Daily Meditations for February


February 11

MOUTHS FILLED WITH LAUGHTER
Psalm 126:1-3

Yesterday we were reminded of the fact that God is our Redeemer, and that we should praise and thank Him more emphatically in regard to the spiritual gifts of our salvation.

This truth is expressed again in Psalm 126:1-3, where the psalmist writes, "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord bath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.''

Although this captivity was physical, when the Israelites were taken into Babylon, the return, of which the Psalm speaks, was a type and shadow of our deliverance from the captivity and bondage of Satan. It was a picture of our redemption through the cross of Christ. And although the church's deliverance from the bondage of Satan does not in this life bring us all the joy that it should and calls for, we will in the day of Christ, when our bodies and souls together are freed from all sin and the curse, sing of this blessedness in these words:

That laughter, and that singing, give evidence that we have the beginning of that deliverance from Satan's bondage. And then, indeed, the Lord has done great things for us. Let your mind dwell on that spiritual deliverance today. The Captain of our salvation has wrought a wonderful victory for us. Let your mouth be filled with laughter that will not cease, but will in the new Jerusalem increase and never end.

Read: Psalm 126
Psalter versification: 357:1, 2

 

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism



Song for Meditation: Psalter number 53
Sing along!!

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Exodus 32 ; Exodus 33:1-23
Matthew 26:69-72 ; Matthew 27:1-14
Psalm 33:1-11
Proverbs 8:33-36

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Quote for Reflection:

     “As the saving doctrine of Christ is the soul of the church, so does discipline serve as its sinews, through which the members of the body hold together, each in its own place.”  -- John Calvin


February 12

WITNESSING OUR SPIRITUAL JOY
Psalm 126:1-3

The world may, and often does, ridicule God's church. Think of how the King of the church was ridiculed upon His cross. Think of how they scoffed at those upon whom the Spirit was poured out on Pentecost, accusing them of being filled with new wine. But there are also times when they have to and do admit what the psalmist says in Psalm 126:1-3, namely, "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion...they said among the heathen, the Lord hath done great things for them.'' And the idea is that the unbelievers also saw what God did for His church, and admitted it. One of our versifications has it thus:

    The nations saw with fear
    The light of God displayed,
    When He at last drew near
    To give His people aid:
    Great things for us the Lord has wrought,
    And gladness to our hearts has brought

This does not mean that today unbelievers will praise God and reveal faith in Him, when they see what He has done. His works they ascribe to their god, whom they call Mother Nature, or at times Providence. So often — and sad to say this even happens in the church -- they ascribe it to a god they call Luck.

Not only must we watch our speech and ascribe all things to Jehovah, the one and only true God, but we must fight against our tendency to keep silent, and to fail to witness and confess God to be the one Who is behind all that which takes place, not only in heaven, but also here on this earth.

Our calling is to rebuke the world for its language and unbelief. Our calling is to witness and let the world know that we are glad because of the work of salvation which God has wrought for us. Our calling is to say before the world, as the psalmist does, "The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.''

How glad are you for your salvation? How openly do you show that joy before the world?  Let your light shine before men. God may be pleased to use it to cause others to glorify Him with you.

Read: Joel 3
Psalter versification: 358:2

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism



Song for Meditation: Psalm 24 (Scottish Psalter)

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Exodus 34 ; Exodus 35:1-9
Matthew 27:15-31
Psalm 33:12-22
Proverbs 9:1-6

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Quote for Reflection:

God wants His people to know His counsel with respect to salvation and with regards to all things, in order that they may speak of it and be witnesses of His wisdom and power and absolute sovereignty.  Herman Hoeksema


February 13

DAILY CONVERSION ALWAYS NECESSARY
Psalm 126:4

Our sins have been blotted out. The cross has wiped them completely out of God's book. But until we die, we still have the old man of sin, and we also have the motions of sin in our flesh. Therefore, we so quickly go back to the sins from which we turned. We fall again into sin.

'The history of Israel reveals this so clearly. They turned to idolatry, and God sent them into the captivity in Babylon. There they repented, and God returned them to the promised land. It did not take long before they were back in idolatry. That is why the psalmist in Psalm 126:4 after speaking of the great things God did for them by returning them to Palestine, now prays, "Turn again the captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south." '  Our versification states it this way:

Did you notice that word ''again"?  It is used twice. And truly time and again we need to have hearts that are revived. We do, by God's grace, become sorry for our sins; but as Paul writes in Romans 7:19-24, "For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil that I would not, that do I. . . . O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

So it is, day after day.  We must flee daily to God and ask Him to turn our captivity, our bondage in sin and in Satan's clutches, and to turn us back to obedience and works of love to Him.

If we do not see this need, then it is even more evident that we have returned to the bondage of sin. Then the riverbed of service to God is dry, and we need the copious rain of God's grace and mercy to refresh us. If we do see this we will earnestly pray for the putting down of the old man of sin and the reviving of the new man in Christ. Do that. By all means do that today!

Read: Romans 7
Psalter versification: 358:3

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism

 

Song for Meditation: Psalm 36
Why not sing along?

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Exodus 35:10-35 ; Exodus 36:1-38
Matthew 27:32-66
Psalm 34:1-10
Proverbs 9:7-8

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Quote for Reflection:

Little did either David or Joab at that moment realize how completely they were misjudging the situation. They had both been much better off if they had stayed with their original inclinations, or better yet, if they had consulted more closely with God as they had in the early days of their labors.                         Rev. Woudenberg [SB – Vol.24, pg. 252]


February 14

A SURE SALVATION
Psalm 126:5

Be sure that you take the words of Psalm 126:5 in their context and setting. The psalmist writes, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." Scripture here does not teach us that there will be no crop failures for those who weep, for one reason or another, while they sow their seed.

The psalmist had been speaking about the sin into which we fall so easily because of our old man of sin, who is with us until the day of our death.  And he who in sorrow for his sins, with a soul that is weeping in sincere grief because he loves God, prays for conversion and deliverance from the bondage of sin shall reap in joy.   He will reap conversion and complete deliverance from sin in the day of Christ.

In that sense we may sing this versification:

    Although with bitter tears
    The sower bears his seed,
    When harvest time appears
    He shall be glad indeed,
    For they that in sorrow weep
    Shall yet in joy and gladness reap.

Here you and I have God Himself — for this is His Word assuring us that every sincere prayer for spiritual growth and full triumph over our sinful flesh will be fulfilled.  And, to return to the first part of the Psalm, great things will be done for us, and He will make us glad.

We can be sure that in the new Jerusalem our mouths shall be filled with laughter, and our tongues with singing. We will be like those that dreamed of heavenly blessedness and found that their dreams became true. For they were God-given dreams proclaimed in the gospel as it is in Christ.

The gospel is good news. The angel who told the shepherds of the birth of Jesus said "I bring you glad tidings of great joy.'' And because all the blessings of salvation, and all the glory of the kingdom of heaven is realized by Christ, the King of the church, the harvest will be full. Every elect shall reach it. Every elect child of God shall be given the full measure of glory designed for him. We shall reap the harvest which Christ has sown and comes to reap. Our salvation is sure because our Savior is the almighty God Who loves us and keeps all His promises.

Read: Jeremiah 31:1-17
Psalter versification: 358:4

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism

 

Song for Meditation: Psalm 315
Why not sing along?

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Exodus 37 ; Exodus 38:1-31
Matthew 28:1-20
Psalm 34:11-22
Proverbs 9:9-10

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Quote for Reflection:

    “If he died to expiate our sins, He reigns in heaven that He may apply the benefits accruing from that expiation to His people, and may thus bring them into the glory He has purchased for them.  If, says Paul, while we were enemies, we were reconciled with God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.  Christ no more died for us two thousand years ago at Calvary, than He now lives for us in heaven….We today, in the special trials to faith which an age of critical doubt has brought to us, need to keep in constant remembrance that our trust is put not in a dead, but in a living Christ—in a Christ who died, indeed, but whom the tomb could not retain, but lo!  He is alive for evermore.”  Hebrews 2:9 -- B.B. Warfield


February 15

A CALL TO PRAISE JEHOVAH
Psalm 117:1

Psalm 117 is the shortest Psalm and the briefest chapter in the Bible, consisting in only two verses, and in our translation having no more than thirty-three words. But size does not always indicate value. A small diamond is worth far more than a piece of coal that is ten times larger. And this Psalm, though very brief, expresses a very important truth.

In this Psalm the call comes to all men: "O praise the Lord, all ye nations: Praise Him, all ye people'' Psalm 117:1.   And to get the idea of its significance, listen to what we read in Isaiah 43:21 , namely, "This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise.''  Turn also to I Peter 2:9, where we read, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.''

Because of our sinful flesh, it may not seem important or delightful to praise God; but the three texts above reveal how important it is in God's eyes, and how much He delights in it.

God sent His own Son that a people might be formed to praise Him. He poured out the vials of hellish agonies, which our sins called for, upon that Son, in order that we might be called out of darkness into His marvelous light in order to praise Him. Having done all this He surely considers praise to His name important, and finds delight in it.

Well, therefore, may we sing this versification of the Psalm:

When all the work of salvation is completed in the day of Christ, our lives will be filled with praise to God. And how advanced we are in the blessings of salvation reveals itself in how greatly we delight in praising Him. Examine your life. Praise to God will reveal whether He is forming you for Himself, and whether you belong to that chosen generation, royal priesthood, holy nation, and peculiar people.

Read: Psalm 65
Psalter versification: 314:1

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism

 

Song for Meditation: Psalm 270
Why not sing along?

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Exodus 39 ; Exodus 40:1-38
Mark 1:1-28
Psalm 35:1-16
Proverbs 9:11-12

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Quote for Reflection:

         "That [the church] might not think that it was a matter of little or no importance that they gave encouragement to so great an evil, [Paul] shows the destructive tendency of indulgence and dissimulation in such a case. He makes use of a proverbial saying, by which he intimates that a whole multitude is infected by the contagion of a single individual."  John Calvin on I Corinthians 5:6 b


February 16

UNIVERSAL PRAISE OF GOD DEMANDED
Psalm 117

    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.

That is a very comprehensive call. "All men on earth'' excludes no one. The psalmist in Psalm 117 puts it this way, "O praise the Lord, all ye nations; praise Him all ye peoples. For His merciful kindness is great toward us; and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Praise ye the Lord " And although the reason for that praise is listed as the merciful kindness of God toward His church, that call comes to unbelievers as well.

The idea is not that only those who tasted that mercy are to praise Him for it. Nor does it mean that believers alone in every nation and people are called to praise God for His mercy. All men means all that live on this earth. Every living person must praise God for His mercy that is limited to His people.

Rightly understood, God's mercy is all concentrated and displayed in Christ. And no man is excused from praising God for sending Him to save us from our sins. And when He returns, all people in all nations will praise Him for His merciful kindness in Christ. From that day onward all finding fault with God by the unbeliever will be brought to an end. Then all shall confess Him to be God — which is an act of praising God — but also confess that He was mercifully kind to those whom He chose in Christ. Did not the rich man in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus by implication do so, when he asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers so that they could be taught that merciful kindness of God?

Here is an added reason, for those who tasted this mercy, to praise God. He has formed individuals and families to be the host that enjoys this loving kindness which He revealed and pours out through His Son.

All men must praise God for all His works. Do you do that, with gladness in your soul, for what He has done for you in His only begotten Son?  Every knee shall bow and confess that He is Lord. Have you done so today?

Read: Psalm 100
Psalter versification: 316

Song for Meditation: Psalm 25
Why not sing along?

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism

 

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today

Leviticus 1 ; Leviticus 2 ; Leviticus 3:1-17
Mark 1:29-45 ; Mark 2:1-12
Psalm 35:17-28
Proverbs 9:13-18

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Quote for Reflection:

   "The fashion now is to tolerate anything lest we gain a reputation of being intolerant. The tender-minded saints cannot bear to see Agag slain (see I Samuel 15), so they choose rather to sacrifice the health of the Church for years to come by sparing error and evil; and this they do in the name of Christian love. We are under obligation to disturb all seats of wickedness, and where this is done out of a sincere love for God and men, great good is bound to follow. No true work of God will suffer from the prayerful examination of Spirit-filled men. Timidity masquerading as love has allowed useless forms and unscriptural practices to persist in many a church till they have slowly smothered the life out of it and brought it to desolation ... We must not be afraid to inquire. The difficulty, of course, is to do this in a Christian spirit. It is hard to find fault without being a fault-finder or to criticize without being censorious." --Anonymous

 


February 17

ALL IS WELL
Psalm 117

Can you mention one work of God that does not call for praise? To praise is to commend, or to extol. And the idea is that we see good of one kind or another in someone or in something. To praise God is to see that He is good and that His works are not only without fault, but always serve a good purpose. In that light can you find one work of God that is not good?

Indeed, there are works of God that do not bring us what we judge to be good. He sends rain on the day we planned to have a picnic.  He lays us low with a painful disease. He snatches a loved one away from us by the cold hand of death.

The question is not, however, does this bring us what we call good? Rather it is, does this serve God in the fulfillment of His sovereign counsel? Can you name one work that delayed God in getting done what He planned for a particular moment? Does Paul not teach us that all things work together for good to those that love Him? What God wants done is what counts, not what our flesh craves. The minute we judge that God is not doing good, because His work does not serve our flesh, we, rather than praising Him, are denying Him the praise due to His name. Then we are praising our flesh and saying that God must be our servant, while our calling is to bow before Him and confess Him to be God.

But all is well and in the day of Christ we will see that everything that happened worked together for good, to bring us to the exact place in God's house that He eternally decreed for us, and that we owe Him everlasting thanks and praise, and that all His works were perfect.

There in God's house we will, from the bottom of our hearts, sing the versification of Psalm 117:1, 2:

Read: Psalm 145
Psalter versification: 315

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism

 

Song for Meditation: Psalm 72
Why not sing along?

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Leviticus 4 ; Leviticus 5:1-19
Mark 2:13-28 ; Mark 3:1-6
Psalm 36:1-12
Proverbs 10:1-2

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Quote for Reflection:

    ...We must warn against a light and vain and unworthy approach unto the Lord's Table. And we must urge believers who are worthy, to come with joy and gratitude, warning them against the evil of unwarranted abstinence.

— Monsma & Van Dellen, The Church Order Commentary (Art. 59)


February 18

CONSTANT COVENANT FAITHFULNESS
Psalm 117:1

One of the virtues of God that calls for praise from our lips is often kept in the background of our minds and not frequently expressed in our prayers and songs. That virtue is God's faithfulness. Yet all the good God does for us is there, because He is everlastingly faithful to His covenant promises given in Christ.

The idea expressed by the psalmist is that He is true to His word. He states it this way, "The truth of the Lord endureth forever."  And the versification of Psalm 117:1 therefore has it correctly when it states:

    His loving kindness bless,
    His constant faithfulness
    And changeless truth confess;
    Praise ye the Lord.

This fits in so beautifully when in the original we find, not, "Praise the Lord," but "Praise Jehovah."  That name literally means "I AM." There is then no change in Him. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Never does He say, "I was." Never does He say that He will be different from what He eternally has been. He has kept His word because nothing can make Him change His mind or will. What He eternally decreed, He will do. What He promised us in Christ will surely come to pass.

The things round about us keep changing. The seasons come and go. The sun rises and sets. The days, weeks, and years fly by and never return. But God is not only here exactly as He eternally was, but His thoughts and desires are eternally the same. He will fulfill every covenant promise in its smallest detail.

Praise Him then today for His merciful kindness; but have no doubt in your mind as to whether He will deal in loving kindness tomorrow and into everlasting life.

When sickness and disease come; when weakness and forgetfulness on your part manifest themselves; do not accuse God of unfaithfulness. Instead praise Him for uninterrupted faithfulness that will bring you through all these shortcomings and woes to what He promised in Christ.

Rest assured that His faithfulness will bring you to His kingdom, where you will faithfully sing His praises.

Read: Psalm 19
Psalter versification: 316

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism

 

Song for Meditation: Psalm 190
Why not sing along?

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Leviticus 6 ; Leviticus 7:1-27
Mark 3:7-30
Psalm 37:1-11
Proverbs 10:3-4

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Quote for Reflection:

    The Lord's Supper "is a visible sermon, wherein Christ crucified is set before us"  — Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, p. 165.


February 19

A TREMENDOUSLY IMPORTANT QUESTION
Psalm 15:1

From the days of our early childhood we learned by asking questions. But the answer had to be correct or we were deceived, and instead of being instructed we were misled. The question had therefore to be asked of one who had the correct answer, and could be trusted. And a most important question is the one we find in Psalm 15:1, namely, "O Lord, Who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?''

The significance of dwelling with God in His house is expressed in one of the versifications of this Psalm in these words:

We may note two words in this versification that explain the question. Dwelling in God's house is being His guest and enjoying a heavenly rest.

We all look for physical rest, for we are all weary, because we lie under the curse, having fallen into sin in Adam. And we all, therefore, consider the psalmist's question one of great importance. But consider it in the light of Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  Our deepest concern should be that heavy load of sin, which we carry with us and strive to get rid of and want removed. From that point of view we do have a tremendously important question.

Is that your question? So far today, how heavy has that load of sin felt? And do you really want to get rid of that load of guilt as well as that force of sin that is within you?

To be sure, you want to get from under the punishment of sin that has been upon this world since Adam fell. But do you want to get from under the power and drive of sin that is in your flesh?

You cannot be a guest in God's house as long as you walk in, think, and will sin. The question is whether your sins bother you. If they do, this question of the psalmist will be very important to you. If not, you will be satisfied to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Read: Psalm 15
Psalter versification: 24:1

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism

 

Song for Meditation: Psalm 412
Why not sing along?

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Leviticus 7:28-38 ; Leviticus 8 ; Leviticus 9:1-6
Mark 3:31-35 ; Mark 4:1-25
Psalm 37:12-29
Proverbs 10:5

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Quote for Reflection:

    “We must each of us, in our several places, serve the Lord and consecrate our service to Him, separate it from other things that are foreign and interfere with it, and direct and design it for the honor and glory of God. We must make the service of God our business, must fill our hands to the Lord, so the Hebrew phrase is. Those who engage themselves in the service of God will have their hands full; there is work enough for the whole man in that service. The filling of our hands with the service of God intimates that we must serve Him only, serve Him liberally, and serve Him in the strength of grace derived from Him.” --M. Henry


February 20

AN ONLY POSSIBLE ANSWER
Psalm 15:1

In reading and studying Scripture one must always take careful note of the words which God uses in the passage.  Scripture is His word, and we miss the message in the measure that we slide over any of the words which He uses.

In that important question in Psalm 15:1, ''Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?" we could easily slide over that word holy. But if we do, we will not understand the answer to that question that is given in the remaining verses of the Psalm. Because God's house is a holy house, we are given the answer that appears in the Psalm.

Look at the question and at the beginning of its answer as we sing it from our Psalter:

    Who, O Lord, with Thee abiding,
    In Thy house shall be Thy guest?
    Who, his feet to Zion turning,
    In Thy holy hill shall rest?

    He that ever walks uprightly,
    Does the right without a fear,
    When he speaks, he speaks not lightly
    But with truth and love sincere.

It is because God is holy, and we by nature are so unholy, that this is the only possible answer to that question the psalmist asked. Only the holy will be guests in God's house. And to be holy is to be like God, completely cut off from sin, and hating sin as completely as He does. Otherwise the door is tightly shut against us. There is no rest for us until there is no sin in us.

That blessedness is promised us, but surely not because we are worthy of it. Appreciate the fact then today that God's Son earned it for us, and that He has already begun the work of making us holy by implanting the seed of a heavenly life in us. As we read in I John 3:9, 'Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."  The new man in Christ is holy. He reveals this in his constant fight against the old man of sin.

Read: I John 3
Psalter versification: 24:1

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism

 

Song for Meditation: Psalm 149
Why not sing along?

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Leviticus 9:7-24 ; Leviticus 10:1-20
Mark 4:26-41 ; Mark 5:1-20
Psalm 37:30-40
Proverbs 10:6-7

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Quote for Reflection:

    “The worst enemies of the cross are not those who object to a crucified Savior, but those who deny that the cross and the sacrifice of Christ alone justify and save the sinner.” -- R.C.H. Lenski


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Last modified, 12-Jan-2007