THERE IS A GREAT STRUGGLE IN THE WORLD,
AS PSALMS 1 AND 2 HAVE SHOWN US
BETWEEN LIGHT AND DARKNESS
NOW PSALMS 3 AND 4 SHOW US HOW TO FACE THAT STRUGGLE,
FOR THERE IS A PRINCE OF DARKNESS
AND SOMETIMES GOD DOES NOT DELIVER US FROM EVIL IN THIS PRESENT AGE.
SO WHAT DO WE DO WHEN OUR WORST FEARS BECOME REALITY?
WHEN OUR OWN CHRIS’S SON DANIEL FOUGHT FOR HIS LIFE AFTER BEING ASSAULTED,
CHRIS SAW THIS PAINTING IN THE HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM
BUT IT DID PROMISE A REFUGE IN THE STORM.
THE WISE MAN LEARNS HOW TO RESPOND TO THE HURRICANE BEFORE IT HITS,
AND GOD, IN PSALM 3, SHOWS US WHAT TO DO.
THOUGH WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO STOP THE CANCER,
THE BETRAYAL, THE LOSS OF A DREAM…
WE CAN STOP THE LION WHO CROUCHES
WHEN HE SEES WE ARE WOUNDED
THAT DEVIL WHO WANTS TO TEAR ASUNDER OUR FAITH,
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
Fear can be a gift from God to help us get our head out of the sand and take action when action is needed. In the wonderful free Keller sermon you will hear this week, he tells of being a young father and foolishly letting his four year old climb to the top of a slide while he walked the long distance to the bottom of the slide to catch him.His son reached the top of the slide and then pitched backward! Keller says, “I don’t know how I did it, but my legs were fast and my mind was clear and I caught him. Fear was a gift.”
2. When has fear propelled you in a good way? Anxiety is different — a cloud that hangs over you, haunting you. Are you experiencing this now? If so, tell us briefly.
MONDAY-WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY
MEMORIZING: Though I should have suggested this the first week, I’d encourage you to choose a verse that is particularly apt for prayer from each psalm to memorize. That way you can pray the psalms at any time — in the night, when driving…let’s start this week — and those who want to go back as well, I’d suggest:
Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Great verse to pray for yourself and loved ones.)
Psalm 2:1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? (Great verse to pray for leaders and persecuted Christians)
Psalm 3:3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. (A praise that will increase your confidence and should be easy to remember after hearing Brooklyn Tabernacle’s choir sing it below.)
Read Psalm 3 aloud to yourself.
.We must acknowledge that evil is real and comes to every believer. Believers who say otherwise are either under twenty-two or have their heads in the sand. Jesus said we’d have trouble, and we do. To be in denial that it can come, is foolish. And to suppress grief when it does come is destructive and dishonest. Jesus wept, and so should we — but not as those who have no hope.
3. STEP ONE: SPEAK THE LAMENT (Psalm 3:1 and 2
A. There are real dangers in this life from which the child of God is not immune. David’s beloved son Absalom was betraying him — armies were after David. Describe the true danger that David was facing and why it must have been so hard.
B. What true fear did Christ have and how do you see fear expressed and help given in Luke 22:39-46?
C. Why is it important not to be in denial about dangers and also to express our fear about them to God?
4. STEP TWO: RECOGNIZE THE LIE (Psalm 3:2)
A. What were many saying to David is the midst of his vulnerability? What did they say to Jesus in the midst of his vulnerability in Matthew 27:43?
B. How has the enemy taunted you in the midst of your vulnerability?
5. STEP THREE: SPEAK THE TRUTH (PSALM 3:3)
A. What does David know to be true — find three things in this verse.
When our own Chris’s beloved son Daniel died, she had to speak the truth to her soul, and she did. Here is part of what she said:
The incredible pain that demands to be attended to finds its only answer in the Cross. I don’t know the whys of suffering, but I can see the love of Jesus, the price He paid to make it right, the promise of eternity.
God is bigger to me now than He was then, my pride and confidence in myself is smashed. Being in the furnace has caused me to look more intently into the costly grace that is mine. I did feel abandoned there in the fire, I know though that I was not, He is filled with care and knows just how much I need & can stand.
I trust Him more than before, my eyes are much more fixed on eternity now, my treasures are sure & certain there.
(If you are never to the blog and not familiar with Chris — this is her story and she herself on a powerful video. You may need to copy and paste.)
Chris said “the only answer is in the cross.” David wrote before the cross, but verse 3 is a quote from Genesis, when God gave Abraham a foreshadowing of the cross. Keller will help you look at that in his sermon. I also find comfort in the end of the Psalm, that God will bring justice to our enemies. We do not have to do it.
B. Whatever real loss you are facing, how is the cross the answer?
When my husband got cancer, I felt the real threat was that he could die — and I cried out to God that he would live. So did Steve. One day after church Steve said: “I’ve had a change in perspective. The greatest threat is not death but backing away from God in the midst of suffering. That is what the enemy wants, so now, I want you to pray I will win that fight.” Though Steve did die, he glorified God to the end.
After Steve died, the enemy then came to me, hissing, “You deserve this. You are an idiot. Let me remind you of your failures.” He would have done me in except for the truth of the cross. The enemy wants to give us anxiety, anxiety about God’s love and redemption.
Though I have failed, I also know Christ took that at the cross. He is therefore now a shield around me (nothing bad is permanent), my glory, (my identity, rather than what I have lost) and the lifter of my head (I am loved and seen as beautiful because of Jesus.)
How African-Americans have a history of suffering in the United States! How many real enemies they have had. Yet how often they have sung the truth to their souls. How I loved hearing this choir from the Brooklyn Tabernacle made up of many of that heritage sing, sing, and sing the truth of Psalm 3. I am eager for you to see and hear them and let the words penetrate your heart before you pray this psalm:
6. PRAY THE PSALM
A. LAMENT ABOUT A REAL FEAR
B. RECOGNIZE THE TAUNTING LIE THAT PRODUCES ANXIETY
C. SPEAK THE TRUTH TO YOUR SOUL
THURSDAY-FRIDAY KELLER SERMON: PRAYING YOUR FEARS
Keller will explain that Psalm 3:3 is a quote from Genesis 15:1 — God told this to Abraham, yet Abraham had trouble believing this was so. So God acted out something very strange which Keller will explain. Sometimes when I read about all the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament, or even, when I was a younger Christian, thought about the crucifixion, it all seemed rather strange. I remember how C. S. Lewis helped me with it in Mere Christianity when he said:
Christianity has that strange ‘ring of truth’. It gives us information about God which no-one would ever have thought of making up, yet still manages to make some kind of sense. It involves a mystery about God which goes beyond our human understanding but not against it, which is surely what we ought to expect if there is a God.
7. Listen to the sermon and share your notes: LINK
8. What is your take-a-way and why?