Thursday, January 26, 2012

Psalm 119:9-32

Our writing group is studying Psalm 119. Last night we focused on verses 9-32. We didn't have enough time to get through all the questions, so I'm going to post the lesson here. Read the Psalm verses, then answer the questions. Please leave feedback in Comments Section.




Psalm 119:9-32 (courtesy Bible Gateway)

English Standard Version (ESV)
 9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
   By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
   let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
   that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O LORD;
   teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
   all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
   as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
   and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
   I will not forget your word.
 17 Deal bountifully with your servant,
   that I may live and keep your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
   wondrous things out of your law.
19 I am a sojourner on the earth;
   hide not your commandments from me!
20 My soul is consumed with longing
   for your rules at all times.
21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
   who wander from your commandments.
22 Take away from me scorn and contempt,
   for I have kept your testimonies.
23 Even though princes sit plotting against me,
   your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24 Your testimonies are my delight;
   they are my counselors. 

 25 My soul clings to the dust;
   give me life according to your word!
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me;
   teach me your statutes!
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts,
   and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow;
   strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me
   and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
   I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O LORD;
   let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments
   when you enlarge my heart!


1. Words like "decrees", "laws", "statutes", "precepts", and "commands" jump out at me. What do you think of the use of these words? Why did the Psalmist use these words? In our writing, what can we learn about word choice?

2. Read verses 25 and 28 outloud. What are some other scriptures you can think of that talk about God's promise to preserve your life and strengthen you? Personally, how has God preserved or strengthened you?

3. Read verse 18. What part of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) do we need to call on so that we can "see"?

4. Read verse 19. What does this verse imply? 

5. Read verses 23 and 27. Why are we doing this study? How do you meditate?

6. Read verse 29. What does this mean?

7. Read verses 24, 31, and 32. What does this say about God and his Word? What does it say about the written word in general and about your writing?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Psalm 119:1-8

My post today is over at The Write Soil, Psalm 119

Please go there, read the verses, and then answer the question (What can we learn from 119:1-8 that can impact our writing?).  

Please feel free to share your answer in the Comments Section!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sweeter Than Chocolate

Check out Pam Gillaspie's study on Psalm 119!

Do you find God’s Word sweeter than chocolate?

Barna Research reports that 90% of American households own a Bible and consider it holy. However, only 37% claim to read it even once a week. Just 25% have read all of it. It seems that owning one is important; reading it is not.

How important is God’s Word in our lives? What kind of role does it play in our writing?

Over the next ten weeks First Writes is going to be studying Psalm 119 and, through it, discovering how important God’s Word is, how it relates to us as writers, and why the psalmist compared its benefits to the sweetness of a special treat!

To help us, we will be using a study aide called a Journible. Journibles are based on Deuteronomy 17:18 where God instructs Israel’s king not to simply acquire a copy of God’s law, but to hand write his own copy.

God knew handwriting passages would help the king retain His Word better than simply hearing the words or reading them. Journibles stem from this same concept.

In Journibles we write out our very own copy of Scripture on the right hand page of the book. On the left page, we will write notes and comments using basic investigative questions—who, what, when, where, why, and how.

In her 6-week study book, Sweeter Than Chocolate: Sweet Words and Real Solutions from God’s Word: An Inductive Study of Psalm 119, Pam Gillaspie asks us to dig deeper into this psalm. Answering the following questions will help:

1. What does the first stanza tell us will bring happiness?
2. Which phrases in these eight verses do you relate to most?
3. What are the benefits of keeping God’s Word?
4. What does this first stanza teach us about God?

We would love to have you join us on this journey through Psalm 119. Journibles are available through many online sources including Reformation Heritage Books.  Pam Gillaspie’s book is available for purchase at Sweeter Than Chocolate.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I want to discuss Rebekah today. She's bothering me.

The section is Genesis 25:12 to 28:5. OK, to sum up. Rebekah is pregnant to twins and there seems to be a lot of commotion in the womb. 

She asks God, "What the heck is going on in there?"

God says, "Two nations are in there. One will be stronger than the other. The older will serve the younger."

Then they are born. Esau is born first and should get the inheritance/blessing. Esau grows to be a manly hunter and he is liked best by dad (Isaac). Jacob, born younger, likes to stay home cooking and he is liked best by Rebekah.

Now Esau is not too smart. He thinks with his stomach. One day he is hungry and trades his inheritance to Jacob for a bowl of his homemade soup.

Later, Rebekah hears that Isaac is going to bless Esau, so she quick has Jacob cook up a fine meal and then dresses Jacob like Esau (hairy gloves and Esau's stinky hunting gear). Then she sends Jacob into Isaac to pretend to be Esau. It works and Jacob steals Esau's blessing.

Esau is upset and angry. He's going to kill Jacob. Rebekah see this and again steps in and asks Isaac to send Jacob away to get a wife. Isaac does so, and thus blesses Jacob a second time. Off goes Jacob and he marries Leah and Rachel and becomes rich (with sheep and servants, etc).

Rebekah did everything she could to further Jacob over Esau.

I'm not liking Rebekah.

1. She plays favorites with her children.

2. She conniving and encourages her son to lie and steal.

But, God told her up front that Jacob would be stronger and would rule over Esau. That's my dilemma. If God told her that, does that make her behavior OK?

I don't think so.

I think God would have found a different way for Jacob to lead without Rebekah's assistance.

What do you think?

(Note: This is also posted on Dawn's The Write Soil Blog.)