A Song. A Psalm of Asaph. (Psalm 83)

Scripture Text:

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Psalm 83

Questions:

1. What war (past or present) did (do) you follow? Why does it interest you? Why are wars intriguing?

2. What is Asaph’s problem (verses 2 – 4)? How does he try to interest God in his cause (verse 2 and 5)?

3. Why are these enemies so ruthless? What could Israel have done to make them want to wipe out their memory?

4. What happened to the Hagrites (verse 6; see 1 Chronicles 5:10)? To Gebal, Philista and Tyre (verse 7; see Joshua 13:1 – 7)? Who now fuels the wave of revenge (verse 8)?

5. From what did the Judges protect the people of Israel (verses 9 – 12; see Judges 4:1 – 7; Judges 7:19 – 8:21)? Who are these people and why were they punished?

6. What does the psalmist want God to do to enemies present (verses 9 – 18)? How does this cry for vengeance sit with Jesus’ belief about loving enemies?

7. Are generally talkative or quiet? When do you go against your norm: finally shutting up or speaking out for once?

8. How do you feel about periods of silence in conversations?

9. When have you wanted God to be more “talkative” in your life? How do you communicate your desire to God to “break the silence”?

10. Who are your opponents in the “game of life” right now? Are your enemies also God’s enemies? Do you pray for vengeance or the grace to love your enemy?.

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Of Asaph: The Comfort of Knowing God’s Record of Deliverance (Psalm 77)

Scripture Text:

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Psalm 77

Questions:

1. What song always seems to bring back memories? Are they pleasant memories of fulfilled promise? Or painful memories of a failed one?

2. What modern terminology could describe the psalmist’s condition (verses 1 – 4)?

3. What question is at the bottom of his despair (verses 7 – 9)? What do you think he remembers about God (verses 3 and 6)? What “promise” seems to have failed?

4. Where do his thoughts wander (verses 10 – 12)? What are the “years of the right hand” (see Psalm 18:35 and Psalm 139:10)? How can a mediation on the past help him? How does it answer his questions (verses 7 – 9)?

5. What specific acts of God does the poet recall (verses 13 – 20)? What hints can you find of:

  • the Exodus?
  • Moses at Sinai?
  • Seven years of famine?
  • the Flood?
  • Creation?

6. What is the difference between the remembering in verses 3 – 6 and verses 11 – 15? In this renewal of his faith, what new affirmations about God does he make?

7. Are you feeling close to God, or do you long for “the good old days”? Could these days someday seem like “good old days”? How do you keep your relationship with God fresh?

8. How would you try to comfort someone feeling like Asaph does? Would you point to the past, present or future?

9. Ritual has always been used in Jewish and Christian worship to “remember” God’s acts. What specific events do you recall in a given Sunday service?

10. What does this poet’s experience suggest is the interplay between physical, emotional and spiritual forces in managing stress?

11. What even in you past do you call to mind in times of trouble? How often do you think of past things? Do you tend to live in the past?

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Prayer for God’s Presence Even In Old Age (Psalm 71)

Scripture Text:

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Psalm 71

Questions:

1. Which would you rather keep and why:

  • the mind of a 20-year-old, while your body ages?
  • the body of a 20-year-old, while your mind ages?

2. What gets better with age? What gets worse?

3. An elder statesman (perhaps David) wrote this psalm. What was his upbringing like (verses 5, 6, 17)? What other circumstances sound like David’s life?

4. What does he now fear (verses 9, 18)? Why? How might he be a “portent” (verse 7), a foreboding sign?

5. What is the center of the psalmist’s life (verses 8, 14 – 16; 22 – 24)? How does he hope God will reward him for this (verses 13, 21)?

6. How can God “restore” the life of the old man?

7. From among the following, what do you fear most about growing older?

  • failing health
  • failing mind
  • becoming dependent
  • death of family members
  • your own death

8. Were you raised a Christian, or did you come to faith later in life? What are the advantages and disadvantages of either experience?

9. What experience with God in the past gives you confidence now that He will be with you in the future?

10. What would you like to declare to “the next generation”? Why not start this week?

11. What elderly Christians in your church can you seek out to learn from? What would you hope to learn?

12. From this psalmist’s experience and faith, what do you still need to work on so that others may learn from you when you are elderly?

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