Welcome to the Weekly Digest!
Below you will find resources to help you on your journey through the Book of Psalms. We've provided you with a reading plan for the upcoming week, journaling prompts, a weekly Spotify playlist, and ideas for prayer. Be sure to check in every week to see what we have for you next as we continue to enrich our journey through the Psalms.
Reading Plan September 26th through October 16th
Psalms 26-30. Read and reflect on Psalm 27 in preparation for Sunday, October 17ths teaching. We will be taking a two-week break from Psalms for our Better Together teachings. You can download the reading guide for the entire series here.
Scripture memorization is an important discipline to introduce to our lives as a way to actively hide God's word in our heart. It allows us to not only internalize the text, but to share that truth with others more readily.
Memory Verses for September: Psalms 27:4-5 ESV
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
* A quick note on journaling: if you're new to this practice, our journey through the book of Psalms will be a great way to get started. The most important step to forming this discipline in your life is to write anything and write often. Journaling is an incredible way to slow down, digest the content of a text, let your brain internalize thoughts that may come up, and keep a record for future reflection on what God was speaking to you during your reading. Journaling can take many forms such as written prayers, bullet points, stream of consciousness, or even poetry. Try some different methods and find the one that works best for you.
Journal Prompts / Discussion Questions from Today's Teaching
In the first 3 verses of Psalm 23, David refers to God as He and in the final 3 verses, David refers to God as You. This would lead us to think that David both talks about God and talks to God.
How should that pattern look in our lives? Do you spend as much time talking with God as you do talking about Him? Good theology should always lead us to prayer.
Describe in your own words what it means to have God as your shepherd. Has there ever been a moment that God has used the figurative staff or something more persuasive to bring you close to Him?
“I shall not want” What does it mean that the Good Shepherd always provides for us what He thinks is good for us?
Read Exodus 20:9-11 regarding the Sabbath. In your opinion why did Jesus rest on the seventh day following creation?
Do you struggle with the concept of Biblical and spiritual rest? Journal on the following thoughts on rest…
o Helps us remember that God is the point of our existence.
o Helps us remember that God is our provider.
o Helps us to remember that God is our savior.
What is your thought on the word of God and the Spirit working together to transform your mind so that you will be lead in paths of righteousness?
How does an understanding of the statement, “God is for God” and that you’re not the point in life free you to obey Him?
If God is for God that sets me free to not be the point. If God is for God, that means all the commands of God can be trusted because He’s not after begrudging submission but delightful obedience.
Journal Prompts / Discussion Questions for This Week's Reading
In Psalm 26, we find this reoccurring theme as David's main priority is to be in God's presence. David mentions in verse 8, "O Lord, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells." David has this strong desire to pursue God because in those moments with God, a relationship was built where he got to know God's heart full of "steadfast love" and "faithfulness" (Ps.26:3.) Like David, the more we experience God's presence in our lives, the more we will desire to be in His presence.
Do you ever wonder why you don't have a desire like that of David's, to pursue and be in God's presence? What are some ways in your daily life where you are actively pursuing God's presence and getting to know Him?
As David sought out God's presence in this Psalm, he was surrounded by the presence of "wickedness," and "evil" as his enemies put him in danger for his life. Despite the suffering, David faced, his main priority was living a life of "integrity" before God. In moments of suffering, we can often focus on the difficulty of the circumstances instead of handling and reacting to those moments. What would change in those moments of suffering if you seek out God's presence to walk and live in "integrity" in the sight of God?
David's prayer in Psalm 26 speaks of the rituals and preparation by people in that time before they could enter into God's temple. "Washing of hands" (v.6) is one of many acts that people would go through just to spend time in God's presence. Although, these aren't rituals we have to go through today to spend time with God because of the work of Jesus and the new covenant relationship he's given us with God. But isn't the time we spend with God still important enough to intentionally prepare ourselves to experience His presence?
The take-away here for you to spend some time reflecting on is the intentional preparation by those who desired to be close to God. As you discussed above the ways you can actively pursue God daily, how can you intentionally prepare to get the most out of your time with God?
It's who we find God to be in relationship to us and for us in this Psalm that brings strength to us in our fears and confidence to our worries. David speaks of who God is to him as; "my light, "my salvation," and "the stronghold of my life." With that in mind, what are some fears or worries you're currently facing? Write those fears in your journal, then, beside those fears, write these truths about who God is to you. Do the fears you have change in light of the truth about who God is in relation to you?
Who is one person you know who could use this encouragement and reminder of who God is to them? Spend some time reaching out to them and share this time of reflection!
Although some enemies in our lives, like that of David's, may be people. People may be hard to deal with at times, and we have to remember the real enemy behind it all is Satan.
Read Ephesians 6:12.
Since this fight isn't physical but spiritual, pray over Psalm 27 and write it in your journal. What are some ways you can be reminded of this truth when "war arises against you?" (v. 3)
1Throughout the Book of Psalms, we have this extremely real and raw image of our human hearts in how we communicate with God. As we see in this Psalm, David's prayer begins with a relatable feeling of anxiety, but his anxiety is rooted in God not hearing his plea for help. David compares a life of silence from God's voice and works in his life to that of death; "lest if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit." (v.1) Sometimes God is silent and doesn't answer our prayers right away, in doing this God reminds us of how dependent we are on Him.
What would your life look like and feel like without a relationship and open communication with God? Would you be anxious? Does this scenario allow you to see your dependence upon God, and in what areas?
What transitions this passage from anxiety to praise is trusting in who God is. Even when we doubt, are anxious, or feel fearful over our circumstances, the truth of who God is doesn't change. Even if we don't feel or see God's hand at work answering our prayers immediately, we can trust God is still "my strength and my shield, in Him my heart TRUSTS, and I am helped." This bold and confident praise of God's deliverance before it even happens is the result of trust in your relationship with God. Are there areas in your life that you've struggled to trust God with? What are they? What are some truths of praise about who God is that you can pray over and remember the next time you feel anxious?
God is the Shepherd over our lives, and in Him, we have all we could ever need (Ps. 23:1). As sheep, we are constantly in desperate need of God because, much like sheep, we can get easily lost and led away from the flock, more importantly, the Shepherd. When we get lost, thankfully, God searches us out, finds us, and picks us up to carry us in His loving arms. When are times you feel lost and in great need of God? How has God carried you through it?
God is more powerful than we could ever imagine, and His voice is what speaks that power into our lives. God has given us 24/7 access to His voice in our lives through His written Word, the Bible. This same voice is mighty enough to "strip the forests bare," "flashes forth flames of fire," and "makes the deer give birth." God's Word has the power to strip back our guilt, lift us up in our toughest battles, and breathe in us new life each time our eyes rest upon them. We should never underestimate the power of God's voice in our lives.
Spend some time evaluating what your relationship with God's Word looks like. Is it good, bad, or could it be better? How much time weekly or daily do you spend in His Word?
What does the time you spend look like? What action steps can you take to make this time of hearing God's voice a priority in your life?
1. "O Lord my God (v.2)." Have you ever thought about the power in this simple statement? God, the Creator and designer of everything we are and see around us every day gives us a relationship with Him. Often, we can focus on the half of our identity with God that we are His, but do you ever stop to think about how He is ours. Say this statement out loud, "O Lord my God." Now, when you go to God in prayer, refer to Him as "my God." The awesomeness and power of this relationship with God is simple, I am His, and He is mine. Spend some time making some notes and reflecting on what that statement means to you.
What was the moment like when you began a relationship with Jesus and started following Him?
In verses 2-3 of this Psalm, David mentions, "I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit."
We all have brokenness throughout our life. What we deserve is to be "among those who go down to the pit," in simple, we deserve death, just as it mentions here. But God shows His great love for us as ONLY He has the power to heal our broken parts, and that's what He has done through His Son Jesus. When we deserved death, he took our brokenness and restored us to life and life abundantly with Him.
Reflect a little more deeply this time on that first question above when your relationship with Jesus began. Where were you before God? Where has God taken you since? What has He changed, how has He grown you, and how is He continuing to lift you up out of the pit into this new life with Him?
“O God, I accept you as my Shepherd: help me to trust your provisions and follow your leading. I believe you are my Host: help me to relax in your protection and recognize the signs of your presence, in Jesus Christ. Amen.”