The 365 Day Devotional Commentary


Reading 108

A TREASURY OF DAVID Psalms 13–19“But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation” (Ps. 13:5).Seven psalms written by David help us sense the intimate life of prayer and praise which was the foundation of his greatness.


The believer trusts God (Ps. 13), but wicked men doubt His existence (Ps. 14). Righteous behavior (Ps. 15) and a dedicated heart (Pss. 16–17) bring blessing, for God Almighty saves His own from their enemies (Ps. 18). God declares His glory in creation and in His Word (Ps. 19).

Understanding the Text

Psalm 13: Benefits of Trust.

The believer, like others, is vulnerable to despair—but can find peace through prayer. “Sorrow in my heart” Ps. 13:1–6. David knew times of turmoil and uncertainty. The sense of impending disaster troubled him. David turned to God and honestly expressed his feelings of impending doom (vv. 3–4). Then David remembered God’s “unfailing love,” and his emotions were transformed. The despair was replaced by rejoicing, and David found himself singing to the Lord (vv. 5–6). This psalm reminds us that joy is just a prayer away from despair. We can bring our emotions as well as our needs to the Lord. As we focus on who the Lord is, our emotions will be transformed. Psalm 14: The Fool and God. Evildoers never realize that the path they have chosen has brought them outside the circle of God’s love. “The fool” Ps. 14:1–3. The Hebrew word, nabal, is a term that describes a person whose heart is closed to God and whose life is characterized by gross immorality (cf. Jdg. 19:23–24; 2 Sam. 13:12; Josh. 7:15). This powerful psalm reflects Paul’s teaching in Romans 1. A person who will not acknowledge God becomes corrupt and does “vile” deeds. The psalm reminds us that no one who closes his heart to the Lord “does good, not even one.” “Will evildoers never learn?” Ps. 14:4–7 David seemed to shake his head in bemused amazement. Even in this life evildoers live with a sense of dread. How much better off are the poor whom they exploit, who have a refuge in the Lord. God will soon act and “restore the fortunes” of His people. We should never envy those who exploit us. We have access to God, and will be blessed in the end. Psalm 15: A Blameless Life. Only the person who lives a righteous life has fellowship with the Lord. “Dwell in Your sanctuary” Ps. 15:1. In Old Testament times God’s presence with Israel was symbolized in the temple. To “dwell in” that sanctuary pictures intimate fellowship with the Lord. “He whose walk is blameless” Ps. 15:2–5. This simple description provides a good checklist against which to measure ourselves. And what a promise! “He who does these things will never be shaken.” Psalm 16: A Heart for God. This beautiful psalm looks beyond behavior to portray the inner life of a man whose heart is filled with God. “You are my Lord” Ps. 16:1–2. David knew God not just as Lord, but as “my” Lord. Apart from this relationship, nothing he had was “good” (beneficial, of benefit). David then went on to consider those good things which were his through personal relationship with the Lord. “The saints . . . in the land” Ps. 16:3–4. One good we receive is relationship with others who also know God as “my” Lord. Fellowship with other believers can be a delight. “You have assigned me my portion” Ps. 16:5–6. The Hebrew says “allotted.” This recalls the Conquest of Canaan, when the land was first divided among the tribes by lot. As God controlled the fall of the lot (like our dice), each family felt that it received its property directly from the hand of God. David used this imagery to convey his belief that God sovereignly gave him his own lot in life. Each of us can have this joy. For God has placed each of us where we are, and will use us there. “The Lord, who counsels me” Ps. 16:7–8. Each of us too can experience God’s guidance. When we “set the Lord always before” us, keeping our eyes on Him, always following where He leads, we will “not be shaken.” “The path of life” Ps. 16:9–11. With the Lord as our Lord, we have security in this life and can look forward to an eternity of joy in God’s presence. Psalm 17: The Apple of God’s Eye. Confident of God’s great love, the believer chooses righteousness and looks ahead with confidence. “My righteous plea” Ps. 17:1–5. Those who resolve not to sin can have great confidence in prayer. “Show the wonder of Your great love” Ps. 17:6–9. We pray because we expect a God who loves us to act. The “apple of the eye” is the pupil. The image may suggest God’s eyes are constantly on the believer, watching over him. Or it may suggest that God protects the believer, who is as precious to Him as this window of the eye which makes sight possible. “Like a hungry lion” Ps. 17:10–14. If David looked around, he saw enemies on every side. But when David looked up, he saw God, who “by Your hand” could “save me from such men.” It does make a vital difference whether you and I look around or look up. Looking around creates fear; looking up brings confidence. “I will be satisfied” Ps. 17:15. David had awakening from sleep in mind, yet the verse possibly expresses his confident hope of resurrection. Psalm 18: The Greatness of God. David’s clear vision of God’s awesome power and love remains a source of encouragement for believers today. This long and beautiful psalm focuses our attention on those attributes of our God which are vital to remember when troubles come. “I am saved” Ps. 18:1–6. David’s prayers had been answered. God hears and responds to cries for help. “He parted the heavens” Ps. 18:7–19. Our prayer—answering God is the “Most High.” His past acts of intervention in the world reveal His awesome power. “He has rewarded me” Ps. 18:20–29. David did not speak in pride, but in praise. God rewards those who seek to live righteous lives. “Arms me with strength” Ps. 18:30–45. God is a source of constant strength to those who trust Him, and He gives victory to the righteous. “The Lord lives!” Ps. 18:46–50 The God of history lives today, to save us from our enemies. We serve an all-powerful God who answers prayer, and who does intervene for us when we are in need. Psalm 19: The Glory of God. God’s glory is revealed in creation, which displays His power, and Scripture, which displays His moral purity. “The heavens declare” Ps. 19:1–6. God speaks to every human being through creation. Every person has some truth about God, for the universe which displays “His eternal power and divine nature” (Rom. 1:20) shouts out to human beings without speech or language. “The law of the Lord” Ps. 19:7–14. God’s glory is more perfectly displayed in God’s Word, which reveals His character and provides moral guidance. The Word offers warning, and promises great reward for those who please God.


Guidance from the Psalms(Ps. 15)

I was teaching a short, two-day course at Princeton Seminary’s continuing education center, when I realized how much I did not want to come back the next summer. Several months earlier I’d said that I would come to teach a two-week summer course. But as I flew east from my Phoenix home, I felt how much I missed my family. And I remembered about all the writing I had to do during those summer months. The thought of two weeks away during the next summer became almost unbearable. So I decided, the last day of my short visit, that I’d tell the seminary that I just couldn’t make it. But that morning, my daily psalm “just happened” to be Psalm 15. As I read, one verse seemed to jump off the page and confront me. The blameless man “keeps his oath even when it hurts” (v. 4). I knew then that I had to return. Usually when I read the Psalms it’s for personal enrichment and/or worship. They lift up my thoughts and my heart to the Lord. But now and then God has a personal word of guidance for me in a psalm. And when God speaks, there’s nothing to do but to listen and obey.

Personal Application

God can give us personal guidance through any passage of His Word. As we read, we need to listen carefully.


“The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it—but we must sail, and not drift, nor live at anchor.”—Oliver Wendell Holmes

Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

• Christ’s Suffering and Death • Palm Sunday • Resurrection • Lord’s Supper


Lead Me to Calvary

In the Hour of Trial

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Wounded for Me

I Gave My Life for Thee

Near the Cross

Blessed Redeemer

At Calvary

The Old Rugged Cross

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

Rock of Ages

There Is a Fountain

In the Garden

There Is a Green Hill Far Away

In the Cross of Christ I Glory

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary

Jesus Paid It All

Hosanna, Loud Hosanna

All Glory, Laud and Honor

The Day of Resurrection

The Strife Is O’er

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

Christ Arose

He Lives

Because He Lives

Abide With Me

Were You There?

Worthy Is the Lamb

According to Thy Gracious Word

Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

March 31
William H. Parker, 1845–1929
He explained to them what was said in all of the Scriptures concerning Himself. (Luke 24:27)
Children love to hear stories. It is critically important that we build upon this natural response and fill their minds with truths about Christ that will give them a solid foundation upon which to build their lives. Although Sunday schools are important, parental influence and instruction in the home are foundations of Christian education. The stories of Jesus—His birth, His life, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, and His promised return to take us to heaven—for the child of God of any age are always fresh, exciting, and spiritually refreshing. They never grow old.
Telling the stories of Jesus must also be the mission of our Sunday schools. Portrayals of the person and work of Christ must always be the core of every Christian education curriculum along with appropriate songs that enhance the teaching of the Scriptures. Although such emphases as character school, arts and crafts, and game times have their place in the church program, nothing ever equals the importance of providing our youth with sound, relevant biblical instruction.
William H. Parker was an English Baptist layman greatly interested in the work of Sunday schools. He wrote this text in 1885 after returning from teaching his Sunday school class and reflecting upon the oft-repeated request of the children, “Teacher, tell us another story.” This text pictures so vividly the important events of our Lord’s life from Galilee to Calvary.
Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear; things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here: Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea, stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
First let me hear how the children stood round His knee; and I shall fancy His blessing resting on me: Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace, all in the lovelight of Jesus’ face.
Into the city I’d follow the children’s band, waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand; one of His heralds, yes, I would sing loudest hosannas! Jesus is King.
Show me that scene in the garden, of bitter pain. Show me the cross where my Savior for me was slain. Sad ones or bright ones, so that they be stories of Jesus, tell them to me.

For Today: Deuteronomy 6:7; Isaiah 40:30, 31; Matthew 20:28; Mark 8:31

Consider creative ways that biblical truths can be communicated to children—visual aids, dramatizations, musical records—both at home and in Sunday school. Seriously reflect as a parent (or a grandparent) whether you are doing everything possible to further your children’s spiritual training.

Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

March 30
Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834–1924
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)
Upon God’s care I lay me down, as a child upon its mother’s breast;
No silken couch, nor softest bed could ever give me such deep rest.
Trusting God throughout the day allows us to rest peacefully at night. Fear and anxiety are the chief causes of the tension that leads to disturbed rest. And sound rest is an absolute necessity for the renewing of our bodies, minds, and emotions. Only a peaceful relationship with God and with others allows us this total renewal at the close of each day. We must learn to relax and release our cares and burdens to the Lord and then claim His promised rest.
’Tis sweet to keep my hand in His, while all is dim—
To close my weary, aching eyes, and trust in Him!
Whenever there are those occasional times when sleep eludes us, it is important to center our thoughts on God, the Scriptures, and the loving concern of the Lord rather than upon the solving of life’s many problems.
“Now the Day is Over” was written by Sabine Baring-Gould (composer of “Onward, Christian Soldiers”). The author, a minister in the Anglican church, was recognized as one of England’s most prolific writers of his time. Baring-Gould wrote this charming text for the children of his parish at Horbury Bridge, near Wakefield, England. It was based on Proverbs 3:24—“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid; yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.” The hymn first appeared in the Church Times on March 16, 1865. It is still a favorite hymn with children everywhere.
Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh; shadows of the evening steal across the sky.
Jesus, give the weary calm and sweet repose; with Thy tend’rest blessing may mine eyelids close.
Thru the long night-watches may Thine angels spread their white wings above me, watching round my bed.
When the morning wakens, then may I arise pure and fresh and sinless in Thy holy eyes.

For Today: Psalm 3:5; Psalm 37:7; Psalm 63:1–8; Psalm 139:11, 12

Determine to begin and end each day with your mind centered on God. Thank Him for providing the renewal of your body, mind, and emotions. Sing and share this lovely children’s hymn before retiring—

Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

March 29
Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851–1920
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:17, 18)
For the child of God, the end of this earthly pilgrimage is just the beginning of a glorious new life.
This glorious hope revives our courage for the way,
When each in expectation lives and longs to see the day
When from sorrow, toil, pain and sin, we shall be free,
And perfect love and joy shall reign throughout all eternity.
—John Fawcett
Our services of worship even now should be a foretaste of that day of rejoicing when those from every tribe, language, people, and nation see our Lord and together “we’ll sing and shout the victory.”
The author of this hymn text, Eliza Hewitt, a school teacher in Philadelphia, was another Christian lay worker deeply devoted to the Sunday school movement during the latter half of the 19th century. Like many of the other gospel song writers of this time, Eliza wrote her songs with the goal of reaching and teaching children with the truths of the gospel. She often attended the Methodist camp meetings at Ocean Grove, New Jersey. It was here that she collaborated with Emily Wilson, wife of a Methodist District Superintendent in Philadelphia, in the writing of this popular gospel hymn, a favorite of both young and old alike. It was first published in 1898.
The anticipation of heaven has often been described as the oxygen of the human soul. “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).
Sing the wondrous love of Jesus, sing His mercy and His grace; in the mansions bright and blessed He’ll prepare for us a place.
While we walk the pilgrim pathway clouds will over-spread the sky; but when trav’ling days are over not a shadow, not a sigh.
Let us then be true and faithful, trusting, serving ev’ry day; just one glimpse of Him in glory will the toils of life repay.
Onward to the prize before us! Soon His beauty we’ll behold; soon the pearly gates will open—We shall tread the streets of gold.
Chorus: When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory.

For Today: Psalm 16:11; Isaiah 35:10; John 14:2, 3; 1 Corinthians 15:54–57

Allow your imagination to anticipate that day in heaven when the entire family of God is gathered for an endless celebration of praise. Allow this glorious hope to brighten your day and to keep you “true, faithful, trusting, serving … ” Sing this musical truth as you go—

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