Welcome to Sunday School
Sunday School Lesson - December 6, 2020
"Walking in Grief"
The Point: God responds to our sorrow with grace and compassion.
Have you ever had a hard time and felt no one cared because no one would listen to your problem? When I was a young man I had a boss who gave me some good advice. He said, "Don't ever ask someone who works for you how they are doing unless you have time to listen to their problem." Their problem may be something bothering them at work, at home or some other place. If you sluff them off, they may never bring anything to you again because they think you don't care. When you care for your people, they will respond with the way you treated them. If there is a problem at work, you need to hear about it. It is your job to fix the problem. A lot of times there is nothing you can do to help them in their personal life. However, a kind ear may be all they need. They need to know someone is interested in them as a person.
Our lesson this week comes from Psalms 116. Most of the commentator's I referenced attributed it to King David. The Syriac church even hold the belief that David wrote it about the occasion when Saul entered the Cave where David was hiding. Several commentators said our Lord Jesus Christ and his disciples sang this psalm after the last supper. Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26 both reference a psalm or hymn being sung. My Bible just referenced a hymn being sung right before they entered the Mount of Olives. According to a couple of references this psalm was the hymn they sung.(Enduring Word & also Bible Commentary- Charles H. Spurgeon's Treasury of David.). This psalm is also listed as one of the four Egyptian Hallel prayers. Hallel means praise. Since ancient times the Egyptian Hallel has been used for the celebration of the Passover to praise God.
1 I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
Every believer should love the Lord. Why not? He created you and gave you life. To those who believe, He gave His grace so that you can live with him in Heaven for eternity. In this life on earth He hears your voice, He hears every utterance you make. You may make requests of the Lord. Because He does not do for you what you want Him to, does not mean He has not heard you. Some unanswered prayers are for your benefit. Our Pastor Green gave an example similar to the one that follows. A girl had fallen head over hills for a boy in her high school. The girl asked the Lord to let her marry this boy. They had a few dates, but there was no romance and no marriage. The girl was heartbroken. Several years later, this boy turned out to be an alcoholic, drug addict, woman abuser, and thief. In His own way, God gave the girl what she did not need.
2 Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
I can relate to this as I am deaf in my right ear. As a consequence, when someone is talking to me, I turn my left ear to the person talking. David is saying that he knows the Lord hears him and will listen to him as long as David lives. The Lord listens to anyone willing to talk to Him. Daniel set a good example by talking to the Lord in prayer three times a day even though it might cost him his life. Anyone can talk to the Lord in prayer and it won't cost them a nickel. The problem is DO WE MAKE THE EFFORT. God always listens and He always answers prayers. It may not be the answer you expected. Sometimes the answer is no.
3 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
David may be recalling the time Saul unknowingly entered the Cave with David. Whatever, it reminds me of men in foxholes in a time of war. I saw a movie the other night on television, Hacksaw Ridge. In the movie, American soldiers had to take a ridge from the Japanese on Okinawa Island. They finally took it after many suicidal advances against and from the Japanese. The movie was very realistic and you could feel the terror these men faced. It is the same in every war. Pure horror in the face of war. On the battlefield you will find nothing but trouble and sorrow. The pains of what seems like hell to these men will live with them for the rest of their lives.
4 Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
There are no atheist's in foxholes. These men are calling out to their God. "God please help me." It was the same in David's day on the field of battle. Just about all men pray when things are at their worst. It was useless to call on other men. They are in the same predicament as you are. "O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul." This form of petition is short, comprehensive, to the point, humble and earnest. Real trouble produces real prayer. There are no multiplicity of words and no fine arrangement of sentences. Everything is simple and natural. David seems to be saying, "Please Lord, help me get out of this mess, but if you don't, please let me be with you in Heaven."
5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
The Lord is gracious and righteous. It is a great favor from God to hear a sinners prayer. Grace came from Calvary when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. But there was a gracious God in the Old Testament also. He was gracious to His people when he delivered them from bondage in Egypt. He was merciful when he forgave these "stiff-necked" people of His when they went against His Word.
6 The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
"The Lord preserveth the simple." Those people who have great intelligence can take care of themselves. Those people who have no craft and low intelligence, but just trust in God and do the right thing may depend upon it that God will look after them. There are many ways that a Christian can be brought low and then restored. God supplies our necessities when impoverished, restores out character when it was maligned, raises up friends for us when deserted, comforts us when despondent, and heals our diseases when we are sick. Without God, none of these good things may happen. We need to give God the glory for these good things that happen to us.
7 Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
Have you ever just exhausted yourself and could not do anything else? This might be from physical exercise through work or play. It could also be due to enemy's trying to undermine you physically or mentally. David felt he could retreat to a safe place. Deliverance from death on a battlefield is significant, but so is being able to find comfort from all the travails you will find in your life. We grieve the loss of a son or daughter or mate. Where can you go but to the Lord. He will comfort you. Jesus had not taken on human flesh when David was alive, but he is here today for you and me. The Holy Spirit is also here to comfort us and in doing so has "dealt bountifully" with us. We are blessed.
8 For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
If you are a saved person, death is extinguished. You will live again in Heaven with Jesus. God will wipe the tears from your eyes. There will be no need for tears in Heaven. The Holy Spirit will keep your feet from falling off the right path.
9 I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
A lot of men try to impress their peers, "see how great I am. I'm the best (whatever) that ever lived. They react to human judgement and opinion rather than the judgment of God. What kind of person do you want to be, one who follows the opinions of his fellow man or the one who follows the path of righteousness set out by God and the Holy Spirit?
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
Dying is all a part of living. Since the time of Adam's sin, it is in God's plan that all men and women die. For the children of God, who have been saved through the grace of God and the sacrifice our Lord Jesus Christ, it should not be a time of sorrow to God. It is only a matter of time until they join him in Heaven. He will have healed all their body pain and all mental anguish. It will be a time of rejoicing. God will have his precious children living with their savior Jesus in Heaven. I am sure God looks on all saved people as His children. That's why we address him as "Our Father."
16 O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.
All followers of Jesus and the Lord are servants of the Lord. All of us should acknowledge that God is the great creator and we are the created in his image. Since God has created all things we are as nothing in comparison. David is trying to explain this when he says I am thy servant and the son of thine handmaid. In other words he is a servant of a servant. He is on the bottom of the totem pole. All men and women are not servants of God although their Mother's may have been. David's mother must have been a righteous woman as David described her as such. It is a great honor to be a servant of God and it pleases Him that you do so.
David then says that the Lord "has loosed my bonds." Freedom from bondage, in this sense is a freedom from sin. Sin often ties a man or woman to be in bondage from the gods of addiction to drugs, alcohol, power, pride and ruthless behavior. David was able to avoid most of these sins except later in life he did fall to sexual attraction to another man's wife. But before you judge too harshly, you should remember that you too are a sinner.
God gave all His children specific talents to serve in his church and I also believe to help all his neighbors. He expects us to use those talents. It should be an honor to do those things that honor God. Other people notice and it encourages them to also do good. Our Pastor Green said in one of his services that one of the greatest honors you can get is when someone comes up to you and says, "You are a Christian aren't you?"
17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.
I had trouble understanding this verse so I went to "Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible" for an explanation. He said that those whose hearts are truly thankful will express their gratitude in thank-offerings. However, we must first give our own selves to God as living sacrifices (Roman12.1). And then we must lay out of what we have for His honor in works of piety and charity. Doing good and communicating are sacrifices with which God is well pleased(Heb. 13-15). This must be accompanied by our giving thanks to his name. If God has been bountiful to us, the least we can do in return is to be bountiful to the poor (Ps 16:2).