Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Psalms 28-55|
Passage: Psalm 39
A. Find Out:
1. What is this psalm? v.12
2. What had David tried to do but failed? v.1-3
3. What did he feel about life? v.4-6
4. What did he ask the Lord to do? v.8,10
5. What did he feel about his present relationship with God? v.12b
6. So what does he ask? v.13
1. What is David feeling about life in general? (see v.4-6)
2. What was he feeling about himself?
3. So what does he end up asking God?
This is a psalm of mixed emotions, and so with other commentators of varied opinions, we may misinterpret it.
To start with David seems in anguish (note his anguish increased v.2), and in that anguish he determined not to act or speak wrongly. His enemies were round about him (v.1) and his life felt frail. There are times in life when we feel our life is being held by a thread. Eventually he couldn't stay quiet any longer. He bursts out to God, what is this all about, what is life all about? Life is but fleeting. We work hard but to what avail? We're all going to die so why amass riches?
Having poured his heart out, he proclaims his trust in the Lord and acknowledges his need for salvation. He hadn't wanted to speak negatively because he knew that God rules over all things. He felt his anguish was from the Lord. The best he can do is cry save me, hear me, look away from me. He hasn't got any grounds on which to bargain with God, he's just being honest. I'm a mess, God help me….. No, there are no neat conclusions to this psalm!
There are times when we come to the end of ourselves and can only declare our honest but imperfect heart. At that moment truth is revealed. This is how we really are.
1. God knows the truth about us - and still loves us.
2. We need to come to the point of facing the truth about ourselves.
Passage: Psalm 40
A. Find Out:
1. What had the Lord done for David? v.1-3
2. What is David thus able to say about the Lord? v.5
3. In what attitude did he come to God? v.6-8
4. What did he say he did? v.9,10
5. Yet what did he feel and what did he ask? v.11-16
6. How did he describe the Lord? v.17
1. How is this first a psalm of thanks to the Lord?
2. How is it also a psalm of submission?
3. Read Heb 10:5-7 How does that change our view of this psalm?
First this is a psalm of David, then it is a prophetic messianic psalm, a cry through history from the messiah.
David had been in a bad place and had cried to the Lord and the Lord had then lifted him out of that situation (v.1-3). As a result David knows that it is the man who trusts in the Lord and not on other clever men who is the man who is blessed (v.4). He feels God has done so much for him (v.5). This sense of gratefulness evokes in David a desire to simply be available to the Lord (v.6-8). David will speak out publicly (v.9,10) of the Lord's greatness, yet he is still aware of his enemies round about and sins within (v.11,12).
He cries to the Lord, save me (v.13), turn back those who are against me (v.14,15) and let me able to rejoice in you (v.16). Despite his deliverance and knowledge of God's goodness and desire to do His will, he is still aware of his own weakness and need (v.17).
The writer to the Hebrews shows us that this is also the cry of the messiah; David has caught the Lord's heart. This is the cry of the humanity of Jesus who knows Father in heaven as deliverer on whom he completely relies. He's come to do Father's will and has taken on the frailty of humanity. He needs the Father's help throughout.
1. David was aware of God's greatness and his weakness.
2. Jesus was aware of the Father's greatness and his weakness.
Passage: Psalm 41
A. Find Out:
1. Who will the Lord help? v.1-3
2. How will He help? v.1-3
3. What was wrong with David? v.4,8
4. What were others doing? v.5-7,9
5. What did David ask of the Lord? v.10
6. What was he able to say about himself? v.11,12
1. What principle does David declare in v.1-3?
2. What situation does he reveal in v.4-9?
3. What prayer does he make and on what basis in v.10-13?
Having himself in mind, David first of all declares a spiritual principle in v.1-3 to stir his faith and reassure himself. God has regard for those who care for the weak! Again and again as we read the Old Testament we find the Lord having regard for the weak, the downtrodden, the sick. Note this is not the righteous but the weak. God cares for all people but he blesses the righteous and preserves the weak. David also reassures himself that the Lord heals the sick. Perhaps we need to read the Gospels again to reassure ourselves that this was the thing that Jesus seemed to do more of than anything else!
In v.4-9 David reveals that in his illness all he is getting is discouragement. He attributes his illness to sin and asks for forgiveness. While he was lying there his enemies and his friends came and both seemed to write him off, just as Job's comforters (see the book of Job) constantly wrote off Job.
However David is confident in his relationship with the Lord. Even when he has sinned (v.4) he knows the Lord is still pleased with him (v.11). He knows his place is with the Lord (v.12) and the occasional misdemeanour will not change that. Yes failure has consequences but not to remove him from The relationship!
1. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes thing go wrong, but God still loves.
2. The occasional failure does not remove God's love for you!
Passage: Psalm 42
A. Find Out:
1. What is the Psalmist's yearning? v.2
2. With what were men taunting him? v.3,10
3. On what can he look back? v.4
4. What was he now feeling? v.5a,11a
5. What is behind that feeling? v.9a
6. What is his remedy to himself? v.5b,c, 11b
B. Think :
C. Comment :
There are times when the Lord seems very far away. When that happens we can feel downcast and alone, when we feel as if the Lord has departed us and forgotten us. It is at such times that the words of the enemy seem particularly barbed: where is your God? Why doesn't He do something?
Such times as this are especially difficult if you have known times of great joy and blessing, as the Psalmist had done (v.4). For the person who has known much blessing, the absence of it is especially hard, and such times DO come!
But there are important things to see here. First of all consider that many people simply aren't bothered at all by the absence of the Lord. That there is a concern, an anguish, a yearning, is a good thing. It shows there IS spiritual life there, which knows there is something better, and wants it! Second, observe the Psalmist's way of dealing with this feeling: he speaks words of faith to himself. Hope in God, I will yet praise Him. i.e. this will end, I will come through eventually to a place of knowing Him and praising Him again. Christian maturity is often seen by "hanging in" when it isn't all glory!
1. When the Lord doesn't seem near and I AM concerned, that is a good sign!
Passage: Psalm 43
A. Find Out:
1. What does the writer ask God to do? v.1
2. How does he see the Lord? v.2a
3. Yet what does he feel has happened? v.2b,c
4. What does he ask to happen? v.3a
5. What does he expect to happen as a result? v3b,4.
6. What does he tell himself to do? v.5
1. What signs are there that this psalm is a continuation of Psalm 42?
2. What is David's “problem”?
3. What does he see the answer to be?
The note at the bottom of the page in your Bible will tell you that this, in many Hebrew manuscripts, is simply a continuation of the previous psalm. Verse 5 is a repeat of verses 5 & 11 in that previous psalm.
Let's consider, first of all, David's problem . David feels he needs deliverance from wicked people, indeed a wicked nation! He asks God to vindicate him, to show him to be in the right when so many others are wrong. Usually he feels the Lord is a stronghold to him, but at the moment he feels he is out in the open, exposed to the unrighteous all around him. He feels he is being oppressed by these people.
Let's then look at David's solution . He has two prongs to his solution. The first is he needs the Lord to speak. When the Lord does that, he knows that God's words will come as light and truth and guidance that will lead him into a good place, a place of worship and praise again.
The second prong is his own activity: he speaks to himself, he challenges himself with the truth. You know what the answer is, he says to himself, put your hope in the Lord, He will come through for you!
1. We need to hear God's voice for daily encouragement.
Passage: Psalm 44
A. Find Out:
1. What do they remember from the past? v.1-3
2. What does that lead them to be able to say? v.4-8
3. What do they say the Lord has done? v.9-14
4. What do they feel and what is happening to them? v.15,16
5. What seems to puzzle them? v.17-22
6. So what do they ask? v.23-26
1. How, here, does testimony produce trust?
2. Why is that trust particularly needed at that moment?
3. Read Rom 8:35 -37. What had Paul learnt?
This psalm by the Sons of Korah (priests) confronts a problem that most of us face at sometime or other: why am I suffering when I am seeking to be righteous?
In verses 1-3 there is TESTIMONY. We know you did this…. That results, in verses 4-8, in a declaration of TRUST. You are the God who did great things in the past, and so we trust that you will do great things for us, now, here in the present.
But then comes TROUBLED THINKING in verses 9-22. Things seem to be going wrong for us, so where are you, why are you letting this happen to us?
This seems to be followed in verses 23-26 by a TERRIBLE TEMERITY! The writer dares to cajole the Lord. Wake up! Where are you? Rise up? How dare he be so “up front” with the Lord? The answer to that is that that is what he is feeling - and the Lord knows all that we think and feel - so he might as well say it out loud. What he's really saying is, “Lord, we're desperate! Please turn up!” Centuries later the apostle Paul was able to take some of these words and basically say, “Yes, troubles come, but nothing will separate us from God's love, even these trials and tribulations.
1. Does your relationship with the Lord enable you to speak honestly?
2. God's love IS there for you, in the midst of the tribulations!
RECAP - Psalms 39 - 44
As previously, we will simply produce a table as a reminder of what we have recently been reading in the Summary, and then a similar table in the Lessons.
Even more these psalms show us the reality of life, that there are times when we feel down, lonely and lost. It may be simply an awareness of the frailty of life, it may be because of an awareness of enemies round about, it may be a sense of weakness or illness, it may be that God seems far away, or even that He is disciplining without an obvious reason, for there are a whole variety of causes for us to feel down. The answer in every case is to call on the Lord and the psalmists remind us that God comes to our aid – but we may have to wait. The call is to trust Him while we are still waiting.
PRAY :Commit your daily difficulties to the Lord. Ask for His grace and declare your trust in Him. He is the Lord!