Daily Meditations for March

March 21

Psalm 40:6,7

Depending on what day the moon is full, at that time of the year, the church observes either in March or April the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior. That day is usually called Good Friday. Its significance, however, is expressed far more fully and clearly if we call it Crucifixion Friday. And we do well to bear in mind that what happened on that cross of Christ, that Friday of which Scripture speaks, has significance for us every day of our lives. It is not the day that we observe but the work Christ performed on that day. For it brought us salvation. And though we have a Lenten Season, this work speaks of a constant, unending blessedness.

David spoke prophetically of it in Psalm 40:6,7 when he said, "Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast Thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me."

The idea here is not that God did not desire or find delight in the sacrifices and offerings of the Old Testament saints. He did, for they revealed their faith in salvation through the shedding of blood, and were types of Christ and His cross. But the idea is that these sacrifices were only pictures and did not take away as much as one sin. They pointed to a work of God that would blot out all our sins forever, and was required if we were to be justified before Him.

That is why David is speaking here of Christ when he says, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me."

Look then to Christ and see all those Old Testament sacrifices and offerings as pictures which God hung up to teach His people that Christ was coming, according to His book, or counsel, and would blot out all our sins. And in that light sing our versification:

Read: Matthew 26:36-46
Psalter versification: 111:4

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism


Song for Meditation: Psalter number 51
Why not sing along??


Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Numbers 32 ; Numbers 33:1-39
Luke 4:31-44 ;   Luke 5:1-11
Psalm 64:1-10
Proverbs 11:22


Quote for Reflection:

… as there is one God, the Creator and Father of all, so he says that there is but one Mediator, through whom we have access to the Father; and that this Mediator was given, not only to one nation, or to a small number of persons of some particular rank, but to all; because the fruit of the sacrifice, by which he made atonement for sins, extends to all. More especially because a large portion of the world was at that time alienated from God, he expressly mentions the Mediator, through whom they that were afar off now approach.

The universal term all must always be referred to classes: of men, and not to persons; as if he had said, that not only Jews, but Gentiles also, not only persons of humble rank, but princes also, were redeemed by the death of Christ. Since, therefore, he wishes the benefit of his death to be common to all, an insult is offered to him by those who, by their opinion, shut out any person from the hope of salvation.  -- John Calvin

March 22

Psalm 40:6

The reason, as we saw yesterday, why David in Psalm 46:6 said, "Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire: Mine ears hast Thou opened,'' is that the blotting out of our sins has two requirements. The everlasting punishment our sins call for must be suffered and brought to an end; and the ceaseless obedience He demands of us must be brought to Him in full measure.

This no man can begin to do. Only the eternal Son of God can bring an everlasting punishment to an end.  He only can bring a full measure of obedience for all of us to the Father. What a gift then it is that God gave as stated in John 3:16: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.''

How beautiful then are those words of our versification:

    The off'ring on the altar burned
    Gives no delight to Thee;
    The hearing ear the willing heart,
    Thou givest unto me.
    Then, O my God, I come, I come,
    Thy purpose to fulfill;
    Thy law is written in my heart;
    'Tis joy to do Thy will.

Can you say with David, "Mine ears hast Thou opened''?  From the day that man fell into sin, God said that He would crush Satan's head and save us from his power. In time He sent His Son to do this through His cross. In Ephesians 2:10, through the apostle Paul, He tells us that we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works,'' and not because of the good work of  believing in His Son.

Has He opened your ears so that you have heard this truth and received it into your heart? Have you heard Him say that Christ fulfilled all the conditions that our salvation requires?

If He has opened your ears, you will not boast of your works, but thank Him for a free gift. And your offerings will express that thankfulness. You will then say, ''All that I am I owe to Thee, Thy wisdom, Lord, hath fashioned me."

Read: Ephesians 2:1-10
Psalter versification: 109:1

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism


Song for Meditation: Psalter number 418
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Numbers 33:40-56 ; Numbers 34 ; Numbers 35:1-34
Luke 5:12-28
Psalm 65:1-13
Proverbs 11:23


Quote for Reflection:

… Every sin is so exceedingly sinful, that it cannot be expiated by the eternal destruction of any creature.  … It was proper, however, that this punishment should be finite in respect to time, because it was not necessary that the Mediator should forever remain under death; but it became him that he should come forth from death,  that he might accomplish the benefit of our redemption. -- Z. Ursinus

March 23

Psalm 93:1

You can suggest singing. You can even command it, as a choir director does when he gives orders to go back to do a line over to get it correctly sung. But you cannot make a sad person sing a joyful song. Singing expresses the condition of the heart. Singing is not merely making sounds with the vocal cords and lips. Sincere singing expresses what is in the heart. You have to have a reason in the heart to sing joyfully.

The psalmist had abundant reason, and therefore urges us to join him when in Psalm 98:1 he says, "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.''

What a reason that is for us to join him! Do I need to urge you to join with him in singing our Psalter versification:

    Unto God our Savior
    Sing a joyful song;
    Wondrous are His doings,
    For His arm is strong.
    He has wrought salvation,
    He has made it known
    And before the nations
    Is His justice shown.

Indeed, what a reason for singing! God's right hand and His holy arm has gotten Him the victory over sin and death! And that right hand and holy arm is His only begotten Son. He is now seated at God's right hand in our resurrected flesh. But in His person He is God, and the right and holy arm of God that saves us from sin and death.

What a wonder that salvation is, for we do not deserve it. In fact we deserve the opposite. What a wonder also, for His Son came to us by a virgin birth, and in that flesh brought an everlasting punishment to an end! The holy God dealt with an unholy people in most tender love and mercy!

Appreciate what He did for you. Thank Him for it. And sing a new song to Him in the season when we consider His Son's suffering for us. But also do that every day of the year. That salvation is a wonderful reason for singing His praises, and for singing joyfully.

Read Psalm 98
Psalter versification: 262:1

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism


Song for Meditation: Psalter number 404
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Numbers 36 ; Deuteronomy 1:1-46
Luke 5:29-39 ; Luke 6:1-11
Psalm 66:1-20
Proverbs 11:24-26


Quote for Reflection:

… that no doubt may remain, he employs the word good pleasure, which expressly sets aside all merit. In adopting us, therefore, God does not inquire what we are, and is not reconciled to us by any personal worth. His single motive is the eternal good pleasure, by which he predestinated us. Why, then, are the sophists not ashamed to mingle with them other considerations, when Paul so strongly forbids us to look at anything else than the good pleasure of God. -- John Calvin

March 24

Psalm 98:3

It is an amazing faith; and it ought to fill us with awe to notice what faith God wrought in His people years before His Son came in our flesh to save us. The psalmist in Psalm 98:3 writes, "He hath remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God."

If the saints in that day could speak and sing thus, is there not a more powerful reason for us to do so today? When, on this side of the cross of Christ, we see what awful, holy wrath God poured out on His Son, and hear Him cry out because of the hellish agonies He was suffering on that cross, feeling also the thick, intense darkness that for three hours covered that place where He hung, do we not have a much clearer and more powerful manifestation of God's mercy, and an undeniable reason to sing a new song unto Him?"

Mercy is kindness, pity, compassion. And if we consider what we deserve and was poured upon Christ, what kindness it was, what mercy upon us, when God poured all that agony on His Son, so that we might escape every single bit of it!

Long before that cross, believers in the Old Testament times spoke of God's mercy, when God delivered Israel from far more limited suffering that men tried to inflict upon them. Long before the Atlantic Ocean was crossed and the Americas were discovered, the saints sang that "all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.'' And today with the Scriptures translated into so many languages, the church being found in countless nations, tongues, and tribes, that salvation has truly been universally made known.

Shall we not then in the Lenten season, but also all the year around, loudly and lustily sing our Psalter versification:

    Truth and mercy toward His people
    He hath ever kept in mind,
    And His full and free salvation
    He hath shown to all mankind.
    Sing O earth, sing to Jehovah,
    Praises to Jehovah sing;
    With the swelling notes of music
    Shout before the Lord, the King.

Read: Matthew 27:33-50
Psalter versification: 261:2

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism


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

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Deuteronomy 2 ; Deuteronomy 3:1-29
Luke 6:12-38
Psalm 67:1-7
Proverbs 11:27


Quote for Reflection:

Martin Luther on love: “Mother love is stronger than the filth and scabbiness on a child, and so the love of God toward us is stronger than the dirt that clings to us. Although we are sinners, we do not lose our filial relation on account of our filthiness, nor fall from grace on account of sin…We must also have love and through love do to one another as God has done to us through faith. For without love, faith is nothing. You have a great deal to say of the doctrine of faith and love that is preached to you. Dear friends, the kingdom of God does not consist in talk or words, but in activity, in deeds, in works, and exercises. God does not want hearers and repeaters of words, but followers and doers, and this occurs in faith through love. For a faith without love is not enough…A Christian lives not in himself alone, but in Christ and in his neighbor—in Christ through faith; in his neighbor through love. Through faith he passes beyond himself into God, and out of God he passes again [into his neighbor] through love and ever abides in God and in Divine Love.”

March 25

Psalm 98:1,2

In our natural life it is so much easier to learn a new song than to learn an equal number of lines that do not have rhyme and rhythm. Yet to sing, as the psalmist exhorts us in Psalm 98:1, 2, 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. The Lord hath made known His salvation: His righteousness hath He openly showed in the sight of the heathen," is a most difficult thing to do. Note carefully that we are exhorted to sing of salvation and of God's righteousness.

Indeed, to sing this with the lips is not difficult. But to sing it with the heart and unto God is something else. Those two facts must be borne in mind. We must sing, with the heart and unto God, of the salvation we have in the righteousness of Christ, Who is God's holy arm.

This song is not new in that it has different music and has in it new thoughts that have not been sung before by others. God's work is unchangeably what He promised the day we fell with Adam into sin. Salvation is one sure work God's people have known since Adam and Eve heard it. But to sing of salvation with the heart is something new to him whose songs, as he is by nature, express the lust of his flesh, the lust of his eye, and the pride of life.

And even though we may know all about that salvation and righteousness of God, singing it to Him is not only difficult but, as we are by nature, impossible. We must be born again by His right hand to —

    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.

Be honest with yourself.  What is it you like to listen to over your radio, off the tapes and records which you buy? What songs rise up in your mind and do you sing at work and in the home? Is it Christ and what He did for us to bring us the righteousness of God? Do you sing of His cross?

Read: Psalm 96    
Psalter versification: 261:1

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism


Song for Meditation: Psalter number 188/89
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Deuteronomy 4:1-49
Luke 6:39-49 ; Luke 7:1-10
Psalm 68:1-18
Proverbs 11:28


Quote for Reflection:

       God has given us this Gospel not merely for the purpose of securing to us life hereafter, but of making sure of this life even now.  It is a true and sure Gospel; so that he who believes it is made sure of being saved.  If it could not make us sure, it would make us miserable; for to be told of such a salvation and such a glory, yet kept in doubt as to whether they are to be ours or not, must render us truly wretched.  What a poor Gospel it must be, which leaves the man who believes it still in doubt as to whether he is a child of God, an unpardoned or a pardoned sinner! Till we have found forgiveness, we cannot be happy; we cannot serve God gladly or lovingly; but must be in sore bondage and gloom…The Bible gives no quarter to unbelief or doubting.  It does not call it humility.  It does not teach us to think better of ourselves for doubting.  It does not countenance uncertainty or darkness.   --Horatius Bonar, “The Everlasting Righteousness,” pub. 1874

March 26

Psalm 69:1,2

We can understand Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane, and that His sweat fell as great drops of blood to the ground (Luke 22:44), when we realize that He stood at the top of the stairway leading down to hell; and He saw what He would have to suffer on His cross for our sins.

This is also expressed in Psalm 69:1, 2, where David, as the type of Christ, writes, "Save me O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me."

No wonder then that He prayed for another way to save us than this way of suffering God's holy wrath. His love for God made it so hard for Him to be cut off from God's fellowship that we can understand the versification:

    Save me, O God, because the floods
    Come in upon my soul.
    I sink in depths where none can stand
    Deep waters o'er me roll.

What agony He must suffer for us in His soul! Those floods of waters are the awful, holy wrath of God against sin. Jesus sees already that He will suffer that which will make Him cry out, "My God, why hath Thou forsaken Me?"

Even the anticipation of being forsaken of God was intense agony for Him. It was what God would take away from Him and not what men would do to Him that gave Him so much agony. He would not enjoy God's love, but be cut off from His fellowship.

But what does heaven mean for you and me? Is it merely being cut off from physical aches and pains, bodily miseries? Could fellowship with God, living with Him in His house of many mansions, seeing Him smile down upon us in His love be lacking, and we would still call it heaven?

When you pray, "Save me, O God," be sure that you are seeking joy for your soul, the joy Jesus spoke of when He said to the penitent thief, "Today shaft thou be with Me in paradise.''  The joy of being with Christ is heaven. To be cast away from God is the agony of Gethsemane.

Read: Psalm 69
Psalter versification: 184:1

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism


Song for Meditation: Psalter number 237
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Deuteronomy 5 ; Deuteronomy 6
Luke 7:11-35
Psalm 68:19-35
Proverbs 11:29-31


Quote for Reflection:

     Heeding Counsel: “The ungodly are ever ready to “counsel” the believer, seeming to be very solicitous of his welfare. They will warn him against being too strict and extreme, advising him to be broadminded and to “make the best of both worlds.” But the policy of the “ungodly”— i.e., of those who leave God out of their lives, who have not His “fear” before their eyes—is regulated by self-will and self-pleasing, and is dominated by what they call “common sense.” Alas, how many professing Christians regulate their lives by the advice and suggestions of ungodly friends and relatives: heeding such “counsel” in their business career, their social life, the furnishing and decorating of their homes, their dress and diet, the choice of school or vocation for their children.”   --Arthur Pink

March 27

Psalm 41:9

To have enemies who openly oppose is one thing; but it is quite another thing to have enemies with a false front. Satan as such an enemy approached Eve in paradise, thus also through Judas Iscariot he approached Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, and today attacks us through crafty, deceitful enemies.

We sing of that in our versification with these words:

    Yea, he who was my chosen friend,
    In whom I put my trust,
    Who ate my bread, now turns in wrath
    To crush me in the dust.

Or as David wrote it in Psalm 41:9, Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, Iiatli lifted up his heel against me.

Anger can easily arise in our souls when we read of the deceitfulness of Judas, when he betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Matthew 26:49). But the question is, "Are you angry with the devil? Do you loathe him, or consider him your friend?''

It is easy to be angry with Judas and stop right there. Satan who moved and used Judas seems like such a mystical being. We talk about him, and may even with the mouth condemn his works. Yet, do you see him as a person, and hate him as an enemy of Christ? Is he your friend or your foe?

The sad reality is that we are so often pleased with him and consider him as our friend. We like the things into which he leads us. Is he not the one who so often makes life enjoyable for us?

But remember that what he did to Jesus through Judas he is continually doing to us, and lifts his heel against us. He uses men who pose as Christians and lovers of Christ seemingly concerned with our spiritual well-being. Through them he comes with such crafty, subtle false doctrines. Is not the world full of doctrines, while only one is what God says?

Remember then Gethsemane and the treachery of Judas. Be on your guard and keep in mind that from the beginning Satan's approach and attack is deceitful. But remember too, that God used him to bring His Son to the cross for our salvation. Satan cannot win. God's counsel stands.

Read: Matthew 26:47-57
Psalter versification: 113:8

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism


Song for Meditation: Psalter number 381
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Deuteronomy 7 ; Deuteronomy 8:1-20
Luke 7:36-50 ; Luke 8:1-3
Psalm 69:1-18
Proverbs 12:1


Quote for Reflection:

Homer C. Hoeksema: "Paradise the first was an earthly picture of the heavenly paradise, the new and eternal kingdom of God in Christ. The first Adam was a picture of the second Adam: Christ, the head of the new, united creation. The midst of the garden is an image of God’s communion with man. The river is an image of the flow of life from God in Christ eternally to his people. The tree of life is a picture of the heavenly tree of life" (Unfolding Covenant History, vol. 1, pp. 113-114).

March 28

Psalm 69:21

Exhausted after not getting one wink of sleep the night before, having had a crown of thorns pressed into His brow, Jesus was weary and undoubtedly showed it upon His face. For we read in Matthew 27:34, "They gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall."

This was also prophesied in Psalm 69:21 where David spoke of his own persecution. There we read, "They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink''  These words are versified in our Psalter thus:

    They gave me gall for my food,
    And taunting words they spake;
    They gave me vinegar to drink
    My burning thirst to slake.

Outwardly to onlookers this might have seemed an act of mercy to a thirsty one; but the contents of the cup spoke of hatred and base cruelty. That gall and that vinegar revealed how bitter the hearts of those who gave them were toward God's Son, and thus toward God.

However, let it be borne in mind that Jesus had to taste far greater bitterness than all the men in the world could produce. Yes, He must suffer the hatred of man. That too is part of the punishment He must suffer for our sins. But this is only a small part of the punishment. All the bitterness of hell must be endured and brought to an end. And all that bitterness He must not refuse and spit out after tasting it. He must and did drink the full vial of God's wrath.

But because He did drink every drop of that bitterness, we will taste God's love and mercy. We will drink of the water of life, because God has through Christ and His cross prepared for us the fountain of everlasting life that will never run dry.

Though we in this life will know the bitterness in men's hearts that makes peace on earth impossible for man to realize, we will have peace on earth, because we already have peace with God, and soon will enter a world that has no gall or vinegar, but has joys and blessings to taste and enjoy without end.

Read: Matthew 27:29-38
Psalter versification: 185:7

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism


Song for Meditation: Psalter number 187
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Deuteronomy 9 ; Deuteronomy 10:1-22
Luke 8:4-21
Psalm 69:19-36
Proverbs 12:2-3


Quote for Reflection:

    For inasmuch as it (baptism) is given for the arousing, nourishing, and confirming of our faith, it is to be received as from the hand of the Author himself. We ought to deem it certain and proved that it is he who speaks to us through the sign; that it is he who purifies and washes away sins and wipes out the remembrance of them; that it is he who makes us sharers in his death, who deprives Satan of his rule, who weakens the power of our lust; indeed, that it is he who comes unto a unity with us so that, having put on Christ, we may be acknowledged God’s children. — John Calvin, The Institutes

March 29

Psalm 22:12-13

A camera was unknown in the day when Jesus was nailed to His cross. What happened there, however, is pictured by words which God gave to man to write. There must have been a large crowd and shameful noise!

Our Psalter versification, where David paints a picture of his own experiences as a type of Christ, expresses it thus:

David says it in Psalm 22:12, 13 with these words: "Many bulls have compassed me; strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and roaring lion."

What an awful picture! And remember that it is the Son of God hanging there on that tree, one Who never committed one sin, and had done so much good: healing the sick, casting out evil spirits, and preaching the gospel of God's kingdom. It is not putting it too strongly with David to say that beasts, strong bulls, and roaring lions attacked Him.

No man can touch or see God. But when God came into our flesh, man revealed clearly, and painted an awful picture that clearly reveals, what he thinks of God. Yea Calvary shows clearly that if he could, man by nature would kill God and get rid of Him!

What a wonder then that salvation is that gives us hearts that love Him, seek Him, and praise Him. What an amazing grace that the God, Whom our natures wanted to kill, has given us faith to see our devilish natures and to want the salvation which He realized by that cross.

This calls for everlasting thanks and praise. And God has prepared a kingdom where we will unceasingly forever, in an everlasting life, thank and praise Him for what He did for us through the cross of His Son.

The cross is an awful and revealing picture of man's heart. But God in His Son paints for us a beautiful and everlasting picture of His love.

Read: John 19:1-18
Psalter versification: 47:7

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism


Song for Meditation: Psalter number 49
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Deuteronomy 11 ; Deuteronomy 12:1-32
Luke 8:22-39
Psalm 70:1-5
Proverbs 12:4


Quote for Reflection:

The home is the primary arena for living out the Christian life. In the home sin, hurt, reconciliation, and healing occur daily. In the home the ignorant are taught, the rebellious disciplined, the repentant restored, the hungry fed, the naked clothed, the sick healed. In the home the relationship of Christ and His bride, the church, is exhibited in the relationship of husband and wife. The home is the place where proper roles and relationships are learned and practiced. The Christian home is a sanctuary, an oasis of holiness, sanity, and beauty in the midst of an evil, insane, and ugly world. — Philip Lancaster, Family Man, Family Leader, p. 131

March 30

Psalm 22:18

It was not only what the wicked gave Jesus, but it was also what they took away from Him that revealed the devilishness of their hearts. They gave Him a crown of thorns, stripes upon His back, blows upon His head, a purple robe, and a reed in His hand. But also, as David said in Psalm 22:18 , "They parted my garments among them, and cast lots upon my robe.''

Now surely this was a humiliating thing. But it is also quite evident that they were looking forward to His death. For it is at the moment of death that one loses all one's earthly possessions. The enemy was doing before His very eyes what may be done only after death. What is more, they took from His mother, brothers, and sisters what they had a right to divide and distribute. Even if He were a criminal worthy of death, these clothes were still His. And if after His death His nakedness is exposed to the eyes of all who passed by, it is one thing, but an entirely different thing to do so while He was conscious and still alive. Fitly we sing:

    While on my wasted form they stare,
    The garments torn from Me they share,
    My shame and sorrow heeding not,
    And for My robe they cast the lot.

Indeed, shame and sorrow are heaped upon Him. The wicked have absolutely no use for Him. They heaped upon Him all the suffering and shame that they could in that day, while still, behind a false front, acting as though outraged by what they called blasphemy.

But we ought to appreciate the fact that He lost every thing, including His life, so that we might gain everything in an everlasting life that brings us above and beyond all the cruelty and hypocrisy of Satan and of men whom he uses.

To us God gives robes of righteousness and bodies that know no sorrow or shame. Jesus deliberately lost all earthly things so that we might gain heavenly blessings that are indescribably rich. As Paul writes in I Corinthians 2:9 , "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."

Read: John 19:19-24
Psalter versification: 47:9

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism


Song for Meditation: Psalter number 171
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Deuteronomy 13 ; Deuteronomy 14; Deuteronomy 15:1-23
Luke 8:40-56 ; Luke 9:1-6
Psalm 71:1-24
Proverbs 12:5-7


Quote for Reflection:

… If, in the first place, the power of God ought to be extolled by us, that power shines forth in the gospel; if, again, the goodness of God deserves to be sought and loved by us, the gospel is a display of his goodness. It ought then to be reverenced and honored, since veneration is due to God’s power; and as it avails to our salvation, it ought to be loved by us.

But observe how much Paul ascribes to the ministry of the word, when he testifies that God thereby puts forth his power to save; for he speaks not here of any secret revelation, but of vocal preaching. It hence follows, that those as it were willfully despise the power of God, and drive away from them his delivering hand, who withdraw themselves from the hearing of the word.             -- John Calvin

March 31

Psalm 22:1

Before the three hours of darkness fell, while Jesus hung on the cross, He answered a question; but during those hours of darkness He asked a very significant question. In answer to the penitent thief,  who requested being remembered, when Jesus would come into His kingdom, Jesus assured him that he would be with Him in paradise that very day. But His own question is the one David asked in Psalm 22:1, namely, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?''

This question expresses the awfulness of the agony which He was suffering for our sins. It was not a physical, bodily misery, about which He cries. Nor was He questioning God's justice in pouring all this upon Him. He knew full well that He must lay down His life for His sheep, and was willing to do so. No, the question expresses His anguish, or, if you will the extreme cost spiritually for Him to blot out our sins.

He loved God perfectly and delighted in God's fellowship. Even a momentary or partial denial of that fellowship would be agonizing for Him.  And now He was completely cut off from enjoying that love of God and of sweet communion with Him.

Note that He has not forsaken God. For He cries out, "My God, my God." And as our versification has it:

    My God, my God I cry to Thee;
    O why hast Thou forsaken Me?
    Afar from Me, Thou dost not heed,
    Though day and night for help I plead.

We have, no doubt, many a time run to God in prayer, seeking His help to benefit our earthly lives. But the question is whether we are Christ-like in this respect that we want to taste God's love, and would consider it a tremendous loss to be cut off from enjoying His fellowship.

Would your days be dark and gloomy, if you knew that God would withdraw His love from you? You forsook Him many a time and laughed and sang during those moments. Would you laugh and sing, if you knew that God had no covenant fellowship for you? What means most to you, your physical or your spiritual miseries?

Read: Matthew 27:39-53
Psalter versification: 47:1

Daily  Meditations
on the Heidelberg Catechism


Song for Meditation: Psalter number 103
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Deuteronomy 16 ; Deuteronomy 17:1-20
Luke 9:7-27
Psalm 72:1-20
Proverbs 12:8-9


Quote for Reflection:

… it [the gospel] promises and proclaims the remission of sin, salvation, and eternal life, by and for the sake of the Son of God, the Mediator; and is that through which the Holy Spirit works effectually in the hearts of the faithful, kindling and exciting in them, faith, repentance, and the beginning of eternal life.      -- Z. Ursinus

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Last modified, 12-Jan-2007