Psalm 119 Bible Study

Psalm 119: The Glory of God’s Word ~ Lesson 8

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Read Psalm 119:97-112

Recall the things from the introductory lesson that you wanted to keep in mind as you study the text of Psalm 119.

Don’t forget to read in complete sentences instead of stopping at the end of each verse.

Recall the themes you’ve been noticing in Psalm 119. Watch for those themes to be repeated in today’s and future passages. You may wish to make a list of those themes to refer to throughout this study.

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson. Does that passage relate to this week’s passage? How? Do you notice any repeated words, thoughts, or themes?

2. Notice the two part pattern to each of the verses in 97-104. What is the impact God’s Word has on the psalmist in each of these verses?

3. Explain the concepts of wisdom (98) and understanding (99, 100, 104) as they relate to God’s Word. What is the difference between factual knowledge and biblical wisdom? How do we acquire biblical wisdom?

Verses 98, 99, and 100 each compare godly, biblical wisdom to a different form of worldly “wisdom”. Explain each form of worldly “wisdom”. How is biblical wisdom far superior to each?

4. Notice how the psalmist’s love for God’s Word feeds on itself. The more he feeds on God’s Word, the more he hungers for it. How does this prove out the truth of Matthew 5:6? Have you experienced this hunger for God’s Word in your life? How can we acquire this hunger for the Word?

Agree with, disagree with, or how would you tweak this statement: “Constant meditation on the Word leads to consistent obedience to the Word, which leads to an increasing love for the Word and the God of the Word.”?

5. We’ve seen previous sections “bookended” with a unified thought (e.g. “I love Your law” / “I love Your law”). Is 97-104 bookended with a unified thought or a contrasting thought? What are the bookend thoughts for this section, how do they complement each other, and how do they fittingly introduce and conclude this section?

6. Have you ever known someone who walked away from the faith due to suffering? How does the psalmist respond to suffering in 105-112? What can you learn from this passage about the biblical response to suffering? Compare the psalmist’s response to suffering to Paul’s response to suffering.

Imagine you’re the psalmist in 105-112. If a lost friend said to you, “All of this loving God’s Word and striving so hard to obey it, and you’re still suffering so much? It’s not working. Why bother?” how would you answer her from what you’ve learned so far in Psalm 119 about God, His Word, and suffering? What do we know about suffering that the world doesn’t know? What do we have during suffering that the world doesn’t have? How is God’s Word a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (105) during the darkness of suffering?

Explain why, for the psalmist and the Christian, obedience to God during times of suffering isn’t an added burden – it’s freeing and brings us joy.


Praying Psalm 119

Have you ever tried praying the psalms? I want to encourage you to try praying part of Psalm 119 back to God each week of this study. (If you’re familiar with my other studies, this will take the place of the weekly “Homework” section.)

The psalms are uniquely suited for praying back to God, both verbatim and conceptually, because they are often written as prayers – as though the psalmist is talking to God. Did you notice that about today’s passage? In which verses?

What is a concept or thought for your own life that the Holy Spirit impressed on your heart or convicted you about from today’s passage? Is there a particular verse(s), or maybe the whole passage, that you would like to pray back to God verbatim? Whatever your “prayer point” from today’s lesson, pray it at least daily until we get to the next lesson.


Suggested Memory Verse

Celebrity Pastors, Church

On those recent accusations against John MacArthur and GCC…

Photo courtesy of Grace Community Church

If your initial reaction to the title of this post is “What recent accusations against John MacArthur and GCC?” do yourself a favor and just ignore what follows. Click off and go do or read something more edifying. Trust me.

In fact, I really didn’t even want to address this internet dumpster fire. I wanted to give it the full-throttled ignoring it so richly deserves.

But because several of you have asked me to weigh in, and because a lot of people are falling for the narrative being spun by the accuser, I’m reluctantly (and as briefly as possible) broaching the subject and providing you with some information to dispel the innuendo, gossip, and misrepresentations being disseminated as fact under the guise of “journalism”.

On March 8, blogger Julie Roys published an article1 essentially accusing John MacArthur and the elders of Grace Community Church of sinfully and cruelly mishandling a case of child abuse twenty years ago, and of mistreating the mother of the children who brought the situation to the elders’ attention by way of requesting marital counseling.

Roys has a storied history of making sensationalistic allegations against John MacArthur and GCC which later prove to be false. (I believe I read somewhere that this is her 39th article that has something to do with him or the church, though I can’t recall the source, so I can’t verify that.)

Here’s just one example of that from recent years:

Regarding the current allegations, Jon Harris did the heavy lifting for us on a recent episode of his podcast, Conversations that Matter. He provides objective, biblical analysis of the accusations, the facts of the case, Roys’ craftiness in the way she words things, information that was left out of her article, and so on.

John MacArthur and the David Gray Situation | Conversations that Matter | March 25, 2022

GCC has not publicly responded to the allegations, but this is the email (included in Jon’s video above) they’ve apparently been sending out in response to individual inquiries:

Jon posted a follow-up episode, Recap of David Gray Situation and Russell Moore Weighs in on Abuse and Divorce on March 26. The two main points he made recapping his previous episode were: 1) to apologize for accidentally calling the woman at the center of the issue “Elaine,” throughout the original video, when her actual name is “Eileen,” and 2) to clarify that the “Grace Community Church Response” (above) is not an official, public statement from GCC, but rather what amounts to a “form letter” email sent as a reply to individuals inquiring about the situation.

Jon released yet another follow-up today, March 29: My Position on David Gray & Revisiting the Chicago Statement, responding to pushback and requests for clarification from his initial video. One interesting point you may want to make note of for future reference: In the initial video, Jon said that even if GCC could not release a public statement on the matter due to the confidentiality required in counseling situations, church members who were well acquainted with the Grays and the situation might come forward and speak publicly about what happened. Jon apparently received such an email from a GCC member who is prayerfully considering speaking out. She did not find Eileen’s testimony at trial to be credible.

My personal take on this situation is the same as it was before Roys’ most recent allegations. Julie Roys has an ax to grind against John MacArthur and is not a trustworthy source. (She is not a trustworthy source like the Grand Canyon is not a little hole in the ground.) I would recommend you stay as far away from her writing as possible and get your information from a fair, reliable, biblical source not tainted by ulterior motives.

When I have said things like this on social media, Roys’ supporters have, not surprisingly, accused me of thinking John MacArthur can do no wrong. Not so. First of all, there have been several times over the years when I’ve thought things John MacArthur has said or done were wrong, and I also don’t align 100% with his theology. Second, if Roys went after anybody else, I’d say the same kinds of things, because the main issue here is not the object of her accusations, but her tactics. And, finally, if Roys’ accusations were reported by a reliable source, and/or admitted to by John MacArthur or Grace Community Church, I’d believe them.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about this issue.

(If you haven’t already, please read and follow the instructions above the comment box before commenting. I will not be debating this further in the comments section, via email, or on social media, and I will not be publishing any comments, responding to any emails, or entertaining any social media comments which are argumentative or accusatory in nature. You’re free to state your arguments and accusations on the issue on your own platforms.)


1I am intentionally not providing a link to Roys’ article for three reasons: first, because her slander doesn’t deserve the clicks (and the subsequent boost to her analytics); second, because the content of her article is emotionally manipulative, and the purpose of my article is to provide some objectivity; and third, because you can get the salient points of her story (without being emotionally manipulated) from the information I’ve provided here. If you feel you absolutely have to read her article, you’re free to find it by Googling.

Complementarianism, Mailbag, Worship

The Mailbag: Women “Worship Leaders” and Confusing Ecclesiology

I have read on previous pages about your response to female worship leaders, and reading your article Women Preaching: It’s Not a Secondary Doctrinal Issue prompted a few questions from me. Our church is now allowing women to lead worship from the stage. The official music director is male. Women will now be allowed to fill the role of band leader on a rotating basis on Sundays (along with a few males). They will pick songs for their Sunday set that must be approved by the music director and elders. It is being put forth to us as not being a problem because the preaching elder is the actual “worship leader” and that this is no different than women leading a few songs in a worship set. And that it doesn’t violate authority because she can’t “teach in an authoritative way.” And we have an upcoming discussion with the elders because we believe this violates the authority aspect of 1 Timothy 2:12. Can you weigh in? Are we wrong in this? Also, is this a sin issue or a secondary issue?

I’m so sorry this has become a dilemma in your church. I know things like this can be distressing when you love your church and are concerned about its fidelity to Scripture.

I’m really sorry, but I am thoroughly confused by what it is that these women are actually doing with regard to leading the music portion of the worship service, and who is in charge of, or leading, what. And I suspect this confusion points to a deeper issue. So let me just offer a few general thoughts and principles.

Part of the confusion here (at least on my part) is the term “worship leader”. It’s too generic and interpreted in so many different ways by different people.

I understand what your pastor (preaching elder) is saying when he says that he is the “worship leader” because I’ve heard other pastors say this as something of a pushback against the idea that “worship” equals “singing,” when, really, all of the worship service (preaching, prayer, singing, etc.) is worship.

So he’s saying he’s the “worship leader” because the buck stops with him on all elements of the worship service, and he’s leading the worship service. I don’t disagree with that, but the terminology is confusing, and this concept muddies the water when it comes to biblical ecclesiology and to questions like yours. It is not biblical for a woman to serve as this kind of “worship leader” because the biblical terminology for this position is “pastor” or “elder” and Scripture prohibits women from being pastors and elders.

Then you have people who use the term “worship leader” to mean “minister of music” or “music pastor” – the pastor who oversees and puts together the music portion of the worship service and directs the choir, instruments, and congregation during the worship service. It is not biblical for a woman (or a biblically unqualified man) to serve as this kind of “worship leader” because this is a pastoral/elder position of leadership in the church, and Scripture prohibits women (and unqualified men) from being pastors and elders.

Finally, there are people who use the term “worship leader” to mean anyone on the platform who’s directing, singing, or playing an instrument. People in the choir or on the praise team are “worship leaders”, the pianist and drummer are “worship leaders”, etc. With the exception of filling the position of minister of music, it is biblical for women to be this kind of “worship leader” – singing and playing instruments under the leadership of the minister of music. The problem here is the word “leader”. These women are not leading, they are being led by the minister of music.

So the term “worship leader” is already confusing. Now we’ve got women “leading worship from the stage,” “official music director,” “band leader,” and women “leading a few songs in a worship set”. Please understand, dear reader, that I’m not faulting or criticizing you for using any of this terminology – I completely understand that you were only trying to be clear. But it’s still all very confusing to me, because it seems to be a confusing model for worship.

When you say women are “leading worship from the stage” and “leading a few songs in a worship set,” I don’t know if that means they are stepping up and acting as if they’re the minister of music, or if they’re simply on the platform singing under the direction of the minister of music, or if they’re singing a solo during one of the songs. Are “official music director” and “band leader” the same thing or two different positions? Is this person only conducting the musicians on the platform or the entire congregation? When you say that songs must be approved by the “music director and elders” does this mean the person in charge of the music portion of the worship service is not an elder (even though this is a pastoral position)?

My point here is that if I’m confused, and you’re unclear on whether or not women should be doing whatever it is they’re doing, musically, before and during the worship service, there are probably a lot of people in your church who are also confused and unclear.

I suspect that most, if not all, of this confusion could be cleared up if your church had a solid ecclesiology regarding the pastoral/elder position of minister of music. Because, right now, what should be one pastor/elder in the position of minister of music, who should be overseeing and leading all of the things you mentioned, sounds like a chaotic revolving door of a multitude of people (most of whom, I doubt are biblically qualified as pastors/elders). I’m guessing the foundational problem here is not what the women are or aren’t doing, but that you don’t have a pastor/elder in the position of minister of music.

Also at issue is that it sounds like your church is following what I call a “concert” model of worship rather than a “congregational” model of worship. There’s nothing wrong with Christian bands and concerts per se, but that is extra-curricular worshiptainment, not a model for the church’s worship service. The music portion of the worship service is not to be led by a “band” performing a “concert,” and the people in their “audience” can sing along if they want to, and happen to know the words and melody, and can follow all the bridges and ad libbing.

The music portion of the worship service is where the pastor/elder of music shepherds, leads, and instructs the congregation in skillfully and worshipfully praising and exalting God together as a body and building one another up through the Word in song:

…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Ephesians 5:18b-20, Colossians 3:16

The confusion and chaos taking place in your church seems to prove these things out. And remember what the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 14, that great chapter on orderly worship:

God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

1 Corinthians 14:33a

Regarding the selection of songs for the worship service: Again, this would not be an issue if you had one pastor/elder as a minister of music. There’s certainly nothing wrong with any church member suggesting a particular song to the minister of music. He can prayerfully consider the suggestion and use it or not as it fits in with his pastoral objective for the music portion of the worship service. But with this “revolving door” leadership model at your church, there’s confusion, and the issue of women planning the worship service arises, when that’s really the job of the pastor/elder minister of music.

To me, the questions of “Is this sin or a secondary issue?” and “Does this violate the authority clause of 1 Timothy 2:12?” as it pertains to your particular church are nearly moot. The main issue is not what the women are doing. The women are like pictures hanging crookedly on the wall of a house that has a crack in the foundation. The issue is not the crooked pictures, but that the foundation needs to be fixed. When the crack in the foundation is fixed, the pictures will hang straight.

How to get started fixing that foundation? I would highly recommend that your elders keep an eye out for the next G3 Worship Workshop and make every effort to attend. And also that they should read everything they can get their hands on by Scott Aniol.

I want to commend you and your husband for meeting with the elders to calmly, biblically, and directly discuss your concerns. That’s exactly what you should be doing and exactly what I recommend church members do in situations like this. Great job!

For anyone who would like to explore the subject more, I have explained in more detail why women should not fill the position of minister of music in my article Rock Your Role FAQs (#16).


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Complementarianism

Throwback Thursday ~ Seven Reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 Isn’t the Crazy Aunt We Hide in the Closet when Company Comes Over

Originally published January 12, 2018

A while back I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and happened to catch part of an interaction between two women discussing a false teacher. I couldn’t come close to the exact wording if I tried, but the gist of it was…

Discerning Christian Woman: Divangelista X is a false teacher and preaches to men.

Non-Discerning Christian(?) Woman: How can you say she shouldn’t be preaching to men? So what! She’s out there helping so many people and charitable causes! People love her! I think she’s great!

Discerning Christian Woman: Well, I’m really not as concerned about the fact that she preaches to men as I am about the false doctrine she teaches.

I didn’t butt in because neither of them was talking to me, but what I wanted to say was, “Why?” Why, Discerning Christian Woman, did you back off the completely biblically valid point that this false teacher is rebelling against Scripture by preaching to men? If you had been discussing a male false teacher who was running around on his wife, you probably would have led your argument against him with his sin of adultery, with the false doctrine he teaches relegated to a level secondary importance.

Ladies…pastors…why are we so embarrassed to stand up boldly and say that women who preach to men are in unrepentant sin and disqualified from teaching regardless of what their doctrine might be?

It’s a simple little thing called the fear of man. Or, more specifically, fear of woman. We’ve seen women whose feminist ideals are challenged. Even feminists who call themselves Christians have been known to fly into a demonic rage, bent on destroying any person, pastor, or church who dares to topple their golden “I am Woman, Hear Me Roar” calf. No one wants to be on the receiving end of that kind of vitriol.

We’re more afraid of the wrath of woman than the wrath of God.
And shame on us for that.

God doesn’t call us to be wimps, people. He calls us to stand on His Word no matter the cost. The great men and women of the faith who have gone before us have done just that, giving their lives rather than renouncing Christ, refraining from sharing the gospel, compromising the Lord’s Supper, quitting work on translating Scripture into the language of the people.

And we’re worried that feminazis might yell at us or make trouble at church.

We need to stop blushing ashamedly at crazy Aunt 1 Timothy 2:12’s socially unacceptable brazenness and stand unapologetically firm when it comes to denouncing female teachers who preach to men. Here are seven reasons why:

1.
Women preaching to men is personal sin.

When a woman takes it upon herself to disobey Scripture by preaching to men, she is sinning. If we’re the Christians we claim to be, how can we see someone mired in sin and not want to rescue her? It is not loving to ignore someone’s sin, or worse, affirm her in it. To do so is the ultimate act of selfishness, because we’re more concerned about the the consequences for confronting her and how that will affect me than we are about her soul and her relationship with Christ. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”. Sometimes laying down your life means dying to self and confronting sin out of love for someone else.

2.
Women preaching to men is public rebellion.

When a woman stands up in front of a group of men and women and unashamedly preaches to them, she is initiating a public act of aggression against Christ and His church. I don’t care how sweet and pretty and “aw, shucks” she is – that’s what she’s doing. She is leading a rebellion against God’s clear command for all the world, and the church, to see. This is a blot on the reputation of Christ’s Bride whom He wishes to be “holy and without blemish“.  Christians are people who submit to and obey Christ, not leaders of rebellions against Him.

When a woman stands up in front of a group of men and women and unashamedly preaches to them, she is initiating a public act of aggression against Christ and His church.

3.
Women preaching to men is itself false doctrine

She may not say it with her lips, but when a woman preaches to men in defiance of Scripture, she’s teaching false doctrine through her behavior. What is the false doctrine she’s teaching? “I don’t have to obey God’s Word, and neither do you. If there’s a part of the Bible you don’t like, you’re free to disregard it.” If your pastor stood up in the pulpit on Sunday morning and said that in words, you’d run him out of town on a rail, and rightly so. Neither should a woman be able to teach that same false doctrine via her actions. Call it antinomianism. Call it whatever you like. But it’s one of the oldest and most fundamental false doctrines.

4.
Women preaching to men undermines
the authority of Scripture.

Christians are “people of the Book.” We are to live under the authority of the written Word of God breathed out by the Holy Spirit. Those who truly love Christ love His Word and want to be obedient to it. When a woman preaches to men in defiance of God’s Word, she is stating with her actions that Scripture has no authority over her. That she can do whatever she wants regardless of what God has spoken. Those who follow her learn, “I am the authority in my life, not God.”

5.
Women preaching to men is God’s
judgment on the church.

My people—infants are their oppressors,
    and women rule over them.
O my people, your guides mislead you
    and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.
Isaiah 3:12

The fact that God allows a thing to take place in no way indicates that He is pleased with it. When God allows people to persist in sin, it’s not that he’s blessing that person or church, but that He’s giving them over to sin in judgment.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God,
God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Romans 1:28

(To the church at Thyatira)
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart,
and I will give to each of you according to your works.
Revelation 2:20-23

6.
Women preaching to men undermines
God-ordained male authority.

Jesus Christ is the head of the church. That means He gets to make the rules for it, not us. And one of His rules is that men are to be the pastors, elders, and those in authority, not women. When women try to push themselves into positions designed for men, it waters down and cheapens the beauty of male leadership the way God designed it, just as it would if men tried to push their way into the roles God has designed for women. And just as a woman would feel disenfranchised if a man tried to usurp her position as an older woman teaching younger women (Titus 2:3-5), biblical pastors perceive the threat to their God-given authority as more and more women take the pulpit.

7.
Women preaching to men is
an indicator of further false doctrine.

I have researched dozens of female teachers, and every single one of them who unrepentantly preaches to men also teaches other forms of false doctrine (usually Word of Faith {prosperity gospel} or New Apostolic Reformation). Every. single. one. If you see a woman unrepentantly preaching to men, that is God’s warning signal to you to stay away before you’re engulfed in even more false doctrine. Refusing to speak out against women preaching to men is to put fellow Christians in a gasoline-doused house of straw without a fire detector. It forces them to stop and search for the fire or examine it to see if it really is a fire – which could end up getting them killed – whereas, if they had a fire detector they would know to make an immediate exit.

Every family has that one crazy relative that you just pray will act normal for once – or that you could lock her in the closet – when company comes over. (In my family, I’m pretty sure that’s me.) First Timothy 2:12 is not the “crazy aunt” of the family of God. There’s no need to be embarrassed about putting her front and center for the world to see. She is beautiful and precious and serves an important purpose for God’s glory and our good. Let’s let her out of the closet and be proud of her.

First Timothy 2:12 is not the “crazy aunt” of the family of God.

Psalm 119 Bible Study

Psalm 119: The Glory of God’s Word ~ Lesson 7

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Read Psalm 119:81-96

Recall the things from the introductory lesson that you wanted to keep in mind as you study the text of Psalm 119.

Don’t forget to read in complete sentences instead of stopping at the end of each verse.

Recall the themes you’ve been noticing in Psalm 119. Watch for those themes to be repeated in today’s and future passages. You may wish to make a list of those themes to refer to throughout this study.

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson. Does that passage relate to this week’s passage? How? Do you notice any repeated words, thoughts, or themes?

2. Notice the I/me/my >>> You/Your pattern in 81-83. Make a 2-column chart, and write all of the I/me/my’s on the left and all of the You/Your’s on the right. What does this teach us about how the psalmist regards God? How we should regard God? What does it teach us about God’s (and God’s Word’s) sufficiency and sovereignty in our suffering?

3. What is the overall theme of this section? Suffering can often be categorized in one of three ways: “deserved” suffering (suffering the direct consequences of your own sin), “undeserved” suffering (suffering as a result of someone else’s sin {abuse, being a victim of a crime, etc.} or as a result of living in a fallen world {illness, natural disasters, etc.}), and persecution (suffering as a direct result of your testimony of Christ). Which kind of suffering is the psalmist experiencing here? How does the psalmist characterize those persecuting him in 85-87, 95?

As Christians, Scripture teaches us to expect persecution for our testimony. Compare what the New Testament teaches us to expect regarding persecution with what the psalmist is describing here. How are the two similar or different?

Sometimes Christians equate “persecution” with martyrdom, physical torture, or imprisonment. Is that how the psalmist is describing his persecution? Second Timothy 3:12 says, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. Over the last 2000 years, have all Christians who lived godly lives been martyred, tortured, or imprisoned? If not, is this verse of Scripture untrue, or is it possible that we’re defining “persecution” incorrectly? If persecution is more of a spectrum, with martyrdom, torture, and imprisonment at the “most difficult” end, what kinds of things would be at the “easiest to endure” end? In the middle? Where, on the spectrum, would you say the psalmist’s persecution fell? Have you ever experienced persecution? Where, on the spectrum, did your persecution fall? (You may wish to read my article 4 Things You Need to Understand About Christian Persecution.)

4. How would you characterize the urgency of the psalmist’s plea in 84-86? Is our posture toward suffering that we are OK with God “taking His time” to alleviate it, or do we, like the psalmist, cry out, “How long must your servant endure?…Help me!” (84,86) when we’re suffering, do our minds go to the “How long, O Lord?” passages of Scripture, like this one, or are passages where God seems to help immediately and miraculously (e.g. parting the Red Sea, the provision of manna, raising the dead, etc.) our go to? Do we ever stop to think about how much “How long, O Lord?” went on prior to some of those seemingly immediate miracles? Why does God often seem to wait so long before alleviating our suffering?

In previous lessons we have seen the psalmist say that affliction taught him obedience to God and His Word, a concept that’s reiterated for Christians in the New Testament. What are some other aspects of godly character God grows us in when suffering lasts a long time? How, and in which verses, does the psalmist demonstrate in this passage that long and drawn out suffering teaches us endurance and dependence on God? What does the New Testament teach us about this?

What does today’s passage teach us about where our focus should be when we are being persecuted? How does keeping our focus on Christ help us in times of persecution?

5. Notice the structure of 89-96. The psalmist moves from the “macro” of God, His Word, and His work, to the “micro,” and back again to the “macro”. How does he do this in:

  • 89-91:
  • 92-95:
  • 96:

How do verses 89 and 96 “bookend” this section with the concepts that God’s Word is eternal, transcending the bounds of time (89), permanent, transcending the ravages of time (89), and limitless, transcending all temporal barriers and situations (96)? How are these characteristics rooted in the nature of God, Himself?

Explain how, even though – or maybe, because – God’s Word is eternal, permanent, and limitless, on the macro level, it is able to work within the framework or containment of the temporal on a micro level – human history, the bounds of the earth and the laws of nature, our circumstances, our human frailty, etc. How can something so vast be “contained” by our tiny little lives and circumstances? How does this characteristic of God’s Word help the psalmist, and us, during times of persecution?

Spend some time meditating on this characteristic of God and His Word, and let it lead you to worship Him.


Praying Psalm 119

Have you ever tried praying the psalms? I want to encourage you to try praying part of Psalm 119 back to God each week of this study. (If you’re familiar with my other studies, this will take the place of the weekly “Homework” section.)

The psalms are uniquely suited for praying back to God, both verbatim and conceptually, because they are often written as prayers – as though the psalmist is talking to God. Did you notice that about today’s passage? In which verses?

What is a concept or thought for your own life that the Holy Spirit impressed on your heart or convicted you about from today’s passage? Is there a particular verse(s), or maybe the whole passage, that you would like to pray back to God verbatim? Whatever your “prayer point” from today’s lesson, pray it at least daily until we get to the next lesson.


Suggested Memory Verse