Overflowing Joy 3

The aim of this devotional study is to regain joy in God amidst suffering and oppression.

Scripture

Psalms 13:1-6

1  How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?  2  How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3  Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,  4  lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.  6  I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Observation

  1. Note the three logical sections in the Psalm (v1-2; v3-4; v5-6). In a very short phrase, give a descriptive name for each of these three sections – what are they about?
  2. Regarding v1-2: In your own words, from the questions David asks God, describe the suffering he undergoes. (A short phrase for every question).
  3. Regarding v3-4: In your own words, describe the petitions David asks from the Lord. (i.e. what Does David ask God to do for him? – again a short phrase for every petition.)
  4. Regarding v5-6: In your own words, describe David’s confession and resolute decision in this unresolved matter. (Again – a short phrase for every confession he makes).
  5. What is the turning point for David – what stirs his faith, hope and joy? (v5-6)

Reflection and Application

In this Psalm David recorded his suffering through a sense of abandonment and humiliation from his enemies throwing him in a deep depression, yet he continues to plead with God for strength, hope and vindication – all the while reminding himself of God’s faithful love and deliverance, reminding himself of what the Lord has done for him in the past.

  1. Can you identify with David’s suffering in any way now (or in the past) even that God has forgotten you or even cut you off?
  2. David is pulled from his hopelessness and depression – even to hope and rejoice again – when he reminds himself of what the Lord had done for him in the past and decides to praise God. Take a few moments and jot down a list of things the Lord has done for you in the past and even now.

Prayer

Paul (from prison!!!) instructs the persecuted church in Philippi to “rejoice always!” and then he says “6  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Follow Paul’s instruction and David’s example (Psalm 13) and pray in this way to rejoice your heart now:

  1. Unburden your heart as you bring all you cares to God
  2. Ask the Lord for your needs and desires
  3. Thank God for all that he gives and all that he has done for you in the past.
  4. Praise the Lord for who he is!

* Note: Thanks is about what God does; Praise is about who God is.  i.e. “I thank you for giving me daily bread – I praise you for your faithfulness!  I thank you for answering my prayer – I praise you for being the God Who Hears!”

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.