We’ve been here before, not just because it’s my favorite psalm, but because it is SO HELPFUL when life is hard that we must keep returning to it. How do we give thanks when so much in our lives seems to be going wrong? Recently I had a conversation with a brother concerning why Paige Benton Brown puts her teaching up for just a week and then takes it down — driving us all bananas! He said, “I often save my notes from a sermon, thinking, ‘I can preach that again.’ But because God keeps working in my life, making all things new, when I look at those notes I want to start fresh.’ I feel the same way – -though we’ve covered this psalm umpteen times, we’re going to start fresh.
I have a wonderful 15-minute message from Mike Reeves to recharge us. Reeves says Psalm 42 is so important we must brush our teeth with it!
Because we keep putting our circumstances in the foreground and the gospel in the background. We must take our soul in hand and remind her of the great good news! Remember what Paige said for those of you in our last study?
“We must not look within for answers, but out to God!”
And Martyn Lloyd Jones, in his classic book called Spiritual Depression said:
“Don’t listen to your swirling soul, speak the truth of God’s Word to her.”
Let me give you an example from my life. Right now, if I were to listen to my soul, I might hear: “Your old body is falling apart. You hobble around at the end of the day. The dermatologist is going to zap you so look like a leper. Your ears are no longer catching everything that is said. And, as Ecclesiastes promises, it’s only going to get worse.”
Who wouldn’t be depressed by listening to that soul?
Instead, I tell her: “All true — but not the end of the story! I’m headed toward a beautiful strong resurrection body, younger than springtime! Truly, these troubles will seem so transitory in eternity. Meanwhile, no matter what I face, I’m LOVED with an everlasting love.
Thursday: Start Brushing Your Teeth
Remember to read the Psalms as a lover reads, lingering on the images. For we have a Savior who is acquainted with grief, who understands the pain of living in this world.
- Read Psalm 42:1-4 and find all the images that show both the depths of the psalmist’s depression and the circumstances that are pressing down on him. Take time.
- In verse 5, how does he put those circumstances in the background and God in the foreground?
- Why must we take our souls in hand and talk to them?
- Your turn. List one circumstance or more that is pressing down on you. Then take your soul in hand and talk to her.
Friday: The Christian’s Ode to Joy
5. Listen to the above message (under 15 minutes) and take notes.
6. Share two things that really stood out to you and explain why.
Saturday: Meditating on the Breadth of the Gospel
7. Martyn Lloyd Jones said that one of the main reasons people have ceased to be interested in Christianity is due to miserable Christians. Do you agree? Do you think the people with whom you rub shoulders see an inextinguishable joy in you?
8. Reeves said that Christians who are so lacking in joy have forgotten the gospel. He asked, “Why did Jesus go to the cross if a quiet time could have done the trick?” Let’s consider how we can talk to our souls.
A. Consider — why, according to Hebrews 12:2 did Jesus choose to endure the cross? Since He had everything when He was with the Father, why did He humble himself and leave? What was the joy set before Him? (This is huge.)
B. Because of the finished work of Christ, describe God’s love for us according to John 17:23b.
C. Because of the gospel, what do we have to look forward to according to 1 Corinthians 15:51-54?
9. We must share these things with our souls as often as we brush our teeth. What can you tell your soul today to give her joy? Give thanks!
God Hunt Sunday:
For those of you new to the God Hunt, it is simply a way to be alert to the reality of a living God in your daily life: an answered prayer; unusual timing or circumstances that make you aware God is at work; a Scripture that becomes radioactive; or simply the sense of His presence through nature, others, or His Spirit.
10. As you look back at the past week, how have you “spied” God at work? Give thanks!
Monday: Deep Calls To Deep
This is such a mysterious passage, but understanding it can really help you trust God when things are hard. Charles Spurgeon says it is the deep voice of God calling to us in the depth of our troubles. Think of Jonah cast into the sea — life can’t get much harder than that! Yet God showed that rebel His love by sending a great fish. Our own Lizzy sent me the following heart which I have on my bedroom wall:
Relationships no I like YouTube the one thing missing in
When you feel like you are drowning in a sea of troubles, even those brought on by yourself, He is there, loving you, just as you are.
11. How did God show His love to Jonah despite his sin?
12. How has God shown His love to you, even when the mess you were in was of your own making? Give thanks.
13. Whatever hard things you are facing right now, take your soul in hand and speak to her.
Tuesday: Keep Brushing Your Teeth
14. How many times in Psalm 42 and Psalm 43 must the psalmist take his soul in hand and speak to her? What does this tell you?
15. List at least five things in your life, whether personal or with loved ones, that tend to make you anxious. Speak to your soul about each one.
16. What is your take-a-way? Give thanks!