Wednesday, March 3, 2021

5-Rock Bottom: Bible Survival

The Big Idea: At some point in life we hit rock bottom. Use the Psalms to pray through and survive.

Desperate prayers for desperate times.

Have you ever hit rock bottom? You feel desperate with nowhere to turn. Some may say they never experienced this. But surely most adults have at least had a season where they have had it. Exhausted. Fed up. Lost hope. No answer to a serious dilemma.

May I introduce you to someone who hit this point repeatedly? King David from the Bible. His life was often in danger pursued like a dangerous criminal. His political opponents were very vocal against him. He had family troubles (he had a total of four wives). His sons did not always live up to how the son of a King of Israel should act. David disappointed God with Bathsheba and had to live with the consequences. Evidently he had some physical ailments as he aged. I could go on.

If you need words of comfort and understanding in the Bible…

If it might be helpful to observe someone talk very frankly with God…

If you could use an example of words to pray in desperation…

Go to the Psalms.

The Psalms are in the middle of the Bible. It is the largest book of the Bible. It is easy to find. In it lies  very frank expressions of anger, loneliness, hunger, longing, sickness, revenge, abandonment, failure…

The Psalms teach us:

  • We can talk to God and He will listen and not be shocked or turn away.
  • How to guard and protect our heart and our emotions.
  • How to pray. We learn to be authentic yet turn to Him, not just vent.
  • Who God is. Faithful, creator, powerful, eternal…
  • People have been calling on God since the early ages of civilization. Even a Psalm of Moses in here.

Many are written by David under almost any circumstance of life that you can imagine. He vents. He cries. He laments. He grieves. He is very open and honest in his cries to God. Shock of all shocks, God listens and is never surprised. God never cuts him off. But David also reminds himself by the end of every prayer that God is God, and he will intentionally turn his trust toward Him. He says he will fix his eyes on God. He will put his trust in Him because God is all powerful and all loving.

It is useful to read it with a thought for thought Bible version such as the Message, or the New Living Translation. This is a time to soak up God's Word for your aches and pains. Try reading a passage that touches you like a prayer and pray it.  Or go line by line, stopping to think where you are touched and talk to God.

There are periods of my life that were tumultuous or difficult. Often this has revolved around illness or overwhelming circumstances in my living situation. I tell people "I lived in the Psalms at that time." What that phrase means is that I read them over and over, and soaked up as much of them as I could.

I have enjoyed marking up my Bible to remember different portions that have meant a lot to me. A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, "What is your favorite Psalm." It was interesting to see Psalms that others appreciate. My favorite is Psalm 34. But I also love Psalm 1, 19, 23, 37, 51, 103, 139… and I could go on! These are a few that come to my mind right away! If you read five a day, you can finish the book in a month.

Find your favorite Psalm!


God helps us in trouble   Ps 27, Ps 46:1, Ps 86:7, Ps 32:7, Ps 34:17

God protects us   Ps 4:1, Ps, 16:1, Ps 91, Ps 27:5,

God helps us, asking for help  Ps 79:9, Ps 86:6-7, Ps 121, Ps 143:1

Grief  Ps 4:8, Ps 23, Ps 31:9, Ps 34:18

God hears our prayers  Ps 22:24, Ps 116, Ps 143:1

God is mindful of our needs  Ps 86:1,Ps 79:8, Ps 16:1, Ps 70:5

God will restore us  Ps 40, Ps 30:5, Ps 70:20-21

God heals and helps us cope with illness  Ps 31:9, 14-15, Ps 6:2-4, Ps 34:9-10, Ps 73:26, Ps 107:19-20, Ps 118:5-7, Ps 147:3, Ps 41, Ps 35, 38

Here is a Bible Study found on the Christianity Today magazine site on emotions and the Psalms.

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1. Do you have a favorite Psalm? Why?

2. Do you like the book of Psalms? Why or why not?

3. Can you remember a time when you could have used the encouragement of the Psalms?

4. Is there a desperate period you are walking through right now? Is it time to turn to the Psalms for your focus?


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