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Holy Week 2014 Psalms 17 and 22

It is the holiest of weeks.

As we travel the trail of tears,

may we know afresh how deeply we are loved.

mount_calvary

     I am facilitating a seekers’ study this year, studying John, seeing how different Christianity is from world religions. Last week I had a a few couples over, one who is so earnestly and authentically seeking, and we talked of the difference between religion and the gospel. One dear man said, “This is so different from what I have been taught in church all my life.” I could see his tenderness, his hope it might be true, but his confusion. I was so moved.

    Leaning across the kitchen counter between us, I covered his grasped hands with mine and was silent for a moment. His eyes grew wet with tears. I told him: “I understand your confusion. I had wrong teaching too. It’s everywhere. But this is what the Bible teaches. This is the heart. This is the Gospel. And I can see that God is wooing you.”

    He said, “You have been telling my wife God is wooing her.”

    I smiled. I had been telling her that! I said, “He is wooing her. And now I see Him wooing you too.”

    He wept again. I saw it in his eyes: Could it be true?

    Last week I got a text from His wife on the way to Nebraska. She wrote.     I got it! I was in my car, just south of Egg Harbor when I realized: “I don’t have to do anything. He did it.”      It is such amazing news — it seems impossible to be true. andcanitbe Christianity is such good news, we have trouble believing it. We have trouble believing the gospel before we enter, and then it keeps slipping out of our hands, and we think we have to earn His favor. But we don’t. It has been done. He is real, and He loves us. Every day I sense His reality in different ways. On this blog — in your hearts! I wondered where we would end up on Holy Week in the psalms, if it would work — but I somehow knew it would — for this is how our God is. Psalm 17 is of a man who is accused unjustly, and this in Christendom has often been paralleled with Christ before Pilate, so unjustly accused, yet so trusting in a God who would deliver his soul from the wicked, who would raise Him from the dead so that He would behold God’s face and be satisfied. This psalm also is of David, when he was unjustly accused by Saul, and David found strength in remembering God’s how God miraculously delivered the Israelites when it seemed there was no way out, for their enemies surrounded them. Only God can part a sea, only God can raise the dead, only God can save a soul. We cannot do it — BUT HE HAS DONE IT. This week we have marvelous songs to stir your heart each day, and one of Keller’s best sermons on video, plus a wonderful sermon from him on Psalm 22 — the crown jewel of the Messianic psalms. How I pray His presence will permeate your soul this week. Because it is holy week, I know some of you spend a good deal of the time Jesus was on the cross (9 to 3) with Him — so I’m giving you more — but just do what you can. Whatever you do and share blesses all of us. We are joining with believers of every tribe and nation, traveling together the trail of tears, exalting together in the amazing good news.

I love the song And Can It Be and this particular video of it. Dick Lucas said, “I think more truth may have been passed down through the centuries through the hymns of Charles Wesley than the sermons of John Wesley.” Such lyrics and music! Oh. In this video the WHOLE CHURCH is turned into a choir, singing it with all their hearts. As Psalm 22 tells us: “God inhabits the praise of His people.” How I see it in this video.

Psalm Sunday Icebreaker

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. The scales fall from our eyes in different ways. Some have a dramatic moment and can name the time. Others, it is more like traveling from Nebraska to Colorado — you don’t know when you passed the border, but you eventually realize, “I’m not in Nebraska anymore — this is different territory.” What was it like for you?

My friend who came to understand the gospel this week as she was driving told me before her realization, “I think it will be gradual for me.” I told her it might be, or God might come to her suddenly. How like God to do it that very week, surprising her “just south of Egg Harbor.” I love it that she can name the time and place — though I know it isn’t always that way.

eggharbor

God’s quickening ray fell on her and her heart was free. It reminds me of the fourth verse in And Can It Be:

St Peter Freed from Prison, by Pier Francesco Mola (1612-1666).jpg
St Peter Freed from Prison, by Pier Francesco Mola (1612-1666).jpg

Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quickening ray— I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee. My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Monday: Song and Psalm 17

This psalm is of a man surrounded by enemies, as David was, as Jesus was. David knew he was innocent of the particular charges, and we know Jesus was completely innocent. There are going to be times when we are unjustly accused as well. How do we not cave under unjust accusation? We know God is before us, behind us, underneath us.

On a personal note, I do think it is important to see when we are unjustly attacked that the enemy is behind it, trying to discourage and devour us, but we must remember God is for us. A week ago, when I was in the midst of so much ministry, I received a very long and angry phone call from a man who had been told that I said something that I simply didn’t say. I was shaken at first, but when I realized it was the enemy, the father of lies, I knew the Lord would be my defender — and He has been. He is hiding me, as Psalm 17 says, in the shadow of his wings.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjazfFvqsig

3. Read Psalm 17 and write down the truths about God that sustained them.

One night when I was traveling I watched Larry King interview Johnny Depp. He said, “Johnny — what do you trust in?” Depp paused, and then said, “I trust in my children.”

4. Contrast the man of the world with the man of God in verses 14-15. Meditate and share your thoughts.

  WhenIawake

TUESDAY: SONG AND KELLER VIDEO

Prepare your heart with this song.

 5. Memories of God’s great deliverance for the Israelites during the Exodus often sustained David and God’s people. There are reflections of that in Psalm 17. See if you can find some.

Watch Keller’s video called “Getting Out” and share your comments.

6. Comments

Wednesday and Thursday: Psalm 22

Prepare your heart with this song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BAPvqeFnjE#aid=P7JywtzUrBA

Now watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRNmtpkevRQ

No incident in the life of David can account for many parts of this psalm — it is clear prophecy of our Lord’s crucifixion.

Psalm 22 a

7. Contemplate the first verse and find when Jesus spoke this. Why was He forsaken by God when He was on the cross?

8. What does verse 3 teach you? Please spend time in worshipful song, either singing or listening, asking Him to inhabit your heart as you do. If you have a song that moves you, please share it here.

9. What sustains the suffering servant according to verses 4 and 5? When did God deliver someone from your past that can serve as an encouragement to you?

10. How do you see Christ in verses 5-8?

11. How do you see Christ in verses 9-10, and the hope that sustains him? What words of Christ’s on the cross bring this scene to mind?

12. What scene and emotions are depicted in verses 12-13?

13. What words from the cross come to mind on the basis of verses 14-15?

14. Challenge question: Why do you think he said he could count all his bones in verse 17?

15. What scene is depicted in verse 18. How does this show the utmost cruelty?

16. What are His prayers in 19-21?

17. Read verses 22-31 and find two promises for which you are thankful.

18. Spend time in thankful for what He did and accomplished.

Good Friday: Keller sermon

Spend time with Him during the hours He was on the cross — 9 to 3 — the same time that the Passover Lambs were sacrificed.

LAMB
Praise to the Lamb who was slain


Redeemer has a new website — this link will take you there I hope — otherwise copy and paste please. The sermon is not free, but if you can listen, it is good! Click here to listen.

19. Share your comments on the sermon.

Saturday:

20. What is your take-a-way and why?

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287 comments

  1. Dee…thanks for sharing these great stories from your ministry in the seekers study…so moving and encouraging…and challenging to me to step out in faith! My faith story was a ‘gradual’ one, with the truths of the gospel slowly sinking in over a 2 month period in the first semester of my freshman year of college. BUT, there was a pivotal moment, when on a retreat with college students during that time, when I realized like the man you mention, that I had NOT been taught the ‘full truth’ . It hit me hard and with a soberness, that if what I was now learning from these new Christian friends, was TRUE, then many of the people I knew and loved were not going to heaven. That launched my Christian faith into a more outward direction…almost 30 years ago! 🙂
    el

    1. Ellen–what a powerful and encouraging testimony!

  2. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I can hardly believe Holy Week is finally here–such an incredibly rich time, and the Lord has so obviously led Dee in planning for this study, I am overwhelmed by the depth and richness here! Our entire Lent study has been so full–but I especially feel His blessing upon this Holy Week’s study–so thankful for this guidance, to help me focus, to be grounded deep at the Cross, close to Him.

    Oh, the story of God using Dee in this man and his wife’s life! I can so picture Dee’s hands covering his, and her firm but gentle voice, filled with both truth and love–I smiled reading the whole scene.

    And I love “And Can It Be”–these lines always grab me–“emptied Himself of all but love” and “My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.” Amazing Love!
     
    I love how Dee’s friend said it seems “impossible to be true”–it IS so seemingly impossible, so illogical–a love we cannot imagine the depths of, but it IS.
     
     

    1. I agree with Dee-your encouragement Elizabeth is such a kiss for Dee from Him.  Love it when He does this!  And I ditto your post sister. 🙂

    1. Oh Dee,   THIS IS WONDERFUL.  My schedule is less than wonderful, but I am so hungry for ALL OF THIS study.

    2. Honestly, I might have felt “let down” if this week wasn’t set apart as so rich and full. It really is a gift to me this week especially to be challenged to focus and remember.  Thank you Dee, I can’t begin to imagine how much time you put into all this.  We are all so blessed and pray His continued protection over you and quickening~

      1. Well said, Elizabeth…many thanks, Dee. 

  3.  
     
     
     
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “Christianity is such good news, we have trouble believing it. We have trouble believing the gospel before we enter, and then it keeps slipping out of our hands, and we think we have to earn His favor. But we don’t. It has been done.” 
    As a people pleaser, I often find myself counting the good things I have done for the day. And if I failed somehow, it is hard for me to let go of the feelings of failure. I stew over what I could have done better. This translates to my relationship with God. Like I could earn and lose my salvation of I am not perfect! I know this is not true but the struggle is real (slipping out of our hands). I have to remind myself time and time again that I am deeply loved by God and that there is nothing that can separate me from His love!
    2. The scales fall from our eyes in different ways. Some have a dramatic moment and can name the time. Others, it is more like traveling from Nebraska to Colorado — you don’t know when you passed the border, but you eventually realize, “I’m not in Nebraska anymore — this is different territory.” What was it like for you?
    I grew up in a Christian home and did the normal stuff-go to church, be a good person, memorize Scriptures, obey my parents, love others etc. But it was not until I was in high school that I began questioning my faith. God was gracious in wooing me by putting certain people in my life to reveal His truth. And during a revival meeting at our church, I realized I was a sinner and in need of a Savior. I was baptized then but then tried to live the Christian life on my own efforts. Many years have come and gone and I am grateful to our God for being patient with me. There are still times when I am filled with doubt about His love for me and those I love but now I know these thoughts are lies from the enemy. I have to turn to God’s truth and stand on its promises.
    The song” And can it be” has continually blessed my heart. Oh what love-thank you, Lord!
    ‘Tis mercy all, immense and free, for O my God, it found out me! ‘Tis mercy all, immense and free, for O my God, it found out me!
     
     

      1. Thanks, Dee! I have been to a couple of the women’s conference in KC, MO where you were the guest speaker and appreciate the depth of your walk with God. Read the Friendship of Women several times! 🙂 One of these days, I hope to see you again and introduce myself in person. Thank you so much for this blog. I feel like I have been through a growth spurt in my walk with God nurtured by His love and the women here who so freely share of their lives because God is their circumstance no matter what. Blessings to you always!

    1. Beautiful post, Ernema. I also related to how the gospel keeps slipping out of our hands and we think we have to earn His favor. I also relate to being a people pleaser. You articulated this so well. We do need the constant reminder of the truth! Also, I loved your testimony!

      1. Hello there, Susan! Thanks for your comment. I often think my testimony is so,hmmm, ordinary. Then I realized, it is my own and nobody will have a testimony like it! So praise God! 🙂

  4. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    All of it stands out.  EVERY .  SINGLE .  SENTENCE .   After spending the last 2 1/2 hrs pondering and allowing the Lord to use my pain and longings to draw me to himself,  I’m watching the clock!
     
    -The phrase “the trail of tears.”-The stories from Dee’s seekers’ study
    -“We have trouble believing the gospel before we enter, and then it keeps slipping out of our hands, and we think we have to earn His favor.”
    The intro to Psalm 17 — a man unjustly accused.
    -“We are joining with believers of every tribe and nation, traveling together the trail of tears, exalting together in the amazing good news.”
    And Can it Be — one of my favorites anyway.   And this video — OH MY — one of the most diverse audiences I have ever seen singing together (stirs my longings again).

    Dee, oh WOW — so much packed into a few paragraphs.  I’m so looking forward to this study, and so thankful how God has worked in my life the past weeks.   I’m also excited to go to church — and I have one minute before I have to RUN.  Ok minute is up, coffee not even swallowed.  Won’t answer the “why” except to say that it is all coming together and I am overwhelmed with God’s grace.  All the pieces (much of it tapped into from the points I just listed) are coming together at once, and I am praising him.  Love you all.

  5. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    I hate to seem redundant-but everything does! This is usually a hard question for me to answer. 😉  
     
    So I will pick one and it is the beautiful story from Dee’s seeker study. I liked how she brought out that she is deeply moved by those who are truly seeking for it is His hand on them wooing them..brought tears. I was picturing Dee with this dear man-her hands on his -her heart trusting Jesus for his heart, and out of the over flow of Dee’s heart she spoke-and He came and stopped this man’s wife in her tracks surprising her. 
     
    -and like Elizabeth and Renee I love the depth and richness of this week on the blog, and oh-it looks to be life changing.

  6. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    This – ” He wept again. I saw it in his eyes: Could it be true?” This makes me think back to C.S. Lewis’ quote from last week, about the longing inside us that responds to the beauty that comes through stories and music. Dee has said the same here on the blog. And John Eldridge says something of the same in his book The Sacred Romance – We desire it to be true! He created us with that desire for reconciled relationship with Him.
     
    And yet….there is something (in us?) that argues it couldn’t be….it shouldn’t be…. Almost like if we were to accept it and just love Him back without compensation it would be wrong.
     
    And this is what is melting away in me. Through Song of Songs and now the Psalms and life experiences.  He comes to me because He loves me, not because I have done anything to deserve it.  And I come to Him because He is good and God and I need Him not because I have done enough good in my day to earn my ticket to speak. 
     
    Oh the beauty – His unconditional love IS true.

  7. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I am touched by much above, but especially the seeker story. It is so wonderful that God is opening His eyes to the truth. But then I read about the angry accusatory phone call and my heart cringes. Those are the things Christians in ministry dread. Satan was trying to attack, distract, ruin the gospel witness. Dee, you seemed to deal with it so well remembering that the Lord is your defender and your shelter. Thanks for the reminder that we need to be praying for you on a daily basis. You are doing such vital ministry. Thanks for all you do.

  8. I just want to add that walking the “trail of tears” with Jesus has been very meaningful this year. It is hard to ponder deeply what Jesus went through emotionally and physically, but it opens my heart to realize how deeply God loves me; how high a price He paid to rescue me, to redeem me. My computer is causing problems but I will try to study, listen to and participate in as much as this busy week will allow. Hugs to all who walk this trail of tears with us on the blog this week (even the silent sisters).

    1. Hugs back to you, Diane–always good to see you when you can be here. I’m praying this Easter will be especially joy-filled and peaceful for all of your family–you & your husband, Joel, Krista and those sweet boys!

  9. 2. The scales fall from our eyes in different ways. Some have a dramatic moment and can name the time. Others, it is more like traveling from Nebraska to Colorado — you don’t know when you passed the border, but you eventually realize, “I’m not in Nebraska anymore — this is different territory.” What was it like for you?
    Definitely gradual.   I understood the Gospel better as a preschooler than I did for years after.  I did have days/times (salvation “experiences”) from about ages 6-14, but they were either entrance requirements to get into the Christian club or  fear of hell.  The “final” one at age 14 was during an era when a bunch of my friends were “going forward” at Christian events… and after that, I talked with someone at a retreat.  Having a specific date was good in that it gave me confidence and a response when people asked.  I was pretty confused because I got both messages — that gradual was okay AND that I needed to identify a specific day.   I was exposed to considerable legalism, but I’m thankful it wasn’t prevalent in my immediate family.  I asked a ton of questions.   Eventually, I just treated legalism as a game.  Though the stereotypical legalism was never much of a threat to my spiritual health, more subtle forms of legalism (sort of the “get with our program” kind) were devastating because I was unable to get with the program. (Yet being unable to get with the program was what made me desperate enough to depend on God alone).  For much of my life, both threads — the Gospel and legalism or moralism — were present in my Christian surroundings, though the “balance” and impact on me varied.   

    On my way to church, I laughed when I was thinking about when I first understood the Gospel:  At which layer?  I first understood it as a preschooler, before I had built of layers of self-protection.  After that, I had glimpses of the Gospel or even was immersed in it.  God’s love permeated layers of self-protection to bring healing when I moved and joined a church that, at that time, was still part of a mainline denomination.  At times, I was perplexed — I could have used a little legalism 🙂    But now as I look back, I may have been perplexed because I was hearing the Gospel without behavioral conditions.   Since I’ve lived here, I’ve been back in a more conservative denomination — and I do run into some legalism/moralism.   When I’ve run into people with an agenda in addition to the gospel, I’ve shut down.
     
    I am so thankful to hear the Gospel clearly preached in church.  I’m STILL understanding the Gospel at a deeper level.   I would say that on the “trip from NE to CO,” I knew I was approaching the mountains during our Song of Songs study.  Then, I KNEW he loved me, and I was responding to his love.  No games, no “shoulds,” no behavioral requirements, no political requirements.  He loves me, and I love him.  The scales are falling off as God works through seeds planted throughout my life, ranging from when I was an infant/toddler to today in church and on this blog (can think of a zillion scales that have come off through studies here, not sure where to start, Hosea? God of All Comfort? SoS? Jonah?).  Which scales? Which layers?  🙂  Great is His faithfulness!

    1. “When I’ve run into people with an agenda in addition to the gospel, I’ve shut down.”   You’re so good at naming  and describing things that I sometimes haven’t quite figured out in my life.   In many ways we had some similar beginnings and  I just love  learning from you, Renee.

    2. Renee, your posts are always so rich and thoughtful, and this one is no exception. Your first paragraph…the “entrance requirements”…I’ve thought a lot about those kinds of things. I remember when my daughter was in 3rd grade in a special girls program at church, and one of the lessons there was a kind of formal certificate for her to make her decision for Christ and then sign this paper…I’ve always kind of struggled with things like that. It makes me uncomfortable because I think too many people can look back on a piece of paper they signed or a time when they “went forward” and think that they are saved but there’s no evidence in their lives now. It seems in the Bible the gospel is so simple…people just started following Jesus, believing and receiving the good news. I think man has complicated things so much!

      1. Thanks Susan! I’ve always struggled with “entrance requirements” too.  I agree that it is so simple, and sadly man can easily complicate it.

  10. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    To be honest,  I am going to line up with a lot of the rest of you and say that the scene in the seeker’s study was the most touching part of this week’s post.    I also felt as if I was there, and feeling both sides of the moment simultaneously.   When you can experience leading someone else to the truth, it is a most exhiliarating feeling!    It is much better to tell someone that “God is wooing you”  instead of you trying to woo the person yourself.  Isn’t it wonderful to feel that you have been used as “an instrument” of God in the process?
     
    Another big standout for me was the hymn “And Can It Be?”   I was struck by the connection to JIll’s testimony last week, especially the line “My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.”
     
     
    2. The scales fall from our eyes in different ways. Some have a dramatic moment and can name the time. Others, it is more like traveling from Nebraska to Colorado — you don’t know when you passed the border, but you eventually realize, “I’m not in Nebraska anymore — this is different territory.” What was it like for you?
     
    My journey has been more of a gradual one.  Over past months I have shared some of the stories of my calls from Christ in the earlier years of my life:  my mother teaching me the Lord’s Prayer at age 4,  my singing a benediction over all the flowers in our garden, later having a mountaintop encounter at morning watch as a teenager in church camp  — each experience adding another layer of my devotion and commitment to Christ.   Sometimes it would be easy to be jealous of those who have a more dramatic story to tell,   However,  I can attest to the fact that I am still growing in my relationship with the Lord — even at 72, He’s not through with me yet!!      

    1. Deanna.…I love your enthusiasm and admission that God is still teaching you and using you at 72.  That makes me glad 🙂  I’m a decade and a half behind you and you’re a great role model of one who is continuing to grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth.  Blessings!

    2. Many good things in this post, Deanna.
      “…feeling both sides of the moment simultaneously.”
      “It is much better to to tell someone that ‘God is wooing you’ instead of you trying to woo the person yourself…” Yes.

  11. Dee, I am so sorry that you experienced the long &  false accusation.  I cried for you when I first read this.  Thank you for sharing it; I’ve been praying for you this past week and wasn’t always sure how to pray.
     
     Your sharing this helps me, because so much of the stress I experience and see around me is related to false accusations.  It’s helpful to see that the enemy is behind the accusations and that God is for us.  I’m stunned at the false accusations I see/hear, and my heart goes out to the accused.  Not all know the Lord, and one of the sweetest, most gentle people I know is ready to hurt someone.  The accusers seem to be “winning” in several arenas.  This helps me pray, especially for the accused — it’s harder for me to pray for the accusers; they’d destroy me if they could.  When I remember that Satan is the real accuser, I have more compassion toward the accusers, though I am hesitant to trust or believe them again.

    1. “I remember that Satan is the real accuser, I have more compassion toward the accusers”
      When I think about the accusations wielded at my former church, in hindsight it is now pretty easy to see how the evil one twisted, spun, and tempted.  Many fell to the twists, spins and temptations (pride, idol of control).  Satan is so very devious with an intent to bring good down in whatever means possible…to squelch the gospel.  Praise God, Dee, that He gave you discernment, strength, and confidence to see the false accusation for what it truly was (i.e., a ploy of the evil one to try to knock you off track).

  12. 2.
     
    I used to wish I had one of those dramatic stories, but now I am beginning to see that however the Lord rescues us IS a dramatic thing because of what He saves us from! I did grow up going to Church, and the Lord held me from a very young age—I have sweet memories of His definite presence from age 5. I remember in High School Bible studies wondering how old I would be when I would “arrive” and have learned it all and be really good at the Christian life! And then I remember clearly the moment, drinking a Frosty at Wendy’s on my college campus, where I had asked one of my Young Life directors ( I was a leader) to meet me. I had been reading the familiar Luke 15, but something had happened and I felt desperate to talk with her about it. For the first time ever I realized I had been the older brother all my life—and had thought that was a good thing, because I was the “good one”! I remember where we were sitting when the tears streamed down my face, realizing all those years I thought I was so “good”, I was living in a sea of pride. Still turns my stomach to think on it, but oh, His grace. Shortly after that I found Nouwen’s Prodigal Son and the Lord has been breaking and re-making me since. 

    1. I love reading this testimony, Elizabeth.   And you’ve made me want to find/read Nouwen’s book.  Thanks!

    2. Elizabeth – I love this and it is so true: “…but now I am beginning to see that however the Lord rescues us IS a dramatic thing because of what He saves us from!”

    3. Love how His love reached you through the story of the Prodigal Sons, Elizabeth!

  13. Dee–I just read far enough to read of the accusation. I have felt so heavy for you lately–felt a stronger than usual need to pray for your protection, for we are witnesses to how the Lord is using you mightily. So sorry for this.

    1. Elizabeth,  Me too — “stronger than usual need to pray” for Dee and her protection. Dee, know we love you and are praying for you.

  14. 3. Read Psalm 17 and write down the truths about God that sustained them.
    vv. 1-2   –  God will hear and pay attention.   — Knowing that the cause is just and lips are free from deceit.   When I first read this, I thought that I fight for “just causes,”  but then I read the part about lips being free from deceit, and the lightbulb came on.  Not only are my lips/heart free from deceit, my causes aren’t always just.   God will vindicate me because of Jesus’ righteousness.  He is my righteousness (seems as if I have written this lately during each week!).  I’ve always viewed this righteousness as sort of a covering or God seeing me through blinders, but now, I’m thinking that the change is REAL, not that I don’t sin, but that through Him in Him our identity changes (Might be getting mixed up here????).     -God will see the right and just (because of Jesus, we are forgiven)
     
    vv. 3-5   Confidence in being right before the Lord — This sort of seems “unsustaining” when holding back from him, when trying to hide or ignore sin.  The confidence comes from knowing he has seen my sin, forgiven my sin, and still is for me.vv. 6-7   Knowing that God would hear and answer enabled/motivated David to cry out to the Lord.  God’s love is steadfast.  He is a refuge from the adversaries, the false accusers.
    vv.  8-9.  The two metaphors in vs 8 jumped out at me. I looked up “apple of your eye” in footnoted verses.  According to the scholarly 😉 reference Wikipedia, 

    The original Hebrew for this idiom, in all but Zechariah 2:8, was ‘iyshown ‘ayin (אישון עין), and can be literally translated as “Little Man of the Eye.” This is a reference to the tiny reflection of yourself that you can see in other people’s pupils.

    I also think of the eye as very tender, so easily wounded (I got a piece of metal in my eye once when I was mowing the lawn at my mom’s farm!), and the eyes are such a valued part of the body.  He values us and protects flying objects from hurting us!    I also looked up “shadow of your wings,” because even though I could understand the bird parallels, I wanted to know more.  Here is a blog at which the author wrote, “The shadow of the Cross and the shadow of His wings are one and the same.”    David knows that God will protect him from those who want to hurt him. vv. 10-12  Very descriptive of the bad guys.  So true:  Arrogant, “lurking in ambush”
     
    vv. 13-15  The best promise of all:    As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. (Psalm 17:15 ESV)David is asking God to confront his enemies, but he also acknowledges that the enemies will seem to win in this life; their purpose might be to make money, be successful, and pass the wealth on to the next generation. BUT THIS LIFE IS ALL THEY HAVE. David’s LIFE also is threatened by his enemies, and David knows that when he dies, he will see is Savior face to face.
    Two songs these last verses remind me of: Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds (sung by Pete Seger) (this life is all there is) AND
    We Shall Behold Him by Dottie Rambo (often sung by Sandi Patty). A contrast in HOPE.
     

    1. such a rich quote Renee “The shadow of the Cross and the shadow of His wings are one and the same.” 

  15. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?      Oh so much!  The wonderful story of your friend’s moment of truth…..Egg Harbor…just as good a name as Easter Island!  An egg, symbolic of new life.  And as an object lesson for kids, we use an empty egg to show that Jesus left an empty tomb.  What a great marker for your friend to remember that moment when God’s diffusing ray quickened her heart to the truth!  Thanks be to God.
     
    “And Can It Be?”  One of the most profoundly deep lyrically songs I know.  I love, love, love every verse. 
     
    And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?  Died he for me who caused His pain?  For me, who Him to death pursued?  Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me?
     
    ‘Tis mystery all!  Th’Immortal dies!  Who can explore His strange design?  In vain, the firstborn seraph tries to sound the depths of love divine!  Tis mercy all!  let earth adore, Let angel minds inquire no more.    (I’m not as familiar with this verse.  What a mystery…..the IMMORTAL dies.   For us.  To conquer death so we may be immortal.   Can it be?)
     
    He left His Father’s throne above, So free, so infinite His grace; Emptied Himself of all but love,  And bled for Adam’s helpless race;  ‘Tis mercy all, immense and free; For, O my God, it found out me.  (that highlighted phrase alone speaks redemption.)
     
    Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night;  Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray,  I woke, the dungeon flamed with light!  My chains fell off!  My heart was free!  I rose, went forth and followed Thee.   (this word picture has moved me since I was a teen and grasped the meaning.)
     
    No condemnation now I dread.  Jesus and all in Him, is mine.  Alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed with righteousness divine,  Bold I approach th’ eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own!  (And can it be???!!!)
     
    Verses so rich and deep and timeless.    (Thank you, Charles Wesley….they just don’t write ’em like they used to!)  
    I am imagining what a joy it would be to be a part of that overwhelming choir.  How my heart longs to sing these songs again.  
     
    Dee.….thank you. thank you for leading us through this week that changes everything.  The trail of tears…the way of suffering…… I am eagerly anticipating God’s voice.   

  16. 2. The scales fall from our eyes in different ways.   I was blessed to have parents who were very devoted to Jesus and “walked the talk.”  I can’t say I ever remember a time when I didn’t know Jesus because I remember as a very young child, being comforted at night, by knowing that Jesus was right there with me.  And I knew He died and rose again to be my Savior and I knew he ‘lived in my heart’.  So….as I still have struggles and especially in the past decade, I will say definitively…..it’s a process and a gradual one, with setbacks along the way.  The one time that stands out strongly though, was attending Bible camp, as a 16 year old.  It wasn’t one of the times I ‘went forward’ as was the practice, but it was the one time, I came home and was immensely thirsty for more of God’s Word.  Every day, I read my little, compact KJV Bible and colored in special verses with colored pencils until I had read the New Testament cover to cover that summer.  It really was when the Word became a living Word to me. Many times, thought the years, my devotion has waned in the busy-ness and the trials of life, but when I would come back and read the Word, I realized that my love for it began that summer.  (I still cherish that old, beat up Bible although the tiny print is un-readable for me these days….) 

    1. love picturing you with a compact KJV as a 16 year old, Wanda–encouraging testimony!

  17. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “…and then it (the gospel) keeps slipping out of our hands, and we think we have to earn His favor. 
    This is so very true…in moments of self-focus, I allow the truth of the gospel to “slip through my hands” while looking to self-sufficiency rather than “God-sufficiency.”  Oh, I understand the foundational truth of Jesus’ sacrifice for my salvation, but it is the beloved part that gets foggy and slippery.
     
    “I told him: “I understand your confusion. I had wrong teaching too. It’s everywhere. But this is what the Bible teaches. This is the heart. This is the Gospel. And I can see that God is wooing you.” He said, “You have been telling my wife God is wooing her.”  I smiled. I had been telling her that! I said, “He is wooing her. And now I see Him wooing you too.” 
    As much as I loved the gal’s moment of revelation, I truly appreciated this moment…such gentleness and humility, Dee.
     
    “…but just do what you can. Whatever you do and share blesses all of us.”
    again, I appreciate the gentleness and encouragement.
     
    “We are joining with believers of every tribe and nation, traveling together the trail of tears, exalting together in the amazing good news.”  
    It is incredible to think that all around the world fellow Christians will be uniting in spirit this holiest of weeks.
     
    2. The scales fall from our eyes in different ways.  What was it like for you?
    It has been and continues to be gradual for me.  I can’t remember not being a Christian…I was born into a Catholic family and baptized at 8 days.  I can see clearly the misinformation, misunderstanding, etc. I learned over many years, much emphasis on the Lords power and judgment, and very little of His love, as in beloved (I think this is why the SoS had such an impact on me…in my head I will occasionally sing “over the Mountains…over the Hills…here He comes running…” such a sweet reminder).  Anyway, I am still so very much in process…I smiled when I read Deanna’s, ” I can attest to the fact that I am still growing in my relationship with the Lord — even at 72, He’s not through with me yet!!”    

    1. Nanci–you always see deeply and I love what you point out in #1, opens my eyes so much more each time

  18. fyi–the Gospel In Life site (with Keller’s sermon) is down, here is the message “Due to the “Heartbleed” vulnerability that thousands of major websites have encountered, we’re currently updating our SSL certificates. Until this is complete, some users may experience issues logging in and attempting to check out. We’ll post an update here when the new SSL certificate has been implemented.”
     
    Praying it’s ready in time for this week!

  19. 2. The scales fall from our eyes in different ways. What was it like for you?  Short answer is both sudden and gradual.
     
    Long answer:  I definitely have dramatic moments in which God has come to me powerfully (my baptism, my realization in Idol Lies, others) but in between I never felt wooed (though I know now that I was) because I was looking for those mountain top experiences to be sustained indefinitely.  Now I see Him as my source, my strong place to dwell, all the things we learned in SoS and so far in the Psalms, not an experience elongate in order to make myself feel better but a learning in how to dwell with Him. I know He is wooing me and He has changed my eyesight to see His kisses daily.
     
    An aside: I feel my realizations before Idol Lies this last fall were all self-centered.  I am not sure how to specifically articulate that. But now I feel in the last 7 months that my realizations have been more Christ centered, which, obviously, effects what I know and see of myself but it is different.

  20. I just heard about you tonight on the radio about friendships, I’m so loney…my husband is everything to me and I heard you say that isnt really healthy, I know this.  I’ve been married almost 20 years and we’ve been thru several churches in that time.  We usually stay about 2 years at a church.  I can honestly say,  My husband and I have never ever ever made any friends in church.  They like you on Sunday and the rest of the week nowhere to be found.  We have no friends at all, even outside the church(which we dont recommend) we want holy spirit filled friends.  We are the loneliest we’ve ever been.  I for one am dealing with stage 4 uterine cancer and my husband is about to lose his kidney functions ( polycystic kidney)  We had to sell everything and move in with my mother, who is abusive to my husband, daughter(13yrs old) and myself.  We see no light at the end of this tunnel to be quite honest.  Things are getting worse daily health wise and arguing with my Mom.  Its really hard being in no church being new to this area after 6 years of living out of town.  Part of me is very reluctant on going to church, my family has been devistatedly hurt by the past few chruches we’ve attended and our trust level is slim to nill. I’m emotionally and mentally and physicall a wreck and my husband and daughter are right behind me. I never thought I could be so lonely to the marrow of my bones.  I frankly couldnt even “BUY” a friendship and i’m the desperate for love and women friendships, not fake ones and back stabbers, which in church i’ve run across.  Thank you for having this blog and I hope somewhere out there, there is a lady just like me who needs me as much as I need her!

    1. Welcome Stephanie. Your story is heart-breaking, I am so very sorry. I am thankful He has led you here.  I will be praying for you especially today.

    2. Dear Stephanie, I welcome you here and yes, your situation is heartbreaking. It must feel so overwhelming. It sounds as if right now you and your husband’s health are the main priorities, yet you do need support. Do you have a good relationship with your doctor who is treating your uterine cancer? Would you be able to talk to him or her about what is going on in your mother’s home-the abuse-and how lonely you are? Perhaps he or she could recommend even free counseling services that may be available to you – many doctors have social workers that are available to persons dealing with serious illnesses. I just feel for you – you need face-to-face support, too. Praying for you.

    3. Stephanie, my heart hurts for you and I am praying for you. 

    4. Welcome Stephanie.  I hope this blog brings you some encouragement and direction.  And I also agree with Susan that you truly need someone nearby who can offer face to face support.  Her suggestions are good ones.  Reach out to someone you trust and find some help close by too.   I also will be praying that you will find some steady help and care and that the Lord will be your refuge. 

    5. Stephanie, my heart aches for all the pain that you have – physically, emotionally and spiritually. I too lift you up in prayer. I agree that you should seek face to face counselling from someone your doctor or a friend trusts, but, if you cannot, cry to the Lord. We welcome you to participate in this blog and seek the Lord with us here.

    6. Stephanie, I echo the welcomes of my blog sisters…I pray that the Lord’s peace would envelop you; that you would sense His presence and continuous love.  I pray for the Lord’s assisting you in discerning your next steps; may He help you to trust and provide healing.  God bless you, Stephanie.

    7. Oh Stephanie, I am so moved by your post……I just saw it, sorry so late. I hope you see this. Stephanie, although you have many struggles right now (I have had many at one time as well), please remember God knows EVERY hair on your head. He LOVES you no matter what, and this world and the people in it are not your true home. Hold on to Him through this; His plan may not look anything like what you think it should. I will pray.
       
      Dearest Jesus, You know Stephanie’s struggles. Thank you for being our Savior and loving us. We are Yours. Please help Stephanie   feel You near, Lord. Help her to reach out to You, just as the woman who touched Jesus’ robe, and acknowledge her presence. Please Lord, let Stephanie be in the palm of Your hands today. In Your Holy name I pray, Amen.

  21. Oh, ladies – how I have missed this fellowship here! I just had to jump back in this week, and I truly hope to continue to participate in this loving, edifying community! Coming out of a very busy season, I have been plagued with guilt for not making this a priority, but finally realized I need to stop trying to catch up (with past weeks) and just get back into it! I am so grateful that His mercies are new each day…
     
    1. Oh wow – the Youtube video of “And Can it Be” – seeing the passion in each person in the congregation just blew me away! This is what congregational worship was meant to be!! The verse “my chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee” has always resonated so much with me!
    2. I had one of those gradual wooing experiences during my college identity/faith crisis…I just remember after a 4-6 month period of doubt and questioning (and prayer that God would reveal His truth to me) that I felt God had somehow already drawn me back to Himself, without me even realizing that I was back in His arms (or that I was there the whole time!). It was a truly precious sense of belonging.

    1. Rachel, had wondered where you went. =) glad to see you back. 

    2. Hi Rachel…so nice to see you back…:) 

  22. Enjoying reading all of your comments and experiences so much!  It seems so weird without my big PC…but I’m getting use to using my phone.   Remember do not talk to people that say they are from Windows  Technical Dept. From India.     Just hang up!    Praying for all of you!
     

    1. Joyce, I was so sorry to read last week what happened to you about your computer getting hacked…you have so much on your plate already to have to deal with that! I’m glad you’ve still found a way to be here on your phone!

    2. Joyce – =(

  23. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I was glad to see that picture again of the three crosses on the hill…it moved me the first time I saw it. For some reason, I still can’t quite explain that sky. I was also so moved by the story of Dee talking to the man in her kitchen, and like Deanna, I felt like I was there observing and listening; could see Dee’s hands covering his, see his tears. That is truly the important stuff of life and Dee, you are using your life, pouring it out as a living sacrifice for things that matter for all of eternity.
     
    As so many of you have also posted, this stood out to me as well – that the gospel keeps slipping out of my hands. Beginning yesterday (Sunday) morning, I felt like I was under attack from the enemy. Yet I now see it was not only the enemy, but also my idol of longing for human approval that had me all twisted up inside. I almost didn’t get to church, but so glad I went for the 2nd service which was excellent preaching on the gospel and a good time of worship. Yet all day long I fought with the returning feelings of discouragement.
     
    2. I feel my salvation experience was more of a journey…I look back and see how God was drawing me to Himself. There was a definite time at a spiritual retreat that for the first time, Jesus became “real” to me. Yet a few years later, I doubted and questioned if that was truly salvation because at that time I still really didn’t understand what the gospel was. I hate to say this, but I think that even in the church today, some kind of dramatic, emotional experience is encouraged, and that can leave people (like me) who naturally tend to doubt themselves feeling unsure. I wrestled with that for years…but the truth is my faith is not in an experience but in a Person.

    1. Susan…..I can relate to those times of Sunday discouragement.  It’s often related to what left me disappointed…..either in the service, where I sometimes feel the focus is not where it should be…..or with what was said by someone that I found disappointing, shallow or taking the focus away from the Savior and the gospel.  There’s  also have the discouragement of knowing that some of my kids are not worshiping….and that Sunday is not the same as it was when they were young.  Your words about churches encouraging a dramatic, emotional experience really resonate with me too.  Bonhoeffer’s teaching on costly grace vs. cheap grace is very challenging to me.  Yesterday, I had a very good Sunday at church which was a blessing.  And as it turns out, both the sermon and the teaching in our ABF included discussion/principles of this very thing…..the gospel AND the call/obligation to grow and serve.  And I was so encouraged by many things. God knows my heart….meets me in my weakness and struggle.  I will be praying that you will be encouraged by fellowship this week.  Blessings to you.  I appreciate your words and thoughts often.

      1. Wanda, much of my discouragement was related to my family…husband who doesn’t go to church, older son has chosen a different denomination and he was home and being critical of where I go to church and our style of worship; the Sunday morning struggle to get my daughter out of bed and motivated to go…I let it all steal my joy and waffled all-around. While I was in church, I prayed and I feel God reminded me of when Jesus was telling Peter that some day, he would be led where he did not want to go, and Peter, referring to John, was like “what about him?” And Jesus told Peter basically “what is that to you? You follow Me.” I took my eyes off Jesus and wanted my son’s approval and wanted to make things ‘right’ which I don’t have the power to do. I know it’s hard for you, too…our children are on their own paths and we have no control over them choosing a relationship with God…we also can’t see how God will work in their lives to pursue them.

  24. Dee, I couldn’t help but think, as I read of the long and angry phone call you received, back to the seeking couple you were ministering to…and behind the scenes, the anger of the enemy at what you are doing…his hatred toward God and God’s people and his anger at people turning away from his lies and deceit and turning to embrace the truth that will free them. How good that you were surrounded by God and sought refuge in Him and that momentary shakiness didn’t last. You wanted God more than you wanted the approval of a person.
    It is so evident in the video clip about Jesus being brought before Pilate how Pilate knew in his heart that Jesus was innocent but in the face of fear of man’s approval and of Caesar’s approval, he caved-in and handed him over. I am seeing this as the very crux of the matter when I choose my idol(s) over Jesus – I am, in effect, telling Jesus to “go away”.
    We definitely need to cover you in prayer, Dee, and I’m sensing that we really need to be praying for each other this week as it is likely the enemy will be ramping up his attacks.

  25. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
     
    Excited about the study this week! Loved the church singing together like a choir!! How beautiful! I wondered where they are from? Such different people all together like that….I imagined South Africa or England. Do you know, Dee? 
     
    The sunrise/sunset picture with the three crosses is striking as well. 
     
    2. The scales fall from our eyes in different ways. Some have a dramatic moment and can name the time. Others, it is more like traveling from Nebraska to Colorado — you don’t know when you passed the border, but you eventually realize, “I’m not in Nebraska anymore — this is different territory.” What was it like for you?
     
     
    Well, I suppose I figured out that I am not able to do anything to help myself, only God can help me when my son John wanted to drop out of high school. It was devastating to me at the time, and I cried and cried. There was nothing I could do. Every person around agreed with him (dad, proba tion officer, court system, etc.) I was the only one who was standing in the way. I finally was lead to Nancy Leigh Demoss, who asked the question, “are you holding on to something that you should be letting go of? Maybe you should let God take charge?” it was too ironic. I realized that I had no more control over the situation and needed to let God “do his job!” I have tried so hard to let go of myself and lean on him since that time. It’s been about six years now. This (and other) situations in my life are reminders that He is the only way to heaven and my new life with Him.
     
     
     

  26. Good morning, dear ones,
    Dee, I love the hymn And Can it Be? Watching the many people singing with such enthusiasm inspires me so!
    Praising God who loved us so much that he sent his only son to die for us- Wow!
    I am thankful for having had a Christian mother who brought me to church, my Dad who loved the Lord was taken from us when I was an infant. I do not ever remember not loving Jesus, but I gave my heart to him when I was 10 years old. My life journey took me to many places and I did not stay close to him yet he never let me get too far away. I was probably about 27 years old when I turned fully to him, after being on my self-seeking journey.
    All the idols: approval seeking, (people pleasing) and so on, haunt me, but I find so much joy in the Psalms. Verses 8 and 9 touch me deeply, “Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who assail me..”
    Dee, your story about the couple who are seeing who Jesus is, is a blessing. My prayer is to reach out to neighbors and others who are struggling. The diverse people singing joyfully is to me a picture of our future, loving all and praising our Lord and Savior in our heavenly home where those who have gone before us will join in praise!

    1. “The diverse people singing joyfully is to me a picture of our future, loving all and praising our Lord and Savior in our heavenly home where those who have gone before us will join in praise!”
       
      This is such a thrill and delight to ponder, Shirley.   I am longing to be in that choir with the saints of all the ages!    Thank you for that description.
       
       

    2. Dee..…just want to mention how much I appreciate the artwork and photographs you insert in the lessons.  I love the picture of the angel leaning down to lift up Peter’s arms and free him from prison.  Peter looks kind of sleepy and stunned.  You can see the shackles on his hands and feet.  How everything is about to change!   (my daughter studied art history in Florence and I have had a longing ever since to see and understand the wealth of teaching there is in the works of the masters).    AND I just noticed when I was scrolling back that the picture of the open Bible with the verse about seeing his likeness is a mirror image.  Perfect! 

      1. Agree!
         

  27. 2. The scales fall from our eyes in different ways. Some have a dramatic moment and can name the time. What was it like for you?
     
    Mine was dramatic and I was the prodigal. 🙂 Believe me, I was desperately lost. :)))) 
    I came to know Him on a plane flying over Las Vegas on September 17th, 1988..God came to me and strongly wooed me through my brother and It was in that plane looking out the window-again at creation which is how he wooed me often throughout my life-that I so desperately wanted to know Him and remembered what my brother shared with me about the Gospel. On September 17th, 1988 He came strong..and I wanted Him and wanted Him to have the reigns of my life and so I yielded to Him. What blows me away was on that plane as I prayed, even though I wasn’t aware and didn’t know about the Holy Spirit yet, He gave me His Holy Spirit..and OH did Jesus remove the scales! I went home to read the Bible my sister in law gave me a while before that. I remember trying to read it and it was a mystery-especially Proverbs. But Oh OH OH ..I understood His Word for the first time-He opened my eyes and I went back to Proverbs and I couldn’t get enough of Him!  I felt like Karla Faye Tucker felt- His Princess in Song of Songs all wrapped up in the cocoon of His Love.
     
    The next moment was when I came onto Dee’s blog around 4-5 years ago..when He redeemed me from a wilderness time. He came strong and took me deeper into Him.
     
     

    1. Your story blesses me this morning, Rebecca!  I love that God used his creation and the wonder of nature to woo you.  ‘The heavens declare the glory of God!’  It encourages me too, because I have given a Bible and other resources to my sister-in-law and she has made some steps of faith, but there is still much that clouds her vision.  I am reminded, through your story, to keep praying and to be more intentional about staying in touch with her even though distance and complicated dynamics separate us.

      1. Wanda, so wonderful to hear about your relationship with your sister-in-law-and the seeds He has planted in her heart through you I am sure. :)))  I know she sees Him in you..and I will pray with you that He will make her heart tender and that He would woo her. It is so hard when distance is an issue..I will pray that He would move through believers in the area where she lives.  SO love having you in our fellowship here on the blog!  

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  29. Not sure what happened to my post – I clicked submit and nothing! Testing here

  30. 3. Read Psalm 17 and write down the truths about God that sustained them.
     
    Verse 1 – David believes that he can cry out to God in the midst of his trouble and that God will hear him.
    Verse 2 – God is the One who vindicates us. Reminds me of this: “You are my glory and the lifter of my head”
    Verse 3 – God is the One who searches hearts. He can get it all sorted out, even when I can’t.
    Verse 6 – God will answer when I call to Him – He does hear my prayers.
    Verse 7 – God is the One who saves us and is our refuge from our enemies.
    Verse 8 – God keeps us as the apple of His eye. God will hide us in the shadow of His wings from those who want to attack us. I like that phrase “apple of His eye” – like we are His very special treasure.
    Verse 13 – God will confront our enemies.
    Verse 14 – God stills the hunger of those He cherishes and provides for their children.
    Verse 15 – One day I will see God “in righteousness” – not my own, but clothed in His.
     
     

  31. 4. Contrast the man of the world with the man of God in verses 14-15. Meditate and share your thoughts.
     
    Interesting comment by Johnny Depp; he trusts in his children. I wonder what he means by that…is it in their goodness or innocence (I don’t know the ages of his kids)…is it that his name will live on in them…is it in the satisfaction or fulfillment they bring to his life? Or that he believes they would never be disloyal or mistreat him?
    The men of this world described in verse 14 are those whose reward is in this life. Earlier in the psalm these are the men David describes as being callous, arrogant, wicked, and hunting him down like a lion hunts down its prey. Godless men who make and play by their own rules and think they will answer to no one. So whatever they are able to gain in this life, be it money, power, success, status; if they are healthy or beautiful and popular…these will be their rewards in this life only. Nothing good is waiting for them, though, after they die.
     
    The man of God in verse 15 rejoices in being made righteous so that “when I awake” – I think a reference to when our eyes open after we die, leaving our bodies and beginning what is “real life” – he will be satisfied, filled with being in God’s presence.
    The difference is in what the two kinds of men are trusting in. It’s so easy to trust in, say, if I eat right and exercise several times a week, I will be healthy and live a long life. It will keep me from aging. But health can be lost in a moment and disease strikes even those who live healthy. God is the only unshakeable, reliable One we can trust in.

    1. Susan….such good questions regarding Johnney Depp’s answer.  I would have blown right past that analysis….and it’s good to ponder that.  Because, again, whatever it is about his children that he trusts…all of those answers pale in light of trusting in the living God and all that He gives.  Thanks for deepening my view of this. 

  32. 3. Read Psalm 17 and write down the truths about God that sustained them.
     
    David turns to God because he has confidence that God will hear him when he prays.  
    God is the one who judges us and can vindicate us.   David hopes for God’s approval.
    David knows that God does not approve of violence or deceit, and he says he has tried to live in the right way. 
    David can expect God to answer his prayer. 
    David knows that God has wondrous love for him, and that he can take refuge in God when his foes come after him. 
    God has the power and ability to confront and conquer the wicked, and to rescue the righteous from their clutches. 
    God has rewards awaiting the righteous in the next life, and David asks to be saved from the men whose rewards are only in this life with no thought of the next.   
    God provides for his people and even their descendants.  
     
     
    One night when I was traveling I watched Larry King interview Johnny Depp. He said, “Johnny — what do you trust in?” Depp paused, and then said, “I trust in my children.”
    4. Contrast the man of the world with the man of God in verses 14-15. Meditate and share your thoughts.
     
    The man of the world is short-sighted and strives for rewards (particularly riches) of this world, with no thought of another life later.  The man of God knows that God rewards His people with eternal life.  The man of God trusts that God will provide what is actually needed to survive in this world.    The man of God will be satisfied when he is in God’s presence, and longs to be face-to-face with God.  
     
    I like this paragraph from the commentary in my Life Application Study Bible: 
     
    “We deceive ourselves when we measure our happiness or contentment in life by the amount of wealth we possess.  When we put riches at the top of our value system, we let power, pleasure, and financial security overshadow the enternal value of our relationship with God.  We think we will be happy or content when we get riches, only to discover that they don’t really satisfy and the pleasures fade away.   The true measurement of happiness or contentment is found in God’s love and in doing His will.   You will find true happiness if you put your relationship with God above earthly riches. ”  
     
    In other words — don’t turn to your idols of control and comfort!

  33. 3. Read Psalm 17 and write down the truths about God that sustained them.
    ~may your ears hear ~ may your eyes see what is right  (confidence in God’s justice and presence)
    ~my vindication comes from you  ~ you will answer me ~ the wonder of your good love  ~ you save by your right hand ~ you will save and rescue ~  you are the source of refuge ~ you keep me as the apple of your eye~you hide me in the shadow of your wings~ you still the hunger of those you cherish
    ~in your righteousness, (by grace) I will see you face to face~ I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness (wonderful testimony of the truth of Psalm 16:11) 
    SO many words of confidence that God is our defender and protector here.   I was most fascinated with the ‘apple of your eye’ and also looked at the description that the literally meaning is ‘little man of the eye’.   The pupil…..essential for vision and should be protected at all costs.  We have a friend who had a very devastating accident at work and his vision is severely compromised in one eye; He has another surgery pending, but as of now,  his pupil remains dilated, maybe permanently.  Seeing him recently and looking at this verse, makes me really aware of the importance of the ‘little man; the apple’ of our eyes.  Really a comfort to know that God defends and protects us as something so delicate and vulnerable.   
     
    The other metaphor….’the shadow of your wings‘ is such an amazing picture.  I looked up all the cross references and was amazed at the number of times this phrase is used in scripture.  So rich a metaphor.  Much to say and ponder.  A thought I hadn’t remembered is that the King was referred to as the ‘shade’ to his people….to protect them from their oppressors….as shade protects from oppressive heat.   To think of our King of Kings being our defender…..wow!  Sometimes, shadows seem scary at night.  I love this very comforting picture of shade and shadows.      I really liked the song, Apple of your Eye and the slides that went with it.  Great visual for all the scripture surrounding that verse. 
     
    More thoughts swirling in my mind….but as I’ve been on the blog and in the Word for several hours already this morning……..more later! 
     

    1. Wanda–love how you have dug into these verses! Especially on the shadow of His wings–that has always been a favorite metaphor to me.

  34. 3. Read Psalm 17 and write down the truths about God that sustained them.
    *God sees those who do right…the Lord is attentive to those who do good and right from a pure heart.
    *Following the Lord’s commands keep me from following cruel and evil people…the Lord’s cammands are for my well-being and best interests.  The Lords commands serve as a guide to keep me on the correct track.
    *The Lord will answer me when I pray…the Lord is attentive to me.
    *The Lord has unfailing love.
    *The Lord provides refuge from enemies for those who seek His rescue.
    *The Lord will be present to me…I will see Him face-to-face.
     
    4. Contrast the man of the world with the man of God in verses 14-15. Meditate and share your thoughts.
    The Man of the world looks to the world for his reward, while the man of God looks to God for provision.
     
    I see this as the quandary of “self” versus “God” sufficiency…who do I depend upon?  who provides for me?  The answer should be clear…God created and sustains all…He is in control.  So then the question…why would I ever look to the world for rewards when they are so substandard to a Lord that loves me continuously and faithfully, providing all that is needed?

    1. Nanci, Please hit me over the head with your answer to #4 — at least once a week;) Thank you!

    2. Thank you, Nanci, for stating this contrast so simply and so beautifully, ” The man of the world looks to the world for his reward, while the man of God looks to God for provision.”
      This morning I have been feeling discouraged, wanting solutions.
      I watched the video of Jesus before Pilate. It impacted me deeply.
      Why do I want life to be without stress, yet Jesus suffered for my sins. Yes, the pictures, songs and video are so effective in drawing me back to this simple fact. My sufficiency is in Christ, not self which reacts, fumes, wants comfort and acclaim….
      Christ quietly submitted to his Father’s will. Thanks Dee and each of you,  for your openness and sharing. Bless be the tie that binds…

  35. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “we think we have to earn His favor. But we don’t. It has been done.”
    I think this is the lie so many people believe. I know I did for a long time before I was saved.
     
    2. The scales fall from our eyes in different ways. What was it like for you?
     
    I remember when I was about 5 sitting on my bed thinking about how you get to heaven, and I remember thinking it must be by being a good person. So I decided I was going to be as good as I could.  As a child, being good to me meant never getting in trouble at home and making good grades, so that’s what I did. My little world of being good seemed to be going well until the beginning of high school when we found out my dad was having an affair with his secretary and left our family. I was angry, sad, confused, and I felt so betrayed by my dad.
     At about that time, this sweet girl named Meredith came into my life and she was a Young Life leader. She took me to Young Life Camp and it was the first time I heard the gospel. The notion that my sin kept me from being with God because he was holy and I was not, was new to me. That hit me hard which was great because the good news of his son dying for me so I could spend eternity with God became the best news I ever heard.  By the end of the week I gave my life to the Lord, and I realized it was not about being good but being saved by grace through Jesus. However I don’t know if I totally understood the commitment I made because even though I was saved I was what you would call a frozen chosen. There was not much growth and I didn’t go to church, and  I put school before the Lord. I graduated and headed off to college and started dating my husband.
    My husband grew up Baptist, but we ended up getting married at an EPC church. At first I was really intimidated since I had not been raised in church and I didn’t have much knowledge of the Bible.  I remember when I joined, they were promoting a Women Conferences about Friendship J.Even though I was scared I thought I should go. So I went and the entire time I thought wow, these women here really love the Lord.
    After the conference I realized that I was a baby Christian and I really wanted to grow and start living out my faith. It’s been cool to see my faith grow over the years. I have always struggled with anxiety but just knowing He is right beside me every second of every day gives me a peace that I can get from anything or anyone else. One of my favorite songs about surrendering your life over is by Julie Meyers and it’s called “Paint Your Picture”. I put the link below, but not sure if it will work.
     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Xl28CF5YHI

    1. Natalie Clair – loved hearing your story. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Thanks for sharing your story, Natalie.  So good to hear your faith journey and how growth has been happening in your life.

    3. Natalie-I LOVED hearing how God wooed you and brought you to Him and to see how his hand is on you!  I could picture it all..and I can relate to how you felt in regard to your dad.

  36. 3. Read Psalm 17 and write down the truths about God that sustained them.
      
     
    God hears my cry.
    He sees me as holy through Christ’s blood.
    He is with me in the night, with me in my testing.
    He answers me.
    He is my Savior.
    He loves me.
    He is my Refuge.
    I am the apple of His eye.
    He is my Protector.
    He is so close to me that I am in His shadow.
    He is my Defender.
    He is my Deliverer.
    One day I will see You, Lord, face to face, and I will be made like You.
     

  37. 3. Read Psalm 17 and write down the truths about God that sustained them.
    He will hear.
    He will answer.
    He will show the wonders of His great love.
    He saves “with right hand” (is this a significant reference to who sits at God’s right hand?).
    He saves those who take refuge in Him.
    We are the apple of His eye.
    We will be vindicated.
    We will see His face.
    We will awake and be satisfied with seeing His likeness (different version have “see His likeness” and “in Your likeness.” I like the idea of being awakened in His likeness because it represents heaven and my fully reconciled and changed heart).

    1. Jill……I’m thinking about your comment about ‘saving with his right hand’.  That does so much sound like it is his right hand man….Jesus himself who is the one who saves.  And indeed he is.  Thanks for bringing that out.  I hadn’t really seen it that way until you said it.
      There are so many references where God says he’ll take hold of ‘our right hand’ too.  When I had several consecutive surgeries,  Isaiah 41:13 was a comfort to me  during the pre-op prep.  When I would get an IV place in my left arm (and the anesthetist was holding my left hand) I kept imagining Jesus holding my right hand……” I am the Lord, your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear.  I will help you.’ ”  I’m not sure how ‘our’ right hand fits in with God’s right hand except that it is the place of prominence….so it’s just where Jesus should be in our lives.   Whenever I hear someone say,  ‘he’s my right hand man’…..I think of how Jesus sits at God’s right hand.   It’s always so fascinating to see how the principles and nuances of scripture can be so prevalent in everyday speech. 

  38. 4. Contrast the man of the world with the man of God in verses 14-15. Meditate and share your thoughts.
    The man of this world is satisfied in this world but the man of God will awake and see Him face-to-face (and therefore can never be truly satisfied in this world, but can transcend circumstantial dissatisfaction with that hope). Also, if the man of this world is unsatisfied he looks to the world and himself to ‘solve’ that but the man of God knows that is impossible. Most go to self-salvation mode – what can I DO to make my life better? Interesting. I think some regard themselves as satisfied, but can you truly be satisfied without God? I think no.
    V.14-15 – the translations are a little confusing but the essence is that men of God have greater joy and hope than what this world can offer.

  39. This is a web page that has Keller’s sermon “Getting Out” where you  can download it from audio or video. I downloaded the audio since my computer connection makes it very slow to listen to videos. Link
     

  40. 4. Contrast the man of the world with the man of God in verses 14-15. Meditate and share your thoughts.
    I thought all of what Spurgeon said on this verse was so rich I wanted to share:
    “From men of the world,” mere earthworms; not men of the world to come, but mere dwellers in this narrow sphere of mortality; having no hopes or wishes beyond the ground on which they tread. “Which have their portion in this life.” Like the prodigal, they have their portion, and are not content to wait their Father’s time. Like Passion in the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” they have their best things first, and revel during their little hour. Luther was always afraid lest he should have his portion here, and therefore frequently gave away sums of money which had been presented to him. We cannot have earth and heaven too for our choice and portion; wise men choose that which will last the longest.
     
    My thoughts–The man of this world either never knew, or has forgotten, that our real Home awaits. It is one who is impatient, settling for the “fast food” version instead of the long-awaited feast created by the Chef. This convicts me, as I struggle daily with impatience. My impatience often leads me to want to take control, coerce, or persuade others. The last several months the Lord continues to speak to me “wait”. There is much trust required in waiting. To believe He sees, He hears, He is at work, He is good. Lay it down again and again. Removing from the throne of my heart what belongs to Him on His altar.

    1. Elizabeth – love the Spurgeon commentary and also your fast food/feast metaphor! That reminded me of a C.S. Lewis quote, but when I looked for it, I ended up finding all of these! 🙂
      C.S. Lewis Quote: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
       
      C.S. Lewis Quote: “All these toys were never intended to possess my heart. My true good is in another world, and my only real treasure is Christ.” 
       
      C.S. Lewis Quote: “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” 
       
      C.S. Lewis Quote: “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

      1. Rachel–SO glad you are back! And great Lewis quotes! How is your little girl doing?

      2. RACHEL,  Welcome back!  Thanks for posting those C.S. Lewis quotes.  Some of my faves 🙂

      3. Rachel-So sweet that you are back! It will be wonderful to be able to read your posts again.  :))

  41. 3. Read Psalm 17 and write down the truths about God that sustained them.
    “Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, …” “Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. By your hand save me from such people, Lord, from those of this world whose reward is in this life. May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies; …” (Psalm 17:3, 7, 14 NIV)
     
     
     
     

  42. 3. Read Psalm 17 and write down the truths about God that sustained them.
    The truths that stood out to me were that God is present (He will answer me when I call), He is safe (a refuge from foes), and that He is all satisfying. The only thing I truly need in order to be vindicated is to be in his presence and see his face. That will make everything else fade away…

    1. “The only thing I truly need in order to be vindicated is to be in his presence and see his face. That will make everything else fade away…”
       
      This is so well said, Rachel.  Concise, yet complete.  You nailed it!  Thanks.

  43. 4. Contrast the man of the world with the man of God in verses 14-15. Meditate and share your thoughts.
    While those of the world get their fleeting “rewards” on earth – material wealth, earthly pleasures, power, status, etc., the man of God gets his ultimate reward in seeing God face to face, and the intimacy and communion with God that that implies.

  44. 4. Contrast the man of the world with the man of God in verses 14-15. Meditate and share your thoughts.
    This phrase jumped out at me: “whose portion is in this life.”  And then the verse went on to describe those whose families are EVERYTHING, i.e., gain money and status and pass on as a legacy to the next generation.  It also interested me that God was who gave them the their children (“You fill their womb with treasure”), their riches in this life. Not sure if I am reading this right, but it seems like the verse might be saying that God blesses those who reject it. But this life is all they have.In contrast, for believers, the best is yet to come. Verse 15 is AMAZING. I will behold HIM and be satisfied forever.

    I’ve been thinking about this contrast today. It implies a couple things to me: (1) No wonder some people are power-hungry jerks who will trample everyone. What they grab is all they will get. This gives me a little more compassion, as I better understand their motivation. And even if they are jerks, sometimes I do like them — and I feel (sorta) bad that this life is all they have. (2) I don’t have to be concerned that I won’t become rich or famous (can’t think of too many things I would dislike more than fame, anyway — and I suspect I’m wealthier than 90+% of the world’s population) because accomplishments, possessions, etc in this life are nothing compared to what awaits us.

    1. I really debated verse 14b and was trying to figure out if ‘their sons have plenty and they store up wealth for their children’ referred to the ‘men of this world….or to ‘those whom the Lord cherishes. ….which I thought would be His beloved. I was going both ways and going to ask what others thought and then I ran into a commentary that said 14b is the beginning of David’s concluding confidence.   I’m sure open to either interpretation.  The part that throws me off is ‘You still the hunger of those you cherish’  His beloved…..David included, I thought.   But then David goes into 3rd person again…..like he’s talking about someone other than himself??? 

  45. 4. Contrast the man of the world with the man of God in verses 14-15. Meditate and share your thoughts.
    The preceding verse clearly shows David’s confidence that God will defeat his enemy.  He describes his enemies as ruthless and dangerous, who seek him as a lion seeks his prey; waiting in ambush for him.  (sounds like a description of the devil himself….prowling about seeking whom he may devour).  But David’s faith in the Lord’s protection (his refuge as he takes shelter in the shadow of His wings) doesn’t falter.  He confidently says to the Lord….’Confront.  Take down.  Rescue!  Rescue me from ‘such men’……
     
    ‘Such men’, men of this world, think no further than themselves and this life. For them, this is all there is.   They’ve already gotten their ‘reward’.    
     
     David, then says that those who are the beloved, cherished of the Lord…..will leave their children plenty; an inheritance will follow.  And while that in itself, is vastly different….he goes on to make the most striking contrast.  His life doesn’t end in death!  He will awake once he has died.  And he will be in the presence of the true King,  No longer in the shadow of the Almighty….but with His very self….His likeness……face to face!  There his soul will forever be satisfied with the eternal pleasures of being in His presence.  
     
    Something from Hugh Palmer’s sermon last week that struck me then, but now fit so clearly:   He closed his sermon on Psalm 16 by noting that verse 11 was used at the very end of the Anglican funeral service.  He said “…..at the very worst moment, when the committal is done, ‘ashes to ashes’, the curtain drawn, when the casket disappears at the moment of maximum grief…..the verse becomes real.   ‘…..you will fill me with joy in your presence…eternal pleasures… ends Psalm 16.  And now in a similar vein, Psalm 17 ends with the confidence that eternal satisfaction awaits us when we see Him face to face.

  46. 4. Contrast the man of the world with the man of God in verses 14-15. Meditate and share your thoughts.
     
    The man of the world is one who focuses on earthly things, not God. He “gorges” himself on possessions or wicked things; there is never enough and he is never satisfied.
     
    The man who focuses on God is one who is proved right in the end; one who has enough, not swollen with material things or behaviors. He is all that is needed.
     
    Tick season is upon us and a few days ago we found a HUGE tick lying on the kitchen floor. That is what I think of when I hear the word “gorged.” It is a pretty gross picture. I often find myself in a “gorged” state; it is so sad. I can actually feel huge and bloated. Whether it is too much food, drink, stress, worry, work; it is not what I should be feeding myself. He is what I need.

    1. Good example, Laura.   Although it makes my skin crawl to think about ticks again…..it’s a perfect word picture.    (One thing I love about winter is the absence 🙂  )

    2. ” I  will behold your face in righteousness.  I shall be satisfied when I awake with your likeness.’  vs. 15
      Contrasting this eternity to the ‘man of this world’  for whom this world is all there is.
      This morning, my heart remembers….
       
      ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face. 
      And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. 
      In the light of His glory and grace.”
       

  47.  5. Memories of God’s great deliverance for the Israelites during the Exodus often sustained David and God’s people. There are reflections of that in Psalm 17. See if you can find some.
     
     
    “They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance. They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a fierce lion crouching in cover.” (Psalm 17:10-12 NIV)
     
     
    “Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down; with your sword rescue me from the wicked. By your hand save me from such people, Lord, from those of this world whose reward is in this life…” (Psalm 17:13, 14 NIV)
     
    Could this be referring to the Egyptians who ran after the Israelites When they left Egypt?
     

  48. 3. Read Psalm 17 and write down the truths about God that sustained them.
     
    That God is just and He will not only hear me but listen and be moved deeply.
    God knows my heart and examines me
    He tests me in the trials of life
    Jesus is Holy, pure-has never stumbled
    God is my redeemer, deliverer
    He will vindicate me in the future-He will make all things new and right.
    He is my satisfaction