Yesterday we highlighted all the references to God in yellow and underlined all the verbs related to God with blue. Today we’re going to organize what we’ve found.
Assignment: Pray for the ability to concentrate on your study without worrying about everything else that needs to get done, and pray for understanding. Then read all of Psalm 103. Is it becoming more familiar? Are you starting to anticipate some of the phrases?
- Open up your notebook to a fresh page and divide it into three sections horizontally (with lines going across the page). Rather than dividing the space evenly, make the middle section quite a bit larger than the top and bottom sections. (We’ll be writing more in that section.)
- Along the left-hand edge of the page, label the upper section “Past”, the middle section “Present”, and the lower section “Future”. We going to be finding what God has done, what He is doing, and what He will do.
- Next divide the page vertically (with lines going up and down) into two columns. Above the left-hand column write “Does”, and above the right-hand column write “Doesn’t”.
You should have a simple chart now to help you organize your observations.
- Let’s head back to our marked text. Because you have highlighted all the references to God and underlined all the verbs related to Him, you should be able to easily spot each thing God does. The black X’s over the negative words will also help you zero in on the things He doesn’t do.
- Read your way through the psalm. Every time you encounter a description of what God does, record it in the proper section of your chart. You will need to consider the tense of the verb. Is it something He is doing in the present? Is something He has done already in the past? Or is it something He will (or will not) do in the future?
The first entry on your chart will be “forgives all your iniquity”, and it will be recorded in the “Does/Present” section.
- When you have finished, look back over what you have written in your chart.
What has God already done?
What is He doing now — right now in your every day life while you’re trying to keep up with the laundry, trying not to yell at your kids, and trying to get a few hours of sleep all in a row?
- Read through all those phrases in the “Present” row of your chart, replacing all the yours and yous with the words my and me.
He forgives all my iniquity.
He knows my frame.
He satisfies me with good things so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (I like that one! :-))
He does not repay me according to my iniquities.
We’ll be spending much more time on these phrases, but don’t these words, applied directly to your life, move you to adore and celebrate such a gracious, loving, faithful God?
For your children:
We’re going to make some simple puzzles to help your children learn some of the phrases in the psalm and to help them start memorizing them. If your children are old enough, have them help you make these!
- Cut two sheets of heavy paper into 6 strips each (so you have 12 strips total).
- On each strip, copy one of the phrases from the “Present” section on your chart. Write the phrase in two chunks with a space left between them. Include the verb portion of the phrase in the first chunk, and the rest of the phrase in the second chunk.
For example, “who forgives” will go on the left side of the strip of paper, a space will be in the middle, and “all your inquity” will go on the right. Write large and clearly so your readers can read the words easily.
- Do this with each verb phrase.
- Then cut each strip in half, cutting in different patterns to create a sort of puzzle out of each strip. Cut one at a diagonal, one with zigzag cuts, one with a wiggly cut, and so forth.
- Now mix them all up and lay them face down on a table or on the floor.
- Ask the children to try to match up two puzzle pieces.
- When they make a match, turn the pieces over and read the two phrases together. Explain what the words mean.
- Continue to match up one puzzle at a time until all the pieces are matched up and all the phrases have been read. If there’s interest, put all the pieces out and match them all up again.
- When you’re finished, store all the strips of paper somewhere safe for future use. We’ll use them in different ways several times over the next few weeks.