Getting Emotionally Fit for Life – Psalm 13 (Jan 26-27)


Word Doc / PDF

Interacting with the Sermon

Synopsis of the Sermon

Lori Reese preached about the heart. The heart is important to God and more importantly God cares about the condition of our heart. She said the epicenter of our emotions is our heart and it’s important to understand that our emotions are deeply connected to what we believe. If our theology, our understanding of Gods Word, is off – our emotions can be “wrong”.

The Bible said David was a man after God’s heart, not because he was perfect but because he was oriented toward god in all highs and lows. Lori said the Psalms are a catalog of human emotion and they give us permission to feel. In describing Psalm 13, she said this is a lament with intense emotions.
V. 1 asks – How long, O Lord? It includes critical questions including “where is god” and “how long will this go on”? The first principle is that we need to deal with our emotions is acknowledging what we feel. We want to live between having our lives dictated by the extremes of total emotion or absence of emotion. To live in a healthy middle – we need honesty with ourselves, with God, and with others. Lori encouraged us to “acknowledge not analyze – let’s not get to the point of crazy making”. We also need to be aware of accusations – toward God and others. Recall Satan is an accuser. The alternative heart approach is holy lament, or holy complaining. We shouldn’t blame god, but attempt to align our feelings with truth and faith in God.

VV. 3-4 leads us to Look at God and request an answer. Lori says we need to honestly make our appeals clear to god.  We speak out of our darkness, but with hope that he’ll bring us to the light. We have hope in heaven but also through God’s Kingdom here and now – not simply through a good idea, but through the reality of God’s character.

 

Vv. 5-6 – we affirm our confidence and faith in God. We must recognize and acknowledge the good and holy character of God. Gaining health in our emotional life is not a formula, it’s not 3-step process and sometimes the “hell” we’re in is not fully overcome. Regardless, God wants the direction of our hearts, its orientation, to be aligned toward him.

 

In 5 minutes or less, briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon.  What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?  Explain.

 

Getting the Conversation Started

These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.

 

  • What are one or two things from this weekend’s sermon that really stood out to you?
  • Why is the topic of emotions often seen through a male or female lens? How does our gender impact this topic?
  • How does our culture impact our understanding of emotional health?

 

Scripture Study

Read Psalm 3

(A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.)

Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

Context: This psalm is the first prayer in the Psalter[1]. It is an individual lament psalm in which David laments his situation, crying to God. David is basically saying, “HELP”. This is also the first psalm with an inscription that gives its background. Alexander Venter writes…We identify David’s experiences of “enemies” – if not actual people, then troubles, circumstances, temptations, spiritual battles and psycho-emotional stress. The world that is fundamentally set against God “plots” against us, seeking to overwhelm us with troubles and trials of various kinds…how do we respond?

(Note to Leader) Read 2 Samuel 15-18 for background to this psalm: David fled from his son Absalom. Now reread Psalm 3 again in light of story. What speaks to you or touches you about this story and the prayer-psalm that David wrote?

1.     What is the worst trouble you have been in recently? How did you react or respond?Where did you go for help? Did you find Help?
2.     David’s prayer naturally divides into five sections. Name each stanza with one word or phrase that describes it for you. Do you see any progression from section to section?What does it say to you about praying your troubles?
3.     David describes his enemies in vv.1-2. Do you have enemies? Who or what are they? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by threatening people, circumstances, trials or temptations? Give an example. How do you normally cope?
4.     How does David address God throughout the psalm? Why do you think David spoke to God in this most personal and intimate manner? On what basis did he do it? How did his heart become “directed toward God”?
a.     How do you address God in prayer? What’s the state of your heart?
5.     What is the significance of “O Yahweh” as the first word of the first prayer in the Psalter? Why do you think David used “Yahweh” so often in this prayer (6x in 8 verses)?
6.     What action is God described as taking in this psalm? Do you think of God acting in this way? Explain. What action is David described as taking in this psalm? Do you act like this when in trouble? Explain.
7.     The emotional center of the psalm is V. 5. Think about it and take it seriously. Are you able to sleep well in the midst of trouble? When we sleep, what are we doing? When we sleep, what is God doing?
8.     How do you make sense of David’s outburst against his enemies in V. 7?
9.     What does this psalm speak to you about in light of the weekend’s message about being emotionally fit for life?

Ministry Application

Below you’ll see some options for ministry time with your group. We always encourage you to reserve time in your group to pray for one another and wait on the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Perhaps there is a situation that is just completely overwhelming and for whatever reason you haven’t been able to seek God with your community for help in the midst of it. Share with another small group member and go to Yahweh, Abba God, by acknowledging your feeling and your need for God’s intervention.
  • Perhaps there are some who cannot imagine expressing this level of feeling – whether in sincere faith or holy lament to God or anyone else…but you long for deeper emotional honesty within you. Share with another member about this sense of internal disconnect and ask that God would shed light on internal obstacles or causes for living emotional stunted.
  • In what ways might there be a gap in your thinking about God, and the ways that David knows God as represented in this Psalm? Do we trust in God as our shied, or to protect our reputation? A possible direction for ministry might be asking the Holy Spirit to bridge that gap in our beliefs. Ask for him to build your faith and reveal himself deeply to your spirit.


[1] The Psalter was a collection of psalms used in different faith traditions (there are many different collections). Helpful notes or superscripts were added to certain psalms to provide background or for teaching purposes. Psalm 3 is the first psalm to have such a note.