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Search The Scriptures —Study 62 — Psalms 78: 40-72

Study 62 From the Book of Psalms is: Psalms 78: 40-72

  1. The detail of verse 43-51 sets the people’s disobedience (verses 40-42) in bold relief. What other purpose do you think the verses had? Cf. Ps. 103:2; 2 Pet. 1:9, 12, 13.
  2. What disasters did idolatry bring upon Israel? How did God in His grace come to their aid? Of what is such action of foreshadowing?

Notes

  1. Verse 61. A reference to the capture of the ark; see 1 Sa. 4:21.
  2. Verses 67-69. The tent at Shiloh, in the territory of Ephraim, was not rebuilt (for the reason given in verses 58-60), but Zion was chosen instead, in the territory of Judah, as the place for God’s sanctuary.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 61 — Psalms 78: 1-39

Study 61 From the Book of Psalms is: Psalms 78: 1-39

  1. A nation’s history may teach many different lessons. From verses 1-8 what do you consider this psalm’s main purpose is? What light do these verses throw upon the necessity and importance of family religion? Cf. Dt. 6:6-9, 20-25.
  2. From verses 1-39 make a list of (a) God’s saving acts for His people; (b) the nation’s sins; (c) God’s judgments. In particular, from verses 34-37, consider the difference between true and false repentance. Cf. Je. 29:13. Is your life free from a similar monotonous. Cycle of relapses? How, according to verses 1-8, may we avoid such failure?

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Search The Scriptures —Study 60 — Psalms 77

Study 60 From the Book of Psalms is: Psalms 77

  1. Observe in detail the depth of the psalmist’s depression. What was the chief question underlying his distress? How did he find an answer to it?
  2. What particular aspects of the character of God are mentioned in verses 11:20? How do these begin to resolve the psalmist’s problem? Do we in times of depression similarly call to mind the deeds of the Lord’ (e.g., Rom. 5:8)?

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Search The Scriptures —Study 59 — Psalms 75 and 76

Study 59 From the Book of Psalms is: Psalms 75 and 76

Ps. Celebrates the deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrians in the reign of Hezekiah.  Though we cannot say that Ps. 75 belongs to this same historical situation, its theme of thanksgiving to God is certainly relevant to the events of 701 BC.

  1. In Ps. 75 what characteristics of God’s judgment are mentioned? What is the psalmist’s response?
  2. 76 falls into four sections of three verses each. How would you summarize the contents of each section? What was God’s purpose in acting in judgment?
  3. How does the teaching of Christ illustrate Ps. 75:4-7? Cf. Lk. 14:7-11; Mt. 20:20-28. Does your belief in such teaching control your ambition and your ideas about promotion?

Notes

  1. 75:8. A picture of divine retribution; cf. Is. 51:17; Rev. 14:10.
  2. 76:5, 6. A vivid picture of the enemy, silent and inactive in death.
  3. 76:10. Even the violent acts of the wicked will be turned to God’s praise

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Search The Scriptures —Study 58 — Psalms 74

Study 58 From the Book of Psalms is: Psalms 74

The psalm starts in anguish, because of the ruined sanctuary. At verse 12 it changes completely into a resounding hymn of praise to God, Creator and Redeemer. But both sections contain earnest pleas for God to act on behalf of His name and of His own.

  1. Consider (a) the psalmist’s survey and summary of Israel’s shattering defeat (verses 1-11); and (b) how he then reminds himself that God is Creator, Redeemer and King (verses 12-17). As a Christian, can you face disaster and discomfort with such an assurance about God? Cf. Rom. 8:18, 28.
  2. Note the boldness and the persistence of the psalmist’s requests. See verses 2, 3, 10, 11, 18-23. What is the basis of his confidence? Have you learnt thus to plead in prayer both for Church and nation? Note the reasons the psalmist gives why God should answer.

Note. Verses 4, 9. ‘Our signs’: i.e., the outward signs of the worship of God had been replaced by heathen ‘signs’ setup by their enemies.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 57 — Psalms 73

Study 57 From the Book of Psalms is: Psalms 73

Pss. 73-83 are all entitled ‘of Asaph’ (cf. 2 Ch. 35:15; Ezr. 2:41; 3:10). These psalms are marked by certain characteristic features, among which may be mentioned the representation of God as Judge and also as the Shepherd of His people. They are, in the main, national psalms, and look back to the past history of Israel to draw from it encouragement and warning.

  1. The problem of the prosperity of the ungodly oppressed the psalmist sorely. See verses 2, 13, 16. Real life seemed to mock the assertion of verse 1. What was the root of the psalmist’s distress? See verses 3, 22; Cf. Pr. 23:17; Ps. 37:1. What is the ‘more excellent way’? Cf. 1 Cor. 13:4; 1 Pet. 2:1.
  2. How did the psalmist discover the grossness of this error? What did he come to see with regard to the wicked (verses 17-20), and what did he find that he possessed in God (verses 23-26)? Can you honestly and enthusiastically make the confession of verse 25?
  3. What may we learn from the psalmist’s example (a) in verses 15-17 (for ‘the sanctuary’, cf. Pss. 63:2, 3; 68:35), and (b) in verse 28? Do you delight in being near to God, and in speaking not of doubts (verse 15), but of God’s mighty works?

Notes

  1. Verse 15. The psalmist realizes that to parade his doubt (verses 13, 14), or to speak like the wicked (verse 9), would be to betray the family of God.
  2. Verse 20. The sense is, ‘The wicked are like a dream when one awakes; and when you, O Lord, awake, you will despise their shadow.’

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Search The Scriptures —Study 21 — Ezekiel 31 and 32

Study 21 From the Book of Ezekiel is: Ezekiel 31 and 32

With this study, we are taking a pause to go through a few chapters of the book of Psalms and we will go right back studying the second installment of the book of Ezekiel.

These chapters contain three more prophecies concerning Egypt. In chapter 31, Egypt is likened to a might cedar, whose fall causes the other threes to mourn. In 32: 1-6 the figure of the dragon or crocodile is resumed cf. 29:3-5), and in 32:7, 8 Egypt is likened to a bright star. The imagery is very vivid, depicting the utter destruction of Pharaoh and his hosts. In 32:17-32 the prophet in a vision follows Pharaoh and his armies into Sheol, and sees them among others also slain by the sword who bear the shame of their lack of proper burial.

  1. How does chapter 31 further enforce the lesson of chapter 30? What is the reason given for the tree’s destruction, and what effect is this intended to have on other nations?
  2. Observe how often in these chapters the personal pronoun ‘I’ occurs. Do we realize enough that God is the thief actor in the developments of history? Over what realms, in addition to that of Israel, is His dominion here asserted?

Note. 32:17-32. This is not to be regarded as a literal description of the state of men after death, but as an imaginative picture intended to show that all who use violence and lawless might, causing terror on the earth (cf. Verse 23 ff), shall alike meet with retribution. Pharaoh’s only consolation will be in the multitude of his companions (verse 31).

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