Tuesday, October 26, 2010

“God's Presence Comforts and Assures” Adult Sunday School Lesson

International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending October 31, 2010

Purpose: To recognize that a faithful relationship with God is its own reward

Scripture Text: Psalm 63 (NRSV)

Psalm 63
(1)O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
(2)So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
(3)Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
(4)So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
(5)My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
(6) when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
(7) for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
(8)My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
(9)But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth;
(10) they shall be given over to the power of the sword, they shall be prey for jackals.
(11)But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

This Psalm begins by reading as a love letter would read to someone that you truly loved and missed. It reminds me of something Paul said about “knowing Christ” in Philippians 3.10: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.” I believe that with both Paul and David this was more than believing in a doctrine or a religion, it was having an intimate relationship with our creator and savior. Throughout the bible the word “know” is used to imply an intimate relationship like that between a husband and wife. When the bible uses the word “know or knew” all of us adults know exactly what that means.

David is expressing that kind of a longing for God, and it may be because David has failed in that relationship and wants it restored to where it was. David is questioning his ability to go on as if he was dying of thirst or hunger. Then David does something that many of us do when we miss that person that we love so much, he sought out a picture or an image of God; he went to the sanctuary, where the Ark of the Covenant was on display. By looking at that, David could feel closer to God, just as we, when we are separated from someone we love, find solace in looking at a photograph of that individual. And just as David did with God, we reflect on all of those qualities we admire and the good times we had together, and we are buoyed by those thoughts and remembrances.

In verse 5 David creates another image, that of enjoying a great feast. Probably too often in today's fast paced world, we treat our time with God more as a “Happy Meal” or a “Whopper” rather than a feast. God is relegated to a drive thru window rather than a “feast.” We barely have time for Him, let alone spend the time it would take to prepare and enjoy a “feast.” How many times have you tried to impress the one you love by going thru the drive-thru window? No, we select the proper setting and plan for an evening together where we can talk and learn about each other as we enjoy a feast together. Our relationship with God should be a courtship, getting to know God in an intimate way. Later that night as you are separated from the one you love, you lie in bed and meditate and reflect on the beauty of that relationship you spent the night cultivating.

David goes on and talks about those that would destroy that relationship, and ends by saying how much he rejoices in knowing God and realizing the magnificent power that God holds over all of the world and its leaders.

Our relationship with God is not a one night stand, or a hurriedly gulped down sandwich, it is a long lasting feast, that endures forever, something that can be recalled throughout a life time; now that is a relationship.

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