Psalms - Weekly Lesson

2024 Quarter 1 Lesson 04 - The Lord Hears and Delivers

Sabbath School Lesson Begins
Jan · Feb · Mar 2024
Quarter 1 Lesson 04 Q1 Lesson 04
Jan 20 - Jan 26

The Lord Hears and Delivers

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Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study

Ps. 139:1–18; Psalm 121; Ps. 17:8; Matt. 23:37; 1 Cor. 10:1–4; Heb. 4:15, 16.

Memory Text:

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17, NKJV).

Again and again, the Psalms highlight the truth that the Sovereign Lord, who created and sustains the universe, also reveals Himself as a personal God who initiates and sustains a relationship with His people.

God is close to His people and to His creation, both in heaven and on earth (Ps. 73:23, 25). Though He “has established His throne in heaven” (Ps. 103:19, NKJV) and “rides on the clouds” (Ps. 68:4, NKJV), He also is “near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Ps. 145:18, NKJV). The Psalms unswervingly uphold the truth that the Lord is the living God, who acts on behalf of those who call upon Him (Ps. 55:16–22). The Psalms are meaningful precisely because they are prompted by, and are addressed to, the living God, who hears and answers prayers.

We should remember that the proper response to the Lord’s nearness consists in a life of faith in Him and of obedience to His commandments. Nothing short of this faith and obedience will be acceptable to Him, as the history of Israel often revealed.

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, January 27.

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21st of January

My Frame Was Not Hidden From You

Read Psalm 139:1–18. How does this text poetically depict God’s power (Ps. 139:1−6), presence (Ps. 139:7−12), and goodness (Ps. 139:13−18)? What does God’s greatness say about God’s promises?

Did you ever want to help someone but had no means? Likewise, some people tried to help you but did not understand your needs. Unlike even the most loving and best-intentioned people, God has both the perfect knowledge of us and of our circumstances, and also the means to help us. Therefore, His promises of help and deliverance are not shallow platitudes but firm assurances.

God’s knowledge of the psalmist is so great and unique that even his mother’s womb could not hide him from God (Ps. 139:13, 15). Divine knowledge pertains to time (Ps. 139:2), inner being (Ps. 139:2, 4), and space (Ps. 139:3)—the psalmist’s entire existence. God’s wonderful knowledge is the result of His creatorship and close acquaintance with people and is manifest in His care for them.

This wonderful truth about God knowing us intimately should not scare us but instead drive us into the arms of Jesus and what He has accomplished for us at the Cross. For by faith in Jesus, we have been given His righteousness, “the righteousness of God” Himself (Rom. 3:5, 21).

God’s presence is highlighted by depicting God as reaching as far as “hell” (sheol, “grave”) and “darkness” (Ps. 139:8, 11, 12), places not typically depicted as where God dwells (Ps. 56:13). His presence also is depicted as taking “the wings of the morning” (east) to reach “the uttermost parts of the sea” (west) (Ps. 139:9). What these images convey is the truth that there is no place in the universe where we can be out of God’s reach. Though God is not part of the universe, as some believe, He is close to it all, having not only created it but sustaining it, as well (see Heb. 1:3).

As the One who knows all about us, God can help and restore us. The fresh realization of His greatness prompts an outburst of praise and renewed trust in the psalmist. He welcomes divine scrutiny as the means that can remove from his life anything that troubles his relationship with God.

Some might find the fact that God knows so much about them, even their darkest secrets, a rather frightening thought. Why is the gospel, then, our only hope?

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22nd of January

Assurance of God’s Care

Read Psalm 40:1–3, Psalm 50:15, Psalm 55:22, and Psalm 121. How is God involved in our daily affairs?

The Lord reveals Himself in Scripture as the living God who acts on behalf of those who call upon Him.

For the psalmist, “the Lord [is] always before me” (Ps. 16:8). Therefore, he trusts God and calls upon Him (Ps. 7:1, Ps. 9:10). The Lord will hear him even when he cries out of the “depths” (Ps. 130:1, 2), conveying that no life circumstance escapes God’s sovereign dominion. Thus, the psalmist’s cry, no matter how urgent, is never devoid of hope.

Psalm 121, meanwhile, celebrates the power of the Creator in the faithful individual’s life. This power includes:

1. “He will not allow your foot to be moved” (Ps. 121:3, NKJV). The image of “foot” is often descriptive of one’s life journey (Ps. 66:9, Ps. 119:105, Prov. 3:23). The Hebrew word for “move” describes the security that God gives to the world (Ps. 93:1) and to Zion (Ps. 125:1).

2. The image of the Lord as Israel’s Keeper who does not slumber nor sleep highlights the Lord’s constant alertness and readiness to act on behalf of His children (Ps. 121:3, 4).

3. The Lord is “your shade” (Ps. 121:5, 6, NKJV) calls to mind the pillar of cloud in the time of the Exodus (Exod. 13:21, 22). Similarly, the Lord provides physical and spiritual shelter to His people.

4. God is at their right hand (Ps. 121:5). The right hand typically designates a person’s stronger hand, the hand of action (Ps. 74:11, Ps. 89:13). Here it conveys God’s nearness and favor (Ps. 16:8, Ps. 109:31, Ps. 110:5).

5. God’s protection of His people is clearly confirmed in Psalm 121:6–8. God shall preserve His children from all evil. Neither “the sun” nor “the moon” shall strike them. God shall preserve their “going out” and “coming in.” These poetic figures underscore God’s comprehensive, unceasing care.

The bottom line? The psalmist trusted in God’s loving care. We, of course, should do the same.

What are some practical ways that you can better experience the reality of God’s care? How can you better cooperate with God in order to enable Him to work within you and for you?

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23rd of January

The Lord Is a Refuge in Adversity

Read Psalm 17:7–9, Psalm 31:1–3, and Psalm 91:2–7. What does the psalmist do in times of trouble?

The psalmist encounters various sorts of troubles and, in them, turns to the Lord, who is a refuge in every adversity. Trust is a deliberate choice to acknowledge God’s lordship over one’s life in all circumstances. If trust does not work in adversity, then it will not work anywhere.

The psalmist’s testimony, “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust’ ” (Ps. 91:2, NKJV), springs from his past experience with God and now serves to strengthen his faith for the future. The psalmist calls God the Most High and the Almighty (Ps. 91:1, 2), remembering the surpassing greatness of his God.

The psalmist also tells of the security that one can find in God: the “secret place” (“shelter” or “hiding place”), “shadow” (Ps. 91:1), “refuge,” “fortress” (Ps. 91:2), “wings,” “shield,” “buckler” (Ps. 91:4), and “dwelling place” (Ps. 91:9, NKJV). These images represent safe havens in the psalmist’s culture. One needs only to think of the unbearable heat of the sun in that part of the world in order to appreciate the shadow (or shade) or to recall the times of wars in Israel’s history in order to value the security provided by the shield or the fortress.

Read Psalm 17:8 and Matthew 23:37. What image is used here, and what does it reveal?

One of the most intimate metaphors is the one that refers to being “under the shadow of Your wings” (Ps. 17:8, Ps. 57:1, Ps. 63:7, NKJV). This metaphor elicits comfort and assurance by implying the protection of a mother bird. The Lord is compared to an eagle who guards its young with its wings (Exod. 19:4, Deut. 32:11) and to a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings (Matt. 23:37).

How, though, do we deal with the times when calamity strikes, and we can’t seem to see the Lord’s protection? Why do these traumas not mean that the Lord is not there with us?

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24th of January

Defender and Deliverer

Read 1 Corinthians 10:1–4. How does Paul describe the Exodus story? What spiritual lesson does he seek to teach with it?

Read Psalm 114. How is the divine deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt poetically described here?

What a poetic depiction of God’s marvelous deliverance of His children from the bondage of Egypt is given in Psalm 114. All through the Old Testament, and even in the New, the deliverance from Egypt was seen as a symbol of God’s power to save His people. Paul in these verses in 1 Corinthians does just that, seeing the whole true story as a metaphor, a symbol of salvation in Jesus Christ.

Psalm 114 also depicts divine deliverance through God’s sovereignty as the Creator over the powers of nature, which was how He saved His people in the Exodus. The sea, the river Jordan, and the mountains and hills poetically represent the natural and human powers opposing the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land (Deut. 1:44, Josh. 3:14−17). God, though, is sovereign over all of them.

In fact, for many of God’s children in all times and in all places, the way to the heavenly Jerusalem is fraught with danger. The Psalms encourage them to look beyond the hills and toward the Creator of heaven and earth (Ps. 121:1).

The spirit of Psalm 114 is captured by Jesus’ calming of the sea storm and His proclamation that the church has nothing to fear because He has overcome the world (Matt. 8:23−27, John 16:33).

The Lord’s great deeds on behalf of His people should inspire the whole earth to tremble at His presence (Ps. 114:7). The trembling should be understood as acknowledging and worshiping rather than as being terrified (Ps. 96:9, Ps. 99:1). With God on their side, believers have nothing to fear.

What are some of the spiritual dangers we face as believers, and how can we learn to lean on the Lord’s power to protect us from succumbing to these dangers that are as real for us now as they were for the psalmist?

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25th of January

Help From the Sanctuary

Read Psalm 3:4; Psalm 14:7; Psalm 20:1–3; Psalm 27:5; Psalm 36:8; Psalm 61:4; and Psalm 68:5, 35. Where does help come from in these texts?

The motif of spiritual and physical refuge and help notably appears in the context of the sanctuary. The sanctuary is a place of help, of safety, and of salvation. The sanctuary provides a shelter to the troubled. God defends the orphans and widows and gives strength to His people from His sanctuary. When “out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth” (Ps. 50:2, NKJV), God’s righteous judgments are proclaimed, and the Lord’s blessing goes forth (Ps. 84:4, Ps. 128:5, Ps. 134:3).

The refuge in the sanctuary surpasses the security provided by any other place in the world because God personally dwells in the sanctuary. The presence of God, not merely the temple as a firm building, provides safety. Likewise, being the mountain where the Lord dwells, Mount Zion surpasses other mountains though in itself it is a modest hill (Ps. 68:15, 16; Isa. 2:2).

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15, 16, NKJV).

In what ways do these verses parallel what the psalmist says about the sanctuary?

The holiness of God’s sanctuary prompts the psalmist to acknowledge that all people are sinful and completely undeserving of God’s favor, and he claims that deliverance is based on God’s faithfulness and grace alone (Ps. 143:2, 9–12). Nothing in us gives us any merit before God. It is only when people stand in a right relationship with God through repentance and acceptance of God’s grace and forgiveness that they can plead for God’s assurance of deliverance. The sanctuary service represented the salvation found in Jesus.

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26th of January

Further Thought

Read Ellen G. White, “The Night of Wrestling,” pp. 195–203, in Patriarchs and Prophets. What can we learn from Jacob’s experience about the power of importunate prayer and unreserved trust in God?

The Psalms strengthen our faith in God, who is the never-failing Refuge for those who entrust their lives into His mighty hands. “God will do great things for those who trust in Him. The reason why His professed people have no greater strength is that they trust so much to their own wisdom, and do not give the Lord an opportunity to reveal His power in their behalf. He will help His believing children in every emergency if they will place their entire confidence in Him and faithfully obey Him.”—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 493.

Yet, some psalms can pose a serious challenge when what they promise, and our current situation, do not match. At times such as this, we just have to learn to trust in the goodness of God, most powerfully revealed at the Cross.

Also, at times some psalms can be used to foster false hopes. Jesus’ response to Satan’s corrupted use of Psalm 91:11, 12 shows that trusting God must not be confused with tempting God (Matt. 4:5−7) or presumptuously asking God to do something that is contrary to His will.

“The greatest victories to the church of Christ or to the individual Christian are not those that are gained by talent or education, by wealth or the favor of men. They are those victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God, when earnest, agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power.”—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 203.

Discussion Questions

  1. In class, discuss the answer to the last question in Tuesday’s study about trusting in God amid adversity and when things go terribly wrong. How does one understand these things and how they could happen to people, even with all the wonderful promises in the Psalms about God’s protection? Think about this too: Did not the psalmist, who wrote about those wonderful promises, suffer adversity or know of faithful people who did, as well?
  2. How can we develop unreserved trust in God in all circumstances (e.g. Ps. 91:14; Ps. 143:8, 10; and Ps. 145:18–20)? What can cause us to lose this confidence? Why is trust in God in good times crucial for learning to trust Him in bad times, as well?
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Inside Story

Prayer Answered in Perth

By Joe Peola

Inside Story Image

Inside Story

Inside Story Image

Inside Story

Margaret and her husband, Levana, were sitting one morning in their living room in Perth, Australia, after returning the previous night from a trip to Papua New Guinea, located some 2,000 miles (4,500 kilometers) away.

Margaret was reflecting quietly on her father’s parting words at the airport. After praying with her, he had said, “Margaret, Jesus is coming back very soon. When you arrive at your home in Perth, my God will be at your door the next day.”

Not far from Margaret and Levana’s home, literature evangelist Jo Laing and several friends were praying at a Seventh-day Adventist church. They were praying for divine appointments as they prepared to head out for a day of canvassing.

A couple hours later, Jo knocked on the door of Margaret and Levana’s home. The home looked no different from the other houses on the street.

Levana opened the door and politely looked through the cookbook that Jo showed him. But he didn’t express any real interest in the book. Then Jo gave him a copy of Ellen White’s The Great Controversy and began telling him about it.

Levana flipped through several pages and called to his wife.

“Do we have this book?” he asked.

Margaret came to the door and confirmed that they did have the book. She turned to Jo and explained that she was a former Seventh-day Adventist. The words tumbled from her mouth.

“We just came home from Papua New Guinea last night,” she said. “The last thing that my dad said to me was that he would be praying for God to show up at my house.”

It was a hot day in Perth—109.5 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius). But Jo felt goosebumps on her arms. She and Margaret looked at each other with big smiles and marveled at how God had answered the prayer of Margaret’s father.

“Wouldn’t it be great if I could come to your church and share this story?” Margaret said.

“It would,” Jo agreed, and the two exchanged phone numbers.

A few weeks later, Margaret stood with tears in her eyes at Bickley Seventh-day Adventist Church and told her story of how God had found a lost, straying lamb.

God used a woman with a copy of The Great Controversy in Australia to answer a father’s passionate prayer in Papua New Guinea.

Join the Seventh-day Adventist world church in the mass promotion and distribution of The Great Controversy in 2023 and 2024. Visit for more information or ask your pastor.

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