Our perceptions always determine our actions. When we think we are in danger; we feel a desperate need to find a safe place. We know we can take shelter at our house, so we dash to the door.
We all have times like these. Most people run to God—almost instinctively. Even people who aren’t too sure about God. Why? Somehow, we know deep down—or at least hope—that God will be our shelter. We begin this series to encourage us to run to God whenever:
- you get a raw deal and life just isn’t fair
- you’re going through a crisis or a major life transition
- you feel like a nobody going nowhere
- you’re troubled and depressed
- you’re gripped by fear
- you’ve blown it big time
- you’re confused
God’s Word, the Bible, will enable us to see our situation in a different way. It will flip on the porch light over our soul so we can see what’s really going on and what God would have us do about it. I’m telling you up front that God is the place to run. He is and always has been a shelter, a safe place where people can take refuge. God is real and ready to open his door to all who run to him in times of need.
Each of the coming lessons look at a specific need in light of one of the Psalms—the songbook of God’s people.
The Psalms are God-breathed, so they give truth and light. They were written by real people who didn’t hold back their emotions. These people dared to bring their desperate needs to God.
This is my prayer as we begin this journey together: “O LORD, open their eyes and let them see!”
This prayer is from the prophet Elisha. He used it on an occasion similar to the tough spot in which Michael found himself. The story is told in 2 Kings 6:8–23.
Elisha and his servant were wanted men. The king of Aram had a contract out on their lives. Eventually, someone revealed their location to the king, and he sent an army by night to capture the prophet and his assistant. The soldiers quietly surrounded the village where Elisha was staying.
When morning came, the servant left the house. Everywhere he looked there were armed men on horseback. Chariots, spears, and swords blocked every way of escape. Elisha and his companion were surrounded. In shock and despair the servant called out to Elisha, “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” (2 Kings 6:15 NLT). Instead of answering his servant’s question, Elisha addressed his terror. “Don’t be afraid. . . . There are more on our side than on theirs!” said the prophet. Before the servant could ask what he meant, “Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!’ The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire” (2 Kings 6:16–17 NLT).
The prophet’s assistant caught a glimpse of ultimate reality. He learned a lesson that God allows each of us to learn throughout life: there is so much more to life than what we can see.
Unless we can learn to expect God’s continual presence in every part of life, we won’t be able to experience his presence when we need it most.
Our prayer: “O Lord, open our eyes and let us see!”
Facts about the Psalms
- Quoted more in NT than any other book – 263 passages
- The final collection took just over 1,500 years
- 73 (almost half) ascribed to David, 12 to Asaph, 10 to the sons of Korah (or his descendents), 2 to Solomon, and one to Moses, Heman the Ezrahite (88), and Ethan the Ezrahite (89)
- Those without subtitles are called ‘orphan’ psalms
- The collection was composed primarily for the Israelite nation
Uses of the Psalms
- Use them as a guide in our learning to think about God
- They help in our struggle of learning to pray
Let’s now look at PSALM 1 and 3