Guide Students. The most effective teachers of adult classes are those who have established a format of shared ministry.
No doubts about God.
“How happy are those who have no doubts about me!”
What kind of “prisons” tend to bring out doubts for you regarding Jesus?
The moving words of Ruth to Naomi as she pledged her commitment, are reflective of the commitment we must make “Whither thou goest I will go; and where thou lodgest I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.”
When you doubt, don’t turn away from him, turn to him.
(Matthew 5:29-30)”So if your right eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose a part of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose one of your limbs than to have your whole body go off to hell.”
What is Jesus’ point in using such exaggerated language?
I believe we have here a fairly strong statement of how important it is to obey God. Obedience is worth more than readiness to perform the outward obligations of religion as indicated in (1 Samuel 15:22-23). Examine your life for anything that causes you to sin, and take every necessary action to remove it.
(James 1:19-21)”Remember this, my dear brothers! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. Man’s anger does not achieve God’s righteous conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you.”
What from God’s Word here will you put into action this week?
Control of our will is vital to our progress. Turning from evil and to God’s control, is what is expected of us. If you truly wish to be obedient to God, it means turning your life totally over to God. Just as an athlete must turn control of his life to a coach, we must do the same, plus.
Psalms Book Overview
The Book of Psalms is a collection of various smaller groupings of psalms that were used in Israel’s worship over the centuries. Some psalms were associated with certain feasts (Ps. 130, Yom Kipper; ps. 135, Passover), others with the Sabbath (Ps. 92-100), and others for confession (Ps 32; 51) or praise (Ps. 111-118; 146-150).
In this book, the psalmists praise God for his justice, express confidence in God’s compassion, recount the depravity of humanity, plead for vindication, ask God to deliver them from their enemies, speak of the blessedness of the forgiven sinner, and portray God as a shepherd. We should worship God with the same sense of adoration found in these psalms.
|Purpose:||To provide poetry for the expression of praise, worship, and confession to God|
|Authors:||David wrote 73 psalms; Asaph wrote 12; the sons of Korah wrote 9; Solomon wrote 2; Heman (with the sons of Korah), Ethan, and Moses each wrote one; and 51 psalms are anonymous. The New Testament ascribes two of the anonymous psalms (Psalms 2 and 95) to David (see Acts 4:25; Hebrews 4:7).|
|Date Written:||Between the time of Moses (approximately 1440 b.c.) and the Babylonian captivity (586 b.c.)|
|Setting:||For the most part, the psalms were not intended to be narrations of historical events. However, they often parallel events in history, such as David’s flight from Saul and his sin with Bathsheba.|
|Key Verse:||“Let everything that lives sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (150:6).|
|Key Place:||God’s holy Temple|
“Hi, how are you?” “Fine.” Not exactly an “in-depth” discussion, this brief interchange is normal as friends and acquaintances pass and briefly touch each other with a cliché or two. Actually, clichés are a way of life, saturating sentences and permeating paragraphs. But if this is the essence of our communication, our relationships will stall on a superficial plateau. Facts and opinions also fill our verbiage. These words go deeper, but the true person still lies hidden beneath them. In reality, it is only when honest feelings and emotions are shared real people can be known, loved, and helped.
Often, patterns of superficial communication spill over into our talks with God. We easily slide through well-worn lines recited for decades, or we quickly toss a cliché or two at God and call it prayer. There is no doubt that God hears and understands these feeble attempts, but by limiting the depth of our communication, we become shallow in our relationship with him. But God knows us, and he wants to have genuine communication with us.
At the center of the Bible is the book of Psalms. This great collection of songs and prayers expresses the heart and soul of humanity. In them, the whole range of human experiences is expressed. There are no clichés in this book. Instead, David and the other writers honestly pour out their true feelings, reflecting a dynamic, powerful, and life-changing friendship with God. The psalmists confess their sins, express their doubts and fears, ask God for help in times of trouble, and praise and worship him.
As you read the book of Psalms, you will hear believers crying out to God from the depths of despair, and you will hear them singing to him in the heights of celebration. But whether the psalmists are despairing or rejoicing, you will always hear them sharing honest feelings with their God. Because of the honesty expressed by the psalmists, men and women throughout history have come, again and again, to the book of Psalms for comfort during times of struggle and distress. And with the psalmists, they have risen from the depths of despair to new heights of joy and praise as they also discovered the power of God’s everlasting love and forgiveness. Let the honesty of the psalmists guide you into a deep and genuine relationship with God.
Worship, In two thousand years we haven’t worked out the kinks. We still struggle for the right words in prayer. We still fumble over Scripture. We don’t know when to stand. We don’t know when to kneel. We don’t know when to pray.
Worship is a daunting task.
For that reason, God gave us Psalms – a praisebook for God’s people. The Psalms could be titled God’s Book of Common Prayer. This collection of hymns and petitions are strung together by one thread – a heart hungry for God.
Some are defiant. Others are reverent. Some are to be sung. Others are to be prayed. Some are intensely personal. Others are written as if the whole world would use them. Some were penned in caves, others in temples.
But all have one purpose – to give us the words to say when we stand before God.
The very variety should remind us that worship is personal. No secret formula exists. What moves you may stymy another. Each worships differently. But each should worship.
This book will help you do just that.
Here is a hint. Don’t just read the prayers of these saints, pray them. Experience their energy. Imitate their honesty. Enjoy their creatively. Let these souls lead you in worship.
And let’s remember. The language of worship is not polished, perfect, or advanced. It’s just honest.
|Book I Psalms 1:1–41:13||While the psalms are not organized by topic, it is helpful to compare the dominant themes in each section of the Psalms to the five books of Moses. This first collection of psalms, mainly written by David, is similar to the book of Genesis. Just as Genesis tells how mankind was created, fell into sin, and was then promised redemption, many of these psalms discuss humans as blessed, fallen, and redeemed by God.|
|Book II Psalms 42:1–72:20||This collection of psalms, mainly written by David and the sons of Korah, is similar to the book of Exodus. Just as Exodus describes the nation of Israel, many of these psalms describe the nation as ruined and then recovered. As God rescued the nation of Israel, he also rescues us. We do not have to work out solutions first, but we can go to God with our problems and ask him to help.|
|Book III Psalms 73:1–89:52||This collection of psalms, mainly written by Asaph or Asaph’s descendants, is similar to the book of Leviticus. Just as Leviticus discusses the Tabernacle and God’s holiness, many of these psalms discuss the Temple and God’s enthronement. Because God is almighty, we can turn to him for deliverance. These psalms praise God because he is holy, and his perfect holiness deserves our worship and reverence.|
|Book IV Psalms 90:1–106:48||This collection of psalms, mainly written by unknown authors, is similar to the book of Numbers. Just as Numbers discusses the relationship of the nation of Israel to surrounding nations, these psalms often mention the relationship of God’s overruling Kingdom to the other nations. Because we are citizens of the Kingdom of God, we can keep the events and troubles of earth in their proper perspective.|
|Book V Psalms 107:1–150:6||This collection of psalms, mainly written by David, is similar to the book of Deuteronomy. Just as Deuteronomy was concerned with God and his Word, these psalms are anthems of praise and thanksgiving for God and his Word. Most of the psalms were originally set to music and used in worship. We can use these psalms today as they were used in the past, as a hymnbook of praise and worship. This is a book that ought to make our hearts sing.|
|Praise||Psalms are songs of praise to God as our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. Praise is recognizing, appreciating, and expressing God’s greatness.||Focusing our thoughts on God moves us to praise him. The more we know him, the more we can appreciate what he has done for us.|
|God’s power||God is all-powerful; and he always acts at the right time. He is sovereign over every situation. God’s power is shown by the ways he reveals himself in creation, history, and his Word.||When we feel powerless, God can help us. His strength can overcome the despair of any pain or trial. We can always pray that he will deliver, protect, and sustain us.|
|Forgiveness||Many psalms are intense prayers asking God for forgiveness. God forgives us when we confess our sin and turn from it.||Because God forgives us, we can pray to him honestly and directly. When we receive his forgiveness, we move from alienation to intimacy, from guilt to love.|
|Thankfulness||We are grateful to God for his personal concern, help, and mercy. Not only does he protect, guide, and forgive us, but his creation provides everything we need.||When we realize how we benefit from knowing God, we can fully express our thanks to him. By thanking him often, we develop spontaneity in our prayer life.|
|Trust||God is faithful and just. When we put our trust in him, he quiets our hearts. Because he has been faithful throughout history, we can trust him in times of trouble.||People can be unfair and friends may desert us. But we can trust God. Knowing God intimately drives away doubt, fear, and loneliness.|
|Reasons to Read Psalms|
|When you want…||Read…|
|to find comfort||Psalm 23|
|to meet God intimately||Psalm 103|
|to learn a new prayer||Psalm 136|
|to learn a new song||Psalm 92|
|to learn more about God||Psalm 24|
|to understand yourself more clearly||Psalm 8|
|to know how to come to God each day||Psalm 5|
|to be forgiven for your sins||Psalm 51|
|to feel worthwhile||Psalm 139|
|to understand why you should read the Bible||Psalm 119|
|to give praise to God||Psalm 145|
|to know that God is in control||Psalm 146|
|to give thanks to God||Psalm 136|
|to please God||Psalm 15|
|to know why you should worship God||Psalm 104|
|God’s Word was written to be studied, understood, and applied, and the book of Psalms lends itself most directly to application. We understand the psalms best when we “stand under” them and allow them to flow over us like a rain shower. We may turn to Psalms looking for something, but sooner or later we will meet Someone. As we read and memorize the psalms, we will gradually discover how much they are already part of us. They put into words our deepest hurts, longings, thoughts, and prayers. They gently push us toward being what God designed us to be—people loving and living for him.|
The Psalms reflect the stylistic characteristics of Hebrew poetry, i.e., repetition, and vivid imagery. The moods of the Psalms embrace the whole range of human experience from exuberant praise (Ps. 145) to despair (Ps. 42); from intense anger (Ps. 137) and doubt about God’s care (Ps. 73) to hope for a future based precisely upon God’s care (Ps. 23). They can help us express emotions that otherwise we might not have words for, or feel right about. The Psalms catch the reality of our up and down relationship to God, but they also move us steadily along the path of knowing God.
1A recluse is self-indulgent, snarling at every sound principle of conduct.
2 Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.
3When the wicked arrive, contempt, shame, and disgrace are sure to follow.
4 A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.
5 It is wrong for a judge to favor the guilty or condemn the innocent.
6 Fools get into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating.
7The mouths of fools are their ruin; their lips get them into trouble.
8 What dainty morsels rumors are—but they sink deep into one’s heart.
9A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things.
10 The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.
11 The rich think of their wealth as an impregnable defense; they imagine it is a high wall of safety.
12 Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor.
13 What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening to the facts!
14The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear it if the spirit is crushed?
15Intelligent people are always open to new ideas. In fact, they look for them.
16 Giving a gift works wonders; it may bring you before important people!
17Any story sounds true until someone sets the record straight.
18 Casting lots can end arguments and settle disputes between powerful opponents.
19It’s harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars.
20 Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction.
21 Those who love to talk will experience the consequences, for the tongue can kill or nourish life.
22 The man who finds a wife finds a treasure and receives favor from the Lord.
23 The poor plead for mercy; the rich answer with insults.
24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
It is as hard to refuse to listen to gossip as it is to turn down a delicious dessert. Taking just one morsel of either one creates a taste for more. You can resist rumors the same way a determined dieter resists candy—never even open the box. If you don’t nibble on the first bite of gossip, you can’t take the second and the third.
In imagining that their wealth is their strongest defense, rich people are sadly mistaken. Money cannot provide safety—there are too many ways for it to lose its power. The government may cease to back it; thieves may steal it; inflation may rob it of all value. But God never loses his power. He is always dependable. Where do you look for security and safety—uncertain wealth or God who is always faithful?
Proverbs 18:13, 15, 17
In these concise statements, there are three basic principles for making sound decisions: (1) Get the facts before answering; (2) be open to new ideas; (3) make sure you hear both sides of a story before judging. All three principles center around seeking additional information. This is difficult work, but the only alternative is prejudice—judging before getting the facts.
This verse states that it is good to be married. Today’s emphasis on individual freedom is misguided. Strong individuals are important, but so are strong marriages. God created marriage for our enjoyment, and he pronounced it good. This is one of many passages in the Bible that show marriage as a joyful and good creation of God (Genesis 2:21-25; Proverbs 5:15-19; John 2:1-11).
This verse does not condone insulting the poor; it is simply recording an unfortunate fact of life. It is wrong for rich people to treat the less fortunate with contempt and arrogance, and God will judge such actions severely (see 14:31).
Loneliness is everywhere—many people feel cut off and alienated from others. Being in a crowd just makes people more aware of their isolation. We all need friends who will stick close, listen, care, and offer help when it is needed—in good times and bad. It is better to have one such friend than dozens of superficial acquaintances. Instead of wishing you could find a true friend, seek to become one. There are people who need your friendship. Ask God to reveal them to you, and then take on the challenge of being a true friend.
|Humility and Pride|
|Leads to wisdom||Leads to disgrace||11:2|
|Takes advice||Produces arguments||13:10|
|Leads to honor||15:33|
|Leads to punishment||16:5|
|Leads to destruction||16:18|
|Ends in honor||Ends in downfall||18:12|
|Brings one to honor||Brings one to humiliation||29:23|
|Proverbs is direct and forceful in rejecting pride. The proud attitude heads the list of seven things God hates (6:16,17). The harmful results of pride are constantly contrasted with humility and its benefits.|