Trouble [Heb tsar—narrow, a tight place; root tsarar—to cramp, oppress, vex, trouble] vividly portrays the concept of being confined in a tight place, crowded by an opponent or adversary, afflicted, experiencing anguish, distress, sorrow, or tribulation.
Troubles are often inflicted by external circumstances and enemies, producing profound physical, mental, and emotional anguish and grief, yet they are a strong motivation to draw near and cry out to God. God hears his children’s cries in times of trouble, will preserve them, is a refuge and source of strength, will rescue and deliver them in His perfect timing, and ultimately will cause all things to work together for good (Rom 8:28).
Present trials are a prelude to future testimonies and triumphs!
Reflection: What aspect or lesson from last week’s lesson or lecture most encouraged or challenged you? Why?
This week we continue to focus on the Psalms for the danger zone. These Psalms of lament caused by external circumstances produce passionate petition for help from God. Trials provide an opportunity and motivation to express our emotions honestly to God and to grow in our freedom and intimacy with Him.
1. What have you learned about Lament Psalms from observing them last week and this week?
2. Read 1 Samuel 20, 21, 22:1. These verses describe the circumstances David faced after he had been anointed by Samuel as the future king and before he hid himself in the cave described in Psalm 142.
A. How do you think David might have been feeling when he wrote this Psalm? Who was his enemy?
B. How have you ever been confused about God’s timing in your own life?
3. According to 1 Samuel 22:2, who joined David in the cave? Were they there to comfort David or for themselves?
4. Read Psalm 142.
A. List as many words as you can from the first four verses that indicate deep and intense emotions.
B. Which word or words best reflects your feelings this week?
C. How does God view our emotions? What additional insights do you gain from the cross references on tears and weeping in the Optional Studies for Personal Enrichment?
5. List on the following chart the various characteristics of God noted by David in this Psalm, and note why they might be important to David.
Aspect of God’s Character
Importance to David
6. Which characteristic of God is most encouraging to you this week? How could you apply it to your present circumstances?
7. Reread Psalm 142.
A. List as many specific complaints of David as you find in this Psalm.
B. List the specific requests that David makes of God.
8. From Psalm 142, list the verses where David directly addresses the LORD [YAHWEH].
9. From Psalm 142, which verses indicate David’s dependence upon God for deliverance?
10. Three important characteristics of effective prayer are (1) intensity, (2) specificity, and (3) direct address toward God—based on a personal relationship with Him. Write out a prayer about a personal situation you are facing using these three elements.
11. What one insight or lesson do you want to remember from this week’s lesson? Note it below and on the journal page entitled “Songs for My Soul” at the back of the workbook.
Choose one verse from this week’s lesson to memorize. Write it here and meditate on it.
Can you recite from memory all four verses you have chosen so far in this study of the Psalms? If not, use this next week (a Fellowship Week with no lesson due) to review them so when trouble comes you have the resources to stand strong in faith.
In every life there is a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance. Troubles, while bringing believers to the throne of God in prayer, are often a time of expressing emotional anguish with tears and weeping. Trace the trail of tears in the related scriptural cross references. As you record your insights, briefly note who is weeping and their circumstances. What is God’s response to the tears of His beloved children?
2 Sam 12:21; 18:33
2 Ki 20:2–3, 5; Isa 38:5
Rev 7:17 ; 21:4
Today’s tears provide the heartfelt irrigation for tomorrow’s harvest of joy!