The Song of Zion
“A Psalter–Psalm Devotional of Praise to Our Sovereign Covenant God”
April 16 Read Acts 11:19-26
Psalm 51:13-15 David recounts two results of his return to grace. First of all, he will teach transgressors God’s ways. David must do this by experience. Words alone will not convince others in this case. We must walk a proper walk in order to show others the error of a sinful way. David realizes that sin is not the proper path of the child of God. We, too, must realize and live out of that truth. Secondly, David says that he will praise God through the use of song. This is a very proper way to show gratitude for deliverance from sin. Only a redeemed child of God can sing with the joy acceptable to God. We, the redeemed, must confess our sin and then open our mouths in praise to our heavenly Father. By this method God will turn sinners to his way. Sing Psalters 141:2, 142:3, and 144 1-2.
April 17 Read I Samuel 15:13-26
Psalm 51:16-17 David realizes that outward actions are not enough. Saul could never learn this lesson. He thought he could do wrong, make a sacrifice, and all would be well. That is not the testimony of Scripture. God desires a true sorrow of heart. We must empty ourselves even as Jesus did for us. We must put self last and God first. We must be content and accepting of the will of God for our lives. Like Samuel we must constantly say, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” This is the only thing that God desires. Outward sacrifices only pointed to Christ; they were not the way to salvation. Even as we prepare to worship on the Sabbath, let us make sure it is from the heart that we do all things. Sing Psalters 141:3 and 144:3-4.
April 18 Read Psalm 51
Psalm 51:18-19 David opened this Psalm with the truth of total depravity. By his experience he led us through the way of forgiveness. Now he closes with the truth that the whole way of salvation is unconditional. It is all of God. When God does his sovereign good pleasure in the church and in the heart of the elect, then He is pleased with the sacrifices that we offer. Cain did not understand this, Saul did not understand this, and there are many today that do not and will not understand this. Pray for God to do his good pleasure in your lives. This is a prayer that we must utter daily. Then and only then will our worship, whether in or out of church, be acceptable in his sight. Sing Psalter 141:4.
April 19 Read Psalm 52
Psalm 52:1 At first glance it seems peculiar to put the two thoughts together that we see in this verse. But yet when we consider what they say, we see that it shows off God’s goodness very well. Man by nature likes to do mischief. We see this in very young children, we see this in young people, and sad to say we see this in adults. This is not the innocent mischief, but rather an attempt to discredit either our brother or even God. On the other hand, God only knows good. He can only do good; He can only will good. That goodness is something that the child of God experiences daily. God does not play tricks on us. God loves us as a father loves his children. Stop and think of the numerous times you have experienced the goodness of God. Then stop and give thanks for that goodness, for His mercies do endure forever. Sing Psalter 145:1.
April 20 Read James 3:5-13
Psalm 52:2-3 The context of this Psalm is David fleeing from Doeg. David must feel that all is against him. In verse 1, he shows that even though man tries mischief against him, God is good. Today David confronts Doeg’s sin. Doeg had gone to Saul and reported what had happened at the tabernacle. This sin is not peculiar to the reprobate. This sin of using the tongue for evil rears its ugly head in the church. The church must not only combat those without who report evil against them. The church must also make it her business to stamp out the same evil within. Yes there are wicked out there trying to do us in. We must have two responses. First of all, we must remember that God is good. Secondly, we must root this sin out of our lives. Sing Psalter 145:2.
April 21 Read III John
Psalm 52:4-5 The apostle John had spent three years listening to the teachings of Jesus. He heard Jesus tell the parable of the wheat and the tares. John knew that there were wicked in the church and that it was by the will of God. He warned the church to whom he was writing about one of those wicked people. David, too, had that experience. He knew that there were those in Israel who hated him and hated God. We must also come to that realization. Satan works in the church to try to cause the people of God to fall. Like John and David, we have the comfort that God will deal with the wicked in his sovereign way. We must not despair; we must serve God and know that he will take care of us. Sing Psalter 145:3.
April 22 Read Micah 7:1-7
Psalm 52:6-7 We read this text, and we may get the idea that we can make fun of the evildoer or that God will allow us to see the wicked’s destruction. This is not always the case. We may see the wicked fall, but we must remember that it is only by God’s grace that we stand. We must be sobered at the sight of the wicked’s destruction. David is talking about a future time. David is not experiencing this sight now. We must wait for God’s time and realize that any reaction we have will be to give God the glory. Our reaction must be that we fall on our knees and thank him for the salvation He has wrought for us through Christ. Sing Psalter 145:4.
April 23 Read Psalm 1
Psalm 52:8 David now makes the comparison between the child of God and the wicked. After seeing the source of the wicked’s trust, David confesses that his trust must only be in the mercies of God. This was a mighty confession, seeing that David was fleeing for his life before Saul. David, even in that flight, saw the goodness of God’s mercy. David realized that God would bring him back to worship in the tabernacle. That was the only place where the fountain of God’s truth and mercy flowed. Is this our confession? Do we see that the church is the source of our election? The church is that source only because it is the body of Christ, not because of its earthly characteristics. Psalm 1 tells us about the blessed man. Can we take its words upon our lips? Do we want to take its words upon our lips? Sing Psalter 145:5.
April 24 Read Psalm 52
Psalm 52:9 The final verse of this Psalm is an exclamation of praise by David to our God. David realizes that this trial at the hands of Doeg has been ordained by his heavenly Father. He realizes that there is nothing else he can or must do but glorify God who reigns sovereignly above. In the second part of the verse, he says that he will wait upon God’s name. In the name of God, David and we can do all things. He says that it is good to do this. Is this our confession, people of God? Do we realize that all trials come at the hand of God, and that He will give to us the way of escape from them? Do we praise God in this realization? We must do that, you know. Remember to cast your cares upon him who careth for His people. Sing Psalter 145:6.
April 25 Read Psalm 53
Psalm 53:1 The word fool is a very strong word in Scripture. It is one which portrays a lack of knowledge about that which is godly. The book of Proverbs spends much time talking about the fool and the wise. This verse gives us a capsule definition of a fool. He is one that says that there is no God. A person who says this is a person who has no hope. He is on the way to hell. We must not lightly label someone a fool as Jesus tells us in Matthew 6. But yet we must never walk in foolish ways ourselves. We must never say there is no God. We must not say this with our mouths or show it in our lives. God does good—His good, and by that good, he saves us from our sins. Sing Psalter 146:1.
April 26 Read Genesis 6:1-8
Psalm 53:2 The passage we read for today gives to us the history before the flood. In that history, God found little good upon the earth. David saw that God looked down upon men in his day. God found little that was good then. What about today? Does God still look down upon us? He most certainly does! He looks upon our every work whether public or secret. He judges every work because He is the supreme judge. We know that he sees little good in the world around us. It just takes a little looking at a newspaper to see how depraved the world is. What about in our lives? Do we find “grace in the eyes of the LORD?” The answer is yes, we do. By the grace given to us by Jehovah we find grace. We need not fear a flood to destroy the world. God has promised that he will never destroy the world by that means again. We must however live in the realization that he is coming “to judge the living and the dead.” Sing Psalter 146:2.
April 27 Read Romans 3:10-23
Psalm 53:3 Paul quotes this text in his treatment of the doctrine of justification as we read today. Justification is that act of God in which we are declared righteous. To see how wonderful this idea is we must see what we were before being justified. According to this text and others like it, man by nature is dead in his sins. There is nothing that he can do to help himself out of sin’s mire. There is not one little bit of goodness in us that would help us to become saved. This has been an unpopular truth in the church world in the past and still is today. Man does not want to bow before God’s sovereignty and give to Him the honor He deserves for man’s salvation. Man in his “I’m great” attitude wishes to claim as much credit for himself as possible. Let us confess that we are nothing and God is everything. Only with this attitude will God be pleased. Sing Psalter 146:3.
April 28 Read Isaiah 43:22-28
Psalm 53:4 In this verse David talks about the wicked not calling upon God. What about us? Do we call upon God daily? Do we pray prayers that are pleasing in His sight? God gives us all things. He cares for us so that not even a hair can fall from our heads unless it be by his will. God gives to us salvation and will take us to glory at his time. Do we pray to Him? Do we call upon him often? How do we pray? Are our prayers reverent, or are they prayers like the Pharisees. Praying to God is the chief means of thankfulness that He has given to us. Let us pray often. Let us pray properly. When we do that we can be assured that God will bless us and take care of us. Sing Psalter 146:4.
April 29 Read Proverbs 28:1-10
Psalm 53:5 At the end of yesterday’s devotional, I stated that God would care for us. That truth is shown in verse 5 of Psalm 53. As David lived his life, he had many enemies who came up against him. David knew that these enemies were God’s enemies and were going against God. We must see that God’s enemies come up against us. Then we must see that God will fight for us in these battles. Only in this way will we find deliverance from the enemy who tries to defeat us. We can confidently call upon God knowing that he will protect us from all who seek to do us hurt. Sing Psalter 146:5-6.
April 30 Read Psalm 53
Psalm 53:6 Yesterday we spoke of deliverance from God. In today’s verse we see that it is sure. The salvation we seek comes out of God’s church. We may be captive under the powers of sin for a time, but like Israel God will deliver us from the Babylon and Egypt we face on this earth. This is certain as the verse states. We also see that the reaction of the child of God from such deliverance will be songs of joy to God. God has delivered us and is delivering us. People of God, are you singing? Are you singing the songs of Zion which make us glad? These are not the man-centered songs of the world. These are the songs which give to God all the glory and honor due his name. Sing and be glad, people of God, for our God has delivered us from sin and from Satan. Sing Psalter 146:7-8.
Reprinted from May 1998.
Watching Daily At My Gates
The Song of Zion
“A Psalter–Psalm Devotional of Praise to Our Sovereign Covenant God”
Devotionals by Beth De Vries
May 1 Read Psalm 55:1-7
We cry to Thee, O Lord in our trouble. How often do we not feel the need to bring our many woes and trials before Jehovah! We have assurance in this Psalm that God will hear our cry and give ear to our prayer. We easily become overwhelmed in our troubles in this life, and these complaints we bring to our God. Our trust in God wavers when we become restless with moans and sighs. Is this good that we moan and sigh to our God who has given us life eternal? We know that we must trust in God to care for our problems; also that when we earnestly seek His presence in true prayer, he will hear us. Though our answer may not be what we want, may we rest in the Lord’s sovereign will. Sing Psalter 148:1.
May 2 Read Isaiah 66:5-14
The enemies of God and His church will continually oppress the righteous. They are quick to speak and attempt to bring the people of God low. The wicked will use all means in their power to afflict those that are precious in God’s sight. The Lord used these afflictions to teach his people to depend on Him. We see in this passage in Isaiah how the Lord will deliver his people from the hands of the wicked. The Lord shall be glorified in that His will will be completed when the wicked are brought to shame. The wicked love to see God’s people in distress but God will be the victor in the final battle. May we in confidence believe this truth. Sing Psalter 148:2.
May 3 Read Romans 5:1-5
We often find pain in our hearts and it seems so difficult to ease that pain. When we think of death from the earthly point of view, it is a horrible event filled with despair. We can quickly lose sight of Christ our Savior at these times and become as the ungodly. Psalter 148:3 brings out how we feel when we are overwhelmed by our troubles. May we then remember the comfort we find in the entire Bible as seen in Romans 5:1-5 where we see that God gives us these trials and tribulations to work in us patience, experience, and hope. May our tribulations throw us into the arms of our everlasting Savior Jesus Christ. Sing Psalter 148:3.
May 4 Read Psalm 116:1-9
The rest that we receive at the Lord’s hand is the natural result of our throwing ourselves into the arms of our Savior. In our text we see the distressed Psalmist calling upon God and being brought back to the place of rest. In Psalter 148 we sing of the Psalmist searching like a bird in flight for a place of rest and peace far away from the tumults of the world. When we turn to Psalm 116 we find that place of peace to be a gift from God. We are called to follow this up with a godly walk. As we remain close to our Lord, we will cast our cares and burdens on him and he will continually give us the rest which we desire. Sing Psalter 148:4.
May 5 Read Isaiah 4
We find many comforts when we are led to the place of rest. Isaiah speaks of the beauty that will be seen in that rest. The branch that gives us this rest is Christ our Lord and Savior; he produces the good fruit of the elect as is seen in Isaiah 4:2. This passage shows how the Lord will create a place of rest in mount Zion after purifying the church. There shall be a tabernacle, far better than the Old Testament type, which shall provide shelter for God’s people in their time of need. In the New Testament, this shelter is communion with God through prayer. We no longer need to go to the tabernacle to commune with God. We are called, however, to go to God’s house on the sabbath to hear His word preached to us. Christ and his body, the church universal, provide the place of rest in which we seek to be renewed from past battles and prepared for future ones. Sing Psalter 148:5.
May 6 Read Genesis 11:1-9
When we look at Genesis 11 and the history of the tower of Babel, we see how God allowed the wicked to progress in their ways. When he saw that they were advanced in their sins and attempting to be like unto Himself; then He confounded their speech and spread them throughout the earth. We read in Psalm 55:9, 10 how God confounds the wicked in their cities and allows them to increase in their sins. It appears as if he allows the wicked to prosper and increase but really they increase in wickedness and fill the cup of iniquity. God will judge them for their wickedness and cast them into eternal hell. We need to remember that when it seems as though the world’s swelling tide is about to overtake us. God is ever faithful and His judgement shall be just. Sing Psalter 148:6, 7.
May 7 Read Psalm 55:12-15
This part of Psalm 55 is not versified in the Psalter though it speaks about a unique type of situation. The passage describes a child of God betrayed by a hypocrite, one that was trusted and loved. The pain of being despised by one with whom we walked in the house of God and kept holy company is very great and bears upon our soul. This demonstrates how the true children of God will show themselves during difficult times in the church. It is not for us to judge the heart, for God knows the heart of all men and will have His justice known. We read of this in Romans 1:28-32.
May 8 Read Psalm 137
We read in Psalm 137 of the destruction of God’s enemies. The inhabitants of Babylon and the children of Edom are completely destroyed. This is the reward for their great sins. In this passage we see that God joys in His justice being accomplished even to the killing of the children. This judgment upon children demonstrates that we are all born in sin and responsible for Adam’s sin. This is similar to in Psalm 55:15 where the text reads “Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.” In contrast, Psalm 137 gives us the instruction to remember Jerusalem and God’s city as our chief delight. If we do this, all will be well with our souls. Sing Psalter 148:8.
Devotionals by Mike Feenstra
May 9 Read Psalm 55:16-17
In marked contrast from the previous verse, we read that David says, “As for me, I will call upon God.” And what a difference that is. When the wicked are punished by God with severe hardship or are frightened by the terror of death, they have nothing to turn to for lasting peace. They can only turn to the vain pleasures of this earth which are as the daffodil in the spring that fades away in a few short weeks. But for us it is different because we have the Word of God which stands forever. In that Word we are taught that we must pray to God when we are reproached and persecuted. When we do this, God will surely hear us and give us that eternal peace that passeth all understanding. Therefore, let us pray often, and let us follow David’s example in our lives by not only setting certain times to pray but also praying in our hearts throughout the day. Sing Psalter 150:3, 149:1.
May 10 Read Psalm 55:18
Are you aware that at this very moment many of our fellow Christians are being severely persecuted? Some of these fellow saints are under an oppressive government, and some are mocked by their pagan neighbors or even their own families. In fact, some of you may even be in these situations. What should you think in this difficult time? And for us in the U.S. and elsewhere, what should we think about the coming dark days of persecution? Our text for today gives the answer. When the powers of this world are arrayed in great numbers against us, we must understand that we already have the victory in the redeeming blood of Christ. Therefore, we can say with David that we are “delivered in peace” for we believe that because our Lord Jesus died and rose again, we will be brought into the everlasting peace of heaven. Sing Psalter 149:2.
May 11 Read Psalm 55:19
In this verse David continues to sound his confidence in God. In verses 16-23 he confesses several times that God will surely deliver him and judge the wicked. How could he have such confidence? The answer is that David believed in the Eternal Living God, the almighty creator and sustainer of the universe who has in his control everything in all the earth and in all of time. But we must remember that David not only believed that God was able to save him but that God was also willing to do it for him. This was David’s faith. He believed that the eternal, unchangeable God would certainly realize the promise of sending Christ to die for his sins. This is also our faith, although our faith by God’s grace alone lays hold on Christ’s finished work. Because God has given us this faith, we can believe that God will surely afflict and judge those men who mockingly persecute us while they themselves live in unthankfulness for their God-given success. Sing Psalter 149:3.
May 12 Read Psalm 55:20, 21
Do you know what the words, “…And break their plighted troth,” mean? How often do we sing these words of Psalter 149:4 without knowing their meanings? If we do not take a close look at these words we may think that the man in the stanza broke a decayed feeding trough of a horse. Therefore, we must understand the true meaning of the stanza by first studying the Psalm text and then the word meanings. The corresponding passage to stanza four is verse 20 of Psalm 55. There we read of an evil man (note that the “he” is not God) who broke an important pledge, a pledge to live in covenant friendship with his fellow saints. To break one’s plighted troth is to do as this man because a “plighted troth” means a pledged pledge. To break one’s pledge to live in covenant fellowship with one’s fellow saints is very displeasing to God. Therefore, let us not follow the example of this wicked man but rather keep the promises that we have made to our fellow saints. Sing Psalter 149:4.
May 13 Read Psalm 55:22, 23
As we near the close of this Psalm we must remind ourselves that David here is in a desperate situation. After crying out in verse 4 that the terrors of death were fallen on him, he asks God in verse 6 for wings like a dove so that he can fly away into the wilderness, far from his trouble. Truly, each one of us would ask the same thing if we were in his shoes. Yet, we must not seek to fly away from our troubles, but look to God as David does when he says, “Cast thy burden on the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.” By saying this, David confesses that God will give him the strength to bear his troubles. David here shows us the truth of Isaiah 40:31, that they who wait on the Lord shall mount up with wings as eagles. These are the wings of strength that only flow from the strength of Israel. With his strength, our burdens will never bring us down and crush us. Sing Psalter 149:5, 150:4.
May 14 Read Psalm 55:22-23
In our verses for today we see the great truth of the antithesis as it applies to the eternal destiny of the righteous and the wicked. In order to see this truth we must understand first that in Adam all men are conceived and born in sin. As such, man is wholly incapable of doing any good and inclined unto all wickedness. If a man is never delivered from this bondage, God will surely bring him down into the grave, or pit, of destruction. My fellow believers, we deserve to be brought down into that horrible pit, a pit from which no mere man can escape. Praise God, that He has sent his Christ to conquer the grave and reconcile His people unto himself, the rock. When the elect are in that Rock, they shall never be moved or utterly cast down into destruction. What a contrast this is to the end of the wicked. Let us thank God for that contrast! Sing Psalter 149:6.