Daily Meditations for April

April 1

Psalm 22:15

    Down unto death Thou leadest Me,
    Consumed by thirst and agony;
    With cruel hate and anger fierce
    My helpless hands and feet they pierce.

Such is our versification of Psalm 22:15 where David wrote: "My strength is dried up like a potsherd; my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and Thou hast brought me into the dust of death."  Plainly here we have a prophecy of Jesus' words on the cross: "I thirst."

It is, however, interesting to note that in John 19:28 we read it like this, "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst." Undoubtedly, then, He spoke these words after the three hours of darkness and His cry, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" For John states that the Scriptures were fulfilled; and His suffering the hellish agonies fulfilled the requirements for our salvation. He had completely suffered the wrath of God against our sins, and began to feel the miseries of His body again. For almost twenty-four hours He had not had a drop of water to drink while under tremendous physical strain.

What an example we have here! By some it is claimed that Jesus cries of thirst for God's fellowship. However, John points to the fact that all was accomplished. The agony of being forsaken of God is past. We should, therefore, see that Jesus rates the spiritual suffering of being forsaken of God above His physical miseries. Not till all the misery of being forsaken of God is past does He become aware of His bodily woes.

Are you ready to put the spiritual first? Can you put your physical, material needs behind you to seek and enjoy the spiritual things of God's kingdom? Is God's love to you more important than this world and its gold and silver and fleshly pleasures? Are first things first in your life? Remember that Jesus told us first to seek the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness. A good example He certainly reveals here to us.

Read: John 19:25-42
Psalter versification: 47:8

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 23
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Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism


Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
Deuteronomy 18; Deuteronomy 19; Deuteronomy 20
Luke 9:28-50
Psalm 73:1-28
Proverbs 12:10


Quote for Reflection:

  … We were all lost in Adam; and therefore, had not God, through his own election, rescued us from perishing, there was nothing to be foreseen. -- John Calvin

April 2

Psalm 16:10

The child of God not only believes what has taken place, but also what surely will take place in God's appointed time. He also sings of this in our versification of Psalm 16:10 in these words:

    I know that I shall not be left
    Forgotten in the grave,
    And from corruption, Thou, O Lord,
    Thy holy one wilt save.

David states it this way, "For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thy holy one to see corruption" Psalm 16:10.

These words contain a truth that we should hold to especially on the day between Jesus' death and resurrection. For the word "hell" is here more clearly translated as "grave." And the word "for" reveals that here we have the reason for David's statement in the preceding verse that "My flesh shall rest in hope." When we die, our flesh rests in hope of being raised again. For we believe in the glorious truth of Christ's death and resurrection as our covenant Head. On Crucifixion Friday He had triumphantly cried out, "It is finished." Our salvation was purchased. God's Son had earned it for us!

Therefore, today, no matter what happens and how badly our bodies are ravaged by disease, wasted away by fierce fevers, crushed and even blown to pieces by an explosion, or burned by fire, we have hope that our bodies will not remain in their graves, but be raised and be like the glorious body of Christ, incorruptible, immortal, powerful, spiritual, and honorable.

What a blessed truth then the cross and death of Christ presents us! What a blessed hope we have because of that work finished on the cross! Because our justification was finished, our glorification is absolutely sure. Our hope is not a wish, but it is a confident expectancy based upon the word of our God, Who cannot lie, and upon a finished work that gave us the right to it.

Let this blessed significance of what took place almost two thousand years ago be with you today and every day, so that you can close your eyes in sleep of death with this blessed hope of waking up in heavenly glory.

Read: Psalm 16
Psalter versification: 28:4

 Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 370
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
Deuteronomy 21; Deuteronomy 22
Luke 9:51-62; Luke 10:1-12
Psalm 74:1-23
Proverbs 12:11


Quote for Reflection:

"Apart from the church, salvation is impossible" -- Martin Luther (Luther’s Works, vol. 21, p. 127).

April 3

Psalm 98:1

Three short words, spoken the day Jesus rose from the dead, should have tremendous significance for us today. The angel said to the women who came to Jesus' open tomb, "Fear not ye." The soldiers appointed to watch the tomb were so frightened when the angel appeared, that they fell to the ground as if they were dead men. And they had reason for fear. The women, however, because they were of Christ's sheep, had reason to sing:

    Come, let us sing before the Lord
    New songs of praise with sweet accord;
    For wonders great by Him are done,
    His mighty arm has vict'ry won.

And the angel had told them this as well, for he said, "He is not here. He is risen as He said." The psalmist had stated this prophetically in Psalm 98:1 with these words, "O sing unto the Lord a new song: for He hath done marvelous things: His right hand, and His holy arm, hath gotten Him the victory." Yes, it was a victory over sin and death.

When sin is conquered, death is destroyed! When guilt is gone, punishment vanishes into thin air. And Christ, as God's holy arm, removed that guilt by His death. Christ, as God's right hand, had broken the shackles of death and the grave, because our sins were paid for in full. What a victory! What a day to remember with songs of praise to God!

As Paul wrote in Romans 4:25, "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised for our justification." And the word "for" means "because of" or "on account of," so that it was on account of our justification that He was raised. He was not raised in order to justify us, but because He had done so.

The world has its Easter rabbits and Easter eggs which have nothing to do with the removal of sin. They in no way even suggest this marvelous work of God accomplished through the cross of His Son. They sing the old song of sin that Satan gave them to sing, turning their thoughts away from Christ and His cross.

Fear not ye, but sing this new song of a glorious victory over sin.

Read: Matthew 28:1-10
Psalter versification: 264:1
Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 207
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
Deuteronomy 23; Deuteronomy 24; Deuteronomy 25
Luke 10:13-37
Psalm 75:1-10
Proverbs 12:12-14


Quote for Reflection:

            What a high relationship is that of a son to his father! What privileges a son has from his father! What liberties a son may take with his father! and oh! what obedience the son owes to his father, and what love the father feels towards the son! But all that, and more than that, we now have through Christ. "Behold!" ye angels! stop, ye seraphs! here is a thing more wonderful than heaven with its walls of jasper. Behold, universe! open thine eyes, O world. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God."   --Spurgeon

April 4

Psalm 119:1

From a spiritual point of view there are only two places to walk. We either walk in God's law, or we walk outside of that law. Men who, in the early days of our country's settlement, lived outside the laws of men were called outlaws. But Scripture calls those walking outside of God's law transgressors or trespassers. For sin is always a going into places where our feet may not go, or, from another point of view, it is a passing over the line drawn by God.

The psalmist puts it this way in Psalm 119:1, "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord." And did you notice that walking outside of God's law causes one to be defiled?

It is not simply a case of being where we ought not be. It is a case of having a blemish, a mark of imperfection. When we sin, we lose our clean slate and get a mark of guilt upon it. That is why our versification of this Psalm has:

    How blest the perfect in the way
    Who from God's law do not depart.
    Who, holding fast the word of truth,
    Seek Him with undivided heart.

Our flesh does not agree with these words. For our flesh it is bliss to walk in sin. And we will, if we only can, go as far away from God's law as we can. The sad truth is that we are always happy when we are breaking God's law. For our flesh, to walk in God's law is boring. How much, for example, does not the Sabbath day deny our flesh! How much more pleasure do we not get when we disobey the authorities put over us?

But the word of God stands! The only place where we will have and enjoy that which is truly a blessing is to be in the sphere marked off by God's law. And that sphere is that of walking in love to God and to the neighbor.

Walk in love to God, and you will enjoy God's love for you. Walk as His Son did, and you will know the joy of what that Son did for you. Only while walking in the light can you enjoy it.

Read: Psalm 119:1-16
Psalter versification: 321:1

Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 310
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
Deuteronomy 26; Deuteronomy 27
Luke 10:38-42; Luke 11:1-13
Psalm 76:1-12
Proverbs 12:15-17


Quote for Reflection:

"As a believer, my whole life is covenant life. God is my God, not only on the Sabbath, but also through the week; not only in my worship, but also in my work; not only in my devotions, but also in my marriage and family; not only as regards my church life, but also with regard to my behavior to the State, to my employer, and to my neighbor. The friendship of God lays claim to everything, controls all, and shows itself everywhere. It makes a radical difference in the believer's experience and behavior. On the one hand, he possesses joy, contentment, and hope. On the other hand, he walks in holiness." --   Prof. David Engelsma

April 5

Psalm 119:2

Many words are used in Scripture to call attention to the great significance of God's law for us. A very unique and interesting one is found in Psalm 119:2. There we read, "Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and seek Him with the whole heart."  The ten commandments are called God's testimonies.

Did you ever think of God's law that way? A testimony is a statement a witness makes in court. And it makes no difference whether you think now of the ten commandments, or, as Jesus gave it to us in a few words, that we love God and for His sake love our neighbor, the testimony of His law is that He is God.

One fundamental truth that runs through God's law is that He, and He only, is God and must be served by all continuously. Does not the law begin with the words, "And God spake all these words saying, I am the Lord thy God"? And the first commandment therefore calls to us and tells us: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

That He alone is God you must say with your whole heart and in every deed you perform, whether it be of the mind, will, or strength. That is why we must heed what we sang yesterday, namely:

    How blest the perfect in the way
    Who from God's law do not depart,
    Who, holding fast the word of truth,
    Seek Him with undivided heart.

For our heart is the spiritual control center of our being. It determines what every member and faculty of our being performs. Out of it comes every deed that we perform.

Let me counsel you, therefore, to live according to and to keep God's testimony that He is God. Hold fast His word of truth and not Satan's lie, as Adam did and led us into the curse. Follow in the steps of Christ, Who is the last Adam; and then you will enjoy the blessedness that He realized for us. He kept God's testimonies and called Him God in all His deeds, even while suffering hellish agonies on His cross. And now He is living proof that they who serve God with their whole heart are blessed and will receive everlasting glory in God's kingdom.

Read: Matthew 5:1-20
Psalter versification: 321:1

Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 120
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
Deuteronomy 28
Luke 11:14-36
Psalm 77:1-20
Proverbs 12:18


Quote for Reflection:

 "For everyone to be admitted to the Lord’s Supper, without distinction or selection, is a sign of contempt that the Lord cannot endure. The Lord himself distributed the supper to his disciples only. Therefore anyone not instructed in the doctrine of the gospel ought not to approach what the Lord has instituted. No one should be distressed when his Christianity is examined even down to the finest point when he is to be admitted to the Lord’s Supper. It should be established as part of the total state and system of discipline that ought to flourish in the church that those who are judged unworthy should not be admitted" --John Calvin (Calvin’s Ecclesiastical Advice, pp. 154-155).

April 6

Psalm 119:5, 6

When one is in a strange city and desires to find a certain building, or park, or any other point of unique interest, one does well to follow carefully the instructions given and the signs that mark the way.

And to enjoy true, lasting blessedness, we must follow God's law as the compass to bring us there. When God's testimonies tell us to go north, and we go east, west, or south instead, we will not reach that blessedness. It is for that reason that the psalmist in Psalm 119:5-6, cries out, "O that my ways were directed to keep His statutes. Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all Thy commandments."

Here we find another word for God's law, namely, statutes. And statutes are things fixed or established, some thing decreed. Here it is that which is decreed for God's image bearer to perform here on this earth.

If we turn to our Psalter versification, we find this interesting interpretation:

    My wav'ring heart is now resolved
    Thy holy statutes to fulfill;
    No more shall I be brought to shame
    When I regard Thy holy will.

How true it is that we have wavering hearts that do go south, east, and west, when God orders us to go north. But also how true it is that by God's grace, our ways begin to be directed to keep His statutes. And then we are not brought to shame. The idea is that, no longer foolishly disregarding God's statutes, we are not walking in a way wherein we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. Depart from God's statutes and we walk foolishly as well as sinfully. Then shame must cover our faces. Have respect to God's commandments, and there is no need to be ashamed of our deeds.

Will you, when you go to bed tonight, be ashamed of your walk? If so, then make this prayer of the psalmist yours, "O that my ways were directed to keep His statutes."

The word respect literally means look. Do that. Look at God's compass, and then go with it and not against or away from its reading. Arriving at the blessedness at the end of that way, you will not be ashamed and disappointed but reach everlasting joy and gladness.

Read: I John 2:18-29
Psalter versification: 321:3

Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

 Song for Meditation: Psalter number 123
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
Deuteronomy 29; Deuteronomy 30
Luke 11:37-54; Luke 12:1-7
Psalm 78:1-31
Proverbs 12:19-20


Quote for Reflection:

That man is truly humble who neither claims any personal merit in the sight of God, nor proudly despises brethren, or aims at being thought superior to them, but reckons it enough that he is one of the members of Christ, and desires nothing more than that the Head alone should be exalted.   -- John Calvin

April 7

Psalm 119:7-8

Plant a live seed properly, and you are going to see results. Plant an assortment of seeds, and each one will bring forth its own kind of plant with its own peculiar leaves, flowers, and fruits. So it is when God plants in us the new life of Christ. Then a life that keeps God's statutes will appear.

The psalmist in Psalm 119:7, 8 says this in these words: "I will praise Thee with an upright heart, when I shall have learned Thy righteous judgments. I will keep Thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly." And the point is that when God gives us an upright heart, by implanting the life of Christ in us, we are going to do what Christ did. We are going to be plants whose leaves are God's statutes, and whose flowers and fruit are praise to God. And by keeping God's statutes our deeds speak louder than our words. They too say that God is God alone, and that we are His humble, willing servants. These flowers, this praise, will be seen in us.

Now it takes the seed of that new life to make us learn God's commandments and to call them righteous judgments. Having the life of Christ we say with Him that what God judges to be right is right, and what He judges to be sin we condemn and hate with Him.

Still more. If we really have that new life in us, we will delight so much in it that we will pray to God that He never take it from us. Our Psalter versification has it beautifully this way:

    To Thee my praise shall rise
    When I thy righteous judgments learn:
    Forsake me not, but be my guide,
    And from Thy truth I will not turn.

There you have it! Knowing God's law because we have been given an upright heart, we will want God to continue to be our guide. We will not want Him to forsake us, that is, take away that new life in Christ from us. But we will want to be led ever more deeply into keeping His law, and into praising God.

How about it? What leaves, flowers, and fruit does your life display? Do your actions say that you want God to be your guide, or is it more delightful to have Satan mislead you?

Read: John 15
Psalter versification: 321:4

Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 354
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
Deuteronomy 31; Deuteronomy 32:1-27
Luke 12:8-34
Psalm 78:32-55
Proverbs 12:21-23


Quote for Reflection:

… although the satisfaction of Christ, the mediator of our sins, is perfect, yet all do not obtain deliverance through it, but only those who believe the gospel, and apply to themselves the merits of Christ by a true faith.  -- Zacharias Ursinus

April 8

Psalm 14:2-3

Do you realize that there is not one basic truth of Scripture that we must believe, if we are to understand and appreciate our salvation, that is not taught in the book of Psalms?

One of these is the very humiliating truth that we come into this world spiritually dead. Not spiritually sick, weak, or paralyzed but DEAD, which means that we must be given a new life before we can even want to be saved. For God clearly teaches this in Psalm 14:2-3, where He tells us, "The Lord looked down from Heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy; there is not one that doeth good, no not one." Notice that all are gone aside and become filthy — and the Hebrew word here means that they stink like a dead body— and that there is not one that does good. Had man kept just a little spiritual life, he would have performed at least one good work.

But here is the truth God told Adam before he fell. He would die the day that he sinned. That day he did not die physically, although death began in his body, but he did die spiritually that day. And that is why Paul writes in Ephesians 2:1 that God quickens — that is, makes alive those dead in trespasses and sins.

Remember that when you sing the versification of David's words:

    From righteousness they all depart,
    Corrupt are all, and vile in heart;
    Yea ev'ry man has evil done;
    Not one does good, not even one.

Hold on to that truth. Ours was a complete loss. We lost all ability to love God and serve Him. We do not help God save us. He even has to give us the desire to be saved. For dead men do nothing, even as children contribute nothing to their conception or birth. They neither ask for it nor help make it possible.

Take that truth with you today. Let it humble you before God and help you to be thankful for what He has done for you. How much is it not then that we owe Him? By all means do not think that we help God and let Him save us. Dead men have nothing to say about what happens to them.

Read: Psalm 14
Psalter versification: 23:3

Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 55
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
Deuteronomy 32:28-52
Luke 12:35-59
Psalm 78:56-64
Proverbs 12:24


Quote for Reflection:

But as far as it is a symbol of our confession, we ought by it to testify that our confidence is in God’s mercy, and our purity in forgiveness of sins, which has been procured for us through Jesus Christ; and that we enter God’s church in order to live harmoniously with all believers in complete agreement of faith and love.  This last point was what Paul meant when he said, ”We have all been baptized in one Spirit that we may be one body." (I Corinthians 12:13).  -- John Calvin, (Institutes of the Christian Religion)

April 9

Psalm 98:1-2

It would not only be unfair but plainly untrue to say that although Jesus healed many of their painful diseases, He never raised one person from the dead. Scripture clearly ascribes to Him the resurrection of Jairus' daughter, of the widow of Nain's son, and of Lazarus.

Yet it is not a rare thing today to hear men deny that God raises us from spiritual death. Man, they say, did not die spiritually, when he fell in paradise. He still kept the ability to want salvation, before God caused him to be born again with a new spiritual life.

Actually this is an attempt to rob God of His glory. It paints a picture of God wherein He is less glorious than He is in the picture Scripture gives us of Him. But listen to what God says Himself through the psalmist in Psalm 98:1-2: "O sing unto the Lord a new song: for He bath done marvelous things. His right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory. The Lord hath made known His salvation: His righteousness hath He openly showed in the sight of the heathen."

Note that we are to sing a new song, a song we just could not sing and did not want to sing because we were spiritually dead. God did a marvelous thing when He made us spiritually alive again. He has gotten the victory, and the point is that we were fighting Him and did not want salvation. Being spiritually dead we could not want to be given love for Him.

Rather than to try to rob God of one bit of His glory let us:

    Sing a new song to Jehovah
    For the wonders He hath wrought;
    His right hand and arm most holy
    Triumph to His cause have brought.
    In His love and tender mercy
    He hath made salvation known,
    In the sight of every nation
    He His righteousness hath shown.

Robbing the neighbor of some of his goods is one thing. How much more vile and godless is it to try to rob God of some of His glory? Let us confess that He has done that marvelous thing of causing us to be born again with a new spiritual life. Let us say with Jesus that except God gives us spiritual life, we cannot even see the Kingdom of Heaven, and surely cannot then want it (John 3:3).

Read: Psalm 98
Psalter versification: 261:1

Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 9
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
Deuteronomy 33
Luke 13:1-21
Psalm 78:65-72
Proverbs 12:25


Quote for Reflection:

“[In the second commandment] we see to what end ‘good intentions’ serve. For if there is anything which men are able to excuse in themselves, and do so well, it is the proclivity to conceive of idols, then say its only to worship God better and to be incited to greater devotion…God despises such ‘good intentions’ and pronounces a horrible sentence of condemnation on all who allow themselves to be governed by their own opinion…When it is a matter of worshipping God, we are not to give any attention whatever to our imagination. But we are to follow in all simplicity what he has ordained in his Word, without adding anything to it at all. For as soon as we fall away from that, however slightly, whatever case we might cite, and try to justify ourselves, God will surely punish us.” (John Calvin, Sermons on the 10 Commandments). 

April 10

Psalm 33:12

Did you ever hear of a dead man asking for something? Before he dies he may have chosen where he would be buried, and in what type of coffin. But after he died, he could not ask for a drink of water, ask to be brought back to life, or for that matter for anything of any person here below. And so it is with all of us who by nature were born spiritually dead. We cannot ask to be chosen, to be those God would save from their sins and bring to heavenly glory. Dead men do nothing.

God, however, chose some whom He would save, and to whom He would give spiritual life. The psalmist wrote of this in Psalm 33:12 in these words, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance." He chose us. We did not choose Him. By nature, being spiritually dead, we can only do what Adam and Eve did. We can choose to follow Satan in his lie and seek to satisfy our sinful flesh. But God chose to change us and to make us members of a nation that bows before Him and worships Him as their God.

Sing it then with the psalmist in our versification of his words:

    O truly is that nation blest
    Whose God before the world confessed
    Jehovah is alone;
    And blest the people is whom He
    Has made His heritage to be,
    And chosen for His own.

Here in the Psalms we read of the truth of predestination, the truth that God eternally chose some to make them spiritually alive, and as a kingdom or nation that loves and glorifies Him.

Surely we owe God everlasting thanks; and He owes us absolutely nothing. Keep that in mind all day. Give Him all the glory due unto His name. Confess Him to be the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the one Who planned all things and worked them out exactly according to that plan.

Do we not read in Ephesians 1:4 that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world'? Surely we owe God endless thanks.

Read Psalm 33
Psalter versification: 86:3

Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 76
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
Deuteronomy 34; Joshua 1; Joshua 2
Luke 13:22-35; Luke 14:1-6
Psalm 79:1-13
Proverbs 12:26

Quote for Reflection:

God's chosen ones are spoken of as "vessels of mercy." A "vessel" is not a fountain, but only a container and holder of that which is poured out into it. Such are the redeemed of God; they are not fountains by nature, out of whom there springs up anything which is good; they are simply receivers. At one time they are full of themselves, but grace empties them, and then as empty vessels they are set in the way of God's goodness; God fills them to the brim with His lovingkindness, and so they are proved to be the vessels of His mercy. They may as "vessels" afterwards give out what God has put in them; they may work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, but they cannot work it out unless God works in them both to will and to do of His good pleasure. They may run over with gratitude, but it is only because God has filled them with grace; they may stream forth with holiness, but it is only because the Lord keeps the supply overflowing. They are receivers and receivers only.  -- Charles H. Spurgeon

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Last modified, 22-Jan-2007