Bible Study: Sept. 20, 2015
NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies for Life curriculum.
Bible Passage: Psalm 34:4-14
Discussion Questions: How would you define "the good life"?
Food for Thought by Jonathan Falwell*:
Who wouldn't want to experience "the good life?" One survey found that 33 percent of people described the good life as either the experience of pleasure or the lack of unpleasant experiences. Everything is pleasant and pleasurable; a life of contentment with all needs met.
The night a thunderstorm shook our house was certainly an unpleasant experience for our 3-year-old son. A return to contentment came in the form of his father, that is to say, me. "Daddy, can I sleep in here tonight?" Many nights when he was afraid, he'd make this request and then place a sleeping bag on the floor next to our bed. Before my son would drift off to sleep, though, he would want me to hang my arm over the side of the bed. When I asked why, he said, "Just so I'll know you're there."
Those nights with my son are a wonderful reminder of how God responds to our needs. David penned Psalm 34 because he knew this truth: whatever our needs -- physical, emotional or spiritual -- our Father in heaven responds and provides.
God never has intended for us to navigate the challenges of life on our own. He wants to be by our side every step of the way. God has provided His Word as a light to illuminate every uncertain step in our lives (Psalm 119:105). And His desire is for us to be acutely aware of His presence all along the way. Life is full of uncertain and even treacherous moments that, without God's provision and presence, would rob us of every ounce of joy. But thankfully, God never leaves us alone. He provides what we need and with Him in our corner, we can with unshakeable courage and unspeakable joy face anything life throws our way.
All of us want to find contentment in life, but culture has put its own spin on what that fulfillment should look like. The world bases contentment and happiness on how much money a person has, the type of car he drives, the square footage of his house, or a myriad of other unimportant things. Possessions can never deliver permanent happiness. While trappings of status may provide a temporary state of contentment, they will never give us what we truly desire and need. Why? Because we can only find joy and contentment in things that have eternal value.
Abundance and contentment are found in Christ Jesus. It begins and ends with God Himself. God does not simply provide good things for us; He is the ultimate good. "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8). Prosperity doesn't bring hope or deliver joy; only God can fill our lives with such joy.
"How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!" We taste God's goodness -- all that He provides for us -- when we take refuge in Him. Within the refuge of His presence, God has promised we "will not lack any good thing" (Psalm 34: 10). This promise is for all who "seek the LORD." This is not a blanket promise to fulfill all our wants and wishes, but God will provide everything we need. Whatever our needs, He is "is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). That's a pretty remarkable promise.
There is no reason we need to travel the uncertain and dangerous roads of life alone and unassisted. God is on our side! He desires a close relationship with us. He wants us to be covered by His overwhelming love and grace. But it is up to us whether our relationship with Him becomes close. Respond to Him with fear, reverence and holy submission. Begin to experience His grace and provision in all its abundance!
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life is a life-stage focused family of resources that addresses key issues in the lives of adults and students. Consisting of seven curriculum lines developed for various life and generational stages plus two others designed for deeper study, all of these resources focus on the same Bible passage for each week. Information about the seven curriculum lines and more information can be found on the Internet at LifeWay.com/BibleStudiesforLife.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.
*Jonathan Falwell is pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., and son of the late Jerry Falwell.