The Blessed Life 5

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the rewards the righteous – of those who fear the Lord.

Scripture

Psalms 103:8-18

8  The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  9  He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.  10  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

11  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;  12  as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  13  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

14  For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.  15  As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16  for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

17  But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, 18  to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.

Observations

Note: To fear the Lord means to live with the knowledge that God is our creator and judge, and therefore we his servants who live according to His will and depart from evil (See Eccl 12:13-14; Psalm 34:11-14, Proverbs 3:7; 8:13)

  1. Psalm 103 calls us to bless the Lord and remember the goodness of God towards us.  Summarize in one phrase what the Psalm tells of God in each of the following segments:
  • Verses 8-10
  • Verses 11-13
  • Verses 14-16
  • Verses 17v18
  1. What does this Psalm tell of the Lord’s special treatment of those who fear him? (v11-13, 17-18)

Reflection

  1. Verses 13-14 reads like this: “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”
  • Love can be translated as “deliberate attention and action for the good of the receiver”. According to this definition, does a father give more love or less love to his son who struggles in life?  Why?
  • Why does the Father show compassion to those who fear Him in these verses? Answer in your own words.
  • Sometimes we feel that God may love us less because we struggle or fail in His holy standards.  What does this Psalm say to people who feel like that – people who want to please God in holy living?

Prayer and Confession

Do you fear the Lord?  Pray a prayer of confession and thanksgiving over yourself from this Psalm

  • Praise God with the truth of His character and ability according to this Psalm
  • Confess what God promises to you and what he feels about you.
  • Thank God for his merciful goodness towards you.
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BS1 The Blessed Life 4

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the definition and blessedness of those who fear God.

Scripture

Psalms 34:7-16

7  The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.  8  Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

9  Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!  10  The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

11  Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.  12  What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?  13  Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. 14  Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

15  The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 16  The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

Observations

  1. From this Psalm define in your own words what it means in practice to fear of the Lord. (v11-13)
  2. List the blessings of those who fear the Lord in your own words (v7-15).

Reflection and Prayer

  1. This Psalmist wrote to inspire and instruct the hearer to fear the Lord. Reading this definition (v11-14) would you say that you live with the fear of the Lord?  Why / why not?  Reflect on your tongue, your behavior, and your relationships – and pray where there Lord needs to instill His fear in you.
  2. What needs do you have in your life? James says “you have not because you ask not” (4:2).  With thanksgiving, pray boldly through the promises in this Psalm, including:
  • Protection,
  • Provision,
  • Long life,
  • Goodness,
  • God’s attentive eye and ear.

The Blessed Life 3

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the rewards the righteous – of those who fear the Lord.

Scripture

Psalms 112:1-4

1  Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! 2  His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3  Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.  4  Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.

Observations

Note: To fear the Lord means to live with the knowledge that God is our creator and judge, and therefore we his servants who live according to His will and depart from evil (See Ecclesiastes  12:13-14; Psalm 34:11-14, Proverbs 3:7; 8:13)

  1. According to verse one, what do we learn of “the man who fears the Lord”? Why would that be characteristic of such a person? (See the definition above).
  2. List the blessings reserved for those who fear the Lord (verses 2-4). Then explain what you understand by each of those phrases.
  3. What are the characteristics of “the man who fears God” according to the second halfof verse 4?

Reflection

  1. As a New Testament believer, do you usually read the Bible and see commands that God and his Son Jesus gives?
  • How do you relate to those commands – more like suggestions to guide you, or like clear instructions to be obeyed? [note: try to distinguish here between what you KNOW to be true and what you DO or FEEL].
  • How do you understand God feels about the commands he writes in the Bible – such as those contained in Matthew 5-6?
  1. How do you feel about the promise in this Psalm that “Wealth and riches are in [the] house [of him that fears the Lord”?
  • Why do you think God can trust a man who fears him with possessions? (hint: look at the definition on one who fears God in the previous section]
  • Do you believe that God delights to prosper you?

Prayer

In Isaiah 11:2 the Holy Spirit is referred to as “the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.”  Spend some time and pray that God will give you a greater knowledge and fear of Him through the revelation by His Holy Spirit.  And then boldly ask God to bless you as promised in Psalm 112.

The Blessed Life 2

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the rewards of those who fear God.

Scripture

Psalms 25:8-14

8  Good and upright is the LORD; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.  9  The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way.  10  All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.

11  For Your name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

12  Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. 13  He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth. 14  The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.

Observation

Note: To fear the Lord means to live with the knowledge that God is our creator and judge, and therefore we his servants who live according to His will and depart from evil (See Eccl 12:13-14; Psalm 34:11-14, Proverbs 3:7; 8:13)

  1. What does the “good and upright Lord” do with sinners according to verse 8?
  2. Verse 9 qualifies the disposition/ attitude of those who are taught by the Lord – which sinners does he teach?
  3. Comparting verses 9 and 12, what link do learn about the fear of the Lord?
  4. List the blessings reserved for those who fear the Lord (verses 12-14). Then explain what you understand by each of those phrases.

Reflection and Prayer

In verse 14 the Psalmist promises “the secret of the Lord is with those who fear him.”  The ESV renders the translation “friendship with the Lord is for those who fear him.”  Would you say that God regards you as friend and trusts you with the secrets and plans on his heart?  How do you feel about the fact that God wants to befriend you in that way?  Talk to God about that now!

The Blessed Life

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the blessings of a life devoted to God.

Scripture

Psalms 1:1-6

1  Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3  He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

4  The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

5  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6  For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Observations

  1. The opening line of the Book of Psalms (v1) starts with “Blessed is the man who does not…” – list the three things; how do these three things relate? (hint: note the progression).
  2. What is the secret of a blessed / good and successful life according to the Psalmist? Why would this lead to a good life?
  3. The Psalmist writes the blessed life metaphorically as a fruitful tree; can you translate the figurative speech to everyday, real life?
  4. Then the Psalmist writes the life of the ungodly figuratively – what type of life does this speak of? Compare this with the life of a righteous.
  5. What do you think v5 means?

Reflection and Application

  1. If you consider secular entertainment in movies, television, magazines and also advertisements – what does contemporary philosophy describe as the “good life”? Think and write it down.  How does that compare to what the Bible prescribes as God’s blessed life?
  2. Have you noticed that as you spend time in secular movies / literature / conversations that you long more and more for what the world promises as “the good life”? Why?
  3. Would you say that – based on the truth contained in this Psalm – your life has the promise of success and longevity because of your commitment to God’s Word?  How do you wish to respond?
  4. Meditate on this Psalm by reading it out loud a few times and then personalize it in your own prayer to God. (Look at your watch and take 5-10minutes of praying only about the content in this Psalm’s content to God).  What did God reveal to you in this Psalm and in your life?