The 365 Day Devotional Commentary



Reading 127


“Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse” (Prov. 2:12).The wise person is not the individual of great intellectual achievement, but the person who makes appropriate choices in his or her daily life. To know what is right and to do it is wisdom for you and me, as it was for the ancient Hebrew.

Definition of Key Terms


The Hebrew root translated “wise” and “wisdom” (H-K-M) occurs over 300 times in the Old Testament. Together they portray a wise person as one who subjects himself to God and who applies divine guidelines when making everyday choices. In contrast, foolishness involves rejection of the divine guidelines, or another failure to apply them when making moral or other choices. Several parts of the Old Testament are classified as “Wisdom literature.” These include Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Psalms 19, 37, 104, 107, 147–148. Wisdom literature does not state divine law, or record divine promises, but rather simply describes behavior that illustrates wise and foolish choices a person may make.


After summarizing the benefits of this book (1:1–7), these first chapters take the form of a father exhorting his son not to reject (vv. 8–33) but to embrace wisdom (2:1–4:27). He warned against adultery (5:1–23; 6:20–7:27) and folly (6:1–19), picturing wisdom and folly as two very different women (8:1–9:18).

Understanding the Text

“For attaining wisdom and discipline” Prov. 1:1–7. This introduction describes the purpose of the book, a major portion of which was written by Solomon. If we read carefully we can gain insights that will help us “acquire a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair.” “If sinners entice” Prov. 1:8–33. Parents of every era have worried about their children’s choices. We may feel that we have more to worry about today, with drugs, violence, sex, and satanism so prevalent in our society. Yet each new generation has faced similar moral challenges, and parents have expressed their concern. We can’t help but identify with the themes mentioned by the father of Proverbs 1–9, who warned his son against “giving in” to peer pressure and getting in with the wrong crowd (vv. 10–19). Like him we warn our children to think beyond the moment and be wise. In the end those who ignore wisdom and make sinful moral choices will be overtaken by calamity. Then it will be too late: “They will eat the fruit of their ways.” Only a person who listens to and follows the way of wisdom will “live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” Perhaps we can sense in these words some of the desperation we may sometimes feel. Too many young people think, “That can’t happen to me,” and foolishly take that first experimental step that draws them inexorably into a way of life that leads to destruction. This father realized, as you and I do, that we can’t make choices for our children. But we can point out the way of wisdom—and pray. “You will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path” Prov. 2:1–4:27. Paying attention to wisdom has lasting benefits, which are expressed in these verses. Each of the benefits is rooted in the fact that God Himself “holds victory in store for the upright” and “is a shield to those whose walk is blameless” (2:6–7). While it is possible to view consequences of a good moral life as a natural outcome, Proverbs affirms a supernatural element. God observes our choices, and He Himself “guards the course of the just.” How do we achieve these benefits? Several sayings from Proverbs 3 and 4 are rightly famous, and merit memorization. Here are just four: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (3:5–6). “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (vv. 9–10). “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act” (v. 27). “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (4:23). What makes a parent’s words authentic and compelling? Actually, it is his or her own life, the ability to guide another (4:11) along a path we ourselves have traveled. When we share truths that are authenticated by our own dedicated lives, our children will find it easier to “accept what I say” (v. 10). “In the end she is bitter as gall” Prov. 5:1–23; 6:20–27. Adultery is dealt with at length, perhaps because the sex drive is so strong in the young; perhaps because sexual temptation so vividly contrasts the prospect of an immediate reward with delayed consequences. Wisdom demands that in making any choice we consider distant as well as immediate consequences. When it comes to sexual sins, the desire for immediate satisfaction often pushes aside any thought of the future. In our sexually oriented society, the warning of Proverbs against adultery is especially appropriate, not just for the young, but for each of us. What are some of the points these passages make? While illicit sex seems to “drip honey,” the long-range consequences are “bitter as gall” (5:1–14). God has provided us with marriage to satisfy our sexual needs: we are to be captivated by our spouse. The wise man focuses on developing his relationship with his wife, so that their love will be totally satisfying (vv. 15–20). God knows our ways, and has ordained that evil deeds ensnare the wicked (vv. 21–23). Immorality has consequences. As walking on hot coals scorches the feet, so committing adultery brings disgrace (6:20–35). A person controlled by his or her hormones is like a beast; an ox led to the slaughter or a deer stepping into a noose, “little knowing it will cost him his life” (7:1–26). The thing that sets man above the animals is judgment: the ability to stand aside from instincts, and decide what to do on the basis of what is wise and what is right. The person who is drawn into sex sin acts like an animal, for he or she sets aside that human capacity and acts on the basis of passion alone. To commit adultery is not simply wrong, it is a denial of the Creator’s gifts which set man above all other living creatures. “Does not wisdom call out?” Prov. 8:1–9:14 These chapters picture wisdom and folly as two different women. The one quietly offering something more precious than all worldly riches and honor; the other raucously tempting those going by to pass through her doorway, only to tumble unexpectedly into the “depths of the grave.” The voice to which we respond as we live our daily lives demonstrates to all whether we are among the wise or among the foolish of men.


The Beginning of Knowledge(Prov. 1–2)

One of those fascinating phrases that dot the Scriptures launches the Book of Proverbs. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” That phrase does not, of course, mean that it’s smart to be scared of God. After all, Adam and Eve were scared of God after the first sin. They ran away and tried to hide, which wasn’t smart at all! First off, they couldn’t really hide from God. And second, only by running to God rather than away from Him could they have found relief from their guilt. No, the “fear of the Lord” isn’t being scared at all. What it means here, and in most Old Testament texts, is simply to have respect for God; to be fully aware and in awe of the fact that He is living and present. This, the fact that we take God’s existence and His presence into account when thinking about any issue or making any decision, is “fear of the Lord.” And this, taking God’s existence and presence into account, is the beginning of knowledge. If we take God into account, we look to Him for guidance. And we find it, for “the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (2:6). What a blessing to be among those who fear God and look to Him for wisdom. But what a challenge to realize that we are responsible to live wisely. We are called not simply to know the will of God, but to let wisdom “enter your heart” so that we will “walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous” (vv. 10, 20).

Personal Application

God’s wisdom is displayed in the way we live, not in what we say.


“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great as the knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”—Charles H. Spurgeon

The 365 Day Devotional Commentary



Proverbs is a collection of sayings that examines specific behaviors, asking whether each is wisdom or folly. The book’s pithy observations state general principles that apply to all human beings, not just to believers. Many of the sayings in this book are ascribed to Solomon (970-930 B.C.), while Proverbs 25:1 indicates the collection was not edited and put in its final form prior to the time of Hezekiah (715-686 B.C.). In thought, vocabulary, style, and themes the biblical proverbs are similar to Egyptian and Babylonian wisdom literature dating a millennium before Solomon, and to Phoenician writings from 14th century Ugarit. This not only supports the biblical dating of Proverbs to Solomon’s time, but also suggests that the issues explored in Proverbs reflect a common interest of all peoples for advice on how to live wisely and well. Among the many topics given close attention in this book are wisdom and folly, wealth and poverty, righteousness and wickedness, generosity and stinginess, adultery, laziness, family, child-raising, and friendship. The proverbs themselves however, are not grouped by topic; thoughts on various subjects are scattered in apparently random order throughout the book. Whether we simply read through Proverbs, or use a concordance to group its sayings by theme, we too are helped by the Bible’s ancient words to the wise.


I.In Praise of WisdomProv. 1–9
II.Proverbs of SolomonProv. 10:1–22:16
III.Words of Wise MenProv. 22:17–24:33
IV.More Proverbs of SolomonProv. 25–29
V.Words of AgurProv. 30
VI.Words of King LemuelProv. 31:1–9
VII.Wifely ExcellenceProv. 31:10–31

The 365 Day Devotional Commentary


Reading 126


Psalms 142–150“Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness” (Ps. 150:2).How great a contribution the Psalms make to our lives. In reading them we are led to praise the Lord.


Four psalms of David lift us from a desperate sense of need (Pss. 142–143) to confidence in God as our deliverer (Ps. 144) and then to praise (Ps. 145). The psalter ends (Pss. 146–150) with five beautiful praise psalms, each beginning and ending with the Hebrew shout, Hallelujah! which means “Praise the Lord!”

Understanding the Text

Psalm 142: In Desperate Need. The setting is the cave in which David hid from Saul’s pursuing army. Troubled and discouraged, David cried out to God for rescue. “Before Him I tell my trouble” Ps. 142:1–5. One of the most important lessons we learn from the Book of Psalms is that, like David, you and I can “pour out our complaints” to the Lord. We can tell Him every trouble, share every dark and distressed emotion. When no one else is concerned about us, we have in God One who truly cares. God doesn’t want you or me to clutch our fears or our pain to us. God wants us to share that fear or pain with Him, knowing that He will listen and does care. “You are my refuge” Ps. 142:5–7. Sharing our fears or pain with the Lord reminds us of who God is. He not only listens, He is able to help! Our enemies may be too strong for us, but they are not too strong for the Lord. Our appeal is directed to the one Being in the universe who is able to help! We come to the Lord with our fears and our pain. We come away in peace, with a renewed sense of hope. At last we can see ahead to a time when “the righteous will gather about me because of Your goodness to me.” Psalm 143: In Deep Distress. Once again fears drove David to the Lord. Again he was helped. He meditated on God’s past works, and ultimately reached a clear understanding of how he must deal with his trials. (See DEVOTIONAL.) Psalm 144: My Deliverer! God answered David’s prayers and rescued him from his enemies. Here David celebrated the Lord as his deliverer. “Praise be to the Lord, my rock” Ps. 144:1–4. Wonder of wonders, God had again stooped to deliver a mere mortal, and David was awed by the fact. Echoing Psalm 8, David cried, “What is man that You care for him?” We sense the joy David felt as he piled image on image, celebrating his loving God as my rock, my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, my shield. It is amazing that God should be all this for any human being. It is overwhelming that He should be all this for me! “Part Your heavens, O Lord, and come down” Ps. 144:5–11. These verses are not so much an appeal for God to act as they are celebration of a deliverance already experienced. In a sense David was reliving the rescue that lifted him from despair to joy. “Then” Ps. 144:12–15. The outcome of deliverance is peace and prosperity. No wonder David cried, “Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.” God saves us from all our troubles, and He intends to bless. Psalm 145: Praise His Name. This is an acrostic psalm: each line begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. We might name it, “Praising God from A through Z,” as each letter brings to mind a different reason to praise the Lord. Psalm 146: Praise the God of Jacob. This first of the five Hallelujah psalms that close the psalter focuses our attention on who Israel’s God is, and what He does. “Praise the Lord, O my soul” Ps. 146:1–4. God is praised as our only real source of help and deliverance. “The God of Jacob” Ps. 146:5–9. The name is rooted in history: this is the God who bound Himself by covenant oath to be the God of Israel. We celebrate Him, for this God is the Maker of all, faithful forever, sustainer of the oppressed, who frees the prisoner, heals the infirm, loves the righteous, watches over the alien, sustains the helpless, and frustrates the ways of the wicked. All the psalmist knows about this God of Jacob thrills him, and moves him to sing praises! “The Lord reigns forever” Ps. 146:10. This is the capstone. The One we know and celebrate is Sovereign in this universe. In Him we are safe and secure. Praise the Lord. Psalm 147: Praise the Sustainer. The Hallelujah Chorus continues with praise to God for maintaining the universe He created, and caring for all who put their trust in His unfailing love. Psalm 148: Praise Him, All Creation. Nature does more than reveal God’s wisdom and power. All the splendor of Creation joins Israel in exalting God’s name, and thus offers praise. Psalm 149: Praise Him, All Saints. God’s people, whom He created and whom He crowned with salvation, rejoice in the Lord and offer Him praise. “In the assembly of the saints” Ps. 149:1–8. God’s people have two callings, each of which are aspects of worship. First, God’s people are called to sing His praises, and rejoice in the One who takes such delight in them (vv. 1–5). Second, God’s people are to take a stand on this earth against evil (vv. 6–9). While in Old Testament times Israel literally went to war against pagan peoples in their land, today we are to be engaged in spiritual warfare, doing all we can to uphold righteousness and do justice in our society. Psalm 150: Praise the Lord. The final, jubilant psalm in this great Old Testament book pictures a people who gather before the Lord (v. 1) to praise His works and character (v. 2) with every resource they possessed (vv. 3–5), until all living things join in with shouts of joy (v. 6).


What Can I Do?(Ps. 143)

No one likes to feel helpless. Almost any situation seems bearable if there is only something, anything, that we can do that might improve it. Despair and depression usually flood in only when we realize that we are helpless, unable to affect our situation, totally at the mercy of our circumstances. I think David felt much like this when he penned Psalm 143. He cried out to God for mercy and relief (v. 1). He realized he had no right to expect God’s help (v. 2). Yet his desperate situation filled him with dismay (vv. 3–4). David recalled what God had done and reaffirmed his trust in the Lord (vv. 5–8). But like you and me, David also seemed to cry out, “What can I do?”The answer is simple and clear. We see it in David’s words, “Show me the way I should go,” and, “Teach me to do Your will” (vv. 8b, 10). We may be helpless to better our situations. But there is still something we can do! Each day, each hour, as we wait for God to deliver us, we can concentrate our attention on doing God’s will for that day, for that hour. What we can always do, no matter how helpless we may be to alter our situations, is to live each moment as servants of the Lord, ready always to respond as His “good Spirit” reveals an opportunity to serve Him. What a sense of relief comes over us as we make David’s discovery. We are not helpless after all. There is something we can do. The most important thing of all. We can do God’s will.

Personal Application

When you can’t change your situation, make it your priority simply to do each hour, each day, what God wills.


“God is looking for people through whom He can bless the world. Say definitely: Here am I; I will give my life to this calling. Cultivate your faith in the simple truth: God hears prayer; God will do what I ask. “Give yourself to others as completely as you give yourself to God. Open your eyes to sense the needs of a perishing world. Take up your position in Christ and in the power which His name and life and Spirit give you. And go on practicing definite prayer and intercession.”—Andrew Murray

The 365 Day Devotional Commentary


Reading 125


Psalms 135–141

“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps. 139:14).Praise and worship grow out of God’s revelation of Himself to us. The more we know of what God has done and is doing, the more we respond to Him in worship.


The many and varied works of God for His people stimulate praise. The Lord is praised for works on behalf of Israel (Pss. 135–136). In contrast, the Babylonian captives were unable to sing the songs of Zion (Ps. 137). David praised God for the Lord’s work in shaping his life (Pss. 138–139) and in preserving him from enemies (Pss. 140–141).

Understanding the Text

Psalm 135:

God Has Chosen Jacob. That choice, expressed in history by the Lord’s defeat of Israel’s enemies, moved the psalmist to call God’s people to praise. “Israel . . . His treasured possession” Ps. 135:1–7. The psalmist began by expressing his wonder that God should have chosen the Hebrew people to be His own. As the entire Old Testament testifies, this was a sovereign choice, not based on Israel’s merits. God, “who does whatever pleases Him,” selected Israel simply because He wanted to. How good to know that God’s choice of you and me is also an expression of His free will. God loves us because He wants to, not because we deserve to be loved. “He struck down the firstborn of Egypt” Ps. 135:8–21. God’s love counts. He, unlike the foolish pagan’s idols, is able to act for us in the real world. No wonder Israel was moved to praise! God wrested Israel from slavery, struck down many nations, and gave His people their land as an inheritance. Psalm 136: His Love Endures. A mere six syllables in Hebrew compose the joyful response of the people as a worship leader chanted praise to God for His many wonderful works. We can capture that response in six English words: “for His love has no end!” Psalm 137: No Song to Sing. In Babylon, far from the inheritance promised by God, Israel was unable to sing songs of praise. The preceding and following psalms show us that praise grows out of God’s self-revelation. As we know Him through His works, our hearts respond. In Babylon, far from their ancient homeland, the Jewish people felt crushed and isolated from God. Only when God acted again, to crush their oppressors and restore them to the Holy Land, would songs of joy again spring from their lips. The psalm reminds us it is only when we see God at work, in history and in our present lives, that we know real joy. Jesus put it this way: “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24). Christ did not imply that receiving the thing we pray for will bring joy. His point was that in the answer to prayer we will sense God at work, and this—God active in our lives-gives us joy. Psalm 138: His Purpose for Me. Each believer is also a work of God’s hands, shaped for a purpose. We find joy, and are moved to worship as we trust Him to work in and through us. “Exalted above all things” Ps. 138:1–3. David called us to focus thoughts of God on His “name” and His “Word.” When we do, we learn to trust His qualities of love and faithfulness. “When they hear” Ps. 138:4–5. The word uttered in the name of the Lord should stimulate even the kings of the earth to praise. “You preserve my life” Ps. 138:6–8. David had a personal reason for praise. He had experienced God’s love and faithfulness as the Lord preserved him in many troubles. What David understood, and we need to appreciate, is that each of us is important to God. His love has led Him to make our lives meaningful by linking it to His eternal plan. We may not have a large part. We may not even know now what His purpose in us is. Yet God does have a purpose to fulfill in your life and mine. To Him, we do count! We can say with David, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of Your hands.” Psalm 139: You Know Me. In one of the most significant of his psalms, David probed the nature of his relationship with God, and traced that relationship back to the Lord’s creation of his “inmost being.” (See DEVOTIONAL.) “You know me” Ps. 139:1–12. David was untroubled by the paradox of a transcendent God who is also imminent. He acknowledged God as One who fills the entire universe, yet saw the Lord as constantly, pervasively present with His servants. God was near, observing every act of David, conscious of his every thought. God is transcendent, far above the highest heaven. Yet God is also totally present in the saint’s here and now, giving each of us His undivided attention. “You created my inmost being” Ps. 139:13–16. David extended his wonder at God’s concern for the individual to the past and the future. God has been with us, superintending our development from the womb. Furthermore God’s care reaches on into the future: to “all the days ordained for me,” which were written in God’s book before even one of our days came to be. How clearly this psalm teaches the significance of individual life: a significance underlined by God’s careful attention to the individual from conception, through his fetal stage, into his childhood and beyond, encompassing every day of the individual’s existence. God knows, even if many today deny, that life begins in the womb and extends on into eternity. How precious you are to God! And how precious the unborn. “How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God” Ps. 139:17–24. David responded to the love he sensed in God’s care with a desire to please the Lord. He wanted to understand the Lord’s thoughts, to hate those who hated God, and to be cleansed of “any offensive way.” God does know us, even when we try to hide from Him. And when we consciously open our hearts, and become totally honest with God and ourselves, He tests our hearts, cleansing us from “offensive” ways. Psalm 140: Justice for the Poor. David called on God to rescue him, sure that among His works is protecting the believer from men of violence, and securing justice for the poor. Psalm 141: My Refuge. David sought help from God, first to live a righteous life, and then to be delivered from evildoers he expected God to judge.


Darkness As Light(Ps. 139)

I heard the story many years ago from a mom who used preschool lessons that I wrote. Her little girl came into the house, complaining, “I wish he’d leave me alone.” Mom went outside, but found no one there. A little later the three-year-old returned. “I wish he’d leave me alone.” Again Mom looked, but no one was there. When it happened a third time, Mom sat down with her daughter and asked: “Who?” The answer was: Jesus! The three-year-old’s Sunday School lesson was “Jesus Always Sees Me.” The little girl had wanted to pick some forbidden flowers, and wished that Jesus would leave her alone so she could do it without being seen! Sometimes we feel a little like that little girl. The idea that God is with us constantly, observing every act, aware of every thought, seems burdensome. David, however, had a different perspective. We can never hide from God, for even darkness is light to the Lord. But David did not want to be hidden! The fact is that life itself is darkness to us! Only a God to whom darkness is as light can guide us safely from conception to eternity. Even more, David realized that God is bending close to express His love, not to catch us in some sinful act. He stays close to guard us, and to guide us into His best. When we sense Him near and realize that what we feel is love we, with David, will invite Him, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Personal Application

God knows us perfectly and loves us completely. We have no need to hide from Him.


“In two ways the presence of God is an antidote against sin: first, because God sees us, and, secondly, because we see God.”—Ignatius of Loyola

The 365 Day Devotional Commentary


Reading 124

SONGS OF ASCENTS Psalms 120–134

“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ’Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:1–2).How do we feel when Sunday comes, and we approach the church where we worship? This group of psalms reminds us that worship is to be a joyful occasion, rich in meaning for the believer. Jerusalem lies high in the mountains of central Palestine. From the time of David and Solomon, represented in this sketch, Jerusalem was unique—a site God chose through David as the one site on earth where a temple might be built, and sacrifices offered to the Lord.


These 15 “songs of ascents,” on a variety of themes, were probably chanted by Hebrew pilgrims as they approached Jerusalem to attend one of the Old Testament’s annual worship festivals.

Understanding the Text

Psalm 120:

The Homesick Soul.

The first psalm of ascents pictures a burdened believer, far from his spiritual homeland. This land of strife is not his home: his homeland is a land of peace (shalom: well-being). “I call on the Lord” Ps. 120:1–7. At stated times during the year each Hebrew was called to turn in his heart, if not possible to return physically, to Jerusalem, to join the believing community in worship at the temple of the Lord. This psalm pictures a person living among the ungodly, who realized afresh at this time of year that he was a man of peace, who lived among those who were for war. How important for us to return to our roots, and with the community of faith look to and call on the Lord. Psalm 121: Looking to God. There is no help in the hills on which the pagans worship. Our help comes from the Lord. “The Lord watches over you” Ps. 121:5. What can we expect from the God who watches over us at all times? Simply that He will “keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life.” Psalm 122: Joy in Jerusalem. Arrival at Jerusalem, where God’s people worshiped, was a cause of celebration. Psalm 123: Dependence on God. God’s people look to Him for mercy as a slave, dependent on another’s kindness, looks expectantly to his or her master. “Have mercy on us, O Lord” Ps. 123:1–4. Mercy is a much-admired quality in the Old Testament. It is compassion and concern for a helpless person’s plight, which finds expression in reaching out with help. The person who needs mercy is completely dependent on the willingness of another to help. How wonderful that as we depend on God, He does reach out to help us. Psalm 124: God, Our Help. Only because God is on Israel’s side has this people survived. So all Israel praises the Maker of heaven and earth, who has proven to be His people’s help. “If the Lord had not been on our side” Ps. 124:1–8. Modern nations have claimed to have God on their side. In World War I the belt buckles of German soldiers proclaimed, “Gott Mit Uns,” and U.S. currency announces, “In God We Trust.” Yet only Israel had a valid basis for making this claim, for God’s covenant promises were made to this people alone, not to modern nations. Even then, God was with His people to deliver them only when they were faithful to their own covenant responsibilities. You and I as individuals do experience God’s grace. And we can determine to be faithful to the God who has been so good to us. Psalm 125: A Song of Trust. God does good to those who are good. We can trust in Him, for He alone can never be moved. Psalm 126: Great Things! Israel’s restoration to her homeland after the Babylonian Captivity is just one of the “great things” the Lord had done for His chosen people. “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy” Ps. 126:1–6. Looking back, the psalmist could see that Israel’s Captivity was a prelude to blessing. As you and I look back on the difficult times in our lives, we too will be able to sense the good hand of God at work. Psalm 127: Our Heritage. The children God gives us are our “house,” a heritage from the Lord who does not build houses but families. “Sons are a heritage from the Lord” Ps. 127:1–5. The attitude of the Jewish people toward children is best expressed in this simple psalm which views them as a gift from God, and suggests that “the more, the merrier!” Psalm 128: Fear of the Lord. The blessings of reverence toward God are celebrated here. We rejoice in the Lord. And we rejoice in His good gifts to us. “May the Lord bless you” Ps. 128:1–6. Fear of the Lord, that Old Testament respect for God that motivates obedience, is the path of blessing for all of us. In most cases the blessing will be obvious: long life, prosperity, a large and happy family. These are the things that the Jews of biblical times wished for one another as they gathered for worship. Peace and prosperity. Not all of us who walk in God’s way have this experience on earth. But every one of us who knows and serves the Lord is assured peace and prosperity in those “days of your life” which stretch on and on forever in eternity. Psalm 129: Peace and Prosperity. Against the background of past troubles, the blessings of peace and prosperity seem doubly important. Psalm 130: Redemption’s Song. The man who stands amazed at God’s willingness to forgive understands both his own sinfulness, and the extent of God’s “unfailing love” and “full redemption.” (See DEVOTIONAL.) Psalm 131: Childlike Faith. David pictured faith as a young child, nestling against its mother, and contrasted this attitude with an arrogance which challenged God’s Word. Psalm 132: God’s Covenant Oath. God’s promise to David assured Israel of her destiny. “The Lord swore an oath” Ps. 132:1–13. Jerusalem, the city of David, was ruled by an unbroken line of his Descendants. And one of his Descendants would yet be placed on Judah’s throne, there to rule “forever and ever.” In addition, God had chosen Zion as the location for His temple. So Israel’s future was secure. God had said: “This is My resting place forever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it— I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will I satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints will ever sing for joy” (vv. 13–16). You and I too face a future that is totally secure. We can celebrate, for in Christ God’s oath to David was fulfilled, and a new promise made to every person who puts his or her trust in the Lord. Psalm 133: In Praise of Unity. Worship brings God’s people together as a family. The oil “poured on the head, running down on the beard,” speaks of celebration and happiness. We too find joy when we experience our unity with brothers and sisters in the family of God. Psalm 134: In Praise of Ministry. What a privilege and joy to be servants of the Lord.


“What Do You Mean, Nineteenth?

“(Ps. 130)Donald Grey Barnhouse used to picture a believer, burdened with a sense of guilt, appealing to God for forgiveness. The believer was ashamed, for he knew that he had committed the same sin many times before. “O Lord,” he begged, “please forgive me again. I know I don’t deserve it, as this is the nineteenth time I’ve committed this sin this month. But please, Lord, forgive me this nineteenth time.” And, Dr. Barnhouse would say, the Lord looked up in surprise. “What do you mean, nineteenth?” The point this great old expositor of God’s Word was making is stated clearly in Psalm 130:3–4. “If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness.” God keeps no record of our sins! When we confess, He forgives, and then our sins are gone. What a blessing! Our past no longer is a weight we must carry with us always. Our past is gone, and we can look ahead with renewed hope. Through forgiveness we have been cleansed! Tomorrow will be different, and through Christ we will win victory over sins that in the past meant defeat.

Personal Application

Don’t let a sense of shame keep you from enjoying God’s forgiveness.


Mother to Son Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor— Bare. But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on, And reachin’ landin’s, And turnin’ corners, And sometimes goin’ in the dark Where there ain’t been no light. So boy, don’t you turn back. Don’t you set down on the steps ’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard. Don’t you fall now— For I’se still goin’, honey, I’se still climbin’, And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. -Langston Hughes

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