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Psalm 55:1-6 1
1 Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; 2 hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught 3 at the voice of the enemy, at the stares of the wicked; for they bring down suffering upon me and revile me in their anger. 4 My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. 5 Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. 6I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest

clip_image051Background

The psalmist is David.

Biblical Truths

David is betrayed by intimate friends (Psalm 55:14-15, 20-21), prays that God punish those oath breakers and thus be acknowledged as the protector of the wronged. The sufferings of the psalmist include both ostracism (Psalm 55:4) and mental turmoil (Psalm 55:5-6), culminating in the wish to flee society (Psalm 55:7-9). The wish for a sudden death for one’s enemies (Psalm 55:16) occurs elsewhere in the psalms; an example of such a death is the earth opening under the wicked Dathan and Abiram (Numbers 16:31-32). The psalmist, confident of vindication, exhorts others to a like trust in the God of justice (Psalm 55:23). The psalm is not so much for personal vengeance as for a public vindication of God’s righteousness now.

Items for Discussion

  • What are the attributes that we typically associate with a dove?
  • What other place in the Old Testament is the Dove a key symbol? Look at Genesis 8:8-11
  • What is the dove typically associated with in the New Testament? Look at Matthew 3:16
  • Looking at the three symbolic uses of the dove, in what way are their uses similar?
  • In what ways is relying on God like flying away from problems?
  • What comfort should we take with us from this Psalm?

 

John 14:25-27
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Background 2

The Gospel of John is the fourth gospel in the New Testament, traditionally ascribed to John the Evangelist. Like the three synoptic gospels, it contains an account of some of the actions and sayings of Jesus, but differs from them in its theological emphases. The purpose is expressed in the conclusion, 20:30-31: “…these [Miracles of Jesus] are written down so you will come to believe that Jesus is the Anointed, God’s son — and by believing this have life in his name.”

When viewing Christ in the four gospels, John presents the highest position, implicitly declaring Jesus to be God.

John focuses on Jesus’ mission to redeem humanity over the earthly mission to teach, cast out demons (which is mentioned in the other gospels), and comfort the poor.

Most scholars agree on a range of c. 90-100 for when the gospel was written, though dates as early as the 60s or as late as the 140s have been advanced by a small number of scholars.

Biblical Truths 3

Verse 25. Have I spoken. For your consolation and guidance. But, though he had said so many things to console them, yet the Spirit would be given also as their Comforter and Guide.

Verse 26. Will send in my name. On my account. To perfect my work. To execute it as I would in applying it to the hearts of men.

Will teach you all things. All things which it was needful for them to understand in the apostolic office, and particularly those things which they were not prepared then to hear or could not then understand. This was a full promise that they would be inspired, and that in organizing the church, and in recording the truths necessary for its edification, they would be under the infallible guidance of the Holy Ghost.

Will remind you of everything. This probably refers to two things:

  1. He would seasonably remind them of the sayings of Jesus, which they might otherwise have forgotten. In the organization of the church, and in composing the sacred history, he would preside over their memories, and recall such truths and doctrines as were necessary either for their comfort or the edification of his people. Amid the multitude of things which Jesus spoke during a ministry of more than three years, it was to be expected that many things which he had uttered, that would be important for the edification of the church, would be forgotten. We see, hence, the nature of their inspiration. The Holy Spirit made use of their memories, and doubtless of all their natural faculties. He so presided over their memories as to recall what they had forgotten, and then it was recorded as a thing which they distinctly remembered, in the same way as we remember a thing which would have been forgotten had not some friend recalled it to our recollection.
  2. The Holy Spirit would teach them the meaning of those things which the Savior had spoken. Thus they did not understand that he ought to be put to death till after his resurrection, though he had repeatedly told them of it, Luke 24:21,; 25,; 26. So they did not till then understand that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles, though this was also declared before.

Verse 27. Peace I leave with you. This was a common form of benediction among the Jews. It is the invocation of the blessings of peace and happiness. In this place it was, however, much more than a mere form or an empty wish. It came from Him who had power to make peace and to confer it on all, Ephesians 2:15. It refers here particularly to the consolations which he gave to his disciples in view of his approaching death. He had exhorted them not to be troubled (John 14:1), and he had stated reasons why they should not be. He explained to them why he was about to leave them; he promised them that he would return; he assured them that the Holy Spirit would come to comfort, teach, and guide them. By all these truths and promises he provided for their peace in the time of his approaching departure. But the expression refers also, doubtless, to the peace which is given to all who love the Savior.
My peace. Such as I only can impart. The peculiar peace which my religion is fitted to impart.

  1. Not as the world.
  2. Not as the objects which men commonly pursue– pleasure, fame, wealth. They leave care, anxiety, remorse. They do not meet the desires of the immortal mind, and they are incapable of affording that peace which the soul needs.
  3. Not as the men of the world give. They salute you with empty and flattering words, but their professed friendship is often feigned and has no sincerity. You cannot be sure that they are sincere, but I am.
  4. Not as systems of philosophy and false religion give. They profess to give peace, but it is not real. It does not still the voice of conscience; it does not take away sin; it does not reconcile the soul to God.

My peace is such as meets all the wants of the soul, silences the alarms of conscience, is fixed and sure amid all external changes, and will abide in the hour of death and for ever. How desirable, in a world of anxiety and care, to possess this peace! And how should all who have it not, seek that which the world can neither give nor take away!

Do not be afraid. Of any pain, persecutions, or trials. You have a Friend who will never leave you; a peace that shall always attend you.

Items for Discussion

  • The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity. Why doesn’t it seem like the Holy Spirit does not get equal billing with God and Christ?
  • When do you think about the Holy Spirit?
  • How would you explain the Holy Spirit to a child?
  • Why is a dove the perfect symbolism for the Holy Spirit?
  • Why is the Holy Spirit important to us? Hint: Think about Christ’s Peace that He offers us.
    • Not physical as in things
    • Not as others give, lacking sincerity
    • Not as other religions have claimed to give but never deliver
    • As the human soul longs for and can only be satisfied by Christ’s Peace

Discussion Challenge

  • Why do you think it is that so many Christians don’t believe Christ’s words in John 14:25-27?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Barnes Notes – http://www.studylight.org/com/bnn/view.cgi?book=joh&chapter=014
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