Recently I taught a 12-week study on Book 1 of the Psalms. The group was a men’s lunch study for our congregation. Throughout the 12 weeks we had a steady group of men each week (about 5-7), with a core group of about 5 that regularly showed up whenever they were in town. The study began as a stretch ministry for me because all of the men are older than me, and most of them are senior in life. Many of them have been Christians for longer than I’ve been alive. So there was an intimidation factor I experienced the first couple of weeks. But shortly thereafter I learned a valuable lesson: people are people, regardless of their age. I now count myself blessed to know so many godly older men and I now count them as my friends. This is one of the many unexpected benefits of worshipping in a congregation that contains folks from several different generations. I’ve learned to observe the Spirit’s work in the lives of others besides my own age group, and I am very encouraged. Sure, because people are people, and people are sinners, we all struggle with the same sins that disrupt friendship and community: selfishness, rudeness, insincerity, lack of depth or emotional availability. I am not immune to these sins myself, and neither are men who have been following Christ much longer than me. But I am encouraged to see growth and sanctification in the hearts of men who continue to seek the blessing of the Lord through his Son Jesus Christ.
Studying the Psalms proved to be a very apt topic for delving into the sins of the heart that effect community. What we learned is that Psalms 1 and 2 introduce the rest of the Psalter as words of Spirit-filled life and instruction, and as Scripture that points to God’s messianic king who rules over heaven and earth to save his people. These lessons, which I had to develop fresh each week before we met for lunch, blessed me by drawing me closer to my Savior and closer to a small group of his valiant men-servants.
After we finished our last study, I informed my friends that I likely will not be leading the next study series, but that I enjoyed our time together over the last 3 months and plan to visit the lunch study occasionally because I like their company and learn from them as well. One of the men then paid me a compliment that was so encouraging to me. He said that although one of the ordained pastors would probably lead the next study, it would be OK with him if I taught it too. Wow! I suppose that my prayers for God’s help and my diligent work preparing the lessons each week paid off in spiritual fruit, fruit that I consider beyond what I should be expected to reap, but which nonetheless I give thanks to God for the growth. Amen!
The links below are the individual Bible studies I wrote to introduce people to the first “book” of the Psalms (Psalms 1-41).
Psalm 1 (Introduction to the Psalter, Part 1)
Psalm 2 (Introduction to the Psalter, Part 2)
Psalm 19 (Natural and Special Revelation)
Psalm 8 (God the Majestic Creator, Man the Seemingly Insignificant King)
Psalms 15 and 24 (Who May Dwell in Your Sanctuary?)
Psalm 14 (Fools are Losers, The Wise are Winners)
Psalm 32 (Unconfessed Sin: An Obstacle to Blessing)
Psalm 16 (Trusting the Lord)
Psalm 22 (Why Has God Forsaken Me?)
Psalm 18 (The LORD our Refuge Saves the King our Defender)
Psalm 41 (The Kingdom of God Belongs to the Poor)