Did you know that one-third of the Psalms are laments? These honest struggles with difficult circumstances were sung by the congregation of Israel in corporate worship. We don't often pray like that today, especially in a corporate setting. What can we learn from these prayers that were inspired and preserved for us in God's Word?
Why do bad things happen to good people? We know there are no truly good people, but we still wrestle when it seems justice is not being served. We want God to honor people who obey. Jesus addresses this idea of "retribution theology" in today's passage, Luke 13:1-17.
At Christmas time, it is fitting to turn our minds to prophetic truths concerning Jesus the Messiah. The books of the prophets are usually the first to come to mind, and the literal fulfillment of the circumstantial facts they predicted hundreds of years prior to Jesus’ coming is nothing short of miraculous. Another prophetic witness is found in the Messianic Psalms. In total, twenty-five different psalms (one out of six) include at least one Messianic prophecy. Messianic psalms are quoted in eleven New Testament books.
These psalms are prophetic in a special way: in the words and feelings of the Psalmist were found the very words and feelings of the Messiah. (See Hebrews 2:12.) The Psalmist knew that the coming Messiah would “fill out” the emotional and physical suffering he was experiencing by experiencing them in a way he never could. The pain he spoke of figuratively, the Messiah would know literally.
Last week, we studied the believer's reality of possessing great spiritual treasure (2 Corinthians 4:7). The rest of our passage describes further realities that believers are assumed to enjoy.
The psalmbook of Israel was divided into 5 sections. Book 5 contains many anonymous psalms and some by David. A common theme of these authors is deriving hope from the guaranteed future for the nation of Israel. Their eschatological message is, "it's going to be okay."
We can receive comfort from others in dark times. This is one of God's good gifts to us. But there is only one place to find soul rest. Jesus is the exclusive source of ultimate comfort.
During this unique time in our world, we will suspend our regular series and instead look at passages that remind us of who God is, what He has done for us, and how He comforts us so we can comfort others. Our church family is personally and corporately strengthened as we continue to learn and live in the comfort of God.
The word "suffering" appears 16 times in the book of 1 Peter. The recipients of the letter came from different backgrounds and were facing the difficulty of persecution. Peter emphasizes God's grace as the only thing that helps in such times. It helps us stand firm and endure (1 Peter 5:12).
We have divided the third chapter of Ecclesiastes into 3 sections.
This week, we will examine several plain truths to apply God's wisdom to our lives.
Psalm 12 expresses how David felt when he had been abandoned by godly friends. In Psalm 13, David is so alone, he feels he has been abandoned by God Himself. This feeling is prompted by the length of his suffering. Perseverance in a long time of difficulty is perhaps the most trying to our minds and hearts.
David's struggle will feel familiar to many people of God. In a marathon of trust, we often ask similar questions. Is God one who abandons? Through David's wrestling, we will learn that God's character and work confessed in prayer sustains us during long, drawn-out periods of suffering.
Psalm 3 and 4 show us David's struggle to find peace in threatening circumstances. Psalm 3 is his prayer about the physical threat of his son Absalom's coup. Psalm 4 is likely connected and addresses the threat of permanent harm to David's reputation. David's prayer, perspective, and poise are an example of how we can find peace regardless of our circumstances.
Last week, we discussed our personal approach and perspective in suffering. Now we will consider our prize, a glory that is beyond our comprehension.
The next portion of Romans 8 compares temporary suffering to eternal glory. All Christians experience suffering in varying degrees: Some faithfully serve despite chronic illness; others grieve over a straying child, unsaved spouse or parent; some persevere after losing a faithful spouse; and many are waiting to see friends they love come to Christ.
At his death in 1902, Cecil Rhodes left 6 million pounds to Oxford University to establish the Rhodes scholarships. As great as a material inheritance can be, Christians value a spiritual heritage more than any earthly treasures (Colossians 3:1-2). The Holy Spirit ensures countless resources for the believer as a result of our adoption.
Every true worshiper feels this tension at some point: We are doing the right thing as best we can, yet instead of blessing us, God allows difficult and even harmful things into our lives. Why does God allow bad things to happen to people who are trying to be faithful? God's people have struggled with this question through the ages. The book of Job and Psalm 44 are two examples of wrestling with the circumstances God has allowed.
What can possibly settle our hearts when God does not act as we expect? This question cannot be worked out in academic theological discussion. The only safe place to approach it is humbly bowed before God in prayer.
You’ve probably of someone “cramming 4 years of college into 10.” In Genesis 29, Jacob spends 20 years in the school of spiritual hard knocks. The first events are glorious, but they are soon followed by tragedy and consequences.
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