This week we’re examining three Psalms in succession. Together, they outline a process for getting from where we are to where God wants us in a manner similar to what is outlined in Psalm 84. Both reference what can happen to us and our perspective as we walk through hard or dark times.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: “He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Hard things happen every day. Water heaters break. Divorce happens. People die. People lose money. Jobs are lost. Children get sick. Believers are martyred. The weak and poor are oppressed by the powerful and the rich.
Has God changed?
Does he care?
Does God want victory for believers in hard t-imes?
What does victory look like?
How does the Psalmist in Psalm 22 deal with his hard time (you’ll have to pull out your Bible)?
- Take it to _____
- ______________ the _____________ (How is this different from grumbling?)
- Ask for ______________
- Make ______________ of ____________
- Change his ________
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Continuing on into Psalm 23, how does the Psalmist’s “picture” of his relationship with God change?
How does his view of his life change?
How does his view of the hard time change?
What happens in the valley of the shadow of death?
- Fear no evil (____________)
- God is with him (___________)
- Rod and staff comfort (____________ and _______________)
- Table is prepared (____________) while still in the presence of enemies
- Head is anointed with oil (_____________)
- Cup runs over (__________________)
How does the Psalmist’s perspective change by the end of the Psalm?
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in
it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
Continuing on to Psalm 24, what is the Psalmist’s response to this shift in perspective?
Does this response come before or after a change in his situation?
Has his focus changed?
If ascending the hill and standing in the holy place are the goal:
- Is the valley before good or bad?
- Would cutting “valley time” short affect the end result?
- What would happen if the “valley time” were skipped?
What will the person ascending the hill and standing in the holy place receive (read on in the chapter)?