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Psalm 18:1-24 1
1 I love you, Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 5 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. 7 The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. 8 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. 9 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. 10 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky. 12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. 13 The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. 14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. 15 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. 16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. 19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. 20 The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God. 22 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. 23 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. 24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

stormBackground 2

This psalm can be found in two places in the Bible. It is here in the Book of Psalms. It is also in the second Book of Samuel. Samuel is in 2 parts. I Samuel tells the story of David before he became king of Israel. 2 Samuel tells us the story of David after he became king. 1 Samuel also tells us about the lives of Samuel the prophet and Saul the king. Why is Psalm 18 in the Book of Samuel? (2 Samuel 22) Because it is part of David’s own story of his life.

Biblical Truth

Psalm 18 describes visually how God works. David did not see God, he only saw how God gave him help. Here are some examples from our selected verses:

  • David called God a rock. God was not really a rock but when David needed help, God led David to a rock. David hid from his enemies behind the rock. So, David thought that God and the rock were one of the same. Every time David saw a rock he remembered God!
  • God sent a bad storm to harm the enemies of David. There was rain, wind, clouds, hail, thunder and lightning. To David, God was in the storm. David thought of the thunder as if God was speaking. The storm obeyed God and it destroyed the enemies of David. So, every time David saw a storm he remembered God.

Items for Discussion

  • In what ways do things like rocks and storms remind us of God?
  • According to David, how would the life we lead, the behavior we have toward God’s Laws, affect how God responds to us when we are in need?
  • Do you think that we honor this requirement of God today? Why or why not?
  • How would you expect God’s response to His people to change after Christ came?
  • What are the ways you remember God?
  • Why do people forget God?

 

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24
12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

Background 3

This epistle is generally considered to have been the first of those written by St. Paul. The occasion seems to have been the good report of the steadfastness of the church at Thessalonica in the faith of the gospel. It is full of affection and confidence, and more consolatory and practical, and less doctrinal, than some of the other epistles.

Paul warns always to be ready for the coming of Christ to judgment, which will be with suddenness and surprise. (1-11) Paul is directing us to several particular duties in our study verses. (12-22) And then concludes with prayer, greetings, and a blessing. (23-28)

Bible Truth 4

The ministers of the gospel are described by the work of their office, which is to serve and honor the Lord. It is their duty not only to give good counsel, but also to warn the flock of dangers, and reprove for whatever may be amiss. The people should honor and love their ministers, because their business is the welfare of men’s souls. And the people should be at peace among themselves, doing all they can to guard against any differences. But love of peace must not make us wink at sin. The fearful and sorrowful spirits, should be encouraged, and a kind word may do much good. We must bear and forbear. We must be long-suffering, and keep down anger, and this to all men. Whatever man do to us, we must do well to others.

A truly religious life is a life of constant joy. And we should rejoice more, if we prayed more. Prayer will help forward all lawful business, and every good work. If we pray without ceasing, we shall not want. God designs all for our good, though we at present may not see it. Christians are said to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. God works as fire, by enlightening, enlivening, and purifying the souls of men. As fire is put out by taking away fuel, and as it is quenched by pouring water, or putting a great deal of earth upon it; so we must be careful not to quench the Holy Spirit, through our own sinful nature. Believers often hinder their growth in grace, by not giving themselves up to the spiritual affections raised in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. We must search the Scriptures. And proving all things must be to hold fast that which is good. Paul prays that they might be sanctified more perfectly, for the best are sanctified but in part while in this world; therefore we should pray for, and press toward, complete holiness.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is it hard to hold those who admonish us in high regard?
  • If a minister or teacher only provides messages of affirmation and good feelings, what is the risk to the student?
  • In verses 14 and 15, what are we called to do for those around us?
  • According to Paul, what are the attributes of peaceful co-existence?
  • What is the impact on those around us who might hear us when we are joyful and prayerful?
  • Paul calls out for everyone not to hold the teaching they hear in contempt but to test them-Why?
  • Who then (see verses 21-22) is ultimately responsible for learning about God? Why?
  • How do you test what you learn?

Discussion Challenge

  • How do we build a peaceful church?
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