Daily Meditations for April


April 21

Psalm 119:15-16

Actions speak louder than words. And proof that we have meditated in God's precepts is that we have profound respect for them. That is why, when the psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:13-14, "With my lips have I declared all the judgments of Thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches," he continues in verses 15, 16 with these words, "I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways. I will delight myself in Thy statutes: I will not forget Thy Word."

Now when he says that he will not forget God's word, he does not merely mean that he will keep that word in his mind, but that he will do what that word presents as man's calling. As our versification has it:

    Upon Thy precepts and Thy ways,
    My heart will meditate with awe;
    Thy word shall be my chief delight,
    And I will not forget Thy law.

Plainly, sincere and serious meditation in God's precepts will produce awe in us; and that awe will bring forth not only words that our lips utter, but works that reveal that we know what God demands of us.

For not forgetting His word is not merely being able to say what He says in it, but is doing what He demands of us. If we really stand in awe and have respect for God's precepts, we will have that law constantly before us as something we desire to do and keep doing.

What then does your walk of life say? The question is not what your lips say, even though that is important, and we must be careful what our lips declare. The question is, "What do your works say?" Do they say that you stand in awe before God's law, or that you do not delight in His statutes and have not meditated in His precepts? Do you, as Adam did, remember what God said but still go contrary to it?

Meditating in God's precepts we will know what is required of us in every circumstance of life. And if it is true that we rejoice in the way of God's testimonies, we are going to meditate in them, and by our deeds as well as by our lips declare that His testimonies are "wealth beyond compare."

Read: Matthew 5:21-48
Psalter versification: 322:4

 Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism


Song for Meditation: Psalter number 405
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Joshua 22:21-34; Joshua 23
Luke 20:27-47
Psalm 89:14-37
Proverbs 13:17-19


Quote for Reflection:

Homer C. Hoeksema on: "... with thee will I establish my covenant ..." (Gen. 6:18): "The covenant is altogether God’s work, unilaterally conceived, established, and realized. It is not dependent upon Noah’s choice, nor upon Noah’s work, nor upon Noah’s doing anything whatsoever. The Lord does not ask Noah, ‘Shall we enter into an agreement together? Shall we agree to be friends?’ He does not say to him, ‘I am willing to be your God and to be your friend, provided you are also willing and will obey and serve me.’ Not at all! The Lord simply comes to Noah, his covenant friend, with his divine word: ‘But with thee will I establish my covenant.’ All is of God. Nothing is of Noah" (Unfolding Covenant History, vol. 1, p. 304).

April 22

Psalm 117

In the book of Psalms we find the longest and the shortest chapters in the Bible. Psalm 119 is the longest, having 176 verses; and Psalm 117 the shortest, having only two verses. But do not brush this Psalm aside as having little to say to us. It presents to us a very, very important calling, one we must not for one minute forget.

Three times in this brief Psalm we are told to praise the Lord. That is a tremendously important calling for man who is made in the image of God. Did He not Himself say in Isaiah 43:21, "This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise?" And the psalmist calls our attention to the fact that all nations and peoples without exception must heed this call. He writes, "O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Praise ye the Lord" Psalm 117.

Consider that to praise God is to extol Him for His virtues. And it means that we tell Him that He is good. Praising God certainly includes telling other people how great and good He is. But praising Him means basically that we tell Him how good He is. Our Psalter versification states that clearly in these words:

    Praise Jehovah, all ye nations,
    All ye people, praise proclaim;
    For His grace and loving kindness
    O sing praises to His name.
    For the greatness of His mercy
    Constant praise to Him accord;
    Evermore His truth endureth;
    Hallelujah, praise the Lord.

Take note of the fact that we sing, "O sing praises to His name" and "Constant praise to Him accord." The idea plainly is that we must praise Him in our prayers as well as in our songs. It is one thing to sing about a person's virtues. It is quite another to go to that person and let him know your good thoughts of him. We are quick to attack some one with our words rather than to extol him for his goodness to us. We are quick to complain about God's works but slow to thank Him.

Speak to others about God's goodness, but by all means speak to Him and "Constant praise to Him accord."

Read: Psalm 147
Psalter versification: 315

 Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 58)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Joshua 24:1-33
Luke 21:1-28
Psalm 89:38-52
Proverbs 13:20-23


Quote for Reflection:

     "Some need to be whipped to church, while here is David crying for it.  He needed no clatter of bells from the belfry to ring him in, he carried his bell in his own bosom: holy appetite is a better call to worship than a full chime."   - C. H. Spurgeon, commentary on Psalm 84:2. 

April 23

Psalm 117

If there is one gift to God for which we should praise Him, it is the gift of His Son as our Savior. Quite naturally the Old Testament saints could not do that the way we can. For Christ was not yet born, and His cross had not yet become the altar on which He was sacrificed for our sins. Nevertheless in essence all the saints, from Adam onward and in every nation and people, did and should praise God for that precious, all-important gift.

Note once again that in Psalm 117 we are told to praise God for His merciful kindness and for the fact that His truth endureth forever. All of God's merciful kindness is in Christ. And the truth concerning Him and what He did for us will never wear out or become out-of-date.

What mercy it was for God to give up His only begotten Son Whom He loved with all His infinite being. How can we ever brush aside that evidence of God's mercy? How kind He was to place all the punishment which we deserve on His Son! How great then is that merciful kindness! So great it is that it will never run out but "endureth forever."

But note that linked with that mercy is His truth. Our versification explains this when it states:

    All men on earth that live.
    To God all glory give,
    Praise ye the Lord;
    His loving kindness bless,
    His constant faithfulness
    And changeless truth confess;
    Praise ye the Lord.

God is faithful, true to His word; and He is this because He is changeless. He is Jehovah, the I AM, Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Upon His word we can depend. His merciful kindness once bestowed upon us will never be removed. What a reason therefore we have for praising Him. And here in our versification is the beautiful explanation of our praising Him. It is ascribing all glory to Him. For praising God is telling Him that He is glorious. It is ascribing all glow to Him. And glory is the radiation, the shining forth, of virtue.

Praise Him then for supplying all your earthly needs; but by all means praise Him for the gift of His Son and the salvation in Him.

Read: Psalm 100
Psalter versification: 316

 Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 411)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Judges 1; Judges 2:1-9
Luke 21:29-38; Luke 22:1-13
Psalm 90; Psalm 91:1-16
Proverbs 13:24-25


Quote for Reflection:

the eunuch setteth Christ alone before his eyes. The eunuch knew before that there was one God, who had made the covenant with Abraham, who gave the law by the hand of Moses, which separated one people from the other nations, who promised Christ, through whom he would be merciful to the world. Now he confesseth that Jesus Christ is that Redeemer of the world, and the Son of God; under which title he comprehendeth briefly all those things which the Scripture attributeth to Christ. This is the perfect faith whereof Philip spake of late, which receiveth Christ, both as he was promised in times past, and also showed at length, and that with the earnest affection of the heart, as Paul will not have this faith to be feigned. Whosoever hath not this when he is grown up, in vain doth he boast of the baptism of his infancy. -- John Calvin

April 24

Psalm 80:1

Every smile does not reveal love. An enemy can smile at you because he got the victory over you and is happy about his victory. Satan often uses a "friendly" smile upon the face of one he uses to try to lead you into a particular sin and to depart from a particular truth of Scripture.

But when God smiles upon us, it is a manifestation of His love to us. And in Psalm 80:1 Asaph speaks of God's smile upon His people, when he writes, "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth." And rightly our versification has it this way:

    Great Shepherd Who leadest Thy people in love,
    'Mid cherubim dwelling, shine Thou from above;
    In might come and save us, Thy people restore
    And we shall be saved when Thy face shines once more.

God's smile is rooted in and caused by His love that brings us safely to a life of most wonderful, covenant fellowship with Him. And Asaph speaks of this when he calls God our shepherd Who leads us like a flock. For a shepherd cares for his sheep and strives to bring them where all is well with them.

Then too, that He shines forth from between the cherubim means that He smiles in a love that sent His Son to the torment of hell, that we might be led like a flock into the new Jerusalem and its glories. For those cherubim were on the covering of the ark, and it was on that mercy seat that the typical blood of Christ was sprinkled to cover our sins. And O how that death of Christ revealed God's love to us, and why God can smile down upon us, who by nature are vile, filthy sinners, worthy of being destroyed by Him.

Call then to that Shepherd, that Great Shepherd, on the basis of that cross of His only begotten Son. Never try to come to Him in any other way.

If you want to see and enjoy God's smile of love upon you, seek Him in the blood of His Son. If you want to live in the joy of having a Shepherd Who is leading you to glory, look to that cross of Christ.

Read: Psalm 80
Psalter versification: 220:1

 Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 14)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Judges 2:10-23; Judges 3:1-31
Luke 22:14-34
Psalm 92; Psalm 93:1-5
Proverbs 14:1-2

Quote for Reflection:

… Christians must receive and believe the gospel alone, as it is said: ‘Repent and believe the gospel.’ ‘That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.’ (Mark 1:15. 1 Corinthians 2:5) The sum and substance of the gospel, or of those things which are to be believed, is the Apostles creed. -- Zacarias  Ursinus

April 25

Psalm 80:3

A sheep is a very helpless creature and needs a shepherd. Especially was that true in the Old Testament dispensation when there were many wolves and lions in the vicinity, from whom the sheep needed protection. Yet today we are in a far more serious danger than sheep were in the day when Asaph wrote, calling God the Great Shepherd, "Turn us again, O God, and cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved" Psalm 80:3.

We have a wolf in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15) and a roaring lion (I Peter 5:8) seeking whom he may devour. The devil is an invisible enemy against whom we cannot stand in our own strength. What is more, we are so prone to stray where he lurks. We may bodily be in church, but with our minds we stray from Christ, our Shepherd. And we like to run after teachings and doctrines that satisfy our flesh and open doors for us to walk in the sins our flesh enjoys.

That is why Asaph calls to God to turn us, and, if you please, to turn us again, for we are straying so often and going where Satan wants us to be. We need to be turned and be brought back to the flock to feed in green pastures. Straying causes our backs to be turned to our Shepherd; and we cannot see His face shining with the smile of love. Instead we are doing that which greatly displeases Him.

We need to be turned, or as our versification has it, we must be restored. Remember what we sang yesterday?

    Great Shepherd Who leadest Thy people in love,
    'Mid cherubim dwelling, shine Thou from above;
    In might come and save us, Thy people restore,
    And we shall be saved when Thy face shines once more.

We must be restored in the sense that we must be brought back to the path of righteousness, where the light of God's smile falls. Because of His love, which is behind that smile, we will be turned back again to where we can see what He did for us in His Son.

Pray that you may be turned. But then thank Him for turning you again and for what He did in His Son.

Read: I Peter 5
Psalter versification: 220:1

Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 202)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Judges 4; Judges 5
Luke 22:35-53
Psalm 94:1-23
Proverbs 14:3-4


Quote for Reflection:

it is to be particularly noticed that David does not simply ascribe to God the afflictions under which he is now suffering, but acknowledges them to be the just recompense of his sins. He does not take God to task as if he had been an enemy, treating him with cruelty without any just cause; but yielding to him the right of rebuking and chastening, he desires and prays only that bounds may be set to the punishment inflicted on him. --  John Calvin

April 26

Psalm 80:4

That God is angry when we break one of His commandments we understand. That He is angry with our prayers is another matter. Yes, if we pray for sinful things it is understandable that God is angry; but if we pray for salvation, will God be angry'?

Yes, even that can make God angry. For not only are our best works — and that includes our prayers —. polluted with sin, but so often in our prayers our method and motive are wrong. We can pray to be healed from our sicknesses, not so that we can serve God more fully, but to seek the things here below.

No wonder then that Asaph in Psalm 80:4 writes "O Lord of hosts, how long wilt Thou be angry against the prayers of Thy people?" Consider that Asaph writes about God's people in the ten tribes who no longer went to God's temple in Jerusalem to pray there, but went to the two places where Jeroboam set up golden calves. Therefore our versification reads:

    How long, O Lord, wilt Thou disdain our prayer?
    For Thou hast fed us with the bread of tears,
    And bitter sorrow Thou hast made us share;
    The nations round us mock with scornful jeers.

Remember that God is holy and cannot be happy with any sin, no matter in what form it comes. Adam only ate a forbidden piece of fruit; but God sent death! But understand that God does not hate His people whom He gave to Christ, and for whose sins His Son died. But He is angry with our sins and often keeps us in difficult situations in order to turn us away from these sins, and to bring us where His face shines and we enjoy His smile. The ten tribes had to be captured and mocked with scornful jeers so that God's people in those tribes might be turned again to Him Who dwells between the cherubim on the ark in the temple in Jerusalem.

And we too so often need afflictions to bring us back to the Lord of Hosts, so that we may be where His face shines upon us. We need chastisement and as our Great Shepherd He supplies it. He does this because He loves us and intends to turn us and save us.

Read: Psalm 119:65-80
Psalter versification: 218:2

 Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 179)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Judges 6
Luke 22:54-71; Luke 23:1-12
Psalm 95; Psalm 96
Proverbs 14:5-6

Quote for Reflection:

… It seems to me that every person has his own sins that are particularly deadly to him and against which he must struggle. Frequently these weaknesses, because they are character weaknesses, are passed on to children. This is perhaps why the sins that in our children that make us the most angry are the sins that characterize us.                                                     

The only power to resist the evil in our natures is to be found in the cross. The cross is not only for forgiveness; it is also for holiness, because Christ died to merit a new life for us. And so we must go to the cross to obtain such strength as we need to fight successfully against the evils of our natures. We learn to pray, “Lord, create in me such a strong desire for thee that the desire for sin, always present in me, is overwhelmed by my desire for thee.” We long for greater sanctification.  -- Herman Hanko

April 27

Psalm 80:19

Although Asaph begins Psalm 80 by picturing God's church as a flock of sheep that He leads and protects, he changes the figure at verse 8 and now calls the church the vine God brought out of Egypt, placed in the promised land, and later afflicted grievously because the ten tribes had turned from Him. He speaks of the vine having its branches broken down, being wasted by the boar of the woods, burned with fire, and cut down. And in our versification it is presented thus:

    The branch of Thy planting is burned and cut down,
    Brought nigh to destruction because of Thy frown;
    The man of Thy right hand with wisdom endue,
    The son of man strengthen Thy pleasure to do.

We do well to remember Asaph's words which for the third time he writes in Psalm 80:19, namely, "Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."

That frown on God's face, which in verse 16 is called "the rebuke of Thy countenance," and the urgent necessity that we be turned again, both reveal that we deserve God's curse upon us, and are sinners who earned having awful punishment meted out to us.

Let us likewise not overlook the fact that Asaph repeats, "Cause Thy face to shine on us; and we shall be saved." We cannot turn God's wrath away; and our conversion is not a work that earns salvation for us. Our conversion is God's work whereby He turned us, and it is the evidence that He turned us, because He looks down upon us as those whose sins His Son has blotted out by His blood.

What a brilliant light in the darkness of the night it was when Jesus was born, and the glory of God shone down upon the shepherds! How bright the night became when Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration! God's face was shining on His church; and by the Spirit of His Son He turns us so that we can see and enjoy that salvation. We are saved by grace. God turns us because in Christ His face shines upon us.

Read: Lamentations 5
Psalter versification: 220:5

 Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 331)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Judges 7; Judges 8:1-17
Luke 23:13-43
Psalm 97; Psalm 98
Proverbs 14:7-8

Quote for Reflection:

"Each man's sin is the instrument of his punishment, and his iniquity is turned into his torment." -- Augustine

April 28

Psalm 119:18

There are in God's law some terrifying statements. He will visit "the iniquity of the fathers upon the children" who hate Him and show this by worshiping images; and He will "not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain."  But would you agree with the psalmist when in Psalm 119:18 he writes, "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law"? What is so wonderful about the ten commandments which limit us so severely as to what we may and may not do?

As the psalmist writes in verse 17, God must deal bountifully with us if we are to escape God's wrath and live in His word. Surely we can stand in awe when we see the terrible, everlasting punishment He metes out upon the sinner. But can we see something wonderful in the law itself?

Yes, there is something wonderful in God's law. It is, however, something that only one with whom God has dealt bountifully in His Son, Who died for the violations of His word, and by His Spirit has received a new heavenly life, who sees this. That something is that with our spiritual eye we see God in all His divine majesty. If the law of God shows us anything, it is that He is God, yea, a holy God Who will not wink at one sin! It holds before our eyes the truth that He is a sovereign God, Who owns every creature in heaven and on earth, and has the right to demand perfect, unceasing obedience before Him.

And do not forget that when God opens our eyes, we see with the psalmist that God must deal bountifully with us in His grace, if we are to keep His word and live. That law reveals to us that God must send His only begotten Son into hellish agonies to pay for our transgressions and earn for us a new life that can and will keep His word and bring us to a life of joy before His face in heavenly glory.

Sing it then with the psalmist in our versification:

    Thy servant, blest by Thee, shall live
    And keep Thy word with awe;
    Lord, open Thou my eyes to see
    The wonders of Thy law.

Read: Psalm 119:17-32    
Psalter versification: 323:1

 Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 357)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Judges 8:18-35; Judges 9:1-21
Luke 23:44-56; Luke 24:1-12
Psalm 99:1-9
Proverbs 14:9-10


Quote for Reflection:

"Like a good shepherd, Christ knows all His believing people. Their names, their families, their dwelling-places, their circumstances, their private history, their experience, their trials, - with all these things Jesus is perfectly acquainted. There is not a thing about the least and lowliest of them with which He is not familiar. The children of this world may not know Christians, and may count their lives folly; but the good Shepherd knows them thoroughly, and, wonderful to say, though He knows them, does not despise them." -- J.C. Ryle

April 29

Psalm 119:19, 20

In Psalm 119:19-20 the psalmist makes some very striking statements, and they all revolve around the truth which he states, namely, that he is a stranger in the earth. That does not simply mean that others here below do not understand him. That is true. But basically that he is a pilgrim and stranger here below means that his citizenship is in heaven, and that he wants to be loyal to his heavenly King. Taking that into consideration we can understand his striking statements such as, "Hide not Thy commandments from me," and "My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto Thy judgments at all times" Psalm 119:19, 20.

Can you honestly say that? In the measure that you can, you have assurance that your citizenship is in heaven. Those whose citizenship is only here below do not even want to read God's law, and they consider those who break the first table of it as pretty nice, decent, lovable people. Those who break the second table they try to defend. You will never hear them singing our versification — unless it is because they like the music — which solemnly declares:

    A pilgrim in the earth am I,
    Thy will to me reveal;
    To know Thy truth my spirit yearns,
    Consumed by ardent zeal.

The question is whether we can sincerely sing that. How often do you try to defend yourself in a violation of God's law'? How many neighbors and people with whom you work see you as one with citizenship in heaven'? And as one whose soul breaketh with a longing to be pleasing at all times to the King of that Kingdom of Heaven? Are you really a stranger in the earth, or does your speech and conduct mark you to all who see you, as one who is not a spiritual stranger to them?

Get down on your knees, as the psalmist did, and pray that God will not hide His commandments from you, that is, that He will reveal to you each step of the way in what direction you should go to please Him, and what words to speak that His glory may shine forth through you. Do that the first thing in the morning, so you know how to walk. Before you retire at night ask Him to show you your sins that you may confess them.

Read: Matthew 5:1-20
Psalter versification: 323:2

 Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 252)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Judges 9:22-57; Judges 10:1-18
Luke 24:13-53
Psalm 100:1-5
Proverbs 14:11-12


Quote for Reflection:

“Why, then, are we justified by faith? Because by faith we grasp Christ's righteousness, by which alone we are reconciled to God. Yet you could not grasp this without at the same time grasping sanctification also. For he "is given unto us for righteousness, wisdom, sanctification, and redemption" [I Cor. 1:30]. Therefore Christ justifies no one whom he does not at the same time sanctify. These benefits are joined together by an everlasting and indissoluble bond, so that those whom he illumines by his wisdom, he redeems; those whom he redeems, he justifies; those whom he justifies, he sanctifies.”  John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, 16.1

April 30

Psalm 119:21,22

It makes no difference in what form sin comes, it is always an act of pride. It is pride because sin always is rebellion against God. Every time we sin, we say by our deed that we do not need to obey God and please the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth. In effect we tell God to keep still and to mind His own business. That surely is an act of stinking pride.

No wonder then that God moved the psalmist to write in Psalm 119:21-22. "Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from Thy commandments.'' And these proud sinners are so ready to reproach and speak contemptuously of those who do keep God's law. For that reason the psalmist adds the prayer, "Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept Thy testimonies."

It is interesting to note that God's commandments are here called His testimonies. For each one of the ten commandments testifies that He is God and must be obeyed. It is also interesting that our versification rightly calls sin an act of hatred against God in these words:

    Thou dost rebuke the proud, O Lord,
    Who hate Thy holy name:
    But since I keep Thy righteous law,
    Deliver me from shame.

Now removing reproach and contempt means making it known that we are those who keep God's law, and are children whom He loves. And the idea then is not that he prays that God will make these sinners change their minds and speak favorably of him. Conversion and repentance in them he surely desires; but what he prays for here is that he may be assured of God's love, and have removed from his mind the idea that he is proud and foolish, when he walks in a way which he considers keeping God's law.

We need that badly today. We who hold on to the truth of God's word, condemn evil practices, keep the Sabbath holy, and worship the God of the Scriptures are painted black, ridiculed, called narrow-minded old-fashioned, conceited, and silly. And we, like the psalmist, need the assurance from God that we are redeemed by the blood of Christ and are walking in His footsteps and teaching.

Read: Psalm 39
Psalter versification: 323:3

 Daily  Meditations
 on the Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 162
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Judges 11; Judges 12:1-15
John 1:1-28
Psalm 101:1-8
Proverbs 14:13-14

Quote for Reflection:

The law may break the heart with fear; it is only grace that works that sweet humility that becomes joy to the soul as its second nature. It was the revelation of God in His holiness, drawing nigh to make Himself known in His grace that made Abraham, Jacob, Job and Isaiah bow so low.... It is the sinner basking in the full light of God’s holy, redeeming love, in the experience of that indwelling divine compassion of Christ, who cannot but be humble. Not to be occupied with your sin but to be fully occupied with God brings deliverance from self. Andrew Murray

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Last modified, 23-Jan-2007