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STORIES OF THANKSGIVING

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Stories of Thanksgiving
Sermon Discussion
Psalm 107

We took a break this week from out study of Luke to check out Psalm 107. Pastor Ryan led us through a beautiful passage of poetry, shedding light on the power of God's love to redeem and our thanks that occurs as a response.

One of the things Ryan said he loves about the Psalms is that they give us a vocabulary to talk about God and models on how to talk to God. The right words can be key to understanding complex ideas in our lives

What is your favorite "impressive" word to try and use in conversation, that possibly obscure word you learned and love that expresses a complex idea perfectly?

Let's read the passage and discuss some of the Psalmists ideas and words.

Passage

In the Psalm there are 4 examples or scenes, highly relatable stories that show how God works in the lives of those He loves. He guides, protects, heals, and comforts with such power that the psalmist feels it demands a proper thank you to God. Ryan pulled out the 4 scenes to discuss at length:

The Wanderers
The Prisoners
The Sick
The Fearful

THE WANDERERS (v 4-9)

First the Psalmists tells of those in desert wastes, finding no way and no city to dwell in. In our culture we often idolize and promote an idea of wandering, where you explore and go wherever the wind takes you, because "not all who wander are lost". This is not that wandering. These people are lost. The Psalm describes them as "hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them."

What does it mean to have your soul faint within you? have you ever experienced that? How were you wandering?

Ryan went on to point out that in the Bible God often brought the people He loved out to the wilderness to wander. Abraham, Moses, the Israelites, and even King David wandered lost without a city for a time.

Why do you think God caused these people to wander? What can God accomplish by having us wander? How can we be lead by God and wandering at the same time?

The Psalmist also gives us a promise here in verse 6 "Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress." If we cry to the Lord, He will come and rescue us.

What does it mean to "cry to the Lord?" Does this mean if we cry to the Lord He will give us whatever we want?

THE PRISONERS (v 10-16)

The Psalmist then describes someone who is darkness, sitting in the shadow of death. A rebel, not in the cool "rebel without a cause", pirate with their own ship or star wars way. But in the hopeless career criminal on death row kind of way. The one who knows their actions aren't good for themselves, for society, for the world, but does them anyway and knows they will soon have to pay the ultimate price.

Ryan described the prisoners as people chained to sin, it's a habit they can't quit.

Have you ever been able to stop a bad habit? Why did you stop it? How did you do it?

The prisoners have rejected God's law, which is rejecting God. Ryan pointed out that the law is not an objective cosmic agreement that God is tasked with policing, it actually describes God and His attributes, and when we don't follow it we separate ourselves from God.

Has someone ever rebelled against you? a coworker, friend, roommate, family member? How did you respond? How does God respond?

When we reject someone we put ourselves in conflict that person. In many cases the relationship is so broken terror and dread builds and we may go out of our way to avoid them or avoid the conflict. It can feel like we're in a sort of prison. The psalmist proclaims that God breaks down the door and snaps the bars holding us in that prison. It's a powerful jailbreak where our crimes remain committed and yet we don't have to pay the price.

Have you ever had a conflict where you went out of your way to avoid that person, or they went out of their way to avoid you? how would you describe your feeling during that time? How was the conflict resolved?


THE SICK (v 17-22)

The third group the Psalmist describes are the sick. An illness that is the consequence of sin. Ryan pointed out that at times in history and in the Bible it was common for people to try and assign all illness to a correlating sin. in John 9 Jesus disciple upon encountering a blind man ask Jesus if it was the man or his parents who sinned and caused this malady. It's a lie for us to believe that sickness and affliction is always a punishment, but it is often a consequence.

What is the difference between a punishment and a consequence?

The psalmist goes on saying that often the afflicted are so sick they hate the sight or even the idea of the cure.

Have you even been afflicted and hated the remedy?

We all have sinned and all are sick meaning we the remedy of Jesus.

What does it look like for us to despise the cure of Jesus in our lives?

That same promise again appears in the Psalm, that we can cry to God and He will heal us. Not just make us more comfortable, or treat the symptoms, but truly heal us. A work that can only be replied to with thanks.

Has God healed you of a sickness or consequence lately? Is there a consequence or sickness we can all take to God with you, and cry out to Him that we might see His work and rejoice?

THE FEARFUL (v 23-32)

The last group is described as sailors who find themselves in the midst of a storm, fearing for their lives. It's unique among the stories as the people in this scene did not sin, rebel, or wander. They were going about normal business and yet now find their lives in danger.

Why would God allow us to be put in positions of danger leading to this fear?

The Psalmist says they were at their "wit's end" and Ryan went on to describe this as "their wisdom was swallowed up". Their lives were out of control and there was no idea, plan, scheme, or strategy that would save them.

Where do you turn to for wisdom in your life? How can you ensure it's a wisdom that will not be swallowed up?

Again the Psalmist shares the promise that we can cry to God and be saved from our distress. In the story God comes and stills the water, hushes the sea.

We often feel out of control and panic, we feel in danger. Yet the answer does not seem to be regain control.

Why do you think that is? How can you go about giving over control in your life to God? How would that help you with your fear?

Prayer

Pray with your group that He would make us quick to cry to our Lord that we might be guided, freed, healed and encouraged. Thank God for His work in our lives that has been shared in the discussion tonight.