In the Song of Songs, the Beloved says to her Lover: “Awake north wind, and come south wind! Blow upon my garden that its fragrance may spread abroad.” (Song of Songs 4:16)
Throughout Scripture, including the psalms, we learn how the Lord would have us respond when He brings the north wind (the hard things of life) and also, when He brings the south wind (the sweet things of life). The purpose of our lives is to glorify God, to let His fragrance be spread abroad. That can happen when our heart is right, whatever weather He ordains.
Let’s start with the hard things, finding some insight from Lesson 4 in A Woman of Worship and Psalm 42, and then move to the sweet things, finding insight from Lesson 5, and a few of the many psalms that model and exhort thankfulness.
We’ve gained some new sisters in our last post, for whom I’m so thankful. I’m praying for each of you, that our sharing may be honest and thoughtful, and that together we will help each other be ready for either the north wind or the south wind.
Take a question a day, two if you like, and listen to the songs, if you have them, to help your heart.
1. In Psalm 42, the north winds are blowing, and the psalmist keeps asking the same question of himself.
A. What is the repeated question?
B. The psalmist is taking his soul in hand and asking her, “Why are so you upset when you know that your hope should be in God, who can never be shaken?” The psalmist realizes he has displaced his hope in something that can be shaken. List some of the things or people you have placed your hope in that could be shaken.
2. If you have the song from A Woman of Worship on Psalm 42, listen to it. There are two voices — one if the male psalmist, asking his soul “Why are you downcast?” Then there is feminine voice who keeps singing back, “Put your hope in God.” What is your interpretation of these two voices? (If you have other songs based on Psalm 42 you’d like to recommend — please tell us about them and why you like them!)
3. If the North Wind is blowing in your life right now, would you be willing to take your soul in hand and ask her, “Where have you displaced your hope?” If so, what do you learn? (This is our chance to pray for you to put your hope in God.)
4. We’re starting to get to know one another in this blog. Is there someone whom you’ve seen put her hope in God when the North Wind is blowing? What have you seen?
How has His fragrance spread abroad?
5. If you have A Woman of Worship, listen to the song “Give Thanks” and share your thoughts. What other songs of thankfulness can you recommend that stir your heart? How might you better sing them on a daily basis?
6. Read Psalm 78:1-16
A. Summarize verses 1-4 in one sentence.
B. You could call this passage “forget not.” Find some verses that re-iterate this theme. What are we to “not forget?” Why?
C. What verse stands out to you from this passage and why?
7. Let’s practice thankfulness right now for everyday life. List a few simple pleasures that you do not want to forget.
8. I’ve a video of my daughter Anne speaking at her Dad’s funeral about “giving thanks.” http://deebrestin.wpengine.com/about/steve-brestin/
(Scroll down under the About Dee section.) What do you learn?
9. How does practicing thankfulness as a daily habit, when the South Wind is blowing, better prepare you to respond when the North Wind blows?
How might you better incorporate practicing the habit of thankfulness? Specific ideas are welcome!