Since the beginning of the new year I've been doing something a little different for my quiet time. For most, if not all of 2016, I did various monthly Scripture writing plans. Some sites offer a different plan every month. If you are interested in doing one of these, check out the Scripture Writing plans
at Heidi St. John or the
Bible Reading plans
at Rachel Wojo. Or just do a google search for monthly Scripture writing plans. There are some great ones. I found this to be an effective tool to get me into God's Word every day during a very stressful season of life.
For 2017 I wanted to do something a little different. There are so many tempting Bible studies out there, and I do long to get started on one of those, plus I had started, just a bit, last year on one from Colossians that I'd like to get back to. But life -- although it is less
busy -- is still bearing down on me, and I'm still doing Bible study most days for my Sunday School lesson preparations. I decided to give myself some grace and do something simpler.
I believe the Lord allowed me to see the corner of an old favorite book peeking out of the lower part of my nightstand. This was a book I'd read before, but each reading has a section at the end with Bible references for further study. So I decided to do that further study, taking the references and using the SOAP method of Bible study
to meditate on each passage. This will take me through a few months and then I will probably pick up my Colossians Bible study again. But I have really been enjoying meditating on the various passages of Scripture each day.
Yesterday it was Psalm 143, a longer passage than I might ordinarily try to SOAP, but what a blessing it was to me! Not only that, but before day's end I had the opportunity to share the psalm with someone else! So I thought I would share my little study here as well. Perhaps it is just what someone needs to be reminded of today. So here goes:
S (Scripture) = "Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications; in Thy faithfulness answer me, and in Thy righteousness.
"And enter not into judgment with Thy servant; for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified.
"For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those who have been long dead.
"Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.
"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on the work of Thy hands.
"I stretch forth my hands unto Thee; my soul thirsteth after Thee, like a thirsty land. Selah.
"Hear me speedily, O LORD; my spirit faileth. Hide not Thy face from me, lest I be like those that go down into the pit.
"Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in Thee do I trust. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto Thee.
"Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies; I flee unto Thee to hide me.
"Teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God. Thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
"Revive me, O LORD, for Thy name's sake; for Thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.
"And of Thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul, for I am Thy servant." (Psalm 143)
🍃 🍃 🍃 🍃 🍃 🍃
Scofield has titled this psalm "An urgent appeal for help." David appeals to God knowing that He will hear and help. He begins by asking God to hear his prayer, to give ear to his supplications. He knows that God will answer him in faithfulness and in righteousness.
David realizes that no man will be justified in God's sight apart from God's own righteousness, so he asks that God not enter into judgment with him.
Next David talks about his fear, depression, and discouragement:
* The enemy has persecuted my soul.
* He has smitten my life down to the ground.
* He has made me to dwell in darkness.
* My spirit is overwhelmed within me
* My heart within me is desolate.
Then David remembers all that God has done for him in the past!
* He meditates on all God's works
* He muses on the works of God's hands.
As a result ...
* David stretches forth his hands -- both
hands! -- to God
* David's soul thirsts after God like a thirsty land.
And so, David cries out to God:
* Hear me speedily, O LORD, because my spirit is failing;
* Don't hide Your face from me, or I may sink even deeper into despair;
* Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning. I am trusting You!
* Cause me to know the way in which I should walk. I lift my soul up to You!
* Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies; I'm running to You for protection.
* Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God.
* I'm trusting the goodness of Your Spirit to lead me into the land of uprightness.
* Revive me, O LORD, for Your name's sake.
* Bring my soul out of trouble for Your righteousness' sake.
* In Your mercy, cut off my enemies and destroy those who are afflicting my soul.
And then David ends his prayer with these words of commitment to God:
"I am Thy servant."
🍃 🍃 🍃 🍃 🍃 🍃
What a prayer this is! I love the idea that God's answers to our prayers involve His faithfulness and His righteousness!
David pours out his heart to God in verses 3-4. Though I have never faced the difficulties that David did, I relate completely to his despair. Certainly our arch-enemy, Satan, afflicts us in all of the ways David enumerated.
But when David takes his eyes off his circumstances and fixes them instead on who God is and all that He has done, he is able to reach out to his only source of deliverance. It was interesting to me that David stretched forth both
hands to God. He wasn't taking any chances! David is trusting God to protect him from his enemies and even to destroy them. Obviously I also need to take my eyes off my situation and keep them on God. When I reflect on who God is and all of His attributes, and I remember His wonderful working in my life, I know I can trust Him completely for every situation I face. And I can trust Him to deal with my enemies.
Like David, I can ask God for daily leading and guidance. He will help me to know the way to walk and His Spirit will lead me in upright paths.
God will do all this for me for His own name's sake and for His righteousness' sake. He will show Himself strong on His servant's behalf!
🍃 🍃 🍃 🍃 🍃 🍃
"Lord, Your Word is amazing! I'm so thankful that You have recorded prayers like this one in Your Word, so that we can see how you worked (and continue to work) in the lives of Your people. I identify with David in that I have seen trouble and plenty of it. I have been in the place of great difficulty, and I thank You for the reminder that I can pour everything out to You and trust You for the outcome. The remembrance of all that You are and the ways You have worked in the past give me hope and encouragement. I am trusting You to deal with my enemies and to lead me and guide me every day in the ways that please You. Thank You for the privilege of being Your servant! In Jesus' name, Amen."
🍃 🍃 🍃 🍃 🍃 🍃
Now, I must quickly add that I am in no way a Bible scholar. Without doubt, there is much, much more to be gleaned from this passage. I'm sure I have only skimmed the surface as to its meaning. But these are the ways in which this psalm spoke to me and encouraged me yesterday.
Have you ever used the SOAP method of Bible study
? If not, I encourage you to give it a try! Pick a verse or two and try meditating on them in this way. I think it will be a blessing to your heart!