Term 4 2019

“Psalms:  The way of the righteous in the muck of life”

Psalms are poetic expressions of our relationship with God. Jesus prayed (and sang) the Psalms and the Apostles saw the Psalms as fertile ground for their teaching about Jesus the Messiah. The Psalms inform our prayers and our response to God as we navigate the difficult, joyful, easy and challenging times of life. For generations the Psalms have helped God’s people to speak to God in prayer with honesty and they have brought comfort in the “muck of life” to use a phrase from Dale Ralph Davis’ excellent commentary on Psalms 1- 12. In this series we look at a selection of Psalms that encompasses a wide range of the themes and situations covered by the book.

God is my refuge and strength  Psalm 46  10th November

  1. What type of psalm do you think Psalm 46 is? Lament, praise, thanksgiving, something else? What is the main emotional thrust of the psalm? 
  2. Psalm 46:8 asks people to come and see what the LORD has done. What has he done? What will he do? 
  3. Why might the psalmist repeat the line “The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”? 
  4. Can you think of a time when you’ve felt the refuge and strength of God?   
  5. Is it reasonable to ask Christians to not feel any fear? Discuss the pros and cons of feeling fear.  
  6. What is the instruction in vs 10? What can stop us from being still with God? How might that effect our relationship with him? What ways can you make time to be still with him?

Do not rebuke me in your anger  Psalm 6  3rd November

  1. The words at the start of the Psalm  “For the director of music …” indicate that this Psalm was used regularly in Temple services.  Read the Psalm and see what makes it stand out from the usual songs we sing in church.  What does this tell you about our worship services?  Do you think there is a place in our gatherings for songs that express the themes of Psalm 6?  Why / Why not?
  2. In verses 1-3 what indications are there that this Psalm reflects a long time of suffering and difficulty in David’s life?
  3. David thinks that his suffering may be God’s rebuke or discipline.  Have you ever felt this?  What extra assurances do we have that David did not have to reassure us that we are not the objects of God’s wrath or anger?  What place does God’s discipline have in our lives? (See Hebrews 12:4-13)
  4. In verses 4 and 5 on what basis does David appeal for deliverance?  What is his main concern in verse 5?
  5. A major transition occurs between verses 7 and 8.  David moves from weeping to “the Lord has heard my cry for mercy”. What difference would it make to how we use this Psalm if we knew that between verse 7 and 8 was a time period of years instead of days or hours?
  6. How would this Psalm help you to comfort a grieving friend?
  7. How would it help you to respond to a certain strand of “Christian” teaching that says God promises to bless you – if you are unhappy it must be because you have sinned.” ?

Why do the nations plot against the Lord?
  Psalm 2 
27th October

  1. How would you respond to a friend who says churches should stay out of politics and stick to religion? What biblical principles would you use to support your response?
  2. Read Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 and note the similarities in wording and themes between them.
  3. What is the key to “blessedness” in each of these Psalms (compare Psalm 1:2 and Psalm 2:12)
  4. The judgment pictures in Psalm 2 has not yet finally happened. What does the New Testament say about this judgment? – i.e. when will it happen?, why is it delayed?
  5. Imagine you are talking with a Christian believer in a country with an oppressive regime that is persecuting Christians. What comfort can you offer them from Psalm 2?
  6. How does the picture of God in Psalm 2 differ from the common image of a kind old gentleman in the sky who just wants us to do our best?
  7. What reasons does Psalm 2 give for its claim that opposition to God is foolish and futile?

Blessed is the one who…
   Psalm 1 
20th October

  1. What is the book of Psalms?
  2. “The Psalms were Jesus’ song book”. Do you agree or not? Why?
  3. Psalm 1 talks about two ways to live. What are they?
  4. Which attitudes, thoughts and behaviours lead to destruction? Which lead to blessing?
  5. Discuss the image of the blessed person in v3. Discuss the image of the wicked person in v4.
  6. Why is this psalm so black and white?
  7. It is generally thought that Psalm 1 serves as an introduction to the collection. If that is the case, what themes can we watch out for in other psalms?
  8. Brainstorm as many possible ways as you can, of mediating on the law of the LORD day and night. Is there one way you would like to try out the week?