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Thursday, September 22, 2016

School of Hard Knocks (Psalm 130:7-8)

 "O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He Himself will redeem Israel from all their sins" (Psalm 130:7-8).

The anonymous writer of these Psalms captures the hearts of a revived people as they return from exile and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Their seventy-year exile taught them a number of life lessons about God and about themselves:

Relying on the aid of other nations is futile. In the past they relied upon alliances with the Egyptians. Their exile cured them of trusting in the strength of other nations. They finally learned that their help comes from the Lord (121:2)

The worship of idols is useless. Israel learned to lift up their eyes to the LORD whose throne is in heaven. Israel also learned that worship of the Living God in the house of the LORD distinguishes Jerusalem from all other cities. They understand that the LORD is greater than all gods.

God is good and faithful, even during times of judgment. Israel experienced the watchful care of God during their exile as He provided leaders (Daniel, Ezra, Mordecai, and others) and raised up kings and authorities who were sympathetic to their cause. Israel acknowledged God's unfailing love and full redemption.

Every generation has the option to obey the Lord and experience the outpouring of His blessings or disobey Him and experience the cursings of disobedience just like the LORD promised in Deuteronomy 28. Just as Israel experienced the consequences of disobedience they now experience the blessings of God.

Most of Israel's lessons are learned in the school of hard knocks. Sometimes the most painful, but the most important lessons, are learned from this school.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Psalm 121
  • Why can God be trusted to protect those who place their trust in Him?
  • What kind of protection does the Keeper of Israel offer?
Psalm 122
  • Why is Jerusalem so significant?
  • Why should believers prayer for Jerusalem?
Psalm 123
  • With whom does the Psalmist compare his hope, expectancy, and trust?
  • What does this tell you about the Psalmist's attitude toward God?
  • Why does the Psalmist seek the Lord's mercy?
Psalm 128
  • Describe the benefits of fearing the Lord.
  • What imagery does the Psalmist use to describe the family of those who fear the Lord?
Psalm 130
  • What do "the depths" represent in this Psalm?
  • What does the Psalmist understand about sin? about God?
Psalm 134
  • Who does the Psalmist call upon to praise the Lord?
  • How are they to express their calling out to God?
Turning truth into prayer
If you are in hard/difficult circumstances pray and ask the LORD for enlargement to understand what life lesson He is seeking to teach you.