Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 23: Catch Up and Optional Lesson

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It’s Catch-Up Day! Go for it! I can’t believe we already only have a week left in our study!

Here’s an optional assignment for those who would like one:

  • Use the Interlinear tools to study all the words related to sin in this Psalm. First go through the psalm and underline with a black zigzag line every reference to sin, iniquity, transgression and any other synonym for sin that you see.
  • Then, using the skills you have been learning, look up each verse that includes the words, and use the Interlinear tool to help you study their meanings.
  • Look at the root of each word, when it is available. It will be shown in the lexicon section labeled “Root Word (Etymology)”. These root words will help you make greater distinctions between the different words.
  • Looking at the verses listed under “Concordance Results Using KJV” in the lexicon listings, read other verses in Scripture that contain each of these words for sin.
  • Use Bible dictionaries and other study tools to help you.
  • Organize your notes when you are all done with your marking and research. What have you learned? Does each word mean something different? How does that affect your understanding of the verses? How does it affect the way you think about sin and the way you live?

For your children:

We’ve looked at the Israelites before while studying Psalm 103. Over and over God revealed to His people that He is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love”.

For something special on this day of rest, watch this short 5-minute clip from the old movie, The Ten Commandments. (The special effects — for 1956 — are actually pretty impressive! :-) )

Watch the movie clip. Read the story (Exodus 14). Then pull out a couple blankets to use for parting the Red Sea and have a good time acting out this amazing account of God’s love and power. (This was one of our favorite act-outs when our kids were little!)

 

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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 22: Why

30DaysPs103Day22I hope you’re making progress on memorizing this psalm. If we can remember what God has done —  not just recall the facts but really sink these truths deep into our souls — it will transform the way we think and live.  Memorizing the psalm will help us remember it in a life-changing way.

Assignment: Pray for God’s continued work in your heart as you study this psalm. As we read Psalm 103 today, we’re going to look for some reasons — some explanations. The words because and for often alert us to a reason for what is being said in the text. Let’s look at some examples:

“We’re not going to play outside today because it’s too wet and cold. The reason we’re not going to play outside is — it’s raining (again :-( ).

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Why will my lips praise God? Because His steadfast love (there’s that amazing word again!) is better than life.

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (What a wonderful truth!) Why can I lie down and sleep in peace, no matter what is going on around me? Because I’m not going to change a thing by lying there awake. The Lord alone makes me dwell in safety.

The word for doesn’t always introduce a reason. “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help.” Try replacing the word for with the word because. The sentence doesn’t make sense anymore. So we’re not looking at a reason.

  • Read Psalm 103, watching for because and for. Circle these words with a black pen or pencil (or you can pick a more exciting color, if you prefer :-) ) In the ESV, I found three appearances of the words. (NIV and NASB readers may only find two.)
  • When you have finished reading, go back and look at the words that precede each of those circled words. In your notebook, copy the thoughts that precede each because or for and also the words that follow, circling the for in your notes as well.

Why will God not always chide? Why will He not keep His anger forever?

Why does He not repay us as our sins deserve?

There’s our answer, right there behind the for, in verse 11 and then continuing on into verse 12. His amazing, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love really doesn’t stop. It really doesn’t give up. It doesn’t break. It’s always been and always will be. And it’s bigger and stronger and more powerful than any sin we ever have or ever will commit. It will prevail. 

God will chide us if He has to, but He keeps right on loving and He doesn’t stop forgiving. When we try to walk away from that love, He pursues us. If we keep up our fight, He may let us eat the fruit of our rebellion for awhile, but He’s still there, still watching, still ready to take us into His arms the moment we turn back around.

He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve because His steadfast love is just too big for that.

And besides, He has removed our sins — or at least the guilt of our sins. (We’re stuck doing battle with the remnants of our sin nature for now.) He’s removed our transgressions from us, the ones who keep wanting to feel guilty about them.

The guilt is gone. So we can quit dredging it back up. God is satisfied. The debt has been paid. So He doesn’t need to deal with us as our sins deserve.

I have a hard time grabbing hold of this.

If this is true, Lord, won’t everyone just go out and sin up a storm and then claim your grace for forgiveness? Isn’t this steadfast love kind of risky, Lord? People are going to take advantage of You.

No. God knows what He’s doing (and He’s used to being taken advantage of). Let’s wrap up today by heading to Romans 6 and reading what Paul has to say about this question. (We’ll look at the other fors next week.) Read this chapter in Romans. Think about what we have been learning in Psalm 103. What kind of life has God called us to when He redeems us from the pit, crowning us with His steadfast love?

Pray again, asking God to help you understand and live these truths.

For your children:

Read Psalm 103:9-11 with your children. Talk about why God doesn’t treat us the way our sins deserve. Talk about God’s steadfast love that keeps on loving us.

If you own the children’s book The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown, this is the perfect day to read this with your children. This book is such a easy-to-grasp look at what God’s steadfast love is like. Read it, and discuss how it pictures God’s never-ending, always-pursuing love for us. 

If you don’t own the book, you can watch the pictures while Grandma Annii reads it aloud for you!

When you’ve finished the story, tell your children a story from your own life that gives testimony to God’s steadfast love and forgiveness.

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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 21: Paraphrase

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Yesterday we looked for pictures in Psalm 103. We drew pictures. Today we’re going to sit down in the middle of those pictures in Psalm 103 and appreciate them.

Assignment: Pray for God’s guidance, and for the grace to truly believe all that He is showing us about Himself. Then read all of Psalm 103, not rushing, not thinking you already know what it says, but really listening to the words and giving thanks for the astounding blessings that are lined out in this psalm.

  • Then open Blueletterbible and head for Psalm 103:11. Open to the Interlinear for this verse. In your notebook, copy each of the phrases listed for this verse, leaving several lines of space between each phrase for notes.
  • Now click on for as the heaven. This word encompasses the heavens — the sky, the universe, the stars — and the heaven where God abides. Copy the definitions into your notebook.
  • Now return to the Interlinear and look at is high above. This word relates not only to height and distance, but to glory and exaltation. Copy these definitions.
  • Go back to the Interlinear again and click on so great. Here is a word rich with meaning. Record these definitions in your notebook.
  • Return to the Interlinear and click is his mercy. This word should be familiar! Here is that amazing, hard-to-define never-failing love of God again! Note these definitions and any other information you recall about God’s mercy. (You might want to refer back to your notes from Day 14.)
  • Now look at toward them that fear. (Remember, each time we want to leave the lexicon to look at a new word, we use the back arrow to return to the Interlinear.) This fear is not a terrified fear, but a reverence, respect for a just and holy God, a submission of our will to His, a desire to please Him, and a deep appreciation of His love. Get this into your notes.
  • Let’s try paraphrasing this verse as a way of putting together what we have learned from our brief word studies. (A paraphrase is simply a restatement of a text using different words.)
  • Rewrite verse 11 in your own words, incorporating as much as you can from the definitions you have been noting for each phrase. Your version will be longer — more like the Amplified Bible, if you’re familiar with that Bible — that expands on the meanings of the words.
  • When you have finished, read back over what you have written. Then contemplate. How is God’s steadfast love like the glory and endlessness of the heavens? What difference does this make in your life?
  • Copy your paraphrase onto a 3 x 5 card or post-it, or put it into the notepad on your smartphone. Reread it in the grocery line, at a stop light, in the bathroom.
  • While you’re still trying to comprehend all that verse 11 means, we’re going to do the same sort of thing with verse 13. Go to Psalm 103:13 and open the Interlinear for it.
  • Work your way through each phrase, recording definitions for each in your notebook. Be sure to stop and read Gesenius on the word pitieth to get a fuller picture of this word’s meaning.
  • If you have time, open Biblestudytools, search on Psalm 103:13, and then open Treasury of David to read Spurgeon’s description of a father’s compassion. A parent feels a unique and tender compassion for his child that is a picture of God’s compassion for His children.

I also found the third entry under “Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings” to be particularly helpful.

  • When you have gathered all your definitions, rewrite this verse in the same way you did verse 11. Incorporate what you have learned into an expanded version of the verse. Then make a copy you can keep with you or look at often. Meditate on it.

In what ways and in what different types of situations does a father show compassion to his children ? Does he just feel compassion, or does he actively show compassion through his actions? What kind of sacrifices is he willing to make for his children? How does a compassionate father respond when his child sins? And when he repents? In what similar ways does God show compassion to us?

How do verses 11 and 13 change the way you view God? How do they change the way you view yourself? Should they also change the way you relate to others?

This is probably enough to try to absorb in one lesson. Are you, like me, having moments, as we look at this psalm, of feeling completely overwhelmed by our Father’s goodness and grace? Are you feeling smaller and smaller in the presence of our infinite — but personal — God? Let’s soak up what we’ve studied today, and we’ll go back to verse 12 tomorrow.

For your children:

Work on memorizing the psalm today.

  • Get out the puzzle strips you made on Day 7 and use those to review.
  • Then start reciting around in a circle. The first person can say the first phrase of verse 1, the next person recites the second phrase. The next person starts verse 2, and the next finishes verse 2. Keep taking turns and see how far you can get without any glitches. Help each other out.
  • When you get stuck, start working on those verses until you can say them.

The goal is to have this entire psalm memorized by the end of the month. Kids have great memories. Other than the tiny ones, the rest of your children should be able to nail this, if you keep consistently working with them. Take one verse during a mealtime, and repeat it until it is memorized. Then move on to the next.

This is a psalm our children should have anchored in their hearts. So should we! :-)

 

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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 20: Comparisons

30DaysPs103Day20No7Time to pull out the colored pencils and pens again! Today we’re going to look at comparisons in this psalm.

Assignment: Read all of Psalm 103 after you have prayed for God’s guidance. As you read, watch for words that tell us a comparison is being made. Look for “as phrases” that are followed by “so phrases”. (See examples below.) Also look for the word like. Draw two diagonal lines through (or before) these words to signal that a comparison is being made.

Let’s look at some examples:

Psalm 127:4 says, As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth.”  Children are being compared to arrows in this verse.

Proverbs 12:18 says, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Rash words are being compared to sword thrusts.

  • Read all of Psalm 103, marking any words that signal comparisons. In my ESV, I found three pairs of as/so phrases, and two likes.
  • When you have finished marking, pull out your notebook and make a simple chart to organize your findings. Divide a page into three columns, with the left-hand column just wide enough to record verse references.
  • Go back to your Bible and take notes on each verse you have marked. Write the verse reference in the left-hand column of your chart, and the two portions of the comparison in the two other columns.

Looking back at one of our examples above, we would record Ps. 127:4 in the reference column, “Arrows in the hand of a mighty man” in the next column, and “children of the youth” in the right-hand column.

  • When you have finished filling in your chart, review what you have written. Think about each of these word pictures. They are images to help us understand and remember.

What is God saying about His steadfast love? Do we know where the heavens end?

Where is He saying He’s put our sins? If we start driving toward the western horizon, will we ever meet up with the eastern one? If we get on a ship and start sailing west, will we ever run into a wall or rope that says we’ve now met up with east?

What about God’s compassion? How does a father feel about his child? Is it different than he feels about others’ children? How does (or should) it influence how he treats his child?

What is He saying about man? What happens to a wildflower after a day or two in the sun and wind? How long does it “flourish”?

We’ll look at these verses again tomorrow. For now, let’s try something new.

  • While you continue meditating on these pictures David has “painted” for us, take your pens and pencils and draw some pictures. Don’t panic if you don’t consider yourself artistic. You don’t have to be. You can draw stick figures if you need to. The idea is to process these truths with another part of our bodies. Some of us will especially benefit from getting our hands involved as we interact with this psalm.
  • Let’s start with the comparisons you have recorded on your chart. In the margin of your Bible, or in your notebook if you don’t want to draw in your Bible, draw a simple picture to illustrate God’s steadfast love being bigger and higher and more awesome than the endlessness of the heavens.

30DaysPs103Day20No1Here’s how simple it can be for those of you that I can almost hear saying, “I can’t draw!”. (Never say can’t. ;-) ) Draw a little cross and put a circle on top of it. That’s you. Now draw a couple stars (or asterisks) above you, and some smaller stars above those, and some even smaller ones above those. If you want to get fancy, draw two eyes high on your head, like you’re looking up. That gets the idea across!

If you like to draw, of course you can get as elaborate as you’d like. I enjoy drawing a simple picture and then coloring it in with my colored pencils. It gives me time to think about the verse as I draw.

30DaysPs103Day20No6It’s also fun — and instructive — if the children are around, to let them watch, and even help color, if you’re that brave. (You might want to explain that this is a special exercise. It doesn’t mean we start drawing in all our books. :-))

If they watch you draw, they’ll probably ask you questions, which will give you the opportunity to explain what you’re studying.

My pictures, which I have chosen to draw directly into my Bible, are a sort of visual journal of my study, as well as memory triggers when I read the same passage again, or when I’m looking for a particular verse and can’t remember its reference. The pictures often lead me to the verse.

  • When you have finished illustrating all the verses you recorded in your chart, read back through the psalm one more time, stopping to illustrate other verses that lend themselves to illustration.

Give this a try, no matter how “un-talented” you think you are! Do it on a print-out of the passage, if you can’t bear to draw in your Bible. I think you’ll find that it really can help you meditate on and remember a passage better.

For your children:

Read Psalm 103:11-16 aloud and talk about the comparisons that are being made.

  • How is God’s steadfast love like the heavens? Pull out a book about outer space and the universe. Talk about how vast it is and how we have never found an end to it.
  • How far away has God put our sins? If you have a globe get it out and let someone fingers start walking east around the globe. Help them see how they can just keep walking and walking and always be heading east. (If you don’t own a globe, take out a ball and pretend.)
  • How compassionate is God toward His children? Does a father want to discipline his child? Does he love him and want to bless him and protect him from harm?
  • How long is man’s life compared to eternity? What happens to the wildflower in the field after a hot day of sunshine and wind?

Bring out paper and drawing supplies and have each child choose one of the verses from Psalm 103:11-16 to copy and illustrate. Encourage them to take their time on these pictures, and then post them where you can all see, appreciate, and think about them throughout the day.

 

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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 19: Not

30DaysPs103Day19Back on Day 6 we underlined verbs that described God’s actions. While we were doing that, we also marked negative words with a black X. We’re going to look at those X’s today and see what God doesn’t do and what He won’t do.

Assignment: Pray before you start your study, thanking God’s for His mercy, His grace, His patience, and His steadfast love, and ask Him to continue teaching you about Himself.

  • Search on Psalm 103:9 on Blueletterbible and click on the Interlinear tool.
  • Click the Strong’s number for chide and read its definitions.
  • Then skim the verses under “Concordance Results Using KJV”. Notice how the word is used in several different ways.

God won’t always contend or strive with us. He is amazingly patient and loving. But He doesn’t just look the other way when we choose to sin. He will contend when His holiness and love see our need for correction.

  • As we continue on to the last half of the verse, we see that God will “not keep His anger forever”. Why would God be angry if He’s forgiven us? Let’s take a look at some commentaries to answer that question. Take good notes that you can review at the end of our lesson.
  • Head to Biblestudytools, and search on Psalm 103:9.
  • Click on John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, then on “Psalms 103:9″. What does Gill say about this verse? Why does God chide?
  • Now use your back arrow to return to the commentary list and click on Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete).
  • Scroll down the page until you spot the blue “v.9″, then read Henry’s comments.
  • Finally, go back and click on Treasury of David to read Spurgeon’s always-helpful comments. It seems like there is always some special line in this commentary that needs to be copied into the margin of my Bible!
  • Be sure to also read the first comment under “Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings” (in Treasury of David).

Because God loves us with a zealous, loyal, fatherly love, He’s going to correct us when we stray. He’s going to discipline us when we rebel against Him and try to be our own gods. His anger is a holy anger that contends with the sin in our lives, because He knows we’ve been freed from it. This is a blessing that should lead us to praise and thank Him!

  • While you still have Treasury of David open, scroll to the bottom of the comments on verse 9 and click on “Psalm 103:10>” to read Spurgeon’s comments on that verse as well. I especially appreciated (and copied :-) ) this sentence:

We ought to praise the Lord for what he has not done as well as for what he has wrought for us; even the negative side deserves our adoring gratitude.

Even while God corrects, He is still merciful. He doesn’t stay angry, because He longs to show us compassion. Verse 10 states what is obvious in our lives — God does not deal with us as our sins deserve. He does not repay us as our sins require, because Jesus has already satisfied those requirements.

There’s so much to grab hold of in this psalm! Can we squeeze one more word study into this lesson? (I know this lesson is getting long, but I want you to see this for yourself!)

  • Open Blueletterbible, search on Psalm 103:10.
  • Open the Interlinear and click on nor rewarded. Record its Strong’s number and its meaning in your notes.
  • Now look at the Interlinear for verse 2. Click on the phrase not all his benefits. Does the definition look familiar?
  • Look at the Strong’s number for this word’s root word (in the box labeled “Word Root [Etymology]”). What is its Strong’s number?

These two words in verse 2 and verse 10 are two forms of the same Hebrew word. When I was doing my initial study of this psalm and saw the word recompense used to define benefits I was puzzled. I couldn’t figure out what to do with this word.

Recompense has to do with being paid in return for something. All the benefits I was seeing listed in this psalm didn’t look like the way should be repaid. They’re not the recompense deserve.

But that’s the whole point! We’re not getting what we deserve! We’re getting the payback for what Jesus has done! God is “repaying” us with a truckload of benefits! We need to remember this! God is not going to repay us as our sins deserve, because we have put our faith in Jesus and not in ourselves! Praise God!

  • Before you finish up, take some time to review your notes. Then read back over verses 9-10.
  • How should your thoughts and actions be affected by what Psalm 103:9-10 says God will not do?
  • How should the way you relate to your children be affected by the way God treats you? What can you learn from His example?
  • How should the way you relate to your children be affected by the way God treats them? (These verses apply to them, too!)

Put these questions into your thinking cap and chew on them today. There is a lot to contemplate in these two verses.

For your children:

  • Read Psalm 103:9-10 aloud for your children. Instruct them to cross their arms out in front of them every time they hear you read the words not and nor. Stop to write each phrase down on a blackboard or whiteboard, as they hear the word.
  • Then look at your list. What is God not going to do?
  • Talk about God chiding and being angry. Help them understand that this is a holy anger that doesn’t want us to hold to sins that Jesus died to free us from. God is eager to show compassion, and is showing compassion, even as He disciplines us, because it is for our good. He is healing us, as we learned in verse 3.
  • Talk about what our sins deserve, and contrast that with how God has chosen to bless us, in Christ. Remind them that these great blessings are a sign of God’s love for us. His love — and His holiness — should cause us to want to please Him. He’s done so much for us!
  • If you have come to the conclusion, as the result of your own study that you are not accurately portraying God’s patience and forgiveness before them — take the opportunity today to voice your repentance and ask their forgiveness. Ask them to pray for you as God continues to make you more like Jesus.

 

 

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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 18: The Lord Is . . .

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Here we are, already on Day 18 and only on verse 6! We slowed down to really look at each word in the opening verses of the psalm. Now we have to move on.

David points out in verse 6 that God brings righteousness and justice to all who are oppressed. He is a helper — and avenger — for the helpless.

In verse 7 we are reminded that God has revealed Himself — another humbling gift from God — to Moses and Israel. The God who made and sustains the universe has chosen to reveal Himself to man! This is a truth that should cause us to rejoice and give thanks — and an honor that should send us running daily to His Word where He reveals Himself to us.

Let’s look at what God revealed about Himself to Israel and continues to reveal of Himself to us.

Assignment: Pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you today as God continues to show Himself to us through His Word.

Then slowly read all of Psalm 103, testing your memory of the verses as you read. Let’s focus on verse 8 today. What did Israel see when God revealed Himself to them?

  • With a blue pen or pencil, circle every adjective that describes God in verse 8. Write each of these in your notebook, leaving space for notes.
  • Then open Blueletterbible, search on Psalm 103:8, and let’s look at these words more carefully.
  • Click on the Interlinear tool, and then on the Strong’s number for is merciful. Here we see that the word means compassionate and is a word that is used almost exclusively for God.
  • To get a better idea of what this compassion looks like, scroll down to “Concordance Results Using KJV” and skim the verses. Notice what actions and attitudes are associated with God’s compassion or mercy.

What does God do because He is merciful?

What does He not do?

Who is the recipient of this mercy in most of the verses?

  • Use your back arrow to return to the Interlinear tool, and click on the Strong’s number for and gracious. 
  • The definition doesn’t give any new information, so let’s look at the root word for gracious. The upper portion of the lexicon is divided into four sections. In the lower right-hand section, you will see the heading “Word Root” (Etymology). This section tells us where the word we are studying comes from —  what “root” it “grew” from — and it often gives new insights into the word.
  • Click on the Strong’s number (H2603) in the “Word Root” section. This gives us a little more information. Being gracious has to do with showing favor or pity, much like another word for mercy that we studied in verse 4 on Day 14.
  • Use the back arrow to return to the lexicon entry for gracious. Read the verses for this word in the section, “Concordance Results Using KJV”. Notice how often merciful and gracious appear together in Scripture. Most of these verses are the same ones we read for merciful.
  • In your notebook, summarize what you have learned about the words merciful and gracious.
  • Go back to the Interlinear again to look at the phrase slow to anger. This word is actually composed of two Hebrew words, so we have two lexicon entries to read. Read about slow first.
  • The entry under Gesenius’ Hebrew Chaldee-Lexicon helps relate the word to the phrase slow to anger. Keep taking notes.
  • Skim the verses listed under “Concordance Results Using KJV”. This word is almost always speaking of being slow to anger, and except for its use in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, it speaks of God.
  • Back up to the Interlinear and look at anger. This is an interesting word! Gesenius will help us make more sense of the connection between nostrils and anger. 

We have one more word in verse 8 that describes God, and we’ve seen this word before. You should have a red heart drawn over it. This is the same Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love we are crowned with in verse 4!

  • Use your back arrow to return to the Interlinear. This time, instead of looking at the lexicon for mercy (as the word is translated in KJV), go to the top of the Interlinear box and click on the orange “Bibles” tab.
  • Read the different translations of this verse. Note the many different ways this last word in verse 8 is translated! This gives us a hint at how difficult it is to cram all that this word means into one humble English word! Refer to your notes from Day 14, if you need a review of this word’s meaning.
  • Look back over what you have learned about these four words that describe God. Then think about the Israelites’ story. In what ways did God reveal Himself to be this kind of God to His children? (If you have time, read Psalm 136. It is a beautiful tribute to God’s merciful faithfulness to His people.)

In what ways has God revealed Himself to be merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy to you? Take some time to think and pray about this today. Here is another great blessing to not forget, another great reason to kneel down and praise God!

It’s time to bring out one of my all-time favorite hymns, one that speaks of God’s great and faithful mercy. It was sung at our wedding. I want it sung when I’ve finished my course.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness:

For your children:

Today is a great opportunity to do some story acting!

  • Read Psalm 103:6-8 with your children. Discuss what the verses mean.
  • Now read Exodus 16 for the children (or listen to this dramatized version of it), and discuss God’s mercy and patience with the Israelites.. Then let the children act out the story. They can do this with costumes and props, or they can act out the story with Legos, Playmobil, dolls, and stuffed animals.
  • Take pictures. If any of your children are old enough, let them work with all your pictures later to create a picture storybook or media presentation.
  • When they’ve finished this story, see if they can think of other stories they can dramatize about the Israelites and God’s mercy toward them ( Ex. 14, crossing the Red Sea; Ex. 17, water from the rock; Ex. 32, the golden calf; Num. 11, the people complain; Num. 13-14, the spies’ report and the people’s rebellion, etc.).
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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 17: Satisfied

30DaysPs103Day17

How is it going memorizing Psalm 103? Are you finding that the verses you have studied are easier to remember?

Assignment: Pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you as you study, and ask Him to use what you learn to change you. Then read all of Psalm 103.

We’re going to look at verse 5 today. First let’s read the verse in different translations.

  • Go to Blueletterbible and search on Psalm 103:5.
  • Hover over the “Tools” button and click “Bibles” in the drop-down menu. This will bring up a selection of translations of this verse.
  • Read through the different versions. What differences do you notice between translations?
  • Most words are similar, but what God is satisfying seems to be less clear. Several different words are used.
  • Click the blue Interlinear tab at the top of all these translations, and then click the Strong’s number for thy mouth. This will help us see why the translations vary so much. What does the lexicon say the word means?
  • Scroll down until you see the heading “Concordance Results Using KJV”. Skim the verses listed in this section. How do most of them use the word we are studying (mouth in KJV)? This translation doesn’t fit our verse.
  • Now look at the excerpt from Gesenius. What does he say about the word? Old age would definitely make sense in the verse, if David wrote this psalm in his later years, and since he refers to his youth being renewed.
  • Since the meaning is unclear, we’re going to work with the ESV translation of the verse for one of the next steps in our study. It simply says, “Who satisfies you…” 
  • Now let’s look at good things by backing up to the Interlinear and clicking the appropriate Strong’s number. Read through the definitions and take notes.
  • Note that the word things is not actually in the Hebrew text. If you go back to the Interlinear, you can see that it places things so that all inside brackets, indicating that the words have been added in the KJV to make the meaning clearer in English.

So we can accurately say that God satisfies us with goodperiod. Perhaps part of the good He is satisfying us with is all the benefits that this psalm delineates for us.

  • A brief glimpse at who satisfies in the lexicon adds the dimension of God enriching us with good. (The definitions under “C” apply to this form of the word, and again the verb is continuous. God is satisfying. He is enriching. He is going to continue to doing so.)
  • Now let’s put all these words together as they read in the ESV: “Who satisfies you with good . . .”

We’re going to emphasize different words in the first phrase of this verse, like we did with verse 1 back on Day 3. Let’s replace the word who with the word God, since that is who is being spoken of in the verse, and will make more sense as we stress different words in our reading.

God satisfies you with good.

God satisfies you with good.

God satisfies you with good.

God satisfies you with good.

Take time to think about what you are saying with each reading of the phrase. Don’t you love the way this brings out different meanings insights from one simple phrase?

God is the one who is going to truly satisfy us. We can try to satisfy ourselves with all kinds of other things, but we have a “hole” in us that only God can fill.

He’s going to satisfy us. We’ll be full. We’ll be enriched. We’ll have all we need.

He’s going to satisfy us. We might look at someone else and wish we had what they have, but God is satisfying us. He’s giving us what is good for us. He’s giving them what is good for them.

He’s going to satisfy us with good. What He gives us is going to be good.

And this is all on top of crowning us with His compassion and never-ending love! 

And what are the results of all this good that He is satisfying us with? Our youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

If you take time to look at these words in the lexicon, you’ll see that youth really does mean youth in this verse, and renewed can also mean repaired or made new. Our vigor and energy — spiritually, and perhaps physically — are renewed as God satisfies the deep needs of our souls.

If you have the time, check out a commentary on this verse. (You should know how now! :-). If you can’t remember, see Day 8.) I found Matthew Henry especially helpful, and John Gill also helps us consider some of the many ways God satisfies us with good.

Review your notes. Read the verse one more time. What does God want to teach you with this verse?

For your children:

Read Psalm 103:5 with your children. Try emphasizing the different words in the phrase, “God satisfies you with good,” like you did in your assignment. Talk about the different meanings as you stress different words. Discuss how we will never be satisfied unless we find our satisfaction in God.

If your children can read, encourage them to find out what they can about eagles today. They can share what they have learned with the family at dinner. Discuss why David would choose to compare our renewed spirit with an eagle?

(Just for fun, [especially if you’ve seen the movie, Mom’s Night Out :-)], you might enjoy watching this video with your children — eagles hatching from their eggs!

 

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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 16: Catch Up and Optional Assignment

30DaysPs103Day16I’m guessing most of you have some catching up to do today. We’ve pushed through a lot of word study this week! If you want another idea for study, here’s a suggestion.

Optional assignment: I heartily recommend listening to a sermon on Psalm 103, by Timothy Keller.

Open this PDF to read an excerpt from a sermon entitled “Praying the Gospel”. Then, if you would like to hear the entire sermon, click this link  to go to the site and download the sermon. I have it up on the page and waiting for you. Unfortunately there is a $2.50 charge for the recording, but it is well worth it. (While you’re on the site, take some time to look through the many free sermons that are also available.)

This is such a helpful sermon about not forgetting His benefits! Keller says our main problem in life is that we forget what God has done for us — we forget the gospel. He addresses why we need to remember, where we need to remember, what we need to remember, and how we need to remember. He states that forgetting the gospel is behind all our problems in life. He also explains why we so clearly remember the bad, and struggle to remember the good, and what we can do about it.

For your children:

Remember those verse flashcards you made yesterday — the ones with the cue words on one side and the verses on the other? If your children were making the cards and didn’t finish, wrap up that project today.

  • If the cards are finished (or if you made your own set, and don’t mind them getting a little wear and tear), hide them all over the house, or in a smaller space, if your children are young.
  • Then let the children loose to find them all. Have them bring the cards all back to one central location, and arrange them in their proper order.
  • Then, looking at the word cue side of the cards, see how far you can all get reciting the verses for memory.
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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 15: Memorize

 

30DaysPs103Day15

Psalm 103 has 22 verses, just as the Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. We’ve studied two acrostic passages in past Busy Mamas Bible studies. Proverbs 31, which we studied in July, is an acrostic poem, and Psalm 37, which we studied last March, is also acrostic. Each verse of the passage starts with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet, so that the entire alphabet is used by the end of the passage. An acrostic represents completion or the whole picture — everything from A-Z on the subject. The alphabetical arrangement also functions as a memory aid.

Although Psalm 103 does have 22 verses, they are not arranged in an alphabetical order. But as an aid for ourselves, as we work on memorizing the psalm, we’re going to come up with an alphabetical arrangement of words to help us remember each verse. If you are using the children’s assignments, you can do this along with your children today, if you’d like.

Assignment: Pray, thanking God for His Word and for His great blessings in your life. Ask for His help in committing Psalm 103 to memory.

  • Then start reading the psalm. Think of a word starting with the letter “A” that represents some portion of Psalm 103:1. This will simply function as a memory clue for you. The word will be one of twenty-two different cues to guide you through the entire psalm. “All” would be a pretty easy word to assign this verse, since we told to bless the Lord with all that is within us.

In your notebook, write the number 1 and the word all, or print out a copy of the psalm and write the word all in front of the verse.

  • Move on to verse 2. Read it and assign a cue word to it that starts with “B”. How about “bless”? Record this word (or another “B” word of your choice) for verse 2.

Besides providing clues for your memorization, this exercise also helps you stop and summarize what each verse says in order to make a clue that relates to the verse.

  • Verse 3 will take a bit more creativity. We’ll have to use a word that is not actually in the text of the verse, but a word that helps us remember the words or theme of the verse.
  • Work your way through the entire psalm today, assigning a cue word for each verse. Because our alphabet contains 26 letters, you have 4 extra letters to work with, so you can skip a letter here and there, if that helps you come up with a better word to fit a particular verse. For instance, we could skip the letter “C” for verse 3, so that we could use the word “disease” to represent the verse. But we’ll have to be careful. If we skip some of the easy letters, we’ll be stuck with “X” and “Z” at the end!)
  • The next thing to do is make some flashcards to help you with your memory work. If you’re doing the children’s lessons, do this along with your children. If you aren’t using the children’s lessons, make a set of cards by writing each verse on a separate card, and then writing your cue words on the other side of the cards.
  • To test yourself, arrange the cards in order and only look at the cue word for each verse while you recite the verse.

For your children:

  • Explain what you worked on in your own lesson today. Read a verse and tell the children what your cue word is for that verse. Read another verse and tell them that cue word. Work your way through the psalm this way.
  • If your children are old enough, you might want to help them think up their own set of cue words. Otherwise, work with them to make a set of flashcards using your cue words.
  • Let the younger children write the cue words on one side of the cards, and the older ones can write the verses on the other side. Just do half of the verses today, if you think all twenty-two will be too much for one day. Use the catch-up day tomorrow to finish them up.
  • When you are all done, put the cards in order with the cue words facing you, and test yourselves. When you get stuck, turn the card over, read the verse aloud, and work together on memorizing it.
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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 14: Crowned

30DayPs103Day14We’ve seen that God pardons and then heals. He redeems, and then crowns. We’re ready to take a closer look at those crowns.

Assignment: Pray for guidance and wisdom as you study.

  • Then read all of Psalm 103. While you read, use a red pen or pencil to draw a heart over every appearance of the words love, lovingkindness, mercy, and steadfast love, depending on which translation of the Bible you are using. We’ll come back to most of these markings later.
  • Open Blueletterbible to Psalm 103:4 and go to the lexicon for “who crowneth”. Click on its Strong’s number.

Definition II is the one that applies to our verse. The word crowneth in verse 4 actually means to crown and not to surround as it is defined in definition IA. God is crowning us with steadfast love and mercy, not just surrounding us with those good things. It’s different. Honor and responsibility come with crowns.

Let’s move on to the main focus of our lesson today. What is God crowning us with? (The verb crowneth is another continuous action. He is crowning us — today, and tomorrow, and the next day.)

  • Let’s start with the last two words of the verse. Click on the Strong’s number for and tender mercies.

We see two fairly different definitions in the lexicon — womb and compassion — and compassion is the one that applies to our study. Even though God is obviously not crowning us with a womb in Psalm 103, it is interesting to know that one form of this Hebrew word, racham, does mean womb. What is more compassionate than a mother’s womb as it nurtures, protects, comforts, and shares its life-blood with the growing baby inside it?

  • Read Gesenius’ comments on tender mercies to broaden your understanding of the word. Take notes.

In addition to His tender mercies, God also crowns us with His steadfast love or lovingkindness. This is another word we could devote an entire study to!

  • Use the back arrow to return to the Interlinear for verse 4, and click on the Strong’s number for thee with lovingkindness. 
  • Record the first definition in your notebook. Note especially that this lovingkindness involves faithfulness.
  • Next read and take notes on Gesenius’s comments.

Notice the terms ardour and zeal that are used to describe lovingkindness. Both are strong words with intense commitment behind them. Grace is also involved with lovingkindness — it’s not something we earn or deserve. This is an intense and committed love, freely given.

  • Let’s look at a Bible dictionary next. Type the word lovingkindness into the search box at the top of the screen, and click the search arrow.
  • Click the “Dictionaries” tab at the top of the page. You should see a link to an article listed from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
  • Click that link.
  • Don’t try to read all of this article (unless you have the extra time). For our purposes, look for the sentence that starts with, “This quality in Yahweh,” about two-thirds of the way down in the second paragraph. Read the rest of that paragraph, taking notes as you go.
  • Then be sure to notice just a few lines up from the end of the article that lovingkindness is described as a paternal affection on God’s part. 
  • We can’t leave this lesson without reading Spurgeon’s comments (if you didn’t already read “ahead” on Day 11). Read the second paragraph and enjoy! I love how Spurgeon’s love for God seeps out of every word he writes.
  • Before you quit, look over your notes. Summarize what you have learned about tender mercies and lovingkindness.

What a crown God has given us!

He’s loving us with a deeply committed, zealous, fatherly love — the sort of love that delights in blessing, disciplines when it has to, and moves into action when anyone messes with His children.

It’s a loyal love that doesn’t walk away when things go wrong.

It’s a love that longs for us to return when we turn our backs on it.

It’s a love He’s chosen to bestow, and a love we could never deserve.

Sally Lloyd-Jones, in her wonderful Jesus Storybook Bible, describes it as a “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love”. 

We’ll look more at this love as we continue to study the psalm.

For your children:

  • Read Psalm 103:4 to your children.
  • Share what you have been learning about the verse with them. Explain that Jesus paid the ransom to free us from slavery to sin when He died on the cross. Explain that God crowns us, honors us, bestows on us the gift of His faithful, never-ending love.
  • If you own The Jesus Storybook Bibleby Sally Lloyd-Jones, turn to the story entitled “The Lie” (on page 28) and read through page 36. The author does an amazing job of describing the first sin, and then God’s response to that sin. I love her words,

“You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children — with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. 

That’s what lovingkindness is all about.

  • Finish up by giving each child a piece of paper, along with some drawing materials.
  • Fold the paper in half (so that it measures 8-1/2″ high and 5-1/2″ wide) and then open it flat again.
  • On one half of the paper, have the children draw a picture that represents God redeeming us out of the pit (or grave or destruction). On the other half of the page, show God crowning us with His steadfast love and mercy.

(If you have young children and you don’t own The Jesus Storybook Bible, you need to own it. It’s a wonderful teaching tool. If you want to use it today, you can even get a Kindle version.)

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