Sermon Bible Study Guides

in James

Psalm 126 - 27th August 2021

OBSERVATION
What does it say?

  1. Read Psalm 126.
  2. What moods or emotions does the psalmist express? (look for emotional words or punctuation)
  3. What imagery does the psalmist use?
  4. Do you see any similarities between this Psalm and the previous Songs of Ascent? (Psalm 120, 121, 122, 123, 124)
  5. Are there repeated words or ideas?
  6. What contrasts do you see? (e.g. light and darkness)

INTERPRETATION
What does it mean?

  1. What event(s) do you think that the psalmist had in mind when he says "when the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion"?
  2. What do you think this expression means: "We were like those who dream"? What emotion does it convey?
  3. How is the blessing of Israel connected to the nations? (cross-reference Josh. 4:24, Ps. 96:10, Deut. 29:24-28)
  4. In verses 1-3, the Psalmist seems to be looking back at God's past restoration. How does the mood shift in verses 4-6?
  5. The Negeb was an arid, desert region in the southern part of Israel. What, then, do you think is the meaning of the simile in verse 4?
    1. How does this connect to the the imagery of "seed for sowing" in verses 5 and 6?
  6. Is there anything in this passage that points to or foreshadows truths of the gospel? (e.g. Has Jesus fulfilled any of the prayers or longings we see? Is there anything pointing to sin, judgment, salvation, God's love, etc.? )

APPLICATION
How should it change us?

  1. How have you seen "great things" has the Lord done in your own life?
    1. Does this encourage you to pray?
    2. Does it give you joy that is seen by others?
  2. In Christ we have been saved, but we are still waiting for His return and our salvation being complete.
    1. How does this connect with the prayer in verse 4? 
    2. How can you be praying for restoration for yourself and for one another?
  3. What do you think it looks like for Christians to "sow" through tears and weeping?
    1. Do we know that things will always get better? That what makes us sad today will be gone tomorrow or next week or next year?
    2. What does it mean for Christians, then, to "reap with shouts of joy"?
    3. How does the hope of heaven encourage you to endure suffering today?

Psalm 125 - 6th August 2021

OBSERVATION
What does it say?

  1. Read Psalm 125.
  2. What moods or emotions does the psalmist express? (look for emotional words or punctuation)
  3. What imagery does the psalmist use?
  4. Do you see any similarities between this Psalm and the previous Songs of Ascent? (Psalm 120, 121, 122, 123, 124)
  5. Are there repeated words or ideas?
  6. What connecting words do you see?  (therefore, yet, however, likewise, so then, then, because, for, but, etc.)

INTERPRETATION
What does it mean?

  1. Why does the psalmist compare the Lord to a mountain--specifically Mount Zion?
  2. The Lord protects his people from enemies (v. 2) and from wickedness (v. 3)
    1. Why does He do this?
    2. In the story of the Old Testament, does Israel "stretch out their hands to do wrong"?
    3. How would instilling this ideal (that wickedness will not rest on the land forever) be a comfort to Israelites living in exile?
  3. How are verses 1-3 different from verses 4 and 5?
  4. What do verses 4 and 5 teach us about God? How does might this give encouragement to Israelites in exile?
  5. Is there anything in this passage that points to or foreshadows truths of the gospel? (Remember there might be many answers to this question: does it mirror Jesus in any way? Anything pointing to sin, judgment, salvation, God's love, etc.?)

APPLICATION
How should it change us?

  1. God's protection of His people is linked to their trust in Him (v. 1).
    1. What does this mean for those who have trusted in Christ Jesus for new life?
    2. What about those who have not trusted in him?
  2. God will not allow the unrighteous to rule over his people forever. How does this truth affect Christian prayer?
  3. How does the good news of Jesus motivate us to "do good"? How can you do good to others this week, and especially to those who are in the church? (Galatians 6:9-10)
  4. What are some ways that we might be tempted to "turn aside" to our own "crooked ways"? How can we resist those temptations?

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