Rejoicing in Restoration
May 27 • Bible Study Guide 13
Bible Background • LEVITICUS 16; PSALM 34; HEBREWS 2:5–18
Printed Text • PSALM 34:1–10; HEBREWS 2:17–18 | Devotional Reading • HEBREWS 7:20–28
Aim for Change
By the end of this lesson, we will: IDENTIFY the mercy and faithfulness of God; APPRECIATE the faithfulness of God; and PRAY for God’s will for restoration for all people to be realized.
Jamal never thought he would see this day. It had been ten years since he had been sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit. Walking outside was like experiencing a whole new world. He couldn’t help but smile as he saw his brother Jerome waiting in a car to pick him up. Just ten years ago, he was riding along in a car with a neighborhood friend when they were stopped by the police. His friend had stolen the car, but while they were being interrogated, he told the police that Jamal was an accomplice. Jamal was angry when he found out. How could something like this happen to me? he thought. He was on his way to college and couldn’t have imagined being caught up in something like this.
Instead of being bitter, Jamal turned to faith. He found some men who were following the Lord and decided to do all he could to lean on Him while in prison. It wasn’t easy. There were times when Jamal wanted to die. He faced so many dark days, but God had always been his light.
Now that he was free, Jamal had a sense of purpose. He didn’t want to see any more young Black men caught up in the system, especially when they didn’t deserve it. He knew he couldn’t do it alone. That’s why on Sunday morning, he would be the first one there to give God praise for bringing him through such a difficult time.
God’s mercy and faithfulness are there for us even during times of crisis. Describe a time when you had to trust God in a difficult situation.
Keep in Mind
“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psalm 34:8).
Words You Should Know
A. Fears (Psalm 34:4) megura (Heb.)—Terrors, horrors, an entity that causes pain or terror.
B. Fear (v. 7) yare (Heb.)—To reverence, to fear, to hold in awe.
Unifying Principle—More than Good. People want relief from their fears and brokenness. Where does such hope come from? Hopes for restoration are found through God’s gift of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice.
A. Read the Bible Background and Devotional Readings.
B. Pray for understanding and clarity.
C. Read the Focal Verses in two or more translations.
O—Open the Lesson
A. Ask a volunteer to open the class with prayer.
B. Have a volunteer read the In Focus story. Discuss the impact ungodly behavior has on personal relationships, family members, and other innocent people.
C. State the Aim for Change.
P—Present the Scriptures
A. Ask for a volunteer to read the Focal Verses.
B. Examine the verses, utilizing Words You Should Know; The People, Places, and Times; Background; the At-A-Glance outline; and More Light on the Text sections.
E—Explore the Meaning
A. Answer the Search the Scriptures questions.
B. Answer questions from the Discuss the Meaning section.
C. Summarize the Lesson in Our Society section and relate it to today’s theme.
N—Next Steps for Application
A. Summarize the lesson and encourage students to apply the Make It Happen section to their lives.
B. Remind students to read and meditate on their Daily Bible Readings.
C. Solicit prayer requests and close in prayer.
For the Superintendent and Teacher
Theme: Rejoicing in Restoration
Song: “Trouble Don’t Last Always”
Devotional Reading: Hebrews 7:20–28
Daily Bible Readings
The Atoning Sacrifice for the People (Leviticus 16:15–19)
The Lord Hears the Righteous Cry
Jesus Tasted Death for Everyone
Jesus Brings Salvation Through Suffering
Jesus Destroys the Devil’s Power
Jesus, the People’s High Priest Forever
Jesus, Our Redeemer and Deliverer
(Psalm 34:1–10; Hebrews 2:17–18)
Psalm 34:1 A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.] I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Psalm 34:1 A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.] I will praise the LORD at all times I will constantly speak his praises.
2 I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart.
3 Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.
4 I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
6 In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
7 For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
9 Fear the LORD, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.
18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
The People, Places, and Times
Psalmist. Many different people composed the Psalms, but King David is thought to have written most of them. No one knows how many unattributed psalms David wrote, but since he was known for writing psalms and playing the harp, his name is significantly attached to the book. Others were written by the sons of Korah, who were leaders in Temple worship. Some psalms are also attributed to Moses, Asaph, and Solomon.
Achish/Abimelech. The Philistine king of Gath during the time of Saul was a man named Achish. Once, David had to pretend to be insane to avoid him (1 Samuel 21:10–15). Later, Achish hired David as a mercenary fighter (1 Samuel 27:1–4) but excused him from participating in a war against Israel (1 Samuel 29). He also gave David the city of Ziklag (1 Samuel 27:6). Achish seems to be his personal name, while Abimelech, which means “my father is king,” is probably the royal title for Philistine kings.
What is your favorite psalm?
In Psalm 34, David praises God for helping him narrowly escape the clutches of King Abimelech. During this time, David was on the run from Saul and had recently left the scene of Doeg the Edomite’s slaughter of the priests. With nowhere to go, he decides to head into Philistine territory. While there, David could not escape his identity as an Israelite. The Philistine commanders recounted the songs sung about David and his victories against the Philistines. Overhearing this, David begins to drool and scratch on the doors. King Achish refuses to allow David to remain in his court. In this way, David narrowly escapes the Philistines’ wrath.
Psalm 34 is an acrostic based on all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet except one. The first part (vv. 1–10) is David’s testimony in regards to God’s loving care and deliverance. The second part (vv. 11–20) includes the truths that anyone can stand on during a time of crisis like he experienced, running from not only Saul but also being saved from the Philistines.
Have you ever experienced a time where you narrowly escaped trouble or death?
1. The Call to Worship (Psalm 34:1–3)
2. The Recall of Deliverance (vv. 4–6)
3. Calling Out the Faithful (vv. 7–10)
4. Call on Jesus (Hebrews 2:17–18)
1. The Call to Worship (Psalm 34:1–3)
At the beginning of Psalm 34, David expresses his praise and celebration on a personal level and invites others to join in. First he speaks of his own attitude and lifestyle of praise. His praise of the Lord is constant and ongoing, and he will boast only in the Lord. His boasting is exclusively about all that God can do and accomplish. As a result, the humble, or those who need help, will be glad because they will hear of the only One who can ultimately help them. Our praise can lift other people up as well. Lastly, he invites worshipers to speak of God’s goodness and to worship Him corporately.
How can we encourage others to worship God with enthusiasm?
2. The Recall of Deliverance (vv. 4–6)
Next, David tells his personal testimony of his deliverance from King Achish of Gath. David recalls how he prayed to the Lord for deliverance from the Philistine king, and how the Lord freed him from all his fears. It shows that David was a man of prayer, even while faced with immediate danger. This is how we ought to be as well. We do not need to wait until a formal occasion to pray. Every occasion is an opportunity to ask God for help.
What would be the three main points in your personal testimony of God’s goodness?
3. Calling Out the Faithful (vv. 7–10)
David then turns his attention to those who also worship the God of Israel. He lets them know that God’s angel is there to protect them, and there is no better position to be in than to be able to experience God’s goodness. David uses the figurative language of taste and sight to show how to truly enjoy His goodness.
People who fear God can enjoy this goodness and are delivered from all their fears. They will never want for any provision. He further reiterates God’s care for the faithful by stating that they will not lack any good thing. David knows from experience that God will take care of him and anyone else who fears Him.
Is it hard to believe that those who are faithful and fear God are delivered from their fears and experience no lack? Why or why not?
4. Call on Jesus (Hebrews 2:17–18)
The writer of Hebrews lets his audience know that Jesus was made like us in His humanity. This was necessary so that He could not only experience our pain and weakness, but so that He could also be offered as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus is the High Priest as well as the sacrifice. Since He has gone through suffering, He can help whoever is going through a trial. He is the High Priest we can count on for help. When we face a trial like David, where we have no place to turn, we can call on Jesus for help.
Why is Jesus usually our last resort to turn to for help?
Search the Scriptures
- Why does our boasting only in the Lord cause those who are helpless to be glad (Psalm 34:2)?
- How can you taste and see that the Lord is good (v. 8)?
Discuss the Meaning
David trusted God and leaned on Him during hard times. He also used whatever means were at his disposal to get out of his situation. How can we discern whether our action is faith-based or fear-based?
Lesson in Our Society
It is certainly not hard to be overwhelmed by fear and brokenness. So many different news stories describe political conflict and oppression. Sometimes the violence and brutality shows up in our own neighborhoods from gangs or even the police who are supposed to protect us. On top of that, you might have to deal with your own personal family and finance issues. It’s hard not to crack under the pressure of just trying to put food on the table and make ends meet.
This is why it is important to do what David did—call on God in times of crisis. This includes prayer and also rejoicing in God’s goodness. For those of us who have tasted and seen His goodness, we can testify about it! He is the One who lifts our spirits up, even in times of crisis.
How have you experienced God’s presence in the midst of suffering around you?
Make It Happen
• List three ways you have experienced God’s goodness. Meditate on these throughout the week.
• Call or text someone who is going through a difficult time and encourage them.
• Write in your journal about the ways that God has delivered you in a time of crisis.
Follow the Spirit
What God wants me to do:
Remember Your Thoughts
Special insights I have learned:
More Light on the Text
1 [A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.] I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. 3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
This psalm is an acrostic. The verses start by the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet (with the exception of waw). Scholars think this form allows a free movement from theme to theme without losing coherence. The psalm’s context is given in its title, while the full story is found in 1 Samuel 21:10–15. While on the run from King Saul, David ran to King Abimelech. However, the Philistine’s princes doubted his sincerity because of his past record. David was in a very uncomfortable situation. Banished from his country and unwelcome in the land, he went to seek asylum.
In this very situation, David blesses and praises the Lord. The praise to God is continual, God-centered, and a product of a grateful heart. His words continually reflect the constancy of his attitude toward the Lord. In every circumstance, we should praise Him (Philippians 4:4).
David also gives a proclamation of the goodness of God. Praising the Lord is an individual undertaking as well as a collective endeavor. He calls on others, therefore, to help him magnify the Lord.
David’s boasting (Heb. halal, ha-LOL) juxtaposes with humility. The Hebrew word here for boast is related to words for shine and praise, and David is perhaps making a play on words to have those ideas in mind along with his boast. David’s boast is the Lord, even in his humiliating situation, therefore others who are humbled can see too that the Lord is still worth praising and be glad to know such a great God.
4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
The word “fears” (v. 4) addresses the concerns that terrorize one’s soul and occupy their thoughts. The Hebrew rendering is megurah (meh-goo-RAH), which means “terror” or “dread.” When we seek the Lord in face of danger, He has the power to deliver us from all threatening situations in our lives.
Every time we look to God, He listens to us, even when we are suffering from our own wrongdoings (Psalm 107:8–12). In dire oppression, like in the case of the Israelites in Egypt, God heard their cries and came to their rescue.
When one turns to the Lord in times of trouble, he or she is “lightened” like the brightness of a happy face. It does not mean that the issue is necessarily taken away. In response to prayers, the peace of God that surpasses understanding keeps our hearts and minds in Christ (Philippians 4:7). That brightens our face, even in challenging times.
7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. 8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Some scholars believe the “angel of the LORD” is a term to designate God Himself coming down in flesh. He protects those who honor and trust in Him. The expression of God’s goodness depends on a life of godliness. Angels are also instructed to keep watch over those who take refuge in the Lord (Psalm 91:11). Both “taste” (Heb. ta‘am, ta-AM) and “see” (Heb. ra’ah, ra-AH) literally refer to using these senses to perceive God’s goodness, because that is how real and substantive it is. This is not a call to check God’s credentials, but instead an invitation to experience His goodness in a real, tactile sense.
9 O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. 10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.
The call to fear the Lord is once more repeated. Fear of the Lord is a demonstration of an attitude of humility and genuine worship, because those who fear Him lack for nothing. David elsewhere declares that the Lord is his shepherd, so he will not lack anything (Psalm 23:1). Young lions are contrasted with the saints who fear the Lord. The word “lion” may be used metaphorically to describe those who are strong, oppressive, and evil (Psalms 17:12 and 35:17).
11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
The style of these verses is that of “wisdom instruction,” as seen in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The students in wisdom literature are often called “children” (Heb. ben, BEN) (Proverbs 2:1). The focus is placed on the fear of the Lord. A reward of wisdom is already in this life. First Peter 3:10 repeats almost exactly the expression of verse 12.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
On the Day of Atonement, the high priest was required to identify himself with the sacrifice by laying his hands on its head. Christ as High Priest had to be identified to His brothers. Many Scriptures reiterate the fact that Jesus came in the flesh to make atonement for our sins (Romans 1:3; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 5:7; 1 Peter 4:1). The application of the term “high priest” to Jesus appears only in Hebrews (Hebrews 4:14–16).
In Jesus’ earthly ministry, He suffered in many instances. He faced temptation (Matthew 4:1–11), and in agony before the Cross He prayed earnestly (Luke 22:44), the paroxysm of His suffering He bore on the Cross when He was carrying our sins (1 Peter 2:24). This is what qualifies Him to intercede on our behalf in our daily ordeals.
Say It Correctly