26/04/2017: Songs of Ascent | Psalm 124 | Praise the Lord | Nigel Butler

Psalm 124:6 It is all about being attacked (modern term) and one response to an attack is praise. Praise is a weapon, part of our armour. Psalm 149:6.  Psalm 40:1-3 NIV

Gill Patterson at an intercession course in 1986 says this of ‘Praise: “Praise releases revelation from the Throne of God – We serve what we praise & worship – We become like the person we worship – The quality of our praise is an indication of the value we put on the person of God.”                                                  

 We move on to the second part of Eugene Peterson’s division of the psalm – ‘help’.

Psalm 124 New King James Version.

The LORD the Defence of the His People

1 “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,” Let Israel now say

2 “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us,                                                                     3  Then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us; 

4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul;                                                     5 Then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul.”  

6 Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth.

7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped.                                 8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Imagine what our lives might have been like “if the LORD had not been on our side.”    Think how despairing or self-destructive we would have become had God not rescued us.

Question 1

Three historical associations with the Psalms of Ascent:

1. The 15 steps of the temple.

2. The songs sung on the pilgrimage to the Three Great Feasts.

3. The songs sung by exiles returning to Jerusalem from captivity. The latter is central.

Moore’s motivation for attendance of the series on ‘Psalms of Ascent’.

So onward and upward, let’s put both feet on the 5th step

If you are in trouble, out of your depth, sinking and need God’s help, you can raise your hand to Him and cry Help – Help – Help and he will reach out His hand to you. Life can be rough and tough and often we need God’s HELP not just to put the fires out, but to protect us from them starting! Psalm 121:1-8. David’s example of seeking God’s counsel FIRST is without question the best way. It’s common sense, “the battle is the Lord’s …….

Question 2

What does Joshua 23:10 “One man of you shall put to flight a thousand, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you, as He promised you.” When we call upon His name, God promises New Testament believers the same kind of power and victory in the far more terrifying battles of the spiritual realm. Paul speaks clearly about this war in Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forms of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Rom 8:37-39 NIV tells us we will be more than conquerors and nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God. Knowing that Christ will never take us into a battle we cannot win. Why aren’t we living with full confidence in Him? Surely we have the promise of Romans 8:31 NIV “…… If God is for us, who can be against us? …..”

Regardless of how long we have been Christians and how deeply we have studied God’s Word, most of us do not really believe deep down that God is entirely, wholeheartedly, and unwaveringly on our side.

Have we any doubts that God is for us?

Question 3

Question 4

Question 5

Our litmus test for whether we think God is for us is circumstantial evidence.  If I don’t get the promotion, God was for the other guy. If the relationship doesn’t work out, God didn’t root for me.   If the cancer treatment wasn’t successful, I’m not high priority to Him.

Most of us are challenged by ‘God’s discipline and often misunderstand His purpose for it.  God knows when something glorious in the future necessitates something difficult in the present. Because He knows the glory will be worth it. God will risk being misunderstood.

Yes make no mistake;

God wants us to have crowns to cast;

Rewards to receive;

Character to develop;

 Compassion to give;

Testimonies to tell.  In the midst of those painful processes God makes bold promises.  

HE IS ON YOUR SIDE

Psalms 124 – 26 April 2017 – Homework

  1. Do you recognise that Satan may have effectively tempted you to oppose your own best interests? O yes  O no         If that did occur, and you got fed up with being your own worst (earthly) enemy and decide to let God bring you some healing?  O yes  O no  What was the turning point?
  2. The kind of help Psalm 124 describes is very distinct.  Complete the following sentences drawn from verse 2 NKJV “If the Lord had not been ……………………………………………………………..”  The Message “If God hadn’t been ……………………………. when everyone went against us.”
  3. On the scale below, estimate the position you tend to picture God’s take on you.

God is against me                            God tolerates me                            God is for me

4.  Meditate over your history with God for a moment. Regardless of where you marked the continuum, name a couple of things that helped shape that conclusion:

If you marked that you are convinced (actions bearing witness) that “God is for (you)” on the continuum, you’ve already answered the question.

5.

Despite how we feel much of the time, can we think of a few times when we had to admit that God seemed to be on our side.  Describe one of those times,

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

6.

Moore “hammers the point suggesting that in our humanity we tend to determine whether God is against us, for us, or tolerating us based on how He appears to act in our circumstances. In other words, our litmus test for whether we think God is really for us is circumstantial evidence.  If I don’t get the promotion, God was for the other guy. If the relationship doesn’t work out, God didn’t root for me. If the cancer treatment doesn’t work, I’m not high priority to Him.”

2.  Give another similar assumption …………………………………………………………………………………….

7.

Don’t think for a moment I am minimising the confusion any of these examples can cause as we try to picture God “on our side.”  John 13:7 continues to come to her mind with great relevance.” Jesus replied, “You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 3:7 NIV Jesus speaking again; “You should be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’.”

Please write John 3:7 in the place below:

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

8.

Read Romans 8:28-39 and let God tell you what He’ll do for you. Make this exercise personal by putting your name in the top blank and filling in the remainder with various promises God makes you in the portion from Romans. Turn each into an “I will” statement from God to you.

My child, ………………………………………

I will ….. make sure all things work together for good…………………………………………………….

I will ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I will ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I will ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I will ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I will ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

                                                                                                                                                Love, God

 Please conclude by writing Psalm 124 in your own words.

My Psalm 124

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