he cannot perform?” and its answer begins: “Not at all; for God made man capable of performing it.” Adam and Eve were created with a free will: they were able to serve God perfectly, but they turned against him, enslaving themselves and the human race to sin. They, who had thrived in perfection, clearly saw the shame of their sinful condition. They, who had been the friends of God, were now his enemies. Man’s will was no longer free, but bound to sin. The child of God faces the bitter evidence of the warfare between his old nature and his new man in Christ each day. And yet, God showed mercy to Adam and Eve and to us, for in promising the victorious Seed of the woman, he promised to restore his friendship with all of his people in eternal perfection. How wonderful will God’s heavenly kingdom appear to us whose earthly lives are plagued with sin and sorrow: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!” (Romans 8:18). Sing Psalter 243, vs. 1, 6, 13, 14, and 15.

December 18 Read Hebrews 11:8-16

Strangers and Pilgrims on the Earth

Yesterday we were reminded that Adam’s fall into sin marred man’s relationship toward God; today we consider the life of Abraham, who is identified throughout Scripture as God’s friend. God called Abraham to live as a pilgrim and a stranger, commanding him to leave his family and his home to reside in the foreign land of Canaan. Abraham obeyed God and visibly lived his life as one who understood that this earth is nothing more than a temporary dwelling place. Abraham understood that as God’s friend he was to live separately from the seed of the serpent, for God had put enmity between them. Child of God, does your life manifest the antitheses? Like Abraham, we, God’s elect, are called to live among the ungodly, and yet we must maintain spiritual separation from those who live their life in defiance of God. In contrast to the reprobate, we live our lives to the glory of God, working for the benefit of his church and his eternal kingdom. And yet, how easily we can be consumed with distractions here below! Pray for God’s grace that you may go about today mindful that you are a citizen of Christ’s heavenly kingdom, aware that this earth is not your home. Sing Psalter 327.

December 19 Read Genesis 22:1-10

He Gave His Only Begotten Son

A parent loves his or her child with a fervent, enduring love. Such love causes a father or mother to seek the well-being of his or her child no matter the cost and who fear any harm that might come to their child. How true this must have been of Abraham with regard to his son Isaac, the promised child for whom he had waited many long years. And yet, “by faith Abraham…offered up his only begotten son…accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from whence also he received him in a figure” (Hebrews 11:17-19). The great faith that God gave Abraham seems almost unbelievable to us, who hearts tremble at the thought of hurting a child, especially if that child is our own, even when commanded to do so for our just God. And yet, Abraham’s willingness to offer up his son is only a dim picture, for God loves his son, who dwells with him even before the foundation of the world, as no earthly parent has ever loved his child. But God gave his beloved son to the death of the cross for the sake of sinners who ridiculed and crucified him. Thanks be to God for his great love toward us! Sing Psalter 243, vs. 1, 5, and 15.

December 20 Read Genesis 32:22-32

Thy Name Shall Be Called Israel

Jacob is greatly distressed. He is returning to with his family and all of his possessions, and tomorrow he will meet Esau, the brother whom he has not seen since the time that he tricked his father into obtaining the birthright blessing. Esau is marching toward them with four hundred men, and Jacob fears for his life and the lives of his family. He gathers a great present of animals for Esau and then sends his family across a brook while he spends the night on the other side of the stream alone. The Angel of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, comes to Jacob there and wrestles with him until the breaking of day. And, by faith, weak, pitiful Jacob has power over the Angel, and prevails, and pleads with him for a blessing (Hosea 10:12). The Angel of Lord responds by changing Jacob’s name from “a deceiver” to “Israel,” which means “God’s Prince” or “God’s Contender.” And so, Jacob learned that night that the tricks that he used to try to obtain God’s favor did not get him anywhere. But God, who chooses the weak things of the world to confound the things that are strong, in his grace elected Jacob the deceiver to be his prince, his adopted son. The rising sun shines upon Jacob as he limps over the brook, reminding him of his Father’s blessing and encouraging him as he prepares to meet his brother. So, too, child of God, our Father chose us, while we were yet sinners and undeserving of his favor, and he gives us the sunshine to hearten us and remind us of his tender care of his elect. Sing Psalter 400, vs. 1, 3, and 7.

December 21 Read II Samuel 7:1-17

A House Established Forever

Proverbs 16:9 reads, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” There are times in the Christian’s life that he plans for the future only to learn in the providence of God that God’s counsel has determined a different course for his life. Such was the case with David, who earnestly desired to build God’s temple. Although David’s desire stemmed from his love of God, the Lord did not intend for David to be his house builder. He comes to David through the prophet Nathan and promises that not David but his son would build the temple. Furthermore, God declares, “You want to build me a house, David? Instead of you building me an earthly house, I intend to establish for you a house that will last for ever.” David responds to this promise of God by exalting him and acknowledging that he is unworthy of such blessing. And so we, too, when we do not understand why the Lord leads us in the way that he does, humbly confess that his ways are higher than our ways. By faith we look beyond the earthly, to the eternal, confessing that all of our trials work to prepare for us our place in that “building of God.” Sing Psalter 367, vs. 1, 3, 4, and 5.

December 22 Read Psalm 72

Who Only Doeth Wondrous Things

David wrote Psalm 72 for Solomon, the son who would inherit his throne and build God’s temple. In the psalm David prays that God will bless his son with wisdom and establish his kingdom with peace. The psalm is not only prophetic of the splendor and the prosperity that characterized Solomon’s reign, but also, and more importantly, it is a Messianic psalm that celebrates the glory of Christ’s kingdom and exalts him as Lord of all. He is the one who was born a helpless human infant, but he is also the one to whom all rulers and governments are subject, the one who will defeat all those who live in defiance of him. Did you read about yourself in this Psalm? You and I are mentioned along with all of God’s elect in verses 13 and 14: “He shall spare the poor and the needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence…” The climax of the Psalm is a doxology that is familiar to many of us: “Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen!” Resist the tendency to sing this doxology mindlessly Lord’s Day after Lord’s Day. Instead, sing from the heart praise to him who worked the most wondrous work of your salvation! Sing Psalter 195.

December 23 Luke 1:26-38

Behold the Handmaid of the Lord

The period that preceded the birth of Jesus Christ was a difficult time for the people of God, a time characterized by waiting for the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. It was a time when the Jews chafed beneath Roman rule, and the leaders of the visible church had split into sects that distorted the gospel and exploited God’s elect. It was at that time when the angel Gabriel appeared to young Mary, hailed her as one “highly favored,” and revealed to her that God had chosen her to be the mother of his son. Mary’s humble reaction to the angel’s astonishing message exemplified her faith in God and her acceptance of his will: “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” No doubt Mary faced scorn when it became apparent that she who was unmarried was with child; no doubt she battled fear as she endured the pangs of birth on a crude stable floor; no doubt she experienced tremendous grief as she watched her firstborn son suffer untold agony and die a shameful death. And yet, by grace, Mary esteemed the praise of God more than the approval of men. We live at a difficult time for the true church of Jesus Christ. Ours, too, is a time characterized by waiting for the coming of our Lord. It is a time in which the kingdom of the Anti-Christ gains power at unprecedented speed and the visible church grows increasingly apostate. At this time our God comes to us in his word, salutes us in Jesus Christ as those who are highly favored (Ephesians 1:6), and calls us to walk the path that he has chosen for us, no matter what the cost, for his name and kingdom’s sake. It is by grace that we respond, “Here I am, thy servant, Lord. Be it unto me according to thy word.” Sing the Song of Mary.

December 24 Read Isaiah 11:1-10

Glorious Rest

It is the time of the year when the world makes much ado about promoting peace and good will. It is the time of the year when even those who deny the birth of Christ feverishly occupy themselves with gift-giving and merry-making. Indeed, at no time of the year are those around us busier than during the “holiday season.” Strikingly, it is also the time of the year when people are most likely to suffer depression, to commit suicide. The Christian, looking through the spectacles of Scripture, understands the reason for the hopelessness experienced by so many, for the gods of possessions, food, family, or holiday cheer are unable to fill the void in the heart of a man, nor can they instill in him the joy and the security for which he longs. And yet, you and I, who are God’s people and know his grace, are not immune to sadness, even as we commemorate our Savior’s birth. Perhaps your heart is aching from the loss of a loved one, or maybe your body is weary with age or disease. You may be downtrodden by the demands of day-to-day life, the difficulties of your vocation, or the burden of anxious cares. To you, dear child of God, comes the promise of the kingdom of our Messiah, that root of Jesse, and his glorious rest. For there God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the things of this earth will have passed away (Rev. 21:4). Sing Psalter 198.

December 25 Read John 1:1-14

And The Word Was Made Flesh

In simple language the inspired apostle John unfolds the profound mystery of the incarnation. Jesus Christ, the Word, is God, and he was before the beginning, and in the beginning. The word was promised at the Fall when man became darkness, and that Word shone in the darkness of the Old Testament types and figures, prophecies and promises. The Word is the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham; he is the one who alone is able to change us who are deceivers to spotless children of the King. The Word is the one who has established the house and the throne of David forever, the offspring of Jesse who grants his own glorious rest. And the Word is the firstborn son of the young virgin, Mary; he is God, made an infant. God, come to dwell in the world that he created and that he upholds only to be rejected by its inhabitants. Child of God, are you filled with wonder at God’s grace today? The mighty God who spoke the universe into existence was made flesh! The son of God became the son of man, that the elect children of men who were darkness might also become the sons and the daughters of God. Stand in awe today as you behold the glory of the Word. Sing Psalter 289:1-7, 18.

December 26 Read Isaiah 44:1-8; 21-23

Beside Me There is No God

Many mainstream churches today follow the trend that promotes tolerance of all faiths. Indeed, there are even some who call themselves Christians but concede that other religions—Islam, for example—are legitimate and even admirable. We believe God’s word that beside him there is no God, and we confess that apart from Jesus Christ there is no hope of eternal life. And yet, we also make idol gods. How easy it is for us to love money and to devote ourselves to obtaining more and more material possessions. Then, in times of economic instability, we are tempted to turn to the government to help us maintain our standard of living. When we or one that we love is sick, we can be prone to place our trust in modern medicine. We indulge in self worship when we pursue our own desires, disregarding God’s law and hurting our neighbor. In addition, there is a tendency among our own circles to worship the god of family, for how often do we not expend ourselves for the welfare of our blood relatives while neglecting God’s church or failing to show hospitality to other saints in our own congregations? In Matthew 10:37 Jesus declares, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Our God Jehovah must be our only God, for it is he who has formed us and blotted out our transgressions. Pray that you will walk worthy of your Lord today! Sing Psalter 233:5 and 6.

December 27 Read Hebrews 1:1-12

Let All the Angels of God Worship Him

Several days ago we considered a passage in which the angel Gabriel appears to the virgin Mary, and more than likely you have recently heard or read Luke 2, the chapter in which the angels appear to the shepherds, announcing the birth of the Savior and praising God in chorus. We, who are earthly, can be fascinated by angels. What does the Bible teach us about angels? Angels are not the cheery, haloed creatures that perch atop Christmas trees and adorn holiday greeting cards. They are the servants of Jesus Christ, who are sent forth as messengers to execute God’s divine pleasure. How humbling to read that God uses the powerful, intelligent angels to serve us, who, although sinful, are the heirs of salvation (Verse 14). Angels rejoice at the conversion of the sinner, and it is they who bring the souls of believers to heaven. Angels are holy, but they are not all-knowing or all-powerful; therefore, they, with us, praise God and worship his son. Perhaps God reveals little to us about angels because he knows that we might be tempted to make idols of them. This was the apostle John’s response in Revelation 22: “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” Today, God’s angels continue to fight for the cause of his elect. Why do they not come unto us with messages from above? Because God in these last days speaks unto us by a far superior means: by his son, through the preaching and the reading of his word. Give praise to him! Sing Psalter 405.

December 28 Read Galatians 3:7-16

In Thee Shall All Nations be Blessed

We who are members of the Protestant Reformed Churches are familiar with God’s covenant promise to Abraham as it is recorded in Genesis 17:7: “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.” What a beautiful promise God has given to us who are believers and to our children! How can we, who are not physical descendants of Abraham, claim that covenant promise as ours? Through Jesus Christ, who is the seed of Abraham. For by faith we are justified and redeemed by the death of Jesus Christ, through whom the blessing of Abraham comes upon God’s elect from all nations. Even before Isaac had been born, God promised Abraham, “A father of many nations have I made thee.” Notice, God speaks in the past tense, for in eternity he chose a church composed of people from all nations and throughout all of history. He chose you, and he decreed your race and the culture and the time in which you live to his glory. And so also, he saves his children from the Philippines, from Singapore, from Africa, from India, from Mexico… Praise him in whom all nations of the world are blessed! Sing Psalter 399:1, 2, and 4.

December 29 Read Matthew 2:1-11

There Came Wise Men from the East

Several weeks from today, a new president will take the oath of office in the nation in which we live. As immorality increases in the United States and throughout the world, we may become troubled as we speculate what might happen in the years that lie ahead. Our God calls us to rest in the knowledge that he is in control of all of the course of history, and he will see to it that all rulers perform his pleasure (Isaiah 44:28). What is the pleasure of the Lord? As we saw yesterday, he is pleased to gather unto himself an elect people from all nations and from all time periods in history. At the time when Jesus was born in Palestine, great civilizations thrived in the East, in China and India. We might wonder, what was the purpose of God with these millions of people who followed a false religion and seemed to live in total darkness, even as his son walked upon the earth? And then we read in God’s word, “There came wise men from the East…” Do not fear for the church of God as the end of time draws closer and sin and sinful men abound. Though God’s people be nothing more than a remnant, all kings and all nations are but tools in the hand of the Lord to bring his elect to salvation. Sing Psalter 200.

December 30 Read Revelation 22:1-5; 12-17

Let Him That Heareth Say, Come

Yesterday we briefly considered God’s purpose with the nations of the earth in which we live; today we read about that eternal kingdom where Jesus Christ sits on the throne. There the curse of God that came upon creation in the Garden of Eden no longer exists, and the presence of God remedies all former sorrows and sicknesses. In the year that now has almost passed, the purposes of God in the building of his kingdom have been accomplished, for never is his will thwarted. Always his counsel is fulfilled. In all that happened in the year gone by, Jesus Christ was marching, for he comes quickly to judge the works of men and to establish his kingdom. The prayer of the Holy Spirit and of his bride, the church, is that he come. Is that your personal prayer, child of God? Does your day-to-day life witness that you are not a citizen of this world but that you desire that your Lord come? We know from God’s Word that Christ’s coming is heralded by difficult times for the Church and unsurpassed misery in creation. God will use that persecution and tribulation just as he uses the sorrows and the trials that we face already today: to work in our hearts a more fervent desire that his kingdom come. And so, let our prayer today and every day be: “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!” Sing Psalter 302.

December 31 Read Psalm 90

So Teach Us to Number Our Days

Brothers and sisters in the Lord, the ungodly around us will usher in the new year with reveling and drunkenness. How foolish they are to celebrate, for the passing of another year only brings each man closer to the day in which he will stand before the living God and give account of all that he has done. What a terrible moment that will be for the reprobate, but for us, who are redeemed in the blood of the Lamb, what a glorious moment that will be, the moment in which we are changed in the twinkling of an eye from death to glory. And so we, too, celebrate today. We celebrate, and we come before God with the humble of prayer of Moses in Psalm 90, “So teach us to number our days.” We come before God with that prayer, for we know that he is the one who has determined the length of our days. In his wisdom he has determined the number of days necessary to prepare each of one of us for our place in glory. That time for our life may be less than a day, or it may be a year. It may be sixteen years, fifty-one, or ninety-five. But no matter how long we might live, our life is like the grass, which flourishes and then quickly withers away. “We spend our years as a tale that is told.” And so, our prayer is that God will make us aware of the brevity of our life, that in each and every day that he gives us, we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Sing Psalter 244.

Devotional by Chester Hunter

January 1 Read Jonah 1:1-10

There is much instruction to be found in this book of prophecy. Here we see that God will show us the way we must go. We also must see that we must listen to him. God will also use us to testify and witness to the heathen about his sovereignty. That sovereignty is one of his greatest attributes, and it is one that men wish to ignore. As we go through this new year> and life, let us see God and bow before his power. Sing Psalter 255:1-3.

January 2 Read Jonah 1:11-17

In this passage we see God’s sovereignty in nature. Man could do nothing against the storm God had sent upon them. God calmed the waves and sent a fish for the sake of his gospel. As you study the human body remember that God prepared that body as a temple for our souls. Disease, a picture of sin, can only do to that body what God wills. Even as we marvel at God’s wonders in the outside world, we must take time to wonder at his wonder the human body. We were curiously made. How is speech possible? How can we learn to sing different parts? As the Belgic Confession in article two states, we are taught by the creation. Man is the crown of that creation. Sing Psalter 241:1-3; 7-9.

January 3 Read Jonah 2

Today’s passage is a little longer but it needs to be read in its entirety. It is a beautiful prayer uttered by one who has seen his sin and has repented. Read it again really see its depth. And then remember to pray without ceasing. Sing Psalter 209:1-4 and 11.

January 4 Read Jonah 3:1-5

The word of God never goes away from him void. We do not know how the preaching affects everyone. We do not know how our responses affect those with whom we come into contact daily. But God will use even those contacts for his glory. We must continue to stand for the truth and receive God’s blessing. Jonah did not like what happened to Nineveh. But it was God’s will, and with Christ we must say, Thy will be done. Sing Psalter 195.

January 5 Read Jonah 3:6-10

As I said yesterday God’s word does not return unto him void. He heard Jonah’s prayer and he heard the cries of Nineveh. Of course this does not mean that every one was saved. But every one of God’s people was. God is gracious to us; that we must remember. He will care for us in every situation. Sing Psalter 187.

January 6 Read Jonah 4:1-5

God was not finished with Jonah’s education yet because Jonah was not ready to learn. Jonah did not want Nineveh to repent. Jonah thought he knew what was best. If Nineveh was destroyed, God’s people would be safe from attack. But this was not God’s way. Israel needed the correction that would be supplied by Assyria and there were God’s people to be found in Nineveh. We too must learn to wait on Jehovah. We must not make our ways his ways, but we must make his ways our ways. This takes grace and we must pray for it. Sing Psalter 73:1-3 and 6.

January 7 Read Jonah 4:6-11

As we finish this short book, we must remember that it is prophecy. It is not just a nice story. It is not just some interesting history. Christ used this account to show that his resurrection was possible. The Jews of his day did not believe. What about us? Do we cling to Christ and the truths about him, or do we still want to do things our way. Let us not have to learn as Jonah did; let us learn by faith in God and his son our Lord Jesus Christ. Sing Psalter 308.

January 8 Read Malachi 1:1-5

Malachi is an interesting book. It was the last written during the Old Testament times. It was written to a people beset with wickedness especially among the class of the priests. But there was a faithful remnant. And there are some gems written to them and for them. We have such a gem in verse 5. Jehovah’s name will be magnified when Christ returns. All shall see him and must confess that he is God. This is comforting for us to know. We can look for his return in faith and know that he is God. Sing Psalter 398.

January 9 Read Malachi 1:6-14

Malachi, in this part of chapter one, lays out one of the evils in Israel. They were not honoring Jehovah in their manner of worship. God has clearly laid out in Scripture how he is to be worshipped. Even as we show honor to earthly leaders, we must show honor to God. Even as there is a certain protocol to follow with earthly leaders there is a protocol to follow with God. Now we do not have the ceremonials as the Old Testament Jews did, but nonetheless there is a certain “way” to worship God. That way is in the way of reverence and following what he has prescribed in Scripture. We call that the regulative principal of worship. God took his worship away from the Jews and gave it to the Gentiles as we read in verse 11. He will do the same to us if we do not honor him in worship. Sing Psalter 246:1, 2, and 5.

January 10 Read Malachi 2:1-6

While these verses are directed directly at the priests, they apply to all believers. We, in the office of believer, occupy the priestly office. God’s covenant of life and peace is found with us. It is a covenant in which we are called to walk in a certain way. We are enabled to walk in that way. By walking in that we find life and peace. It is not a condition to walk; it is a commandment. We must walk with the law of truth in our mouths. This has many implications for us in our daily walk. Let us consider how we must walk and then let us walk in truth. Sing Psalter 336.

January 11 Read Malachi 2:7-12

Verse 10 explains to us why the church must be multicultural. We have one Father. God created all the races. Out of those races he gathered a church, the body of his dear Son. As we live in this world we must not shun or ignore others because they are different than we are. This is hard for us. By nature we wish to only associate with those who are like us. I am glad that we have been part of a family that for a long time has done this. We truly must live this way since we are part of the “holy catholic church.” Sing Psalter 176.

January 12 Read Malachi 2:13-17

Divorce is ugly. God shows this to us over and over in the Bible. The picture of Christ and his church is evidence of this as well. Christ will never divorce his people. But some that appear to be his people for a time, definitely divorce him. He is faithful to us and we must be faithful to him. In this negative passage we see the beauty of marriage. God has made two, one. In that unity is the beautiful picture of Christ and his church. Look at verse 17 once more. Here we see a snapshot of today’s world. Every one decides what is good and evil. They do this about government, about life, and especially about marriage. Let us honor our bridegroom with a holy attitude toward marriage. Sing Psalter 360.

January 13 Read Malachi 3:1-6

There are several interesting verses in this passage. The first three deal with both John the Baptist and Jesus. For a stirring rendition of this text listen again to the “Messiah” versification. It really makes you think about life on this earth. Then, we see in verses 4-5, Christ’s work for us. He loves us, cares for us, and makes us pleasant in God’s eyes. Finally we have the verse of hope in verse 6. God will not change. Even our most sinful acts will not change his love for us. Thanks be to God. Sing Psalter 403.

January 14 Read Malachi 3:7-12

We see in this portion of Scripture that Israel was like us. We, too, can think only of ourselves and not of what God has commanded. We quickly can think that we do not have anything to give to the church collections. We need to think about verse 10 again. In thinking about verse 10, we will see the blessedness of our heavenly Father from whom all blessings flow. God’s people do not want, of that we must not doubt. We also have the promises of verses 11-12. Sometimes it is hard for us to see where he is leading us in earthly things, but we must remember that the true path is to heaven. Sing Psalter 24.

January 15 Read Malachi 3:13-18

Once again we see a passage divided into two parts. It is the second to which I wish to call to your attention. First of all verse 16. God’s people are called to speak to one another. This may be personally which was the only way in Malachi’s day. Today, however, it could be by email, texting, Facebook, or any of the other means. This should not take away the personal, however. Also the text refers to the study of God’s word. Our contact must include this. We have many more opportunities to do this. Even these short missives would qualify. Then there is verse 17. God’s people are his Jewels. He is making them up into his crown even as a jeweler would fashion gems into a crown. What a blessed thought that is for us! Let us live lives of thankfulness for being made jewels in the crown of the King of Kings! Sing Psalter 349.

January 16 Read Malachi 4:1-6

The book of Malachi ends with this beautiful chapter. For the people of Israel, it was 400 years later until Gabriel appeared to Zacharias. We, too, wait for the next word from God. That Word which will be the return of Christ. Like Israel of old, we must watch for the signs. They are all around us. As we wait for the Son of Righteousness to come again, let us watch daily. Let us live lives in expectation of him and let us remember the Law of Moses. Sing Psalter 29.