This week's Small Group Guide is composed of questions from this week's GPS Guide. The questions relate to the Scripture for that particular day. You can download the full week's GPS as a printable document for the context of each question below (in the printable version, the recommended small group questions are marked with a special bullet point.)
“Those who put their trust in the LORD… are truly happy,” said verse 4. We’re bombarded with claims that nearly anything, from whitening toothpaste to a luxury cruise to the best new smartphone, will make us truly happy. Do you believe that the source of true happiness to which Psalm 40 pointed is more credible than the ads that barrage you from all sides? In what ways have you found a greater depth of true joy and hope by trusting in God?
The psalmist “waited” for God’s redemption, not just an abstract idea about God (verses 4-6). Yet “the word wait can also have a misleading implication. Waiting may suggest an attitude of…calm mellowness. In the Old Testament, waiting is impatient. It implies urgency….”* The psalmist waited like watchmen in the darkness looking for morning light’s first gleam. And the psalmist trusted that God was just as reliable as the dawn. What helps you to count on God’s presence?
Oxford scholar Alister McGrath wrote, “Coming to faith doesn’t mean merely having a new idea. It means recognizing in our minds who God is and what he is like, and responding to him in our hearts.”** What experiences or people helped you to move past thinking of God as an important idea to knowing God as a loving, personal being you trust, obey and are committed to?
“[God’s compassions] are renewed every morning” (verse 23). Pastor John Guest wrote that in that verse “the grieving mind was learning to live one day at a time. It is an art we all must learn, but it is a difficult one. We would much rather see the burden removed once and for all.”*** In grief, we often begin to doubt that things will ever get better. But the painful sense of loss we call grief is not a reason to abandon hope; it is why we desperately need hope. What losses are you feeling most sharply today? What experiences, relationships and words of Scripture can anchor you daily to God’s loyal, never-ending love, and bring you the hope that waits for the LORD’s deliverance even in the most desolate of times?
* John Goldingay, Psalms for Everyone, Part 2: Psalms 1–72. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014, p. 180-181.
** Alister McGrath, “I Believe”: Exploring the Apostles’ Creed. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 1997, p. 22.
*** John Guest, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 19: Jeremiah / Lamentations. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1988, p. 357.
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