New beginnings require trust in a child's ability to make wise decisions, choose good friends, and remain safe in God's love. Prepare for future events by considering the helpful truths in Psalm 139.
Categories: Freshness and Newness, New Year/Change, Psalms
May marks events that symbolize endings and beginnings for many families. As school draws to a close, many youngsters are going on to new adventures - everywhere from camps and colleges to jobs and jaunts around the country.
For parents, these new beginnings require trust in a child's ability to make wise decisions, choose good friends, and remain safe in God's love. May is an ideal time to prepare for future events by considering the helpful truths in a familiar psalm, Psalm 139. It's believed that this psalm was actually written by David, unlike some of the others in the book he compiled. You may want to put your Bible on the breakfast or dinner table and use the psalm as a springboard for conversation. It was part of the writings of the Wisdom Period (unlike other psalms used for temple ceremonies or personal appeals).
Wisdom writers presented a visual picture of a God who interacts with humankind, who is close by, and who is ready to guide and heal and save. Here is how you might proceed, verse by verse. In each case, I'll get you started on the discussion, then you take it from there with your insights as well as input from your youngsters.
Verse one says God has searched us and known us. If God searched you, what would He find? Fear of the future? Jealousy over the plans of others? But what does He know of us? Only our perfection, freedom, joy.
Verses two and three show God's care when we think we are having "downsitting" moments. But, since we reflect a good God, we don't have teetering highs or sinking lows. God's nature is totally free of mood swings and therefore so are we.
The next verses, four through six, are helpful in communication, which can be a stumbling block between parent and child or friend and friend. God gives us the ability to speak honestly and kindly and wisely. But, we need to listen.
Now come our favorite lines, including "Whither shall I go from thy spirit?" Verses 7-12 outline all the temptations of fear in new activities or strange places. Yet, we can't flee God's presence, whether we're at camp or in a foreign country. We are always with an omniscient God.
Verses 13 through 16 discuss our divine nature, forever known to God, qualities that are not hidden. Youngsters can memorize the line, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works;" And remind them that "fearfully made" means "awesome!"
When a youngster thinks she is running out of good ideas on what to do, remind her of verses 17 and 18. God supplies more ideas than there are grains of sand. And remember: "I am still with thee." Often in new beginnings, a youngster runs into folks who think quite differently or act deceitfully. Should he consider those who are "different" or those who do wrong as enemies, and thus hate them?
Verses 19-22 raise this question and you need to discuss the proper response to evil: prayer!
And verses 23 and 24 again ask God to "search" us and lead us in the right way. Another translation of this last line says, "lead me on Your road!" (The Complete Bible in Modern English by Ferrar Fenton) That's the road we all want to travel.
Psalm 139 sets a standard for the new activities of summer and how to respond in a Christian way. Why not make this psalm your study project this month? You may even want to encourage the memorization of certain lines. It only takes a few minutes each day, but the suggestions in this psalm will harmonize all the new adventures ahead.