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Chapter 8 Discussion

posted Nov 3, 2011, 9:17 AM by Lynn Squire
In this chapter, fire breaks out and the Blacks lose their house and their barn.

Based on the evidence of your circumstances, have you ever felt God hated you?

 When God appears distant through our trials, we still have a duty to worship, trust, and obey Him, and while we do, we can rest in the promises He made to us.

Turn to Psalm 13: 1-4 and follow me. David experienced a lot of hardship in his life. Can you picture him composing this Psalm while looking over the hills and feeling heaviness in his heart? Perhaps he is worn out.Perhaps he feels the pain of separation from family and friends.

 I picture him kneeling before God, perhaps tears pouring down hisface.

(v.1) “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?”

Maybe he beats his chest.

(v.2a) “How longshall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?”

Now perhaps he leans forward, face to the ground.

(v. 2b) “how longshall mine enemy be exalted over me?”

He takes a deep breath and lifts his face tothe heavens.

(v.3) “Considerand hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;”

His mind whirling with the horrible possibilities his future holds, he quietly whispers:  

(v.4a) “Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him;”

I picture his mind working overtime. Maybe he is reviewing what has happened, including Samuel anointing him and Saul hating him, and whispers in a faltering voice:

(v. 4b) “and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.”

What is David’s state of mind in this passage? He is troubled, sorrowful, perhaps feeling defeated.

Let’s look at Psalm 13:5-6. I picture David sitting up at this point. He’s made a choice to continue to believe God’s promises.

(v.5a) “But I have trusted in thy mercy;”

He stands.

(v. 5b) “my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.”

He starts bouncing on his toes.

(v. 6a) “I will sing unto the LORD,”

He lifts his hands. His face is glowing.

(v. 6b) “because he hath dealt bountifully with me.”

What does David do to overcome his troubled heart?

  • Reminds himself that he trusts God’s mercy;
  • Tells himself to rejoice in God’s salvation;
  • Sings to the Lord;
  • Counts his blessings (“he hath dealt bountifully with me”).

Do you see the progression?

Where is David’s focus at the beginning of the Psalm? On his troubles.

Where is David’s focus at the end of the Psalm? On God and what God has given him, in particular, his salvation.

He progresses from being troubled to focusing his mind on God’s mercy, to rejoicing in his salvation, to singing to the Lord because of the great blessings he received from the Lord.

What does this show us we can do when we have hit rock bottom, when our sorrow and afflictions overwhelm us?

We need to turn our thinking away from our troubles. We need to remember:

  • What we believe;
  • Who we trust in;
  • Where our salvation lies;
  • How many blessings God has already provided for us.

Sarah and Joab are in the middle of fighting of destruction (read p. 33, Joab’s Fire). At this moment they don’t have time to think only react to the situation, but when the fire is stopped, they will dwell on it, mourn, and fear the future.

We feel the greatest sorrow and despair after the emergency is over and we have time to dwell on what happened. At that time, we have faith choices to make.

Therefore where is our greatest battle fought? In our minds.

Read II Corinthians 10:4-5.

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

When we looked at Job 2 and 3 last week we saw Job battling with his thoughts.

What did we see was different in how he handled his second trial from his first? He didn’t humble himself and worship God. He let the fears of the world overtake his fear of God.

The battle we fight in our minds is difficult, but if we are saved, we do not fight alone. We have the Holy Spirit in us, enabling us to overcome.

Read Acts 23:11.

And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

When Paul went through his trial in Jerusalem, I’m sure he was exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally.

What did the Lord do for him?

  • Stood by him;
  • Encouraged him;
  • Reminded him of God’s plan.

This is no different than for us.

  • God has given us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. There have been times when the presence of the Holy Spirit has been so powerful, so comforting in my life that joy filled my heart even when the world would say I should have none.
  • God has given us His Word. We can read it and remind ourselves of who God is and of His promises for us.

God has a plan for us.

  • He plans to use us for His glory. Read Isaiah 49:3.

“And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”

Israel had disobeyed God and was exiled, but God would be glorified, even in the midst of their trial.

  • He will not forget us. Read Isaiah 49:15.

“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”

 

  • He will give us peace and an expected end. Read Jeremiah 29:11.

 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

  •  He desires to give us eternal life with Him. Read John 10:28.

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

 Can you think of any other promises God has made to us?


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