5/08/2018

Whoever Dwells in God's Shelter (Psalm 91)

"For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go" "For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways" (Psalm 91:11, NLT, HCSB).

Troubles abound in life. No one's life is ever trouble free. No one's life is ever always a bed of roses. We may not think so, but even Bill Gates' life is hard. Life gets better, then it gets worse. Uncertainty in life is a certainty. Unpredictability should be predicted. Unexpected events should be expected. Life is like that.

How do we deal with such a life? Psalm 91 deals with such a life head on. Simple trust will bring us into a place of strong defense (Ps 91:2), the personal warmth of divine care, pledged defense (Ps 91:4) and a host of heavenly guardians every step of the way (Ps 91:11). Psalm 91 wants us to know that those who truly trust God are a protected species.

Psalm 91 is one of the most beautiful of psalms. This more than most Scriptures, brings great hope and promise to those who believe. The key word to describe Psalm 91 is security. Psalm 91 is a highly artistic way of expressing a fundamentally important fact: we are always totally secure, because God always has our back. It describes God's ongoing sovereign protection of His people from the ever-present dangers and terrors, which surround humanity. The original setting may be that of an army about to go to battle. Most of the terrors mentioned in this psalm are left undefined, no doubt intentionally, so that no kind of danger is omitted from application. Believers in every age can read Psalm 91 to learn that nothing can harm a child of God unless the Lord permits it.
  1. God's protection (1-13).
    • The confidence: God is my refuge (1-2). Theme stated: Sure protection. Affirmation of protection.
    • The dangers: life's threats (3-8). He will save you (Ps 91:3) and cover you (Ps 91:4).
    • The journey (9-13). He will command his angels concerning you (Ps 91:11).
  2. God's pledge (14-16). Theme confirmed: Divine protection.
[ When life is hard. The people of God are always totally secure. A psalm for every believer every day. God's protection. God's affirmation of man's testimony. The protected species. Divine wings and guardian angels. An offer you can't refuse. Find refuge in God. Safer in a war zone than in a suburban house.]

(91:1-4) God protects us in two ways. 2 contrasting metaphors are used for God's protection: a fortress filled with shields and ramparts; and a mother bird gathering her brood underneath her wings. The fortress has walls of impregnable strength. Spears and arrows make not a dent. The mother bird, howevr, shelters with wings that are essentially fragile. She shelters her young from burning heat or rain and cold only by bearing them herself. These 2 metaphors point to the cross where the absolute righteous power and the tender, sacrificial love of God combine and shine forth brilliantly, both equally fulfilled.

God's majesty and meekness are fully manifest in Christ. "Let us wonder! Grace and justice join and point to mercy's store; When through grace in Christ our trust is, justice smiles and asks no more; He Who washed us with His blood has secured our way to God." John Newton, Let us love and sing and wonder.

(91:5-13) What can hurt and harm you? God seems to promise that nothing bad will ever happen to believers. Satan suggests as much when he quotes Ps 91:11 to Jesus in the desert wilderness (Lk 4:9-12). The devil wants us to think that God's promises have failed if he lets us suffer. But God saves us "in trouble" (Ps 91:15) not from it. Paradoxically, Jesus says that under God's care "not a hair of your head will perish" and yet "they will put some of you to death" (Lk 21:16-18). The only things faithful people can lose in suffering are things that are finally expendable. The real you, the one God is creating (Phil 1:6; 2 Cor 3:18; 4:16-17) cannot be harmed.

Do I value worldly things over grace, love and holiness? Do I value money, nice houses or condos, gourmet food, investing money, personal success, etc more than my Lord or my relationships? If I do then I will be easily discouraged by trials and troubles. My false may be harmed. My false self is based and built on my appearance, my social status, human approval and my standing in the church and community. These wax and wane and can be affected by a myriad of forces, the economy, aging, declining health, criticism and slander, etc. But they can never harm my true identity as a child of God. They in fact only make me stronger. When I lost a lot of money, God's unending everlasting love (Jer 31:3) became real to me. When some in the church viewed me as a negative person and a bad influence, it was God's mysterious way of helping me find my true freedom in Christ (2 Cor 3:17; Gal 5:1; Jn 8:32). Lord, teach me how to grow into your likeness in my afflictions.

(91:14-16) In these 3 verses there are 7 promises and 3 conditions. The 3 conditions:
  1. Loving God.
  2. Acknowledging God.
  3. Calling on God.
If we are in Christ, God promises to (the first 4 are practical, the last 3 take us to a horizon beyond our sight:
  1. rescue us
  2. protect us
  3. answer our prayers
  4. be by our side in trouble
  5. give us honor (glory)
  6. give us endless eternal life
  7. give us a salvation of body and soul (Rom 8:11, 23-25)
How much do we toss in bed at snubs, at being ignored, disrespected? Criticism always feels like death. How much do we crave for applause, approval, praise, respect and recognition from others? These are addicting and enslaving--as much or maybe even more than porn, alcohol and drugs. The esteem and worth we strive so hard to achieve and to get from others God bestows on us (Ps 91:15b).

  1. What happens to those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High (1; Mt 11:28)? What does "dwell" mean? What type of a believer is this?
  2. What is the key to God taking care of us (2)? Do you feel absolutely secure in the knowledge that God is protecting you? What will God do for those who trust him (3-4)?
  3. What are the four parts of a Hebrew day (5-6)? How should a true believer feel 24/7?
  4. How secure are you when you see calamities all around you (7-8)? [The flood. The plagues. The crimes. The terrorism.]
  5. What can never happen to you if you make God your habitation (9-10)? Why (11)? What will they do, so that you won't dash your foot against a stone (12)? How does Satan misquote verse 11 (Lk 4:9-12)? Does this mean that nothing bad will ever happen to believers (Lk 21:16-18)? In what way can believers never be harmed (Phil 1:6; 2 Cor 3:18; 4:16-17)?
  6. What 7 promises does God make in 91:14-16? On what 3 conditions do these promises rest?
    • How do you rate on the 3 conditions? How can you improve?
    • Do you expect God to fulfill the 7 promises of 91:14-16 in your life? Why or why not?
    • The phrase "I will protect him" in 91:14 literally means "I will set him inaccessibly high" or "raise him to a high, secure place". What does this literal meaning add to your understanding of God's protection?
    • Count how many times the word "will" is used in Psalm 91 in the NIV. How does the continual use of this word emphasize the message of Psalm 91?
  7. How can you deliberately take refuge in God? How can you avail yourself of God's protection? Think about/answer the following:
    • Make a list of fears and troubles for which you want to trust God for deliverance and protection.
    • How will you go about doing what you need to do?

5/03/2018

When Life Disappoints (Psalm 90)

Psalm 90 is about time – God's time and our time. It speaks about the shortness and preciousness of life. The truth is that Times Flies and Life is Short! How can you invest your life rather than just spend it? Each of us needs to evaluate how we use the precious gift of time. We need to regard each day as a valuable gift from God. We need to make the most of what little time we have during our lives--which is very very short in light of eternity (Ps 90:2)! How would you like to live your life?

My favorite metaphor of life is that of an eagle flying in the sky (Isa 40:31; Ps 103:5). An eagle looks beautiful and majestic. When it is flying, cruising or soaring in the sky it looks like a symbol of freedom. It appears able to fly in any direction--north, south, east, west, while ascending or descending--at any speed--fast or slow or mid-range speed--according to it's own choice and decision. This is the picture of a life of freedom as a Christ-follower, always led by the spirit (2 Cor 3:17) and never enslaved by anything or anyone (Gal 5:1), yet always consciously obedient and surrendered to God and freely in love with Him (Dt 6:5; Mt 22:37).

Psalm 90 is distinctive for two reasons: (1) it is the oldest Psalm in the Bible and (2) it is the only Psalm authored by Moses. Psalm 90 is a prayer written by Moses while he was leading the children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Because of their disobedience and lack of faith, they were disciplined by God. God would not let Israel enter the Promised Land until everyone over twenty years old had died. (Read the story in Numbers 13 & 14.)
Did you ever think how many Israelites died in those 40 years? Bible scholars estimate that over a million adults had to die – about half of the population. If you do the math (a million deaths in 40 years), it means that the children of Israel were experiencing seventy to eighty funerals a day! Added to their wandering and waiting was death and dying. It was the stuff of their everyday life. Death was knocking at their door – literally! Even though our present-day experience differs from that of Moses and the children of Israel, Psalm 90 still has plenty to say to us today. Psalm 90 is a Song of Wisdom; it teaches us how to live life and relate to God.

Psalm 90 is realistic, facing troublesome realities squarely and without flinching. At the same time, it is moving and beautiful in facing our insecurities and offering a remedy and a hope.

What do you do when your prayers are not answer and your hopes and dreams do not come true? Psalm 90 explores the question of how to react when bright expectations fail. It is  is realistic, facing troublesome realities squarely and without flinching. At the same time, it is moving and beautiful in facing our insecurities and offering a remedy and a hope.

Is life too short? Life is going by fast, especially as we get older and know that our remaining time is shorter than when we were young. Life frightens you unless you remember eternity. We are as rootless as tumbleweeds and will be blown about all our lives unless God is your dwelling place (Ps 90:1), your home. What you have in God you can never loose and will have forever. There is no greater comfort in all of life than this.

Is time moving too slowly for you? Ps 90:4 is one of the most widely quoted verses in the psalms because it confronts us when we are frustrated with God's timing. Time moves slowly for us, as we crawl from moment to moment, God, who inhabits eternity (Ps 90:2), sees all of history in a single moment. God's timetable is unlikely to match our own. Moses, the author, seems to look at life from the vantage point of old age, from where we can finally see, as God does, that our time here is short. This psalm should make you wise before your time (Ps 90:12) by not wasting your life on trifles. Soon it will be too late.

Are you ready to die tomorrow? Are you doing the profound soul work necessary to be ready to die? It is painful to be reminded that our lives are exercises in disintegration. We are wearing down and wearing out until we are dust again (Ps 90:3; Gen 2:7). 90:7-11 reminds us that death is not the natural order of things; it is the effect of our turning from God and the curse on all creation (Genesis 3). Without this robust doctrine of sin, we will not be wise (Ps 90:12). We will be constantly shocked by what others (and myself) are capable of, by how life swiftly takes away everything we love. We will trust in our own abilities too much and seek satisfaction in things that we will inevitably lose. You either face sin and death, or be out of touch with reality.

Living with Mortality (A prayer to God Eternal in response to the brevity of life)
  1. Permanency. Generations past: our home (1-2). Affirming the eternality of God. A fixed address in time and eternity.
  2. Perishing and preservation. Present experience: transience and wrath (3-12). Acknowledging man's mortality and need for wisdom. The endangered species.
  3. Prayer. Generations to come: contentment and security (13-17). Asking for God's favor and blessing. Preserving the endangered species.

4/20/2018

The Alliteration of Love (1 Corinthians 13)

Love (1 Corinthians 13) for God, each other and others:
  1. The preeminence of love (1-3).
  2. The practice of love (4-7).
  3. The perfection of love (8-10).
  4. The progression of love (11-12).
  5. The permanence of love (13).
Love must always be present, predominant and persistent.

May our love for God, each other and others be:
  1. Preeminent (1-3).
  2. Patient (4-7).
  3. "Perfect" (8-10).
  4. Progressive (11-12).
  5. Permanent (13).

4/17/2018

Grace, Enthusiasm and Power (Romans 1:1-17)

"As it says in the Bible, 'the just shall live by faith'" (Rom 1:17b, The Kingdom New Testament, N. T. Wright). " "The righteous by faith will live" (NET Bible).  "The people God accepts because of their faith will live" (CEV).

Romans 1:16-17 is the gospel, the theme and the thesis statement of Romans in summary form and the essence of Christianity. It summarizes Paul's theology as a whole.

"The gospel is not advice to people, suggesting that they lift themselves. It is power. It lifts them up. Paul does not say that the gospel brings power, but that it is (present tense = continually) power, and God's (omnipotent) power at that." Leon Morris.

Ø  Do you have a gospel/good news story to share (Rom 1:5)?

Ø  How eager are you to share the good news (Rom 1:15)?

Ø  How have you experienced the power of God (Rom 1:16-17)?

"I greatly longed to understand Paul's epistle to the Romans, and nothing stood in the way but that one expression 'the justice of God,' because I took it to mean that justice whereby God is just and deals justly in punishing the unjust. My situation was that, although an impeccable monk, I stood before God as a sinner troubled in conscience, and I had no confidence that my merit would assuage him.


Therefore, I did not love a just and angry God, but rather hated and murmured against him. […] Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that, 'the just shall live by his faith.' Then I grasped that … through gift and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. When I saw that Law meant one thing and Gospel another, I broke through." Martin Luther.


Romans 1-3

  1. Gospel of God's Grace (1:1-6): We received grace.
  2. Gospel Enthusiasm (1:7-15): Eager to preach the gospel.
  3. Gospel Power (1:16-17): The gospel is the power of God.
  4. Gospel Suppression (1:18-2:5): Wickedness suppresses the gospel.
  5. Gospel Impartiality (2:6-29): God does not show favoritism.
  6. Gospel Accusation (3:1-20): No one is righteous.
  7. Gospel Righteousness (3:21-26): Righteousness is through faith.

In Rom 1:1-6, John Stott explains the gospel as follows:

  1. The origin of the gospel is ________ (1:1).
  2. The attestation/preparation of the gospel is ___ (1:2).
  3. The substance or center of the gospel is _____ (1:3-4).
  4. The scope of the gospel is ________________ (1:5-6).
  5. The purpose of the gospel is ________________ (1:5).
  6. The effect of the gospel is __________________ (1:6).
  7. The goal of the gospel is ___________________ (1:5).

 Questions:

  1. What is the gospel? Explain compellingly what it is.
  2. How striking is it being a "slave" and "apostle" (1:1a)?
  3. What is the origin of the gospel (1:1b; Gal 1:11-12)? Why is this conviction important for authentic evangelism?
  4. What attests to or prepares for the gospel (1:2; Jn 5:39, 46; Lk 24:27, 44)?
  5. What is the substance/center of the gospel (1:3-4, 3:21-26; 1 Cor 15:3-4)?
  6. What is the scope of the gospel (1:5-6)? What implications does this have for you? What is the role of "grace" (1:5; 12:3; 15:15; 1 Cor 15:10; Gal 1:15)?
  7. What is the purpose of the gospel (1:5; 16:26)? How can you differentiate between the obedience of faith and the obedience of law? (In your own life?)
  8. What is the effect of the gospel (1:6-7)? Do you know that you are loved (Jer 31:3)?
  9. What is the goal of the gospel (1:5, 4b, 7b)? How does your Christian experience match up to this (1 Cor 10:31)?
    • Extra: What do you know about the New Perspective of Paul?
  10. Do you have a sense of debt/obligation (1:14)?
  11. Why was Paul so eager to preach the gospel in Rome (1:1, 9a, 15; 15:15-16, 20; 1 Cor 9:16; Ac 14:21-22)?
    • How eager/enthusiastic are you about preaching the gospel?
    • As we get older do we lose our initial enthusiasm for Jesus?
    • Does it seem that many Christians start out full of zeal, but over time lose their initial excitement?
    • Do new converts seem to be most on fire for Christ?
    • Are you jaded/cynical/bitter because of church experiences?
  12. Why was Paul not ashamed of the gospel (1:16a)?
    • How might "liberals" (Gentiles), "conservatives" (Jews) and "intellectuals" (Greeks) find the gospel offensive?
  13. How might "first to the Jew, then to the Gentile" (1:16b) offend both Jew and Gentile?
  14. What does the gospel reveal (1:17)? Explain the "righteousness of/from God" in three ways (3:21-26; Phil 3:9)?
  15. Contrast "the righteous will live by faith" and "the righteous by faith will live."

4/10/2018

Forgetting the Good Things God Has Done For You (Psalm 103)

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits" (Ps 103:2, HCSB). "... may I never forget the good things he does for me" (NLT).
  • Read Psalm 103 slowly and thoughtfully in two translations. As you read and reread, mark any words or phrases that are meaningful to you and put a question mark by anything that you don't understand. Give Psalm 103 a title or write a short summary sentence that captures what you think is the essence of this Psalm.
As Christ followers and as people saved by grace, we have a major problem that affects us all: we are forgetful! We can remember all kinds of things, especially what others have done to us or said about us (or imagined said about us!), but we easily forget what God has done in our lives. We have a long memory when it comes to out hurts, sorrows, burdens and disappointments, but a very short memory when it comes to recalling just how good God has been to us! Apparently David, the man after God's own heart, also had this problem.

What did David do?  What can we do?
  1. Speak to your own soul (1-2). How much of your fear, anger, anxiety and discouragement is entirely due to you forgetting God's benefits, forgetting all that God has given you and blessed you? Perhaps your mind knows, but does your heart forget that you're forgiven, that you're guaranteed a crown and a feast? How does this happen in your own heart and soul until it transforms you and your strength is renewed and you can soar like an eagle (Ps 103:5; Isa 40:31)? It happens through inward dialogue, speaking directly and forcefully to your own heart ("my soul") rather than just listening to it. Biblical meditation is not a relaxation technique for emptying the mind but rather one that fills it with truth, using thought and memory to set your heart on fire. Here David dwells on the truth that God forgives sin and eventually will remove all suffering and diseases. When we ask we receive instant forgiveness (Ps 32:5; 1 Sam 12:13; 1 Jn 1:8-9), but our suffering may not yet be removed now (2 Cor 12:8-9; 2 Sam 12:13-23). It is because while sin always blocks our relationship with God, suffering can deepen it (Heb 12:11).
  2. Be slow to anger in order to abound in love (6-12). God's anger is different from ours. We are quick to anger. One way or another we make people--who have wronged or disappointed us--pay. We make sure they know that we are upset with them. Even after that we are still upset, nursing our grievances. But God is quite different. He is slow to anger (Ps 103:8). He provides for our forgiveness. Then he remembers our sins no more. David is quoting Exodus 34:6, which goes on to say that God "does not leave the guilty unpunished" (Ex 34:7). How can Moses say in Exodus that God will not let sin go unpunished and David say that God will not punish us as our sins deserve (Ps 103:10) and both be right? Only the cross would reveal what it cost God to punish sin without punishing us. Infinite distances (Ps 103:11-12) are used to convey such infinite love.
  3. Remember God's everlasting love (13-18). An adult can see right into the heart of a child who lacks wisdom and who does not have the skills to hide selfishness and impatience. Parents know their children's besetting sins (Ps 103:14). Yet a good father loves his children anyway (Ps 103:13). So God knows us to the very bottom yet loves us to the skies--literally (Ps 103:11). God does not just pardon our sins. He adopts us into his family, giving us his love, access in prayer, a share in the inheritance of glory, and even his family resemblance--the Holy Spirit, which reproduces God's own character in us (Jn 1:12-13; Gal 4:7; 1 Jn 3:1-3).
  4. Sing with all of nature (19-22). The psalmist calls on his own soul to praise God (Ps 103:1-2). Then he learns to rejoice inwardly in the unfathomable benefits of salvation. Now, at the end of the psalm, he realizes a oneness with creation that he never imagined possible, for he sees what all nature is doing--rejoicing in God! All "his works" on earth (Ps 103:22) and in heaven (Ps 103:20-21) are already singing to God and to one another, and he has taken up his unique part in the greatest chorus and symphony of all. Experiencing God's everlasting love (Ps 103:17) as a living reality enables you to hear and join in the music. Jonathan Edwards describes a common spirtual experience that when we are singing God's praises the most, we sense that the mountains and ocean and trees are "singing" as well (Ps 19:1-5; Is 55:12). When we are not right with God, we feel alone in the world. But when we praise God the most, we can hear your joy in the birds in the morning and the rain on the water and even the soggy snow on the ground. Be a part of the music of the universe and sing your part, which adds to and derives beauty from the whole.
Questions
  1. Praise characterizes this psalm. No requests are made to the Lord. Do your prayers usually include more requests than praise? What adjustments, if any, should you make to your prayers?
  2. What practical advantages in old age does a believer have that an un-believer lacks? What do you most admire about elderly believers?  © Warren W. Wiersbe.
  • Psalm 103:10 says that God does not give us what we deserve. On paper or just in your memory, think of some low points in your life where you have rebelled and committed a sin. Don't stay there very long. Next, take that list and read out loud Psalm 103:9-12 and let the word pictures of these verses be done to your mistakes.
  1. (103:1-5) This Psalm begins and ends with the phrase, "Bless the Lord, O my soul." Why would David tell himself to praise God? Do we need to do this too? Who benefits from the act of praising God? How? What is your favorite way to praise God? Why? What do you think it means to praise God with your whole heart or all your inmost being? Is it possible to praise God half-heartedly and unenthusiastically? Explain your answer. ♥ When was a time that you were so overwhelmed with gratitude, thanksgiving and joy that you wanted to summon all that was deepest within you to praise God? 
    • For some believers, that language seems antiquated or unfamiliar. How does that phrase affect you?  Kind of confused – How does a sinner bless God?  You bet – I bless the Lord right out loud!  I don't feel that way today – It would be hypocritical for me to say that at this moment.  It's personal – In my prayer time, I bless God.  Other ________________________________________ 
  2. What is another instruction David gives himself (2b)? Why do you think it is necessary for David to remind himself of this? 
    • List the five actions of God that make up God's Benefit Package for us (3-5). Underline the key verb in each statement. Which of the Lord's benefits that are listed impress you the most? Why is that one near and dear to you?
    • Consider the five actions of God: God forgives, heals, redeems, crowns, and satisfies. Do "actions speak louder than words"? What conclusions can you come to about God's person and character based on his actions?  Do your conclusions about God match your experience of God? Why or why not?
    • What "pit" (4) has God redeemed you from? What is an appropriate response for what He has done? ♥ What images come to mind when you think of the word "crowned"(4)? What does the word "crowned" reveal about God's view of you?
    • In the Bible, eagles are often "word pictures" symbolizing renewed strength given by God just when we need it. This is because eagles allow themselves to be carried on the wind currents for miles with little or no effort on their part (Isa 40:30-31). In 103:5, why would God satisfying our desires with good things cause our youth to be renewed like the eagles? What do you think is the connection between these two things?
  3. (103:6-18) Verses 7 & 8 refer to Moses' encounter with God in person (Exo 33:18-34:1-8). Why do you think Moses pleaded with God to allow him to see him? What did Moses witness on the mountain that is echoed in this psalm?
  4. Buried in the middle of this Psalm are two references to the Fatherhood of God (13&17). Some of us have not known healthy role models of Fatherhood. What are some ways that you could cast off those old memories of broken parenting and put on new beliefs of God as the compassionate and loving father? What ways can you show God's character that you saw in Psalm 103 to your children or grandchildren?
  5. What is the measurement of God's steadfast love towards those who revere him (17-18)? How do you experience God's love in your day-to-day life? Who, more than any other person, have you received God's love through the most? In the 21st century, how are others to know and experience God's limitless love?
  6. How do you think God's love differs from what our culture would define as love?
  7. (103:19-22) Who is being commanded to "Bless the Lord" in these verses? What do you think it means to obey "the voice of his word" (20)? If your group was told to declare God's greatness tonight before you dismiss, what would that look like?
  8. After discussing all of this we find ourselves back at the encouragement to "Bless the Lord, O my soul." Has your understanding or appreciation of that phrase changed? If so, how has it changed?

Forgetting the Good Things God Has Done for You (Psalm 103)

·         Read and give Psalm 103 a title or write a short summary sentence that captures what you think is the essence of this Psalm.

 

·         What directive or instruction is repeated (1, 2, 20-22)? For some believers, that language seems antiquated or unfamiliar. How does that phrase affect you?

o    * Kind of confused – How does a sinner bless God?

o    * You bet – I bless the Lord right out loud!

o    * I don't feel that way today – It would be hypocritical for me to say that at this moment.

o    * It's personal – In my prayer time, I bless God.

o    * Other ________________________________________ 

 

·         Why would David tell himself to praise God (1-2a)? Do we need to do this? Who benefits from praising God? How? What is your favorite way to praise God? Why? What do you think it means to praise God with your whole heart or all your inmost being?

 

o    Is it possible to praise God half-heartedly and unenthusiastically? Explain.

 

o    When was a time that you were so overwhelmed with gratitude, thanksgiving and joy that you wanted to summon all that was deepest within you to praise God?

 

·         What is another instruction David gives himself (2b)? Why do you think it is necessary for David to remind himself of this?

 

·         List 5 actions of God that make up God's Benefit Package for us (3-5). Underline the key verb in each statement.

 

o    Consider the five actions of God: God forgives, heals, redeems, crowns, and satisfies. Do "actions speak louder than words"? What can you learn about God's person and character based on his actions.

 

o    Do your conclusions about God match your experience of God? Why or why not?

 

·         What "pit" (4a) has God redeemed you from? What is an appropriate response for what He has done? What images come to mind when you think of the word "crowned" (4b)? What does this reveal about God's view of you?

 

·         In the Bible, eagles are often "word pictures" symbolizing renewed strength given by God just when we need it. This is because eagles allow themselves to be carried on the wind currents for miles with little or no effort on their part (Isa 40:30-31). Why would God satisfying our desires with good things cause our youth to be renewed like the eagles (5)? What do you think is the connection between these two things?

 

·         In 103:8-10, David shifts his focus to who God is rather than what he does for us. Read these verses in at least two translations of Scripture and put into your own words the 8 characteristics of God mentioned by David.

 

o    Does David's description of God match your own concept of God? If not, how might you to see and experience God this way? How do we deserve to be treated by God? Why doesn't God treat us like that? What implications does God's treatment of us have for our treatment of others? Whom do you treat as he or she deserves?

 

·         What are the two powerful word pictures to help us understand the depth of God's love and forgiveness (11-12)?

 

·         Does your experience with your earthly father help or hinder this word picture (13)?

 

·         What two facts does God keep in mind about us (14-16)?

 

·         Who is in charge of the universe (19)?



3/31/2018

Who The Happy People Are

The term "blessed" (used 26 out of 45 times in Psalms) is recurrent in Wisdom Literature and describes the faithful followers.

1. Job 5:17; Ps. 94:12 — disciplined by Shaddai

2. Psalm 1:1 — studies and walks in God's word

3. Psalm 2:12 — takes refuge in YHWH

4. Psalm 32:1-2 — sin is forgiven

5. Psalm 40:4; 84:12; Pro. 16:20 — trusts in YHWH

6. Psalm 41:1-3; Pro. 14:21 — considers the poor

7. Psalm 80:6 — strength is in YHWH

8. Psalm 89:12 — know joy and walk in the light of YHWH's countenance

9. Psalm 119:2 — seek Him with whole heart, observe His testimony

10. Psalm 112:1; 128:1 — fears YHWH, walks in His ways

11. Psalm 146:5 — YHWH is his help

12. Proverbs 3:13 — finds wisdom

13. Proverbs 8:32,34 — listens to YHWH, keeps His ways

14. Proverbs 28:14 — fears YHWH

15. Proverbs 29:18 — keeps YHWH's laws