Friday, 15 October 2010
Psalm 3 Study: Fighting Lies
Sometimes it feels foolish to trust God.
I can’t remember a time when an external enemy mocked my faith, but I have had a number of experiences with a bully inside my own head. I’ve heard the inner voice that mocks, you fool… he isn’t listening…he won’t answer…you don’t deserve his help…he’s going to let you down, because you have let him down so often.
When Mark and I were trying to decide if we would move across the country to pursue training for a job we didn’t yet have, we were filled with fears. We were clearly taking a risk. Was it foolishness? Or was it faith? How would we pay for it? Would there be a place for us to serve later? How would our youngest daughter handle a cross country move her senior year? We were coming to the point where we needed to make a decision.
As we flew across the country to check it out, I closed my eyes to shut out fears and found myself praying.
Oh, Lord, I know I need to trust you, but I feel so afraid. I feel like we are going out on a limb and it’s going to come crashing to the ground. I’m scared I’ll be put to shame.
I had no sooner finished praying, then the words, “Those who trust in the Lord will not be put to shame,” popped into my head. Where did that from? Oh yeah, Psalm 25. I had memorized that last year. Didn’t know it stuck. I turned to it and read the whole Psalm, feeling the panic subside with every verse.
After we landed, we rented a car, fought traffic and arrived just in time to attend a worship service. We were stunned to walk through the doors and hear the lyrics being sung by the congregation, “Those who trust in the Lord will never be put to shame”! The whole room rang with the words of Psalm 25. It seemed the Holy Spirit wanted to make sure I took that truth seriously by telling it to me twice.
Same Message, Different Psalm
Psalm 3 is much shorter than Psalm 25, but packs the same punch. What do you do when you’re in trouble and no one seems to think God will help you? Here are some questions to help you dig into it.
First reading, hear the voice of David.
1. The heading identifies the author, David, and the situation, “when he was fleeing from Absalom.” Read 2 Samuel 15:1-12 for background. How specifically was David being sinned against?
2. Back up and read 2 Samuel 13 and 14. How did David bring this situation on himself?
3. Read Psalm 3. How does David respond to this situation? What were his:
- Thoughts? (see 2 Samuel 16:8 for the taunts of his enemies)
- Affirmations of faith?
4. What was the effect of David’s faith in the LORD even though his circumstances hadn’t changed?
Second reading, hear the voice of Jesus.
1. When did Jesus experience enemies? Betrayal by a friend? Mocking and jeers that God had abandoned him? See Matthew 27:39-43.
2. As a man Jesus experienced the full range of human emotions. Read the Psalm slowly from his perspective. Which verse surprises you most?
3. Was Jesus tempted to fear? Did he have to exercise faith? How does that thought encourage you?
4. What would verse 8 have meant to him on the cross? After the resurrection?
Third reading, hear your voice.
1. What circumstances in your life make this Psalm seem relevant to you?
2. What are your feelings? Temptations?
3. Read v. 3 out loud several times. Look up these cross references: Psalm 28:7, 84:9, 27:5-6.
4. Pray v. 7 in fellowship with Jesus the man and Jesus your High Priest.
5. Proclaim v. 8 in fellowship with David and David’s greater Son.
Remember to pick a verse or even just a phrase to meditate on this week. You never know how the Holy Spirit might use it in your life someday…