Awaken Day 5 Steadfast Worship: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) How does the psalmist’s momentary perspective shed some light on his focus?

2) Honesty with God is always appropriate, but it’s also revealing. What is missing in the psalmist’s declaration?

3) How do these verses help us recognize the potential for our heart’s viewpoint to be out of focus?

Psalm 55:1-7

“God, listen to my prayer and do not hide from my plea for help. Pay attention to me and answer me. I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint, because of the enemy’s words, because of the pressure of the wicked. For they bring down disaster on me and harass me in anger. My heart shudders within me; terrors of death sweep over me. Fear and trembling grip me; horror has overwhelmed me.

I said, “If only I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and find rest. How far away I would flee; I would stay in the wilderness.” Selah

Original Intent

1) How does the psalmist’s momentary perspective shed some light on his focus?
In this section of the psalm, we get a glimpse of the author’s state of mind. We have every reason to believe, based on the opinion of many Bible scholars, that this was written by David in a very difficult season of his life. Most likely his angst stemmed from the rebellion and death of his son, Absalom. (2 Samuel 15-18) David is reeling from the rejection he had experienced in his life and you can hear his discouragement as he cries out to God. (StudyLight.org ) We aren’t sure who his specific enemy was at this time, but the conflict caused David great pain. In verse 1 David “pleads” with God to be near, indicating he is desperate for relief and even contemplating God’s possible distance from him. His insistence on God hearing his cry for help gives us some insight into his overwhelming emotional desperation and his focus on his troubles. David’s words reveal that his meditations were on his feelings (restless and overwhelmed), not on God’s promises and truths.

2) Honesty with God is always appropriate, but it’s also revealing. What is missing in the psalmist’s declaration?
Although these specific verses aren’t the main indicators of David’s walk with God, they do unmask a side of him that we might assume was absent from his life if these honest conversations weren’t contained in God’s Word. Under the inspiration of God, the biblical authors included human attitudes, even those that reflect a lack of faith. Acts 13:22 says God saw David as “a man after My heart, who will do all My will.” Even with his strong relationship with God, David’s prayer indicates he forgot to remember God’s nearness. The one who had faced a giant and killed him with God’s help (1 Samuel 17:45-47 ) is now sensing feelings of terror about those who were pursuing him. It’s a shocking contrast comparing the younger David, walking on to a field of frightened soldiers to boldly face a giant, with this older man who would run and hide if he could.
If we only had these verses, without the context, we might be confused about David’s faith. Thankfully, we have the rest of the chapter to guide us to understand that David’s forgetfulness didn’t last. The honest confession of his missing faith in verses 1-7 make way for David to answer himself with reminders throughout the rest of the chapter.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” 55:22

3) How do these verses help us recognize the potential for our heart’s viewpoint to be out of focus?
We read of both faith and fear in the songs of David and Asaph. Asaph, a prominent Levite musician in David’s court, also offers us understanding about a right focus. Asaph looked around and saw that evil and rebellious people seemed to be flourishing. Then his perspective changed, and he saw things as they really were. He was able to focus on God and see the world from His view (Psalm 73:16-17 ). We find this kind of tension in the New Testament with Christ’s disciples. They witnessed the miraculous healings and provisions. They knew that Jesus was able to calm storms (Matthew 8:23-27 ) and overcome demons (Matthew 8:28-34 ). Yet, like David, they lost sight of Jesus’ ability to provide what they needed. After Jesus died, before His resurrection, we find the disciples huddled together in hiding (John 20:19 ). They were afraid for their lives. They were focused on their enemy – the Jewish leaders –not on their Savior’s power to rescue.
Commentator Albert Barnes gives great insight: “David might have borne his severest troubles with him if he could have fled – for those troubles are in the heart, and a mere change of place does not affect them; or he might have found new troubles in the place that seemed to him to be a place of peace and of rest.”

Everyday Application

1) How does the psalmist’s momentary perspective shed some light on his focus?
I love that we see the human nature of the godly in the Bible. Their lives demonstrate that even the most faithful followers of God had seasons of doubt and fear. David was a great man of God, but he also struggled with his faith in seasons of uncertainty and pain. Unlike Jesus, David’s heart wasn’t solely purposed to trust God for everything. At Gethsemane, Jesus cried out to His Father to “remove the cup.” Although we don’t know exactly what Christ meant (e.g., the cross, bearing sin, separation from God), we do know He was submissive in His heart to the Father’s will above all else. (Luke 22:41-43 ) At times, David’s focus was on his own misery. Christ’s focus was always on God’s glory.
We are human, and we will forget, but it’s vital we intentionally fight to keep a steadfast focus on God’s glory amid fearful situations and an unknown future. We fight by using God’s word to teach us and by praying for the Spirit to empower us.

2) Honesty with God is always appropriate, but it’s also revealing. What is missing in the psalmist’s declaration?
Unlike Jesus, David allowed his fear to cause him to despair of life. It wasn’t his honesty with God that was wrong, but his feelings of devastating fear led him deep into temptation to take his focus off the Almighty. It’s a good thing to be honest with God about our anxious thoughts. We’ve probably heard it said before: God knows what we’re feeling and thinking, so we might as well confess it to Him. Maybe the younger David had some fear when he faced Goliath, but his fear was filtered through his faith in God. In 1 Samuel 17, David speaks boldly to Goliath, but his courage isn’t grounded in his self-confidence as a warrior, but in the character of God as his Savior.
It’s interesting that David the shepherd fought the beasts and the giant because his focus was on God’s strength. When his focus shifted, even as king, he began to miss the powerful God he had come to know. David’s perspective changed only when he began to again confess to his soul who God truly is. “But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. I complain and groan morning, noon, and night, and he hears my voice… God, the one enthroned from long ago, will hear.Verses 16-19

3) How do these verses help us recognize the potential for our heart’s viewpoint to be out of focus?
If the mighty King David, the one who had seen great things done by his powerful God, had seasons of anxiety and fear, certainly we realize our own potential for doubting God when we experience trials. David’s honesty is helpful for us as we process our own disappointment with God. Maybe we’re crying out to God in prayer, but He seems distant and far removed from our suffering. As the season of pain continues, it is tempting to become focused on ourselves and what we’re experiencing rather than God’s strength and sustaining power. We’ve probably all had times we wanted to “fly away and find rest.”
Thankfully, God’s grace pursues us and provides us with the hope we need to refocus. Maybe through a devotional reading, or a sermon, or a song we are led into God’s presence at just the right time. Like the psalmists so often did after an encounter with the living God, we begin to gain perspective and find the strength to move forward. In our agony, we should honestly cry out to God. And as we do, we can trust He’s helping our heart to steadfastly worship.

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

Memorize It!

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